Announcing BarCampRDU – July 22, 2006, Raleigh, NC

I’m very pleased to report that we’ve secured a venue for BarCampRDU. The kind folks at Red Hat have offered us space at their Centennial Campus offices on Saturday, July 22, 2006. BarCampRDU will run from 8:30AM (registration and breakfast) to 5:30PM. Now that we’ve got a date, please go and add yourself as an attendee to the wiki!

Here’s some other valuable information:

  • To stay up-to-date with BarCampRDU planning (low-to-medium volume), add yourself to our ibiblio-hosted mailing list.
  • To keep up-to-date with BarCampRDU announcements (low-volume), add this blog’s feed to your newsreader.

Now that we’ve secured a date and a venue – we need sponsors. Sponsors will help cover the costs of feeding, caffeinating and t-shirting BarCampers. Sponsorship is absolutely crucial for BarCampRDU – so please consider (contact me at fred @ ibiblio.org if interested). Think of all the geeks you’ll be making happy.

BarCampRDU

I’m pleased to announce that we’re planning a BarCamp in the Raleigh-Durham area! A BarCamp is an unconference where lots of geek-oriented people get together to chat, teach, learn, eat and have fun. If you’ve never been to an unconference before, they are a lot of fun and worth experiencing.

We’re in the very early stages of planning BarCampRDU, but we know a couple of things we need. We need people to help out with BarCampRDU’s planning and execution. We need sponsors to help cover the costs of refreshments and materials. We need space to host the conference (150 people, hosted on a Saturday). Most importantly, we need campers to come learn, teach and have a great time at BarCampRDU.

To get involved, you’ll want to visit the BarCampRDU website, where you can see the preliminary planning that’s gone on. You should also subscribe to the BarCampRDU mailing list, as this will be the place we have most of our planning discussions. However, if you just have a simple question – don’t hesitate to contact me at fred@metalab.unc.edu.

BarCampRDU will be free for all campers, it will be hosted on a Saturday in July (possibly July 8th), and everyone is invited to attend (You need not be from RDU area). To help spread the word, we ask that you blog about BarCampRDU, email your friends, whatever. We can only get the word out with your help. Finally, I hope that you’ll think about coming out – BarCamps have been great successes around the country, and we’d like to do the same here!

Folkstreams.net in Endeavors

ibiblio’s Folkstreams.net is featured in this quarter’s Endeavors, the Magazine of Research and Creative Activity at the University of North Carolina, in a full page article “Films of the Folk” by Margarite Nathe.

Clearware.org launches

This project really tickles my fancy.

Clearware.org aims to make End User License Agreements (EULAs) easy to read for people like you and I, not just the lawyers who write them. Clearware.org specifies a style of summary very similar to a Creative Commons deed that highlights the important points of the license so you can take it all in at a glance.

In addition, and this is the part that I think is the coolest, Clearware.org specifies how to mark up a license as an RDF document so that the license can be understood by third party programs. This sort of semantic markup would eventually allow users search for software based on licensing terms!

We’re very happy to host this innovative new project!

The Ancient Way wins Horizon Interactive Award

The UNC Journalism and Mass Communication School produced The Ancient Way (hosted by ibiblio.org) was named top in their category for the Horizon Interactive Awards. Gabriel Dance, who worked with ibiblio.org, was in Galacia working on the project last summer and contributed to the project as did my collegues Rich Beckman, Pat Davidson, Alberto Cairo and Laura Ruel.

The judges said:

[G]reat use of video, photography, audio and a website. This site is more than an online magazine or news site… it is an experience. Visually it is well done. the navigation is simple and clean. The content speaks for itself.

Smallwood Foundation to support Lyceum

ibiblio’s Lyceum multi-user blogsphere got a boost from The Frances C. and William P. Smallwood Foundation of Fort Worth, Texas today. The Foundation awarded Lyceum a $25,000.00 gift through the UNC School of Information and Library Science to be used for promotion and stablization of the project. More details in an upcoming press release from the School.

To test drive Lyceum, visit the Demo site.

Thanks to Fred and especially to JJB for making Lyceum real!

Documenting the American South wins Lincoln Award

Documenting the American South (hosted at ibiblio.org) was just named winner of the 2006 Electronic Lincoln Prize from Gettysburg College.

The $10,000 award is given for significant contribution in new media to scholarship about Abraham Lincoln, the American Civil War soldier, or a subject relating to the Civil War era.

“The winner of the Electronic Lincoln Prize proves that the historian’s work can be immensely improved if scholars move fully into the 21st Century,” said Gettysburg College Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies Gabor Boritt, who serves as chair of the Electronic Lincoln Prize.

Gettysburg College press release.

Welcome iCommons

ibiblio has recently added a very cool new collection: iCommons, a new initiative incubated by Creative Commons that aims to “develop a united global commons front.”

Yesterday, Lawrence Lessig blogged a little more about the ambitious aim of the iCommons project, which “reaches far beyond the infrastructure that CC is building… to bring together a wide range of people in addition the CC crowd – including Wikipedians, Free Software sorts, the Free Culture kids, A2K heroes, Open Access advocates, and others”.

The iCommons crew has been very nice to work with. We’re very happy to have the opportunity to contribute to their effort.

Creative Commons Copyright Criminals Remix Contest

My buddy Kembrew McLeod, with whom I sent a cease and desist letter to Leo Stoller, wants you to know that there is a contest to mix music for his new movie:

This is a contest for artists to mix audio tracks under 4 minutes which use provided voice samples from Ben Franzen and Kembrew McLeod’s forthcoming film, “Copyright Criminals.” Samples from the film include voiceovers from De La Soul, DJ Qbert, members of Public Enemy, Matmos, Coldcut, members of Negativland, and others. The best overall winner will be included prominently in the film and the top 11 other entries are to be included on a companion CD.

The deadline has been extended to March 14, and new samples from George Clinton (Parliament-Funkadelic) and Chuck D (Public Enemy) are added to the list of possible source material that you may use.

(Incidentally, another thing that Kembrew and I have in common is that we have both interviewed Chuck D… him for several hours and me for 15 minutes. I interviewed Chuck D for my perpetually in production documentary, which will soon have a new home here.)

Lyceum Public Beta

In preparation for the formal announcment and code release at the end of this month, the Lyceum team is running a public test intallation of the code. Check it out:

Lyceum Public Beta

The front page explains everything. Basically, sign up for a blog (or several), write posts, adjust settings, comment on other people’s blogs, and then send bug reports to lyceum-bugs AT lists DOT ibiblio DOT org.

Open Content Alliance

UNC has officially joined the Open Content Alliance (OCA). The OCA describes itself as encouraging “the greatest possible degree of access to and reuse of collections in the archive, while respecting the content owners and contributors.” These content owners and contributors comprise a long list of corporations and academic institutions, including, surprisingly, MSN, who has joined in part to promote their new book search.

I think I speak for the lab denizens collectively in saying that we’re proud that our university is a member of this organization. We’re also proud that the spirit in which ibiblio was founded thirteen years ago is spreading throughout our larger culture.

Statement to US delegation to WIPO about the Broadcasting and Webcasting “rights” treaty

My name is John Bachir. I work at ibiblio.org, an organization affiliated with both the school of Information and Library Science, and the school of Journalism at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. You may have known us as one of our two former names: sunsite, and metalab.

Ibiblio is home to over 1500 collections, including Project Gutenberg, which hosts transcribed plaintext files of public-domain works, and etree.org, which hosts public-domain audio files. We were mirroring GNU/Linux distributions and open-source software before it was cool. Ibiblio was, in fact, the first webserver on the Internet.

Given the wide variety of media used and delivered by ibiblio collections, the WIPO Broadcasting and Webcasting treaty poses significant problems for their work. Many of our contributors do work with public domain or alternatively licensed materials acquired from a very wide variety of sources. Even with existing laws, it is often quite a challenge for creators to determine if something downloaded online can be included in repositories or creative works, or who the rights holder is to begin with. The United States Copyright Office recently issued a report saying that the situation with orphan works is serious, and poses a real threat to dissemination and use, including scholarly and archival dissemination and reuse. Indeed, the report suggests that the copyright act needs amendment, to allow for some manner of limited liability for good faith searches.

The proliferation of rights, the difficulty of finding long-vanished copyright holders, and the fact that multiple copyrights could cover the same media, is already a huge unsolved problem. But at least today a creator knows that, in the United States, a work published before 1923, or a work under an appropriate alternative-license such as Creative Commons, can be put into a repository or used in a derivative or annotated work.

Imagine if, in addition to the existing crushing burden of rights clearance under copyright, creators also had a separate and entirely different obligation to clear Broadcast or Webcast rights–even on public-domain or Creative Commons works. Here we have yet another layer of the orphan works problem already existent in the copyright space. The difficulty of ascertaining whether works were originally derived from a broadcast or webcast incurs economic overhead in the use of public-domain works that has not existed for the past 200 years.

The same problems that the provisions of the Broadcast and Webcast treaty create for the work of ibiblio collections will be experienced by those in educational and academic fields at large. Furthermore, the treaty provides no apparent benefits to such communities. In fact, what little research there is examining the effects of the Rome Convention shows that such provisions are not in the best interest of the commercial sector either.

One would hope that policy made by a UN agency would be the result of careful research and public deliberation, with the intention of benefitting the societies and economies involved. But with the Broadcaster and Webcaster treaty, this is not the case. Instead, it is being created without feedback from the public sector or even the business community at large, under pressure and lobbying from huge media entities, in order to grant unnatural power to product distribution companies who add no value to creative works.

This treaty is bad for ibiblio, bad for education, bad for academia, bad for culture, bad for the economy, and good for News Corp. and Yahoo!. I urge you to do a comprehensive call for feedback from the creative and broadcast communities at large, and refuse to participate in a treaty not approved by the United States Congress. Thank you for your time.

SXSW Interactive

I’ll be attending SXSW Interactive this year. Lyceum will have been released two or three weeks beforehand, and I’m hoping there will be a bit of Lyceum buzz among a certain geeky, bloggy crowd at the conference.

The SXSW Interactive folks put together an open-registration blog:

The SXSW Interactive Community Blog is your space to discuss specific panels and events, rant about tech-related issues, wax philosophic, hookup with friends, talk about where to get some good BBQ… whatever. In fact, we want you to guide and develop this space according to your innermost needs and desires.

A great idea.

I think I’m the only ibiblian going. ibiblio friend and lab fixture Terrell is going as well. If any ibiblog readers out there are going to be there, drop us a note in the comments.

I also might swing by BarCampAustin.

Student Life on the Facebook

I’ve published a new “study” of the Facebook over on my blog – it can be located at Fred’s blog. The last two studies were posted to the Ibiblog, but this one is so long I didn’t want to crosspost. Here are some key findings:

  • Freshmen make an average of 65 new friends in their first semester.
  • Freshman political orientation does not change significantly in the first semester.
  • There are over 78,000 Freshmen pictured in the Facebook
  • You can see the rest over here…

    the kids are alright

    It’s good to know that American youth are using the web like it’s interactive and not the new television.

    A recent article on the bbc says that a large portion of 12-17 year-olds are using the web to publish their ideas, share their creative endeavors and “remix” the ba-jesus out of other people’s work.

    The article also notes that kids putting stuff on the web (read the kids who are remixing stuff on the web) are more interested in copyright issues than kids who don’t. Also, of kids who download media about as many reported paying for it as reported downloading it via p2p networks. Think if it’s the same people?

    I wonder if the folks at the UNC Symposium on Intellectual Property, Creativity and the Innovation Process knew about this study.

    Lyceum private beta coming

    We’ll be announcing private beta testing of Lyceum next week. If you’d like to be one of our beta testers, please feel free to drop us a line at lyceum at ibiblio dot org.

    We’ve also rolled a new version of the Lyceum website, which should give you a little taste of what to expect from Lyceum.

    Jimmy Wales Speaks

    You know Wikipedia rocks your world. What other site has articles on UK Grime, toothpaste, and tasmanian devils?

    We at Ibiblio had the good fortune to host Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales as part of our ongoing Ibiblio Speakers Series. Wales shared the philosophy and methodology behind Wikipedia with a packed UNC lecture hall on October 5th, 2005 and presented 10 Open Culture challenges to the audience.

    Since you missed the talk we thought we’d make it available on the interwebs in Mpeg1, Mpeg4, and Mp3 formats. Go get’em.

    Podcast of Facebook Talk

    Brian Russell, of Audioactivism.org, has podcast Fred Stutzman’s talk on The Facebook. Check it out here! Thanks, Brian!

    The Freshman Facebook Zeitgeist

    One of the interesting things I’ve been doing with my Facebook studies (see here, here, and here for more info) is collecting data on the Freshman class over time. I believe that the Freshman can tell us a lot about technology and adoption trends, and from a broader perspective, what social and political trends may be emerging on campus. To both extents, it’s fairly easy to pull out some simple metrics on these from my collected data. I’ll present a little of that data here.

    First, who uses the Facebook

    Basing my data analysis on these UNC-provided figures, I can say with relative confidence that nearly every Freshman on campus uses TheFacebook. On day 1 of class, I was able to discover 3095 Freshman profiles (!!!). 5 weeks later, I was able to discover 3292 Freshman profiles. 88 percent of Freshmen have an active profile on the Facebook. Lets look at these trends over time:


    Click on any graph for a larger version

    This graph shows total Freshman profiles found, and the lower line in the graph indicates the 2005 Freshman profiles with no “Privacy” flags set. I’ve found that a little more than 1% of Freshmen use privacy flags. Interestingly, privacy use has declined over time, at a constant rate (Week 1: 3% privacy use; Week 3: 1.5% privacy use; Week 5: 1% privacy use). This feeds into the notion that students that do not share their profiles online are not “participating” as normal social actors.

    Interesting in this data is the “Week 4 depression”, which may represent students having buyers remorse about living so publicly. This is just a guess, though.

    How often are Freshmen using the facebook?

    One of the questions posed to me during a recent talk was “How often are students using the Facebook”, which I roughly translate to “How often are students logging in to the system, etc”. Facebook does not provide “last access” data, though it does provide “last update” information, indicating the last time the user has updated their profile. Accepting that “updating” one’s profile places a slightly higher bar on system use than simply “logging in”, I took a look at how often students are updating their profile. The results amazed me.

    Using data collected on September 27, I analyzed last update; as you can see, 2871 profiles were updated in September, with 1819 profiles updated in the last week. I was really blown away by this, so I broke out the September data by day.

    We can clearly see a trend that profiles are being updated most frequently in the days preceding the data collection. Assuming that “last update” stands in as a good proxy for system use, I believe we can safely say that students are using TheFacebook extremely frequently.

    Friend network expansion

    One of the interesting metrics we can pull out of the data is average friend network size; in doing so, we watch the obvious and interesting aggregation of a social network on campus.

    The average moves up at a fairly regular interval. For the network geeks out there, here’s data on the Freshman social network size:

    Week 1: 3095 nodes, 144,260 edges
    Week 2: 3188 nodes, 167,783 edges
    Week 3: 3241 nodes, 198,668 edges
    Week 4: 3217 nodes, 218,534 edges
    Week 5: 3292 nodes, 245,883 edges

    Freshmen political orientation

    2423 Freshmen report a political orientation in the Facebook; this is 74%, or about 3 out of ever 4 students. Reported here are some well thought out reasons why to take political orientation data in the Facebook with a grain of salt. And to that extent, I agree completely. The notion of labeling in the Facebook may be completely arbitrary; a good amount of the data in the system represents in-jokes and the like. The students use codes in the system to communicate and display in-network group strength and identity. Stepping back from that, though, I still think its interesting to see the data. And of course, it has surprised me.

    While Liberal students again outnumber Conservative students, there is suprising parity between the two factions (assuming, of course, that UNC is a liberal institution). Is this what the post-9/11 student body looks like? When political orientation becomes a face-value aspect of identity, how does it force factionization in friend-making behaviors? If we all purport to know each other’s politics, is it not hard to imagine freshmen making decisions based on this highly characteristic identity element? Please see this post for more information on this data, the pooling that goes on, etc.

    Now, for some fun

    First, I present what I’m calling the Happy Index. This is Freshmen relationship identification over time. I’ve decided to include all fields available in the Facebook, though the graph can more effectively be segregated along Single/Not-Single lines. It is interesting to see how Married and Open Relationship increase over time as the in-joke nature of the claim moves through the network. Since the network size changes each week, this is presented as a ratio of the total network.

    Finally, I analyzed what sort of websites students are identifying as their personal websites. As we might expect, the majority of personal websites claimed by students are of the photo, blog, or profile hosting nature.

    Interestingly, only six unc.edu sites were returned, with not one being a unc.edu/~ personal site. Not one freshman reports using his or her UNC provided webspace. This is alarming, but not surprising.

    For questions about this data, please contact Fred Stutzman

    New Collection: Jewish Sparks

    Title: Jewish Sparks

    URL: http://www.jewishsparks.net

    Description:
    Jewish Sparks is an educational site which contains lectures and talks from Jewish Scholars and leaders. Part of its collection includes material from the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies (UNC-Chapel Hill).