Tag Archives: collaboration

Library has more than books, creates a Fab Lab with 3D printer, podcast studio, green screen

What exactly is a fab lab?

“These spaces, known as Fabrication Labs (fab labs), Hackerspaces, and Tech Shops, share common goals: collaboration and ‘making.’ They exist to give their specific communities the ability to ‘make’ through sharing knowledge and skills. They provide the technology necessary to make almost anything.

However, these spaces often provide services to a specific or targeted group and are not easily accessible to ‘outsiders’ – traditional Fab Labs are tied to MIT and are generally found in underserved communities, Hackerspaces have membership fees, and Tech-Shops, on average, cost around $1.5 million to start. Imagine – what if the Fayetteville Free Library had similar tools as MIT at its fingertips (at an affordable cost), with the knowledge necessary to use them?”

***

The Fayetteville Free Library is excited to announce the addition of a new public service—the FFL Fab Lab.

“Community members will have the opportunity to use this digital media lab to create and edit videos, podcasts and use design software that might otherwise be out of reach. The Lab will also offer: Mac desktop, Podcasting station, 2 MakerBot 3D Printer Stations, Adobe Suite, Mac Creative Suite, a Green Screen Wall, Camcorders and digital cameras available for check out. Patrons can use the lab for two hour blocks of time when they present a valid library card.

The Fayetteville Free Library is the first library in the United States to offer a free, public access Fab Lab.

 

More informationFayetteville Free Library launched 3D printing Fab Lab

Continue reading

Changing the Ratio (Wikipedia's Battle for Diversity – Part III)

Wikipedia: Change the Ratio (design by JESS3 + 1X57)

Commence beating the figurative dead horse. As I’ve written previously, (here, here and here) Wikipedia is suffering from a lack of female contributors (less than 1 in 10 editors are women, per the 2011 Wikimedia survey). This has the unfortunate consequence of compromising the overall quality and objectivity of its content, as illustrated in my post, How I Redefined “Man” for The World.

While there are several reasons offered for why women aren’t editing (Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, recently gave an interview to CBC highlighting these and summarized them in her post Nine Reasons Why Women Don’t Edit Wikipedia), half of them I just laugh at. Women are too busy? I’ve spent enough hours at Starbucks to observe the gratuitous amount of time some women devote to Facebook. Or, women are conflict-averse and don’t like Wikipedia’s sometimes-fighty culture? As Denis Leary so eloquently stated in The Thomas Crown Affair: “Life is full of sh$tty conflicts, okay?” It’s not an excuse.

So what would I do if I was running the “Change the Ratio” Wikipedia campaign? For one, I’d be focusing on the initial phases of the technology adoption curveawareness and understanding, in the form of education.

Awareness

Simply put, there needs to be more recognition and media coverage of the issue, illustrating the societal impact of not having women (as well as other demographics) editing Wikipedia. Taking a cue from Simon Sinek, I’d be making it clear to women why it matters. And then I’d enlist some influential voices to help the reach the target audience: women.

  • Who better to get the word out than the mother of influence on all things women, education and actionOprah. The issue is right up her alley. She does Twitter, she does Facebook, so why not Wikipedia? Can you imagine Jimmy Wales or Sue Gardner sitting down with Oprah (and Gayle) for a tutorial on Wikipedia and releasing a 2-minute video of it?
  • In the event Oprah isn’t available, an “I Edit Wikipedia” compilation video of some of the most influential women in tech would make a statement. Ladies like Sarah Lacy, Danah Boyd, Jolie O’Dell, Laura Fitton, Tara Hunt, Sheryl Sandberg, and Marissa Mayer. I wonder who of these industry leaders edits, versus who doesn’t?

Then there’s the use of social media to spread the word.

  • The awesome folks at JESS3 worked with me on the Wikipedia: Change the Ratio logo (you can see all the versions here), and next week we’ll be spreading the word via a Facebook initiative for users to change their profile pics (and Twitter avatars and whatever else) to it on Ada Lovelace Day (Friday, Oct 7) which celebrates the achievements of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Again, the point is awareness.

  • And to celebrate Wikipedia women rockstars, we created a set of barnstars for contributors with 100, 1,000 and 10,000 edits (you can see all the versions here). Below are my top 3:


  • Finally, it wouldn’t hurt if Wikipedia made edits easily shareable by adding some version of a “Share This” button in the Edit mode, integrated with the most prominent social media services for female (and male) influencers to share the pages they contribute to.

Education

It’s essential. Wikimarkup can be a little intimidating for those not familiar with “code” and having edits reverted can be off-putting, but neither of these factors are something that can’t be addressed with a small dose of education.

  • In 2010, the Wikipedia Foundation launched a pilot project to explore the potential of formally using Wikipedia as a teaching tool in higher education but I think education at a grassroots level is more important.
  • Half-day workshops like the one we hosted at JESS3 are something local Wikipedia chapters can embrace, with a proven format and curriculum available. And there doesn’t even need to be formatted sessions. In the same vein of SuperHappyDevHouse, folks can just get together and help each other out, using it as an opportunity to have fun, learn, build, and meet new people.
  • There are tons of YouTube videos and internet guides on how to edit and get started with Wikipedia. I even created my personal Seven Essential Steps to getting started with Wikipedia.
Wikipedia is about collectively learning and building and sharing information on the things you’re interested in and are passionate about. It’s time more women make their voices heard.

 

NOTE: For those interested learning more about the gendergap issue, you can subscribe to the gendergap mailing list. The discussion threads provide incredible insight into what’s going on, everything from harassment on women’s user pages to inappropriate sexualization of images for topical pages.

Changing the Ratio (Wikipedia’s Battle for Diversity – Part III)

Wikipedia: Change the Ratio (design by JESS3 + 1X57)

Commence beating the figurative dead horse. As I’ve written previously, (here, here and here) Wikipedia is suffering from a lack of female contributors (less than 1 in 10 editors are women, per the 2011 Wikimedia survey). This has the unfortunate consequence of compromising the overall quality and objectivity of its content, as illustrated in my post, How I Redefined “Man” for The World.

While there are several reasons offered for why women aren’t editing (Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, recently gave an interview to CBC highlighting these and summarized them in her post Nine Reasons Why Women Don’t Edit Wikipedia), half of them I just laugh at. Women are too busy? I’ve spent enough hours at Starbucks to observe the gratuitous amount of time some women devote to Facebook. Or, women are conflict-averse and don’t like Wikipedia’s sometimes-fighty culture? As Denis Leary so eloquently stated in The Thomas Crown Affair: “Life is full of sh$tty conflicts, okay?” It’s not an excuse.

So what would I do if I was running the “Change the Ratio” Wikipedia campaign? For one, I’d be focusing on the initial phases of the technology adoption curveawareness and understanding, in the form of education.

Awareness

Simply put, there needs to be more recognition and media coverage of the issue, illustrating the societal impact of not having women (as well as other demographics) editing Wikipedia. Taking a cue from Simon Sinek, I’d be making it clear to women why it matters. And then I’d enlist some influential voices to help the reach the target audience: women.

  • Who better to get the word out than the mother of influence on all things women, education and actionOprah. The issue is right up her alley. She does Twitter, she does Facebook, so why not Wikipedia? Can you imagine Jimmy Wales or Sue Gardner sitting down with Oprah (and Gayle) for a tutorial on Wikipedia and releasing a 2-minute video of it?
  • In the event Oprah isn’t available, an “I Edit Wikipedia” compilation video of some of the most influential women in tech would make a statement. Ladies like Sarah Lacy, Danah Boyd, Jolie O’Dell, Laura Fitton, Tara Hunt, Sheryl Sandberg, and Marissa Mayer. I wonder who of these industry leaders edits, versus who doesn’t?

Then there’s the use of social media to spread the word.

  • The awesome folks at JESS3 worked with me on the Wikipedia: Change the Ratio logo (you can see all the versions here), and next week we’ll be spreading the word via a Facebook initiative for users to change their profile pics (and Twitter avatars and whatever else) to it on Ada Lovelace Day (Friday, Oct 7) which celebrates the achievements of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Again, the point is awareness.

  • And to celebrate Wikipedia women rockstars, we created a set of barnstars for contributors with 100, 1,000 and 10,000 edits (you can see all the versions here). Below are my top 3:


  • Finally, it wouldn’t hurt if Wikipedia made edits easily shareable by adding some version of a “Share This” button in the Edit mode, integrated with the most prominent social media services for female (and male) influencers to share the pages they contribute to.

Education

It’s essential. Wikimarkup can be a little intimidating for those not familiar with “code” and having edits reverted can be off-putting, but neither of these factors are something that can’t be addressed with a small dose of education.

  • In 2010, the Wikipedia Foundation launched a pilot project to explore the potential of formally using Wikipedia as a teaching tool in higher education but I think education at a grassroots level is more important.
  • Half-day workshops like the one we hosted at JESS3 are something local Wikipedia chapters can embrace, with a proven format and curriculum available. And there doesn’t even need to be formatted sessions. In the same vein of SuperHappyDevHouse, folks can just get together and help each other out, using it as an opportunity to have fun, learn, build, and meet new people.
  • There are tons of YouTube videos and internet guides on how to edit and get started with Wikipedia. I even created my personal Seven Essential Steps to getting started with Wikipedia.
Wikipedia is about collectively learning and building and sharing information on the things you’re interested in and are passionate about. It’s time more women make their voices heard.

 

NOTE: For those interested learning more about the gendergap issue, you can subscribe to the gendergap mailing list. The discussion threads provide incredible insight into what’s going on, everything from harassment on women’s user pages to inappropriate sexualization of images for topical pages.

Getting Starting with Wikipedia: Seven Essential Steps

This weekend, something special happened. And I’m not referring to the fact that Steve and I got up before 9AM on a weekend.

A group of women (and a couple men) came together voluntarily on their own time to teach and learn how to edit Wikipedia. For 4 hours, 20 of us sat in the kitchen area of JESS3 headquarters and talked and learned and had a genuinely fun time. As I’ve written previously, it’s critical to have a diverse body of people contributing to Wikipedia since it’s key to making it reliable as a neutral knowledge resource.

If you’re interested in contributing to Wikipedia but aren’t sure where or how to start, here is list of key steps to get you going:

1. Do your homework. If you’ve don’t have any experience with programming or HTML, wiki-markup (the syntax used to create and edit Wikipedia articles) might intimidate you. So might the environment. Don’t let it. Learn the lingo and guidelines for engagement: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Contents/Getting_started

2. Begin on home turf. Start by creating you own User page and play around with formatting there. Most Wikipedians respect individual User pages and won’t touch them.

3. Be bold. No one owns Wikipedia. Your contributions count just as much as everyone else’s. You can’t break Wikipedia. Nothing is ever lost if you change or remove something.

4. Use logic and tenacity. Sometimes edits you make will get deleted (or reverted). It happens. If you believe in your edits, use logic and tenacity to make them stick.

5. Talk it out. If you encounter a conflict or don’t understand why an edit you made is reverted, leave a message on the person’s Talk page to elaborate. You can see who reverts an edit page by the View History tab.

6. Don’t take it personally. Sometimes edits get reverted. It happens. Sometimes people are in pissy moods and take it out in Wikipedia. It happens. Don’t let this deter you from contributing. Learn and grow from it.

7. Find a buddy. Ask friends if they know how to edit Wikipedia. Or check out your local area for Wikipedia:Meetups and go and make some friends. Most Wikipedians are generous with their time and knowledge and will happily help out a beginner. You can also get “adopted” to be mentored via the Adopt-a-user program.

The full agenda and details of the workshop can be found in Wikipedia:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Meetup/DC_WWW1

The Virtual Handshake

Years before the electronic, virtual realm, people relied upon face-to-face interactions for real-time communication. During these times, meetings, greetings, partings, the offering of congratulations, and the completion an agreement were often accompanied by the handshake, with its purpose is to convey trust and parity.  It is believed that the handshake has origins as peace demonstration; that, in fact, no weapons are held by either party.  In today’s global, ever-expanding online environment, however, this demonstration of peace becomes increasingly more difficult and the notion of “First, do no harm” is more and more relevant as information and access to information grows exponentially. As people share and interact more in virtual forums, exposing various aspects of life – from careers to family, thoughts to actions – the opportunity to do harm, to wrong another person, is greater.

This year, The Economist Intelligence Unit wrote about The role of trust in business collaboration. Interestingly enough, the article concedes that “the role of trust is not easily defined” in terms of collaboration. I believe trust is having confidence that the participating parties will do no harm, will do no wrong to the other.  How we, as individuals, convey this precept in collaboration is nebulously difficult in the absence of multisensory queues such as hearing tone of voice, seeing another’s eye movements, or even feeling for the presence of a weapon.

Despite the challenges of creating trust virtually, it still remains the vortex and vertex for collaboration, with the absence or loss of it instigating the dissipation of collaboration and the creation of it elevating participants and activities to new heights and dimensions. As a former date coach and someone who has personally been through the very methodical and comprehensively intricate act of creating a prenuptial agreement, I believe the fundamentals of creating trust in any relationship are universal, and we can leverage much of what is espoused by the extremely profitable business of marriage, things like “State who you are – loudly” and “Make sure your words match the message.”  When I think about my best, most successful collaborative efforts – and evaluate them against a marriage counselor’s 10 Crucial and Surprising Steps to Build Trust in a Relationship – I find all ten elements present.

To begin to build trust, we need not look any further than ourselves.  Our thoughts, our actions, our emotions – are all pieces of the puzzle to “us” and the only way to create the full picture is to take them out of the box and spread them out for exploration. This is our virtual handshake.

And now let me apologize for not doing this sooner: Hi, I’m Amy.

You can get a glimpse into my life at: www.twitter.com/sengseng