[Imc-uk-process] knowledgelab report back - rss/aggregating/indymedia
ionnek at aktivix.org
Mon Feb 6 09:58:18 PST 2006
a scatty report back from the knowledgelab in lancaster.
wiki is here, but no reports yet afaik:
I'm only sending it to tech, it seems too messy for imc-uk-process, but
maybe you can make sense of it.
The knowledgelab was on campus, we had 3 rooms and a small room with a
few computers, the hacklab. And coffees and food and a cafeteria and a
kids corner and sofas and some music. I'm not adding all the links to
the various groups and events, but they can be traced from the wiki. And
I didn't take proper notes, so i might get some people and themes mixed
up. So please read this more like a personal reportback from memory than
any kind of official minutes.
I spent most of the time in the "propergander stream" room, which could
also be described as an alternative media stream. Quite a mix of groups
had shown interest to participate in this stream in advance or showed up
on the saturday morning: indymedia, clearerchannel, 2 artists from
chicago who work on video archiving and video history, a group from
Spain working on a blogmail application (allows you to automatically
blog your emails), the alt.media.research project, katie who works on
licencing and copyright/left/creative commons, r7 with a project on
tools for printing alternative media, anas who works on publishing and
free speech in the middle east, and many more.
We spent the morning introducing the various projects and session
proposals to each other, and made an agenda for the weekend.
The main session I want to report back about is the session on
indymedia, blogging, aggregations and rss feeds. There were quite a few
informal conversations about how to connect the indymedia uk website
more to the blogsphere and the culture of exchanging links connected to
it. The session hooked onto this issue. I'll tell you what I remember
from this session, mixed with my own thoughts, throwing around ideas. I
am completely new to the rss and aggregator debate, and i hope that you
will be able to make sense of my report despite the scatty language!
Hopefully we'll get proper minutes later.
Basically there are two issues: to pull additional postings and
information into the imc uk website, and to push postings and info on
the imc uk website out into the blogsphere and other related websites.
pushing out: We already have rss-feeds, for the newswire, the featues,
and i think several (or all?) regional and thematic topics. That means
that it is technically possible for everybody to
show imc uk news on their blogs, or add them to their aggregators. An
aggregator, as far as i understand it, is an application that allows you
to "bookmark" several blogs and websites so that you can see what's
happening on each of them every day at one glance (i am new to this so
please correct me!). An rss feed allows everybody to show that website
section (for expl the imc uk newswire) on their own blogs or websites.
Somebody said that he wouldn't add an imc uk newswire rss feed to his
side because there were too many postings that he found not interesting,
and the features wouldn't change often enough. On the other hand, imc uk
can technically provide more specific feeds. The postings on the
newswire can already be filtered, according to which boxes people are
ticking. I think, for example, that the migration newswire works quite
well - not much spam but regular postings. If imc uk wanted to have its
rss feeds added to more websites, it would probably be good to 1) work
on specific topics. Many regional newswires already have a lot of work
going into them, and should be attractive to "local bloggers". On the
thematic topics, i think there is room for improvements, just on the
content side. 2) We could probably make the possibility to use the imc
uk rss feeds more well-known, let people know about it, by publishing
features about them and by mailing groups and pp we know.
Our "thematic topics" are, compared to the "tagging" of blogs, quite
static. That means that if you post an article on imc uk, you can only
choose from existing topics, you cannot make your own, new ones. It
might be worth thinking about ways to make our "topics" or "keywords"
more flexible, in the long run. So that it works a bit like flickr,
where you can specify your own topics. I have no idea wether and how
that would be possible technically, and if people are up for thinking
about this at all.
pulling in: Mickfuzz explained that it can be a pain for videomakers to
upload their videos. There are quite a few websites where you would want
to upload your clip, but it is a pain to upload the same clip several
times. If i understood him right, the idea would be to create something
like "one point of entry". As i understood it, that would mean to decide
on one website (could be a specific video archiving website like
clearerchannel, could be imc uk). If videomakers go to this side to
upload, they could tick boxes for other websites where that video should
appear as well (or just a description plus link for it). So if you
upload your video on clearerchannel, for example, the posting appears
also on the imc uk newswire and x other pages. (not sure if i got this
right). Or if they would go to the imc uk publish form, they could tick
boxes of other alt.media websites where their video should appear, too.
Similarly, we thought about text or pictures, or rss feeds. For example:
for the g8, there was a syndicated page that pulled together rss feeds
from a number of bloggers. g8bloggers or so it was called. There is also
a page "indybloggers", a collection of rss feeds from blogs written by
indymedia volutneers. how could these blogs be integrated into the imc
A simple way would be a navigation box, maybe like a linklist, which
just links to interesting blogs. More sophisticated would be to link
from the frontpage to an aggregator, which includes everything we think
is interesting - and could change whenever we like to. This would mean
finding consensus on what we want to aggregate.
Even more sophisticated or even"distributed" would be a link called
"make your own aggregator". I am not sure how useful that would be as
other webplatforms exist for this. But we could maybe work on a
collection of aggregators, one for "civil liberties", one for
"environment", one for "actions" or "social centers".
That's all for now. I am very excited about this topic, and the
possibility that indymedia might in the future become not only a
"journal", but also something like a "pool" of news and info from the
social movements, something that people can use in their own media
practice as bloggers or aggregators or whatever they call themselves.
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