Categories
News & Media Projects & Ideas

Infochimps

Everything is digitized these days. Almost all of our activities, online and offline leave a footprint that will be stored in 0’s and 1’s. All this wealth of data is fueling new perspectives and disciplines in art, journalism, anthropology, social research and, of course, in marketing and advertising.

For most people though, it may be difficult to gain access to datasets, whether because of a lack of expertise, contacts or money. Infochimps is a searchable collection of datasets that can be shared or sold. For those datasets that are free, you don’t even need to create an account to download the data. You can see examples of what can be done with the data found in the site.

There are three facets to Infochimps, community curation, user uploading and marketplace.

  1. Community Curation – In order to have a comprehensive collection of datasets that are discoverable and useful, members of the Infochimps community curate datasets. This includes fixing mistakes, improving descriptions and pointing to other sources.
  2. User Uploading – Users upload their datasets, or datasets that they deem useful, building the commons.
  3. Marketplace – Infochimps provides a marketplace for users to buy and sell data.

Infochimps is powered by Infinite Monkeywrench, an open source (GPL 3) set of tools and programming frameworks to work with large sets of data. Infinite Monkeywrench can be downloaded here.

Categories
Education Projects & Ideas

P2P University

Education is one of the cultural fields that is going through an intensive process of re-examination of their practices and processes as a result of the influence of new online communication structures. Lately there has been an intensive bloom of alternative education experiences, like Free Universities and other informal learning experiments, that are often based on a physical location.

The P2P University translates this efforts into online education, but doesn’t question the structure of courses or the roles of teachers and learners:

The Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) is an online community of open study groups for short university-level courses. Think of it as online book clubs for open educational resources. The P2PU helps you navigate the wealth of open education materials that are out there, creates small groups of motivated learners, and supports the design and facilitation of courses. Students and tutors get recognition for their work, and we are building pathways to formal credit as well.

At the moment of this writing, there are no courses open for registration, but you can set up an account, and wait for new courses to be announced. The courses currently being taught at the P2P University have a wide range of subjects, from ecology to writing and from arts to politics.

Categories
Art & Craft Projects & Ideas

VODO

The changes that the new digital paradigm has brought to the distribution of cultural works, specially of those like still images, audio and video that can be easily copied and shared online without losing any of the quality or properties of the original work, don’t mean the disappearance of the role of intermediaries, if they are understood as curators, and not as business middlemen.

This trend has enabled the blooming of the netlabel scene in music, who has brought great artistic and commercial successes. VODO functions in exactly the same way as a netlabel, but its purpose its limited to the distribution of film works.

Each month, VODO distributes one film feature through P2P networks, also promoting it through partnerships with its distribution network, mainly bittorrent trackers and sites. The films distributed through VODO range from documentary to drama, from animation to live action.

Viewers of the films distributed by VODO can donate money back to the creators through its system, or become subscribers. This (a “regular supporter”) allows loyal VODO users to participate in the decision-making process, voting for films to be distributed through VODO, suggesting film-makers, and interacting with the creators of the films. VODO opens the curatorial process to everyone who wants to become involved.