“An Open Web” Book Sprint

Today “An Open Web” was released. It’s a new book created in a 5 day book sprint by free culture raconteurs Michelle ThorneChristopher Adams, Jon Phillips, Bassel Safadi, Alejandra Perez Nuñez, Mick Fuzz, and Adam Hyde with some help from myself and other online collaborators. It is a survey of the issues surrounding the “Open Web”, a battle taking place on a variety of fronts across many layers of technologies and users, but also a call to action for people like yourself with specific ideas to assure the continued march of freedom throughout the web.

The Web was meant to be Everything. As the Internet as a whole assumes an increasingly commanding role as the technology of global commerce and communication, the World Wide Web from its very inception was designed to be a free and open medium through which human knowledge is created, accessed and exchanged. But, that Web is in danger of coming to a close. This book shows what is happening and how you can play an important role in keeping the web open.

An Open Web was written in 5 days by 6 collaborators. Zero to book in 5 days. It was an intensive process and loads of fun. The collaborators met 9 am Monday with no more text written than the title and 5 days later published the book. This process is known as a ‘Book Sprint’, its fast, its fun and it takes place partly in real space and partly online.

Even now, you can help by editing the book, adding content and making revisions. The Book Sprint was held in Berlin January 17-21 2011, sponsored by Transmediale and FLOSS Manuals and the CHB.

The sprint was an extremely intensive process. I only had the chance to spend several hours there over the week (as opposed to the week straight from the other participants) as I was preoccupied with other matters, but one thing that became very clear is that despite our best efforts at having connection off of various social services, nothing beats getting people in a room and cutting out as many distractions as possible. It is an amazing thing that the differing perspectives from such an intelligent group of people got squeezed into some coherent package in such a short time.

One little extra bonus gift came out of this sprint, and that was that I somehow found the time to make at least a proof of concept of the Wall, an idea that Jon Phillips and myself have been kicking around for about a year. The idea is to have some sort of visualization for any arbitrary feed from projects we are working on. This got a little more “artistic” than we might want for most projects, but its a good start. I’ll be speaking a little about the Status Wall on Wednesday, February 2, 2.0.11 from 1400 – 1600 at the first Sharism Presents Berlin at the Transmediale festival.

Open Zone @ transmediale [main lobby]
Haus der Kulturen der Welt
John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10
10557 Berlin – Germany


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