Writing our own Us Now story | Pool

Here at Pool we’re always keen to hear about new trends and ideas in social media. So when we heard about a screening of Us Now in Sydney, a UK film project about the power of mass collaboration, government and the Internet, we just had to share it with you. We asked one of the main ‘unorganisers’ of Us Now Sydney, Headshift consultant James Dellow, to blog for Pool about the film, the Sydney screening and how it all came about. James asks us to think about our own Us Now Australia story

BTW the Pool is an interesting project in itself – the intent of the site, which has been created by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), is to provide an “online ‘town square’ for all Australians… where audiences become ‘co-creators'”. They are gradually releasing media from the ABC archives to the site so it can be remixed. Worth checking out.

Professional Open Source Software – Content Log

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A good post from the CTO at Alfresco (and founder at Documentum) explaining the origins, business model and purpose of commercial open source – including the role of large commercial vendors in the history of open source. He also make a good point that:

“Professional open source works well when enterprise software is commoditized. Alfresco was created because of the increasing difficulty in differentiating one enterprise content management system from another.”.

If you think quality, enterprise grade open source software is as simple as ‘free software’, you need to read this.

Diana Mounter on the upcoming Local Government Web Network Conference

I recently became the proud owner of a Flip Mino and while catching up with Diana Mounter, who is Design and Development Coordinator for the Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW (LGSA), I managed to convince her to be my first “Flip” victim interview. I asked her to tell me about the upcoming Local Government Web Network Conference.

Features | Open Atrium

No, this isn’t a product endorsement 😉

However, the Drupal crowd make a lot of noise in my online neighbourhood and have been getting some good press coverage recently. So, this new Drupal-based intranet package caught my attention today. However, its not the fact that its Drupal powered that interests me, but more the pattern of features in it. Open Atrium includes features such as a dashboard home page, wiki pages, blogging, editing, project spaces, private microblogging (Twitter-style status alerts) etc. This is of course a very similar pattern to what we have already seen emerge in products like Thought Farmer, Social Text and Confluence – and even to an extent SharePoint (with the right Webparts and 3rd-party extensions of course) and IBM Lotus Connections (when partnered up with the right wiki solution).

There is a growing gap between these wiki- or collaboration-centric “suites” and information structure and publishing workflow centric web content management systems that have been the bread and butter of large corporate intranets.

Records management and enterprise content management is probably the one big omission in these new Intranet 2.0 suites, with products like Alfresco being one of the few to bridge both worlds with its Share module. However, out of the box Share lacks some of the richness of the other solutions out there.

If people really want strong document management features in their wiki suite then the open standard Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) should make it achievable in the future. But I think the trick is that there needs to be demand for this type of integration to be made available… and being tired with the constraints of old publishing-centric intranets, I don’t hear many people calling out very strongly for that just yet. The reality is that those people who are adopting the new style of intranet suites want to use them as a work platform, not a place for managing content for the sake of it.

Public Sphere #3: Australian ICT & Creative Industries Development

The Public Sphere Camp will be in Wollongong, and we are planning to simultaneously have events in Brisbane and Melbourne to broaden the input.  This is to see whether multiple physical locations improve a Public Sphere Camp, and encourage meetings and discussions therein.

Why will this Public Sphere be in Wollongong and not a capital city? Because we want to recognise that our regional areas are an important part of this knowledge and creative economy too. The University of Wollongong has created an Innovation Campus to foster industry development in the area and local ICT businesses are being supported by a new local ICT industry cluster, called ICT Illawarra (ICTI).

With my *other hat* on (for those that don’t know, I’m the president of ICT Illawarra), I’m really excited that Kate Lundy (with some help from Pia Waugh of course) is taking Public Sphere on the road and bringing it to Wollongong. I’ve travelled a couple of times to Canberra and of course get up to Sydney on a weekly basis, so hopefully I’ll see a few people make the trip our way this! The new Innovation Campus, where we’re holding Public Sphere, is well worth a look.

Companies conservative about intranets – CNET News

The major impediment to the growth of intranets is not technical but the lack of an economic imperative and corporate culture. People fail to recognize that groupware
or collaborative functions needs a sociotechnological infrastructure,” Coleman added, noting that cultural issues should be dealt with up front.

Before you go crazy retweeting this article, check the original – it was published in 1996. The Coleman quoted is David Coleman from a company called Collaborative Strategies – and they have been in business since 1990 and are still going today.

Another Australian forum host is being sued

These types of claims are very worrying for the high levels of uncertainty that they impose on forum operators. In the US, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act essentially immunises forum operators from defamation claims like this one, but no such strong protection exists in Australia. This lack of certainty effectively provides an incentive for those who feel aggrieved by posts on a public forum to seek damages against the operators of the forum, even where the operators have complied by removing the allegedly defamatory material.

The last time this happened, the action for “injurious falsehood” against the Whirlpool forum didn’t actually go anywhere. However, this sounds a little more serious and anyone operating a site that allows comments or other types of user-generated content should be keeping a close eye on this case. The particular issue came up a number of times at the Web 2.0 in Government conference I attended a few weeks ago and agree that in the absence of any over arching rights to free speech, then its the uncertainty around this that is the real issue – I suppose if a precedent was set in the right direction (i.e. one that didn’t hold ISPs or responsible forum hosts liable) this case could be a good thing. However, there is also an interesting connection with the current case against iiNet by the recording industry, because they clearly want to hold ISP’s accountable for the actions of their users.