Network-Centric Resources: August Update

We spent most of July working in California and wanted to give a quick report back on what I learned during the trip. It gave me an opportunity to get some insights from people that are focusing on developing network-centric resources in a couple of different contexts.  A quick summary:
  • Greg Bloom, Open Referral. They develop data standards and open platforms that make it easy to share and find information about community resources. They’ve used a community organising model where they identified potential contributors/network members and engaged them in defining the problem the resource would try to solve before they even started moving forward.  This has really engrained a shared sense of ownership in the development of the standards.
  • Soraya Okuda, Electronic Frontier Foundation. Soraya is focusing on engaging a network of digital security trainers in the US to utilise and contribute to EFF’s resources.  We had a great conversation about getting enough user input before moving forward with resource development, the challenges of trying to get a trainers network off the ground and balancing that process with organisational and funder priorities.
  • Lisa Jervis, iEcology. We had a great conversation about choosing an online document collaboration platform when trying to get inputs from digital security experts. An important aha from the conversation: it’s still valuable to develop content specifically for a small audience and then make it publicly accessible so others might benefit. Lisa also had a great idea about developing a set of principles and guidelines for resource creation.
  • Trudy Singzon – Trudy isn’t involved in developing a resource but is readily  trying to access resources for people in her work. She works on health and vulnerable populations and is often trying to get information to help them out. She described her challenges in trying to navigate digital security networks and resources to find helpful information for the individuals she works with.

Other Network-Centric Resources Projects

Projects that are on our radar that we are learning from:
  • Maya Richman from The Engine Room just posted a helpful blog post on their efforts to redesign the Responsible Data Forum 
  • Huridocs’ Collaboratory is an attempt to facilitate and capture existing knowledge around information management and human rights documentation.
  • LevelUp  – The digital security trainers commons is actually being sustained by its own network after funding has ceased. We’re currently working on a case study about it.

Tools that enable contribution and reuse

Tools we’ve spotted recently that show some promise for engaging networks in content development.
  • Gitbook, a git-based tool useful for publishing content. Not really a collaborative writing platform but it’s helpful for getting comment and integrating suggested changes on final drafts. The other big plus, it makes your content available for reuse once it’s published.
  • Standard Notes, an open-source cloud-based notes application with security in mind. It has a mark-down editor and features a collaborative text editor via an etherpad-like interface.

Stuff from FabRiders,

A could of things that we’ve been working on that may be of interest:
  • What we learned from Prototyping Workshops – we’ve spent the last year developing a workshop that helps social change campaigners understand how human centred design methodologies can help build people powered movements. In walking the walk, we’ve been developing the workshop as a prototype, integrate input and feedback from the participants into the design and also gaining knowledge and insights from collaborating with other faclilitators. This post details the process:
  • Data is a Team Sport – we’ve been working with School of Data on an ‘open research’ project to gather and share lessons learned from practitioners involved with various parts of the data literacy ecosystem and in particular how they have changed their methodologies in the wake of fake news. One of our outputs from this research work is a podcast series, and we’ve tried to capture learnings from this process in what we’ve learned about creating podcast.
FabRiders is also offering free one hour consultation to people developing resources with an aim to share ownership, enable contribution and support collaboration. Send an email to info (at)