Last month's excellent "Economics of Open Content" conference in Boston has published the audio of all its sessions online as MP3s. Speakers included James "Wisdom of Crowds" Surowiecki, Yochai "Coase's Penguin" Benkler, Terry Fisher, Henry Jenkins and others!
Collaboration and the Marketplace
New Models of Creative Production in the Digital Age
Keynote Address: Openness as an Ethos
The Wealth of Networks
The Economics of Knowledge as a Public Good
The Economics of Open Courseware
The Economics of Open Text
Convergence Culture: Consumer Participation and the Economics of Mass Media
The Economics of the Music Industry
If Only We Knew Yesterday What We Know Today
The Economics of Open Archives, Museums, and Libraries I
The Economics of Open Archives, Museums, and Libraries II
The Economics of the Public Domain
The Economics of Film and Television I
The Economics of Film and Television II
The New Economics of Gaming
Everything is Miscellaneous
Business Interests in Open Content
Next Steps: Cooperation Across Institutions and Industries
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Henry Jenkins of MIT's Comparative Media Studies program has posted a bunch of Octavia Butler related material in Ms Butler's memory. Octavia Butler was the first widely read African American woman science fiction writer, and her works wrapped up complex treatments of gender and race in palatable, fast-paced sf stories. She died on Saturday following a fall, leaving many of us shocked and saddened for the loss of one of literature's strongest, bravest, most inspiring voices.
Jenkins has posted the transcript of two of Butler's appearances at MIT, one a solo act, the other a conversation with novelist Samuel Delany, as well as a sharp essay Jenkins wrote following her visit.
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Butler: I don't have access to this kind of thing on computer but, oddly enough, what you're talking about sounds very much like the way I start looking for ideas when I'm not working on anything. Or when I'm just letting myself drift, relax.
I generally have four or five books open around the house--I live alone; I can do this--and they are not books on the same subject. They don't relate to each other in any particular way, and the ideas they present bounce off one another. And I like this effect. I also listen to audio-books, and I'll go out for my morning walk with tapes from two very different audio-books, and let those ideas bounce off each other, simmer, reproduce in some odd way, so that I come up with ideas that I might not have come up with if I had simply stuck to one book until I was done with it and then gone and picked up another.
Here's an amazing Technology Review piece about how kids are writing Harry Potter fanfic and editing one-another's stories in order to become great and prolific writers. The author, Henry Jenkins, characterizes this as an "unconventional" way of teaching creative writing, but I think that fanfic is more conventional than he credits (the first story I wrote was set in the Star Wars universe; I was six -- and the first long-form work I wrote was a Conan pastiche, at 12). The biggest difference between the kids' fanfic of yore and that of today is that back in the old days, kids had no way to readily collaborate with one another on their creations -- nor to expose themselves to copyright infringement liability from overzealous rightsholders who indiscriminately shut down kids' sites with threatening letters.
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FictionAlley, the largest Harry Potter archive, hosts more than 30,000 stories and book chapters, including hundreds of completed or partially completed novels. Its (unpaid) staff of more than 200 people includes 40 mentors who welcome each new participant individually. At the Sugar Quill, another popular site, every posted story undergoes a peer-review process it calls "beta-reading." New writers often go through multiple drafts before their stories are ready for posting. "The beta-reader service has really helped me to get the adverbs out of my writing and get my prepositions in the right place and improve my sentence structure and refine the overall quality of my writing," explains the girl who writes under the pen name Sweeney Agonistes?a