Tag Archives: wikimedia

HCLE Winter 2018 Progress Report

Welcome to the winter quarter of 2018 HCLE progress report. Our Founder and Vision Keeper, Liza Loop, has been working for her Northern California neighbors who suffered great losses in the October 2017 fires. This has delayed some of our HCLE work.

We share many of the news items collected below via our outlets (wiki, blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and reddit) and repeat them here for your and our convenience.

Our staff of 1.6 FTEs, volunteers and outside collaborators reached the following milestones in the winter (January through March) of 2018.

 

Outreach

  • Work began with Computer History Museum

Catalog

  • Improved functionality and content

Operations

  • Design Document update

Wiki

  • Current host closing, begin search for new host

 

Please pass our news along, especially if you know someone else who will want to contribute money, know-how, artifacts, stories, or connections. Even by glancing at what we’ve done, you’re helping make HCLE happen as you pass along the story. Thank you.


  • Collection

    • A temporary staff member, Bridget Kittell, helped organize about 10% to 20% of the Collection items that have not been digitized or catalogued.
    • A variety of digitization processes are being considered to expedite the scanning of the Collection. Each has advantages and disadvantages (cost, time, error rate, resolution, metadata, access). Possibilities being considered are:
      • off-site services (Internet Archive – possibly pro bono, particularly for videos and software),
      • off-site institutions (Stanford, etc.),
      • off-site HCLE staff operations,
      • on-site HCLE staff operations (as normal),
      • and on-site HCLE staff operations with more sophisticated equipment
    • David Brock, curator at the Computer History Museum, met with Liza Loop to discuss collaborating. The initial work will focus on period Apple photos and documents related to the reference manual for the VisiCalc program that HCLE founder, Liza Loop, wrote while employed by VisiCalc publisher, Personal Software (later known as VisiCorp) “Exploring the Microcomputer Learning Environment”.
    • Richard Wenn from Far West Labs – WestEd. This US federally funded research organization has pioneered in supporting computing in schools since the late 1970s and published HCLE Catalog Item 2976, “Exploring the Microcomputer Learning Environment” by Liza Loop and Paul Christenson in November, 1980. Richard donated 5 boxes of material. Also of interest within this collection are publications from the EPIE Institute (Educational Products Information Exchange).
    • Liza Loop has spent several days at the Special Collections Department of Stanford Libraries scanning selected pieces from the Liza Loop Collection.

 

  • Catalog

    • Staff and volunteers worked on improving the Catalog Maintenance System’s compatibility with Chrome/Chromebooks, and bug fixes.
    • Data entry includes filing new artifacts as well as filling fields like “blog URL”, improving descriptions, and clarifying the use of existing and candidate fields.

 

  • People/Volunteers

    • In addition to the various volunteers and staff members mentioned throughout, we are considering recruiting a “business analyst” to complete the details of our Salesforce database.

 

Social Media Traffic Report

1/1/2014 12/31/2016 12/31/2017 3/31/2018
Facebook 59 171 187 189
Twitter 67 493 543 536
WordPress 18 50 55 55
Wikispaces 12 69 74 74

 

  • Wiki

    • The HCLE wiki continues to act as a communications center and as a digital loading dock.
    • Unfortunately, our wiki provider, wikispaces, is closing this summer which means we must find a new host for the wiki. The task is complicated by the need to also define a new wiki architecture because wikispaces’ design was unique and proprietary. Leading candidates are Wikimedia (ala Wikipedia), Google Docs/Sites, and PBWorks. This is expected to be a large effort because our wiki has grown considerably in the last few years. Contractors are investigating the candidates with a focus on porting to Wikimedia.

 

  • Exhibits

    • Despite the imminent closure of the wiki, background information for exhibits continues to be collected on the wiki.
    • The search continues for a copy of History Channel’s History’s Lost and Found, episode 47, containing an interview with Steve Wozniak and Liza Loop. Any help is appreciated.

 

  • Operations

    • The Design Document for the Virtual Museum was revised, particularly with finer distinctions of the appearance and operation of the landing page, the Lobby. More graphical depictions were added.
    • We are considering rewording the mission of the museum. The intent and goals remain the same, but more concise and active wording is being tested.
    • Now that the bulk of the preliminary Salesforce work is completed, the volunteers have moved on to other projects. We thank them for their efforts. Seat licenses were freed up as a result.
    • Work on the Salesforce database continues with merging duplicate accounts, and establishing hierarchical connections between accounts and contacts.
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I just love “open source” people!

The other day I had two awesome conversations with folks who work with CiviCRM, an open-source, constituency relations management platform we are considering for HCLE.  Each of these young gentlemen was knowledgeable, cordial, helpful and imaginative.  Of course they would be — they donate a portion of their work time and know-how to support free software used by nonprofit organizations world-wide. One of them loaded up CiviCRM on our host server so we can try it out without charging a consulting fee. Thank you, Joshua.

One of the most important themes HCLE has to develop is the many ways edtech pioneers, computer hobbyists, students, teachers and company employees found to contribute their efforts for the benefit of all. Sometimes the contributions were intentional – as in the formation of SoftSwap by Computer-Using Educators and the San Mateo County Office of Education. This was before there was much educational software available so teachers wrote their own and put the programs in SoftSwap. From there, anyone could get and use a copy. Talk about “Open Educational Resources“! At other times someone’s creation became “open source” without the expressed consent of its creator — I’m thinking of the episode when one of the Homebrew Computer Club members made copies of Microsoft BASIC and handed them out at a meeting. Bill Gates wasn’t happy about that but once the cat was out of the bag there was no putting it back in. Actually, that event may have been instrumental in spreading Microsoft’s popularity.

The challenge of the “open” movement is how to participate generously in the “sharing economy” without starving in a world dominated by “the dismal science” (economics – meaning a money economy). The fundamental assumption of economic theory is “scarcity” — that to have economic value there must be a shortage or limited supply of something. Software, like many other informational products has an interesting property that puts it in a different category from either “material stuff” (whether raw material or manufactured) or “labor” (which is limited both by the energy of the laborer and the time it takes to do the work). The first instance of a software program may be very expensive to create but the cost of replicating subsequent copies is negligible. How does one make a living in either open source software or open educational resources?

I can think of two solutions: 1. Have a paying gig in some other field and only contribute your leisure time to “open” projects. Geeks who love to code often choose this route. 2. Give away the central core of the software and then let your developer community sell their services to customize these generalized products. That’s how it will work with at least two of the software packages HCLE is trying out: CiviCRM and Mediawiki. That’s how teachers who write open textbooks continue to pay the rent.

So HCLE probably won’t get its open source infrastructure entirely for free in the end. We will have to raise enough money to pay consultants, perhaps the overall expense will not be that much less than buying a pre-configured museum relationship management package. But we’ll get to work with kindred spirits, with people who understand that nickel- and dime-ing a fledgling non-profit doesn’t help build the industry, with seasoned collaborators who regularly participate in “code-a-thons” and have a mission beyond the money.

A lot of people have gotten rich in the computer industry; but a lot more, including me, have gained a supportive and fascinating ‘sharing’ community. Come to think of it, even those who got rich have figured out that they can’t take it with them and have created charitable foundations. I’d better sharpen my proposal-writing pencil so HCLE can afford to stay open-source itself and give away the history we collect.