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Off to Canada

I'm heading out to Canada tomorrow, to present three papers at two conferences, and I've uploaded those papers and presentation Powerpoints here now. As a counterpoint to my solo work on the produsage book, I've really enjoyed working in collaborative teams this year - in addition to the ARC Linkage projects for edgeX and Youdecide2007 (and the Gatewatching group blog and ABC series with Barry and Jason from Youdecide), I'm also working in cross-institutional teams on couple of Carrick Institute projects examining teaching and learning in social software environments and building a network of Australian creative writing programmes. So, it's perhaps no surprise that all three papers on this trip are co-authored works - two with my colleague Sal Humphreys from QUT, and one with Lars Kirchhoff and Thomas Nicolai from the Universität St. Gallen in Switzerland.

What's worked out particularly well this month is the timing of the conferences - I'm headed first to the Association of Internet Researchers conference in Vancouver on 17-20 Oct., and from there it's just an overnight flight to the International Symposium on Wikis in Montréal on 21-23 Oct. Given how long it takes to get anywhere from Australia, being able to do a number of conferences on the one trip is always very useful - and I'm particularly looking forward again to AoIR, since due to my role as conference chair at last year's conference in Brisbane I missed most of the presentation sessions except for the keynotes and those sessions that I presented in myself. As always, I'm planning to blog everything I'm attending, and I'll try to record and slidecast my own papers. For now, here's a preview of what's to come:

Playing on the Edge: Facilitating the Emergence of a Local Digital Grassroots

Axel Bruns and Sal Humphreys

This paper by Axel Bruns and Sal Humphreys for the Association of Internet Researchers conference in Vancouver, 17-20 Oct. 2007, describes the first phase of the Emergent Digital Grassroots eXpo (edgeX) project - a research and application project centred on mapping grassroots and amateur content creation, community engagement with new media, and strengthening local identity. Developed in conjunction with the City Council of Ipswich, a city of some 150,000 residents in regional Queensland, the edgeX project provides a site for local residents to upload creative content, to participate in competitions, to comment on each other's work, and to develop new skills. Research goals associated with edgeX arise from a broader project of mapping the creative industries and their role in the knowledge economy, and a growing understanding of the significant part user-led content creation plays in these processes, especially including the role of amateur creatives.

Investigating the Impact of the Blogosphere: Using PageRank to Determine the Distribution of Attention

Lars Kirchhoff, Axel Bruns, and Thomas Nicolai

Much has been written in recent years about the blogosphere and its impact on political, educational and scientific debates. Lately the issue has received significant attention from the industry. As the blogosphere continues to grow, even doubling its size every six months, this paper investigates its apparent impact on the overall Web itself. We use the popular Google PageRank algorithm which employs a model of Web used to measure the distribution of user attention across sites in the blogosphere. The paper is based on an analysis of the PageRank distribution for 8.8 million blogs in 2005 and 2006.

This paper for the Association of Internet Researchers conference in Vancouver, 17-20 Oct. 2007, addresses the following key questions: How is PageRank distributed across the blogosphere? Does it indicate the existence of measurable, visible effects of blogs on the overall mediasphere? Can we compare the distribution of attention to blogs as characterised by the PageRank with the situation for other forms of Web content? Has there been a growth in the impact of the blogosphere on the Web over the two years analysed here? Finally, it will also be necessary to examine the limitations of a PageRank-centred approach.

Building Collaborative Capacities in Learners: The M/Cyclopedia Project, Revisited

Axel Bruns and Sal Humphreys

This paper by Axel Bruns and Sal Humphreys for the International Symposium on Wikis in Montréal, 21-23 Oct. 2007, traces the evolution of a project using a wiki-based learning environment in a tertiary education setting. The project has the pedagogical goal of building learners' capacities to work effectively in the networked, collaborative, creative environments of the knowledge economy. The paper explores the four key characteristics of a '' environment and identifies four strategic capacities that need to be developed in learners to be effective '' (user-producers). A case study is presented of our experiences with the subject New Media Technologies, run at Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia. This progress report updates our observations made at the 2005 WikiSym conference.

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Ah, great, you'll be in Vancouver as well - hopefully we'll have time for a little face-to-face-chat :)

Sounds good - see you there !