Greetings from RDC Headquarters! It has been awhile since our last update – but that is because we have been busy wrapping up loose ends and officially winding down the 2009 Mentoring Season. It was a great year, and we are thrilled at what we accomplished as a team. In October, we had the great honor of having our work featured by the OLPC at the “Make Books Apparent” conference held by the Internet Archive in San Francisco.
We presented both a web solution as well as a localized USB stick solution containing 2000 public domain books at the conference. You can read more about the event here, and you can check out our web solution in the Rural Design Collective UI Lab. When we first started this project, our goal was to make public domain books more accessible and appealing to kids. Technology in this space is progressing rapidly, so it was fun to balance innovation with a well-defined set of deliverables. That is what makes working the Web so interesting – there is always something new and challenging to learn.
We have a lot of ideas regarding the next steps for our project (and our program), and we plan to implement them. We will be releasing our documentation and code in the next month (everything will be available for download), including a roadmap of the next steps for this particular project. We are very excited about the Open Publication Distribution System (OPDS), but just did not have enough time to work it out this season. We may work it in as an Extra Credit project this winter as we are eager to get set up as a catalog so we can hit the ground running next summer, adding more books and metadata to our collection. We have 600+ digital public domain books that were donated to our program by the Boston Public Library in support of our program (if you were wondering what the gray book icons are in our user interface, they represent placeholder categories for books that were donated by BPL).
The future looks bright! We are planning for next season and working out long-term goals for the Rural Design Collective. We already have eager candidates for mentees, a list of potential Friends of the RDC, a lot of interest, and many opportunities for projects. We will be spending the winter months on outreach and applying for grants. As always, we will share what we learn here.