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[GMG-Devel] Mediagoblin usage scenario? Any advice?

From: Jason Li
Subject: [GMG-Devel] Mediagoblin usage scenario? Any advice?
Date: Mon, 2 Sep 2013 20:58:19 +0800


My friends and I are doing some work on archiving internet memes, and I was wondering if (and how) Mediagoblin would be a good platform for us. Aside from asking you all for some advice, I'm hoping that this email will also help everyone as they're design the system in the years ahead.

So we run a recently-launched group called The Civic Beat (beta website here), and one of the tasks that we've begun to do internally within the group is to archive certain internet memes. By internet memes I mean "viral" internet phenomena, primarily images but also includes text, tweets, videos. Our coverage focuses exclusively on social-political memes from around the world, which also happen to be the type that disappears quickly (especially in censored-internet countries like China). Though in general, memes often become hard to find weeks later even on the uncensored internet – tweets are hard to find after a while, and Facebook content is pretty ephemeral in general.

We wish to archive for two reasons:

  • To create a lasting record (in the vein of the Internet Archive)
  • To create a group collaboration space for our team to upload/annotate/comment on media artifacts
  • To create an open platform for meme creators to get credit for a piece of media and open license their works

Right now, Mediagoblin is our platform of choice for the following reasons:

  • It's an open source platform that allows independent organizations to own the data 
  • It promotes Creative Commons usage.
  • It has plans to support other file formats: PDF, etc.
  • Each media object has tagging, license and description support
  • Content sorting by collections + uploader/user + tagging
  • Multiple user support

It's also worthwhile to mention that we did look at other options – Evernote, Storify, Archive-It (the Internet Archive's own tool for others), Pinterest, Tumblr, Wordpress, Dropbox... the list goes on. And we haven't 100% committed to Mediagoblin yet – we're still fielding advice (including here) on whether Mediagoblin is right for us. We do have a .lazyserver instance set up here though.

And here comes the part that I'm hoping is the most interesting for you all – our wishlist of features, in no particular order:

  • Clip to Mediagoblin bookmarklet – While this is probably too far outside the original Mediagoblin mission, as researchers this would be an incredible tool for us when making image archives.
  • Multiple custom fields for each media object – In our case, we'd like to have, say, separate fields for creator (in case one of us researchers uploads an image created by someone else), source URL, date, and maybe countries be a separate tag class (i.e. separately inputted and displayed but still clickable to view all from country)
  • Support for other media types – text, tweets, videos
  • Easier to setup, easier to modify templates – I've set up our instance in this case, but I'm pretty much a n00b when it comes to sysadmin duties. (I've documented my process here.)
  • A "frontpage" that shows recent submissions, featured content, recent comments, etc. (I'd be happy to contribute some hours to this as a designer BTW, though my coding abilities don't go far beyond CSS.)

So in terms of advice, I was wondering if you all think:

  • Mediagoblin is a good platform for our use case – I admit our needs are a bit strange :)
  • Our wishlist sounds too far off the mark – it's kind of a red flag if what we want is at odds with what you all want. Granted it's not going to be a perfect overlap. 

Also please let me know if it is okay that I've emailed the dev list. I'd be happy to send these emails to other places in the future – it just seemed the best venue from what I could tell for now!

If you've made it this far down... thanks for reading!


Jason Li

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