Wiki History of PEG 2.0 Initiatives

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NOTE: PEG is an abbreviation for "public, educational, and government access."

I'd like for us to start compiling a comprehensive picture of the history of successes and failures in developing PEG2.0 tools to be shared among Public Access, PEG, CTC, Community Media groups. I've known of several such efforts, but was surprised to learn over the past few months that there are actually a few groups who have received recent grants similar to ours, aimed at producing open-source tools to serve and be shared by these communities. I'm not sure where all these projects are outlined, but I'm hoping we can summarize most of them here. Also, given that none of these efforts have been wildly successful, I'd like to try to outline some mistakes so that we can learn from them and improve in future endeavors.

I'll start with a brief overview of the limited knowledge I have. Please feel free to edit my contributions, as I have a limited perspective on them... especially MNNs and CCTVs. Please expand:

  1. Facil: This isn't a PEG2.0 effort, but everything starts with Facil, the management tool developed by Dave Becker for Access Tuscon a decade ago. This was built as a proprietary model, with all development in the hands of Dave Becker, and continues to be a proprietary tool. However, it is the standard from which we're all starting. Similar tools like Gopher have been developed since, and can all be grouped into the same category, since they're all proprietary tools with control in the hands of one vendor. I have a blog entry about why OpenSource is the right way to go for our community, mainly because unlike our for-profit counterparts, we aren't trying to have a superior and unique user-experience. We aren't looking for exclusive content that beats our competitors, but are more than happy to share content and tools across the PEG community.
    Current Status: always improving, until Dave retires.
  2. Grand Rapids' CMS: About 5 years ago, Grand Rapids got grant to develop a custom Content Management System (like Drupal). It was well-built and replicated and improved-upon many features in Facil, but had no community of users, no long-term support, etc and is only being used in Grand Rapids.
    Current Status: Being used only in Grand Rapids, causing headaches
  3. Digital Bicycle: I can't believe I forgot this one. In 2004, Daniell Krawczyk and Peter Bull started working on a tool for making it easier for Access Stations to share content via torrents. Very similar to the vision of the OpenMediaNetwork designed to do the same for Public Broadcasting (but without the network or funds of Mike Homer), Digital Bicycle was ahead of its time in trying to enable simplified sharing of content between stations.
    Current Status: Nobody really used it, NYMAP opted to use SpinXpress and Pando instead of tackling completion of the project, TelVue is Beta-Testing a centralized-server solution, and DOM's Knight Grant sets a goal of finding a solution to this in 2010 (after rights/CC and other issues are tackled). As of 2009, NYMAP is trying to develop a Drupal module to work with SesameVault, and is aiming to work with 10 additional partners by Fall 2009.
  4. CCTV (Cambridge) Access DB: Cambridge Community Television has been developing and maintaining a custom Filemaker database tool for the last ten years. It is highly specialized to the operations of their public access center with elements for tracking membership, donations, equipment reservations, programming schedules, inventory management, with schedule exports to digital playback servers and etc. CCTV has been fortunate to have staff with skill in Filemaker database development and staffing cost has absorbed the development cost. The Filemaker application is not open source but it's files are are portable and not locked up like Facil. There are more Filemaker developers on the market than Facil developers, so this system has a few degrees more sustainability. CCTV also has Drupal development talent within the staff and has built out a pretty rich Drupal website, with blogs, podcasts, geocoding, social networky stuff, etc. Recently they are working on a project to tie their Filemaker database to their Drupal site to share data, especially around programming and membership. Current Status: working wonderfully at CCTV. Could be used by other centers after stripping out CCTV specific functions (and purchasing Filemaker app).
  5. CAN's BBs: Chicago Access Network paid a contractor to build an ingenious interactive bulletin-board system. This effort had no intention of being made available to the wider PEG community, but would be incredibly valuable for us, and many features are being replicated in the OM set of modules. Like many of these, it can never be used outside of chicago, has no community/support/sustainability plan.
    Current Status: They're looking to upgrade the system, but with no plans to do it open-source or in a way that could be used elsewhere. Deproduction is replicating it in Drupal.
  6. MNN's Equipment Reservation System: in early 2006, Jacob Redding headed-up a development project for MNN to essentially re-create and improve-upon a closed source custom coded solution (Ocean7). They hired Openflows to develop a comprehensive Drupal module for equipment reservation. Due to staffing changes and delays at MNN this project is approaching completion two-years behind schedule and currently in the final review and testing phase. With hard-coded customization for the specific environment at MNN, and due to funding restrictions there has been little collaboration with outside stations or developers, this system's first release will be in Drupal 4.7. Once released, a rapid upgrade to drupal5 will expand the possibility that the tool could be adopted by, or supported by anyone other than Openflows and MNN. Even if not, it has some features that should inform any similar effort.
  7. DOM's Content Ingest System: Also in early 2006, Deproduction embarked on a user-automated content ingest solution for Public Access stations. Early work in Ruby on Rails was abandoned once Jacob Redding convinced DOM of the value of working on a similar platform. Deproduciton hired Geek Gene to develop the system. Portions of the tool-set were developed using a programming language called "Nongo" and a DB Arcitecture called "Congo" (which only a handful of people on the planet understood). The tool worked well and enabled DOM to launch a major Public Access TV station with only one full-time employee serving their membership of 100+, but had zero chance of being adopted by, or supported by anyone other than DOM/Geek Gene.
    Current Status: DOM is re-creating this tool from scratch based on what we've learned after 2 years of use. Currently in Drupal 5, the system has removed any reference to the Nongo code or Congo DB. The new system is being developed for Drupal 6 and leverages several existing modules. A few of the goals for the new system were to move away from a monolithic code base to a suite of individual modules, make the modules as stand alone as possible so users can use (hopefully drive development on) part of the system, make the pieces as generic as possible so non-PEG groups contribute to their development.
    Current Status: the revised Drupal Ingest system is live and functioning at denveropenmedia.org, and being tested at Austin and Urbana.
  8. DOM's Equipment Reservation System: With MNN behind schedule, DOM turned to the OnlineResourceScheduler (ORS) project on Sourceforge to serve as their Equipment reservation system. The community of users has shrunk in the past several years, and has little chance of being adopted or supported by anyone outside of DOM.
    Current Status: DOM has hired Chad Phillips to create a new Drupal module that can leverage the best of the ORS and MNN solutions. Starting with the BookingsAPI module, Chad has identified many shortcomings in that module and its interaction with CCK and is working with the maintainer of BookingsAPI to re-write that foundation to better accommodate this kind of use.
  9. MNN's Class Registration Module: Current Status: Being tested at MNN.
  10. CCTV (Vermont) Scheduling Module: Joe and Emily developed a tool based on the EventModule in Drupal to replicate the sort of scheduling features available on many servers or via Facil. The tool seems to be written with hard-coded customization for CCTV's specific needs and will need some revision to be widely adopted in diverse environments.
    Current Status: with the latest release moving away from EventModule and towards DateAPI, and informed by the work being done at MNN and DOM, there is hope for this tool having relevance outside of CCTV.
  11. MNN's Scheduling Module: Integrated with their Equipment reservation module and their "user-points budgeting" which allocates a pseudo-budget for each project planned, this tool overlaps significantly with CCTV's Scheduling module. Also designed for administrative control, also designed in Drupal.
    Current Status: in Drupal 4.7
  12. DOM's Automated Scheduling Module: With no programming staff, Deproduction had to develop an automated, rule-driven programming algorithm to populate our programming schedule. With short deadlines, the program was built in Python to take website votes, duration, theme-block/category, and other information into account to automatically populate the programming schedule.
    Current Status: the program is working wonderfully in Denver, but with revision and configuration only possible by skilled python programmers, has little chance for adoption. DOM is re-building the algorithm in Drupal to be more easily configured.
  13. DOM's SMS-Vote/Comment Module: To encourage more voting, Deproduciton developed an SMS interface that dynamically prompts viewers to vote on the playing show via an on-screen scroll. Votes and comments appear on-screen and are logged on the website, driving the programming schedule and enabling two-way communication with the viewership.
    Current Status: The tool is being included in the OM suite of tools for those who wish to use it.
  14. CCTV (cambridge) Mapping Mashup: CCTV has a great mapping tool using Drupal to geotag every show produced and allow viewers to see content in their area.
    Current Status: Working great, and making CCTV's Drupal website one of the best in Public Access. There has been no effort made to share this tool.
  15. Reno's Clickable Agenda Video Stream: The Sierra Nevada station in Reno developed a great little set of features in Flash to compete with Granicus. This tool allows agendas to be tied to videos, and allows people to select portions of an agenda and have the video flash forward to that portion of the video. The tool and model is proprietary and entirely controlled by SNCAT.
    Current Status: SNCAT has several clients and is generating revenue to support its important public access work in the community. They are tied to a proprietary approach at this time.
  16. CCTV (Vermont) Clickable Agenda: At the same time, Vermont was developing a nearly-identical feature for their city meetings.
    Current Status: Based in Drupal, this open-source approach is likely to be adopted by DOM and others.
  17. Portland: Portland Community Media received a capital grant in 2007 with a wide range of goals summarized as Access 2.0. The purpose of Access 2.0 is to a) increase access to new technology for creation of new and interactive community media messages, b) increase the number of people participating in community media, c) increase amount of community media created, d) increase the accessibility of community media to viewers e) increase the audience of community media, and f) increase opportunities for interaction, dialog, and community building through community media. The project is multi-pronged focusing on website development, media education program creation, upgrading our center from tape-based to file-based from production to distribution and finally there were $25k of matching funds marked for "Database Redevelopment." Portland is committed to employing a system for online equipment checkout, facility reservations, and class registration, similar to the tools developed by MNN. PCM decided that instead of factioning off with development on these tools that it would be best to collaborate with other stations in the Open Media Project.
  18. Radio Engage/Quiddities This is not a PEG project but it is a community media project (radio). It was funded by Knight in May 2008 at about the same level as Deproduction and Portland. They seem to be in the planning stage, but are committed to Drupal. Their web site radioengage.com says this about the project: RadioEngage will provide a comprehensive public radio station website and content management tools. This software will facilitate the creation, management and output of all public radio station’s web content. and: Once the software is created, it will be shared with other public radio stations. The software will be developed with input from a community of KUSP staff, volunteers and advisors from the wider public radio community.
  19. Monterey 2003 released code for integration between Facil and IIS, specifically the capability to search and display much of their Facil data on their website. Users could check status of reservations, lookup producers and projects, and search for media and display a link to media if available in streaming format, or right click to download MPEG2 files. Later, this was expanded to also allow display of Synergy/Tiltrac broadcast schedules for public access content, and how-to for utilizing a free third party application (QTODBC - not an open source app) to move data between Facil and Synergy VLM database. This code was written for IIS (ASP 2 code) so not strictly an end-to-end open source project, but the code itself was made freely available under GPL.
  20. Ben Sheldon's Mapping Access project (www.mappingaccess.com) was developed in 2005 to promote multiple PEG centers across the U-S...to mixed success. It was assumed that centers would want to use it, share with other centers and the public, and help develop the resource. To date, there are 233 entries, many entered by a few people.
  21. PegMedia.org is a media transfer site for PEG (Public, Education, Government) community television stations and producers of media for these stations. This site is an easy way for producers to make their programming known and available to many stations simultaneously and, at the same time, to give stations a wide variety of programming from which to choose.
  22. Miro Local TV is a new project from the Participatory Culture Foundation, creators of the popular Internet TV application Miro, to help people find and discuss local online video. The project is funded by a $589,000 grant from Knight. http://www.knightblog.org/announcing-miro-local-tv/

more, more, more....

As a sidenote, I've heard of a few different groups receiving support for evaluation. The Benton Foundation did a fairly extensive evaluation of new efforts in community media, Portland built extensive evaluation into their 3-year Access 2.0 initiative, and I've heard Grand Rapids and Vermont discuss an initiative with Kellogg to conduct a best-practices review or evaluation for the Access Community. I'd love to hear of any others evaluation plans, and would love for some of the projects that will be identified on this wiki to be reviewed from a bird's-eye view and help us bring the best of these pieces together...