Exploring “A Million Penguins” – Order and Chaos in a wiki novel.

Exploring “A Million Penguins:” Order and Chaos in a wiki novel.

IOCT Research Seminar by Bruce Mason

IOCT Lab, Wednesday April 23, 2008 4:30-5:30pm

This seminar is free and open to the public.
penguinforblogpromo.jpgIn February 2007, DMU and Penguin Publishing collaborated to host the world’s first wiki novel – "A Million Penguins" – using the same software that runs Wikipedia. Over a five week period nearly 1,500 people signed up to edit the novel, over 11,000 edits were made and it was viewed over 500,000 times leading the CEO over Penguin Publishing to muse that it was maybe the "most written novel in history."
In this seminar, Bruce Mason will outline the results of a research project held at the IOCT which investigated the social behaviour that unfolded during the writing of "A Million Penguins." What kinds of collaboration, conflict and compromise occurred and what did it tell us about future online writing possibilities? Did a sense of community arise or did we see nothing but chaos and vandalism?
The seminar will not require any particular knowledge of wikis or online writing.

About the presenter

Bruce Mason is an IOCT Post-Doctoral Research Fellow specialising in social research and web2.0 activities. He previously worked at DMU with Professor Sue Thomas on an Arts and Humanities Research Council Funded Project that investigated the potential for folksonomy in academic research.

About A Million Penguins

A Million Penguins is a collaborative online novel, a wiki which was open to anyone in the world to write and edit. The project ran from 1st Feb to 7th March 2007, was organised by Kate Pullinger of De Montfort University and Jeremy Ettinghausen of Penguin, with Sue Thomas, Professor of New Media at De Montfort and an editorial team of students enrolled on De Montfort’s Online MA in Creative Writing and New Media.


Further Information

If you have any questions about this seminar or the research project, please contact Bruce Mason by email: bmason01 at dmu.ac.uk

The Wild Surmise: nature and cyberspace

Most people know me from cyberspace and assume that I live there. I do spend many hours a day online, but what they don't know is that my body is sitting outside, with my bare feet in contact with the earth. I don't know that I could live in any other way.Howard Rheingold
I've been working with computers and in cyberspace ever since I bought my first machine, an Amstrad 6128, in 1987. Right from the start I was struck by what felt like very intuitive connections between computers and what we think of as the natural world, but unravelling those synergies has been a slow two-decade process of gradual revelations and occasional surprises. Over the years I've written two books directly exploring them – first, a novel, Correspondence (1992) and then twelve years later a memoir / travelogue Hello World: travels in virtuality (2004). Now I'm writing a third – The Wild Surmise – and it will be heavily influenced by our discussions here about transliteracy.
I've drafted five simple questions about nature and cyberspace and invite PART readers to answer them here. Thanks.
x-posted at WDL

IOCT Writer-in-Residence

Chris Joseph aka babel is the first Writer-in-Residence at the Institute of Creative Technologies (IOCT) at De Montfort University. The residency is 0.5 for 2 years from 1st September 2006, and includes the development of a significant and original work of new media writing, the creation of a training and mentoring relationship with new media writers living in the UK East Midlands, and development of the IOCT as a venue for new media work.
Funded by Arts Council England

Interdisciplinary applications of experimental social software to the study of narrative in digital contexts

The electronic environment has transformed the resources available to the academic researcher, most recently in the area of collaboration and new kinds of knowledge management. This project evaluates a selection of experimental software tools to discover whether they offer valuable unconventional opportunities to connect researchers across widely-differing disciplines and to examine how they might support innovative collaborations, such as shared bibliographical resources. The study will focus on the study of narrative within a digital context but findings are expected to be of use to a wide range of researchers.
Funded by the AHRC

Online MA in Creative Writing & New Media

This unique postgraduate degree is designed for writers interested in experimenting with new formats and has creative applications in the workplace and community as well as in writing, teaching and publishing, all culminating in an atmosphere which is challenging, interdisciplinary, and international. Offering modules in Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, and Writing for the Creative Industries. It is designed for writers interested in exploring the potential of new technologies in their writing via a combination of online study with a week-long workshop in the UK.
Course website.

NLab – Narrative Laboratory for the Creative Industries

High-quality content is a priority for the creative industries, whether it's gaming, broadcasting, publishing, tourism, or software. It is also important to authors in search of the right kind of media for their fiction, hypermedia, journalism, poetry, or many other kinds of writing. The NLab Network connects small creative businesses with writers to generate pioneering partnerships creating digital stories and other narratives. Network members come together to find out what makes them different from each other, what connects them, and how they can forge new collaborations.
NLab website
Funded by HEIF.