As mentioned in today’s iNews article, IST is leveraging the new IST Drupal Cloud Hosting service to develop solutions that will make it easier for non-technical users to build and maintain websites. We will be launching the Berkeley Scholars service, which will allow faculty to easily construct high-quality academic-centric personal websites. This service is based on the Harvard OpenScholar project. We are also developing a comparable service based on Chapter Three’s Open Academy for campus departments. IST is working closely with Chapter Three and Pantheon to make both services available during the spring 2012 semester. Stay tuned for more information on these and other projects.
We are pleased to announce the public launch of the Townsend Humanities Lab. The Townsend Humanities Lab provides humanities scholars with a rich set of tools for interdisciplinary research and collaboration. OKAPI Program Manager Noah Wittman worked for two semesters with the Townsend Center as an advisor and media architect, helping conceptualize, gather requirements, and develop and pilot prototypes. Congratulations to the Townsend Center for the Humanities and Chapter Three on this significant accomplishment!
About the Lab
The Townsend Humanities Lab offers a community-driven suite of digital tools to support interdisciplinary research and collaboration among Berkeley scholars and their affiliates. Driven by a powerful content-management system, and hosted by new “cloud” computing services, the Lab provides project space and a suite of Web 2.0 resources to all Berkeley scholars with interests in the humanities and interpretive social sciences.
The Lab offers tools for project organization and communication (event listings, file sharing, news broadcasts, and RSS feeds), as well as newer collaborative tools for text annotation, image annotation, visualizations, mapping, and collaborative authoring. Images, documents, audio and video files can be uploaded, shared, and placed in circulation among designated project groups within the Lab. Furthermore, all content on the site can be tagged by keywords to facilitate project organization and to enhance the interaction across diverse interest groups.
We are pleased to announce the launch of a working prototype (beta release) of Ars Synthetica, a web-based multimedia forum for engaging specialists and non-specialists in an informed, ethical, and democratic dialogue on the emerging field of synthetic biology.
Ars Synthetica is a collaboration between Open Knowledge and the Public Interest, the Anthropology of the Contemporary Research Collaboratory, and the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (Harvard, Berkeley, MIT, QB3, UCSF, Prairie View A&M). The site is designed to provide multiple participatory channels for exploring questions about ethics, security, and how cutting-edge research in the biosciences is organized, governed, funded, and expanded. How will synthetic biology shape and be shaped by medicine, energy, and environmental needs? Whose business is ethics? What are the limits to what we can design? These are the kinds of questions that Ars Synthetica poses to expert and lay communities alike. Our goal is to actively resist the polemics that often characterize public discourse about new science and technology. We seek the fertile grounds for discourse between the hype of revolution on the one side and fears of “playing God” on the other. The outcome will not provide absolute or final answers, but enable a diverse range of participant responses, perspectives, and concerns.
We are releasing the site as a public beta, while the Ars Synthetica team develops site content, expands participation and gathers feedback before the next round of development. During the Spring ’09 semester, students in Professor Rabinow’s graduate and undergraduate courses will be preparing content for Ars Synthetica.
Features of Ars Synthetica:
Provide a means of representing and giving form to nonlinear connections among the many elements of the Ars Synthetica site. We anticipate developing and allowing our community to develop multiple nonlinear pathways through Ars Synthetica.
Problems, Truth Claims & Debates
Ars Synthetica features Problems, Truth Claims and Debates, designed to engage visitors in reflection and dialogue around emerging issues in the life sciences. Whose business is ethics? Are there limits to what we can design? Are biologists playing God? Ars Synthetica users can contribute to existing Problems, Truth Claims and Debates or contribute new ones.
The Archive contains abstracts and full publications related to synthetic biology, including scientific journal articles and popular press publications.
Allows visitors to upload their own multimedia products, including research papers and multimedia works. Once uploaded, others can comment on the works of others.
The blog aggregates posts from multiple authors and blogs, including On the Assembly of Things, Vital Systems Security, Biopower and the Contemporary, and Synbio and the Technocrat, and the student-run iGEM blog.
Ars Synthetica: Designs for Human Practice
Explore this publication, authored by Paul Rabinow and Gaymon Bennett, to learn more about the ideas underlying this project.
Public Understanding of Research Program
This project was developed under OKAPI’s Public Understanding of Research Program.
We are employing the OKAPI Theme Package for Omeka to develop two multimedia research archives over the Spring ’09 semester:
Tracing Tambo Colorado
We are helping UC Berkeley Architecture professor Jean-Pierre Protzen publish a decade of photographs, illustrations, site plans, and field notes documenting the design and construction of an Inca administrative center located in present-day Peru. The project will make use of the Omeka collection management system and our newly crafted OKAPI theme package. Lizzy, Huey and Gabriel will be organizing his research archive into four themed collections and implementing a Google maps mashup to assist with geospatial navigation.
Chang’an 26 BCE
We are working with UC Berkeley History professor Michael Nylan to develop a multimedia research archive focused on ancient Chang’an, capital of the Western Han dynasty from 206 BCE until 8 CE. Roughly contemporary with ancient Rome and equivalent in size of territory and number of inhabitants, Chang’an typically receive little attention in Western schoolbooks and history classes. Professor Nylan aims to redress this imbalance by providing a wealth of information about one of the greatest cities in human history.
Open Knowledge and the Public Interest (OKAPI) is pleased to announce the release of the Okapi theme package for Omeka, a web-based platform for publishing museum exhibits and collections developed by the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. The Okapi theme package enables Omeka users without expert web design skills to create polished multimedia exhibits and collections. The home page features a cinematic 980×500 pixel main image and up to four featured exhibits. Exhibit pages include new layouts for articles, themed collections and embedded multimedia. The bundled Multimedia Links plugin enables embedding of html code, ﬂash video (ﬂv), and many other formats supported by the included JWplayer. The theme displays accessible Flash-based typography and is W3C CSS and XHTML compliant. The Okapi theme package (Okapi theme, Multimedia Links plugin and exhibit layouts) were developed by independent developer Kristin “Chach” Sikes in collaboration with Open Knowledge and the Public Interest. The Okapi theme package is available for download from the Omeka Website and is released under a General Public License (GPL).
The OKAPI theme package includes the following:
Okapi Theme (Default Settings)
Home Page: Displays cinematic (980×500 pixel) main image, and up to four thumbnail images of featured resources Header/Navigation: Title and subtitle displayed at top of page using accessible rich typography. Semitransparent navigation tabs appear over adjustable header images on all pages. Up to four exhibits are featured on navigation. An “Exhibits” tab appears if your site includes more than four exhibits. Style Sheet: Extra style sheet (custom_style.css) enables sitewide modiﬁcation of fonts and colors
Informational Pages: Themed templates for About, Overview and Credits pages
Themed Geolocation plugins for Google Maps integration Themed Contribution plugin for user contributions Themed Items, Collections, and Exhibit pages (see Exhibit Layouts) Drag-n-Drop Media Publishing: This theme extends Omekaʼs drag-n-drop functionality, allowing you to drag media from the archive into your exhibits layouts. Footer: Space for links (Overview, Abouts, Credits), licensing (e.g., Creative Commons Licensing) and sponsors.
The Okapi Exhibit theme integrates exhibit pages with OKAPI theme and Multimedia Links plugin. The theme eliminates the section menu and allows users to publish on the Exhibit page thumbnails images and links to each section. The Okapi Exhibit theme includes four layouts:
Super Page: Allows users to theme exhibit home page and create thumbnail images for each section of exhibit.
Featured Article: Publish images and multimedia alongside feature article
Themed Collection: Publish video and a selection of up to 20 assets alongside article
Embedded HTML media: Publish ﬂash, widgets or other html embed code
Archive Multimedia: Publish multimedia assets from archive using JWplayer.
Multimedia Links Plugin
Creates new Item ﬁelds for embedding html code, Flash video (ﬂv), and many other media formats supported by the bundled JWplayer.
Media Player Integration
API. The skinning functionality allows you to completely customize its looks. Learn more here: http://code.jeroenwijering.com/trac/
Rich Typography Support
Considerations for Web Developers
CSS: The markup and CSS for this theme are loosely based on Tripoli, a CSS method that allows you to adjust your site layout relatively quickly, in multiple browsers. This is similar to Google Blueprint and Yahoo Grids, but a little lighter weight. The Tripoli method does work with liquid layouts, though this site is currently ﬁxed-width.
SIFR3: Typography can be changed by modifying ﬂash ﬁles and a little bit of code, documentation included.