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The Pool makes Wired's cover story
Wired feature on innovative U-Me online environment for creative collaboration becomes 4th-most cited article in blogs worldwide
The Pool, a project the New Media department is building with UMaine students, was described as "a daring leap" in the headline story on Wired magazine's online site in December 2003:

"To prove that open sourcing any and all information can help students swim instead of sink, the University of Maine's Still Water new media lab has produced the Pool, a collaborative online environment for creating and sharing images, music, videos, programming code and texts....It's all about imagining a society where sharing is productive rather than destructive, where cooperation becomes more powerful than competition...."

Within 48 hours, the story ranked 4th in Blogdex's list of articles cited in blogs worldwide.

An excerpt from the Wired article, by Michelle Delio:



The Pool emphasizes distributed creativity, a concept similar to a cluster computer for the media world. Users can dive into the Pool and search for visuals or audio tracks to use with their own projects, find collaborators to work with or ask for feedback from their peers.


Contributors also can propose a concept for others to implement, or respond to invitations to explore, debug, re-edit or remix existing works.

The Pool's structure is designed to make it easy to track the "wake" left by a contributor's idea as it gets picked up by new artists or rendered in new mediums or is accessed by different users with different technologies over subsequent years.

"After each semester's worth of work, the projects I've done have ended up either in the trash or crammed in my portfolio," said Justin Russell, a University of Maine new media major. "The Pool shifts that life span to a point where a project will never die. In theory, students in the next semester could use my work (along with the work of others) to create a new or improved piece for their class."


But if one of its primary creators has her way, the Pool may not be permanent.

"In 10 years we hope the paradigm will be so well-established as a social practice that the Pool will either be ubiquitous or unnecessary," said new media professor Blais.

"We hope that the practice of cooperation will empower communities and individuals to the point where they can surpass the productivity and influence of corporations," Blais said.


Posted 2005-03-24 15:15:31 by Jon Ippolito
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