Open Narratives Environment (ONE)
The BBC highlighted a need to create a link between a popular Open Source coding web service and a means for sharing creative works, with Lancaster University’s previous research into cloud-based multimedia providing a strong foundation for further investigation.
With proposed impact across academia, industry and societal sectors, the project had one chief research question to answer in the short term:
- What is the minimal set of features required by an online platform capable of supporting collaborative multimedia creation in a way that is plausibly usable for both amateurs and professionals?
The project focuses on modern open-source techniques for agile collaboration, emphasising the relationships between source content, rather than edited content as a large file. In fitting with the remit of disruptive technologies for the future Internet, the resulting ONE platform is equally applicable for content co-creation in the professional domain, as well as community driven creation. Identifying a gap in their expertise with respect to user experience design, Lancaster University seized the opportunity to collaborate with Rattle, a Sheffield based SME with user design and broadcast domain expertise, who worked to envision the user journey through a rich web platform. The multidisciplinary nature of the ONE project has been particularly valuable in bringing the researchers at Lancaster into contact with SMEs working in relevant industries, providing a direct validation of the potential impact of the ONE platform.
The potential stakeholders can be drawn from the interests of MediaCityUK inhabitants: broadcasters with international reach and extensive archives, independent production houses, individual players in the production chain, and community members perhaps looking to engage with multimedia for the first time.
Further research questions are to be addressed as the project continues:
- What distinguishes a professional version of the platform from a consumer-orientated one?
- Can the cloud-based editing be made to work entirely in a just-in-time manner, and what advances in network architectures can be made to improve this?
- Is there room for introducing the open ideals of Web-like hypermedia to previously opaque audio and video?
Ultimately, ONE is an interface for enhanced media and digital content sharing for industry and individual/local group users, with anticipated benefits for FIRM's developing interface with media and creative SMEs, but also providing the 'backbone' for two other twinned projects, Storycircle and Virtual Community Engagement.