On 23rd April 2010, the Center for Advanced Media–Prague (CAMP) became a wholly autonomous organisation, Sourcefabric, dedicated to enabling quality journalism through open source software and professional services. Community Manager Adam Thomas takes us through the changes, including the reason behind the name change.
Q: What is Sourcefabric?
A: Sourcefabric is a not-for-profit organisation that enables quality journalism worldwide through open source software and services. We are based in Prague, Czech Republic but also have branches in Berlin, Germany and Toronto, Canada.
Q: Didn't you used to have a different name?
A: Yes. The Sourcefabric partners Sava Tatic, Micz Flor and Douglas Arellanes were the people behind Campware. In 2001, the Media Development Loan Fund (MDLF) launched the Campware initiative to support open source solutions for independent news media organisations in emerging democracies. This consolidated a lot of work that had been happening since 1999 to develop user-centric, financially-viable, multilingual platforms for news media. Sourcefabric is the continuation of that work, but with greatly expanded aims and a new organisational structure.
Q: Why 'Sourcefabric'?
Both the journalist's 'source' (the origin of information) and the programmer's 'source' (the code on which software is built) are vital to the work we do. We are concerned with the 'fabric' of these things - their structures, relations and interactions. At the core of our experience and vision is a commitment to enable quality journalism. We do this through open source software and services that address these structures with solutions that are flexible, strong and interwoven; just like fabric.
Q: What's so special about a media organisation?
A: Anyone who has spent time in a newsroom can tell you that they are unique places needing unique approaches and tools. Sourcefabric draws on the journalistic experience of its team (we've all been there at some point or another), and the advice of the editors and organisations we talk to every day, to address the specific challenges news in the twenty-first century presents. Then we go away and devise tools and solutions that off-the-shelf software is simply not built for.
Q: What services do you offer?
A: Sourcefabric helps media organisations make more money from digital content whilst at the same time saving money on existing processes. Sourcefabric's experts can be hired for consultation, implementation, software development, training, long-term support, hardware installation, hosting and anything else that helps media organisations achieve their goals. We're committed to putting all our work back into the community too, so that solutions to problems benefit everybody.
Q: Where does software come into all this?
A: Software is a huge part of what we do. Sourcefabric develop some of the leading open source software for journalists and media organisations. Our radio software Campcaster and our content management system Campsite are used across the globe by organisations large and small. Sourcefabric will continue to develop these innovative projects but with increased support and community activity, plus a network of certified implementors.
Q: What's next for Sourcefabric?
A: Several new releases with significant feature lists are in the pipeline for 2010, plus we have plans for a new project that will address the needs of the digital newsroom. Other Campware products, namely Cream, Dream and Docmint, will continue to be available as free and open source, but we do not expect to continue developing them. The community is certainly encouraged to though!
Stay tuned to www.sourcefabric.org for a new series of video documentaries on open source enterprises entitled Find A Way Or Make One, plus a whole host of features, opinion and comment on advances in open source journalism. We'll also be attending plenty of festivals and conferences throughout the year and rolling out more innovative ways our community can stay engaged and up to date.
Keep up to date with all our news, including software releases, by signing up to the Sourcefabric newsletter.