I’ve just spent the morning reading through a new report from the OECD titled “Participative Web: User Generated Content” (880kb PDF download) which describes the rapid growth of User Created Content and its increasing role in communication. The paper is the latest release from the OECD work on digital content.
I found the report very interesting, providing a comprehensive overview of the developments in this area, and identifying a range of issues that must be taken into account at the policy level as we move forward – including things such as access to broadband etc, and the old bogies of copyright, IP and “fair use” etc. These are all issues that are affecting schools and universities right now!
When I worked at NZ’s Correspondence School a number of years ago we envisaged an environment where content contributed by students and staff would be just as important in the system as the formally produced course-ware, and began developing a content management process that would embrace this as part of the work-flow. Sadly, it was an idea before its time, and the project was shelved.
This OECD report has refreshed my interest, however. It contains a useful overview of the emerging value and publishing chain of user-created content (p.21), contrasting this with the traditional media publishing value chain which they say is characterised by a number of hurdles, including the control of “content gate-keepers”.
In the past six months, having nothing better to do, I have submitted responses to several government tenders in which I’ve proposed a UCC-centric approach to the establishment and operation of online portals etc. Needless to say I haven’t been successful (yet), but this report gives me confidence that it’s the right thing to do, and the analysis provided in it will assist in future work and thinking.