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Dig 540 WordleIt’s hard to find a collecting institution that doesn’t have a Web site these days, and you’re going to need to know MySQL and PHP to run most of them. But training as an archivist or librarian doesn’t teach you how to customize a Web site. What’s a digital curator to do?

Answer: take the brand-new “Digital Collections and Exhibitions” course debuting online this September.

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Digital Curation LogoThe University of Maine has announced that its Digital Curation graduate program is dramatically reducing its out-of-state tuition rates, beginning this coming spring.

The move was inspired by the successful launch of the program’s first course last September, DIG 500, and the widespread interest expressed by students from Uruquay to Burundi to Mumbai.

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Digital Curation LogoThe Digital Curation program is a two-year graduate certificate, taught online, intended for professionals working in museums, archives, artist studios, government offices, and anywhere that people need to manage digital files. The program walks students through the phases of managing digitized or born-digital artifacts, including acquisition, representation, access, and preservation. Registration opens soon!

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Digital Curation LogoThe University of Maine is poised to launch an innovative graduate program in digital curation, beginning September 2012. The online, 18-credit curriculum aims to train anyone who works with digitized or born-digital items to make them accessible and meaningful to present and future generations.

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10belfast Coho PrototypeOn 2 May 2010, Joline Blais gives a Permaculture walkthrough and workshop for University of Maine students at the Belfast CoHousing & Ecovillage, Belfast, Maine. Students in Emily Markides PAX class see a real ecovillage under construction and find out how its members balance practicality and idealism from BCHE member Blais and Radical Simplicity author Jim Merkal, who also attended the event.

Shown: BCHE’s zero-energy prototype house, built by G●OLogic.

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For the first time, the New Media Department of the University of Maine is offering a course in Contagious Media–the use of the Internet, street performances, and other viral techniques for garnering recognition in the digital age.

Dearmainestreet Leaf

After surveying some technical underpinnings of existing social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, the class examines techniques for splicing these networks together to disseminate viral concepts, or memes, for artistic or political ends.

Student projects have so far combined such technologies as blogs, Twitter, and YouTube, as well as such low-tech strategies as flashmobs and launch parties. One particularly successful scheme involved printing the url for DearMaineStreet.com–a site designed to air feedback on dysfunctional course management software purchased by the university–on real maple leafs and then scattering them around campus. Photographs of these leaves, including the domain, made their way onto the front page of the Maine Campus newspaper and generated sufficient buzz to spike visitors to the Web site.

Many of these student projects will be on view at a “Contagious Idea” expo coming up in December. These include a class project to create a social network tailored to the New Media Department called NMDnet.

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A variable media class in the New Media Department at the University of Maine this term introduces undergraduates to concepts of new media preservation and gives them hands-on experience with some of its tools.

Raymond LinuxwarsThe NMD205 syllabus includes a range of preservation strategies such as emulation, migration, and reinterpretation. As part of their coursework, students study technical vulnerabilities in well known new media artworks, resurrect an obsolete game using an emulator, and create new works based on reinterpreting or remixing works by other students in the class.

NMD205 students use The Pool to find works to remix and establish relationships among related works that can be tracked long after the course is over. This term U-Me students are joined in The Pool by students from UC-Santa Cruz, opening up their work to feedback from a wider range of participants.

ABOVE: Joe Raymond’s Linux Wars, a remix of the vintage game Space Invaders from NMD 205.

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Life art ImageA new University of Maine class in Life Art (NMD430/520) explores the boundaries of artistic collaboration by encouraging students to co-create with entire ecosystems of humans and other critters.

Life artists may :

  • Crowd-source their artmaking with 10,000 earthworms.
  • Get frogs to do their drawings for/with them.
  • Create sculpture ‘for the birds’ so they can survive destroyed migratory paths across continents.
  • Clone cruelty-free meat via the latest gene manipulation.
  • Get Michelle Obama to “perform” their art piece.
  • Plan an art opening with full course cross-species meals (eg for human and geese).

Student projects may draw from indigenous culture, digital culture, and/or permaculture, and will be featured in an exhibition at the end of the term. The course takes place at the Hutchinson Center in Belfast, Maine and is organized by Joline Blais in collaboration with Waterfall Arts and Unity College.

This New Media class is open to graduate students, qualified undergraduates, and members of the community. For more information, contact Joline Blais.

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Pool Logo ill@mThe Pool, an online collaborative environment created by Still Water, has earned a headline story in Wired magazine, a feature in the Chronicle of Higher Education, and a demonstration at Harvard’s Berkman Center for the Internet and Society. Yet with the exception of a semester-long experiment with students from UC-Berkeley in 2003, until this year The Pool’s audience has been almost exclusively students at the University of Maine.

Art of Collaboration LogoThis term, however, The Pool has become a lot more crowded, as students from two classes at the University of California at Santa Cruz join three U-Me classes in using this unusual software to bounce ideas off each other and receive feedback across the two campuses.

Pool Project Contributors illAthough divided across the east and west coast, the 250 students will be united by a common interface and timeline as they contribute intents, sketch approaches, build approaches, and offer feedback across classes and time zones. University of Maine professors Joline Blais and Jon Ippolito will present a preliminary report of the testbed’s results at a conference organized by UC-Santa Cruz, The Art of Collaboration, on 23 October 2009.

More on the U-Me New Media Web site.

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Science teacher Tony Sohns will be teaching classes for homeschoolers at LongGreenHouse on Thursdays starting this week. Renowned for his work with Bangor’s Discovery Museum, Tony’s energy, knowledge, and interaction kids is outstanding, and we are lucky to have him involved with our community.

Tony will be teaching two sessions. The first 8 week session will run Dec. – Jan. and the second session will begin in March and run thru the end of the year.

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