What’s in a Name?

I need your help.

Branding a project is among the most important actions a project manager can do. It gives the product a personality, and creates a culture where there was none. If conceived before major work is done, a brand name can define the trajectory of the project. This is a mixed blessing, however. I’ve seen too many products that were inspired by an imaginative name rather than an innovative idea. On the other hand, if conceived after major work is done, a brand name must define a hitherto nameless product, a product with an already evolved and mature personality. Naming such a project is almost an act of hubris.

This is my dilemma. The software that drives the Mozilla Digital Memory Bank needs a name. Basically it is an online repository for digital material. It was designed specifically to drive the Center’s line of Digital Memory Banks, projects that collect, present, and preserve testimonials and files from online users. However, it uses a generalized approach to collecting and storing data and metadata, meaning it can be adapted to the particular needs of almost any online collecting project. It is the younger, more streamlined sibling of ADAM, the Center’s first digital archiving software. There are more details, such as geolocation, categories, and a powerful administrative interface, but I’m sure you get the picture.

Unfortunately I did not have the foresight to name this product before or during development, and I am having trouble coming up with a suitable name. Considering my description of the software and your experience with the Mozilla Digital Memory Bank, what would YOU name this product?

I appreciate your input.

~ Jim Safley

Quickly progressing

Things are moving pretty quickly for the Mozilla DMB here. We currently have over 500 objects entered into the archive, thanks mostly to the heroic efforts of our summer intern Robby. We’ve tended to pluck the low-hanging fruit so far (a natural tendency for historians starting a project I think), so you’ll find a lot of Flickr images, press releases, and status updates, with a few interviews and bibliographic entries sprinkled in.  We are starting to come to fully comprehend the seemingly endless scope of this project, but are excited to be moving forward so quickly already.  Some of our latest discussions have involved whether Google really has any copyright over Usenet discussions (hopefully they will just allow us to republish the material) and how we might ingest blogs (any ideas here would be welcome).

The archive is currently browsable, although the map and timeline features have not been implemented yet.  The map should be live soon, but the timeline will likely take some … well, time to work out.  It should be pretty neat when it comes about, especially if we can work something like this into it.


Mozilla Digital Memory Bank

A few of us at the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University decided to start a blog to discuss the development of one of our new projects, the Mozilla Digital Memory Bank.

We hope that readers of this blog will be encouraged to participate in the project by uploading materials to the memory bank as well as send us any thoughts and/or advice.

About the Mozilla Digital Memory Bank…

With funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, CHNM is developing new approaches to online collecting of history with a particular focus on the problem of documenting a historical subject that has few central archives and institutions: open source. The Mozilla DMB will become the centerpiece of CHNM’s larger effort to collect, preserve, and analyze the history of open source as a cultural movement, spanning both free/libre and open source software and broader examples of commons-based peer production. By using proven online collecting techniques and consolidating scattered materials, we aim to create and preserve a comprehensive record of Mozilla and its key role in the open source movement.

Soon, the Mozilla DMB will begin seeking stories, images, videos, and documents related to the creation and growth of Mozilla. The entire Mozilla community of developers, testers and users will be able to participate in recording the past of this remarkable open source story by contributing their materials directly to the archive.

No item is too small: old emails, IM chat transcripts, a photo of yourself at a launch party…future (and current) historians will want to see all of that stuff!

We started uploading items from mozilla.org (mostly press releases and legal documents for now) and we plan to launch the site early this summer.

– Olivia