We are currently working on a Book Sprint with Augsburg Fortress and Liturgical Press. The two publishers brought 6 keen Book Sprinters to Minneapolis to create a book about the differences and similarities between Catholic and Lutheran traditions. We are day 2 and things are looking great. The book is being prepared collaboratively in time for the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
We are in the final hours of a three-day Book Sprint with the Berlin based (heidy) collective. Named after the secret Skype emoticon for squirrel (when Skype still had secret emoticons), (heidy) even has a manifesto outlining their stance against linear modes of production and working to deadline. A perfect candidate for a booksprint of course!
However in just three days they have produced a book capturing the 2 month long exhibition (and many more months of hard work) at the nGbK gallery, which they curated entitled “What is Queer Today Is Not Queer Tomorrow”. The book is intended to be both a documentation of all the artworks, installations and performances which were part of the exhibition and the process the group went through in putting the exhibition together.
The new Labcraft book is available! We facilitated this at an event in the UK a short while ago. Labcraft have just released it and a paid for (donation) and free version is available. It looks beautiful! Get your copy here: http://labcraft.co/
If you can afford the time and money then please donate to them for the copy. They are extremely good people and a very good cause.
July 14th, 2014
Update: You can now download the OpenStack Architecture Design Guide here.
One thing about OpenStack is that you can find lots of information on how to do specific things, such as start an instance or install a test cloud on VirtualBox, but there isn’t much out there to give you the Big Picture, such as how to design a massively-scalable OpenStack cloud, or a cloud that’s optimized for delivering streaming content. That’s why this past week a dozen OpenStack experts and writers from companies across the OpenStack ecosystem gathered at VMware’s Palo Alto campus for the OpenStack Architecture Design Guide book sprint. The intent was to deliver a completed book on designing OpenStack clouds — in just five days.
Now, I wrote my first book — a pretty straightforward introduction to Active Server Pages 3.0 — in seven weeks, and then it went through months of editing before arriving at the printer. I never wrote a more significant book that took less than six months. So when I volunteered for the sprint, I confess that I didn’t expect much. Oh, I knew that at the end of the week we’d have a book. I just didn’t expect it to be the really great book that actually emerged.
How a book sprint works
The process of actually writing the book was pretty regimented, but because we felt like we had control over the direction, we didn’t feel stifled by it. We started by discussing the audience — architects designing OpenStack systems or evaluating it for use — and brainstorming a likely structure.
After deciding that we’d basically cover groupings of use cases for OpenStack clouds, we brainstormed all the different types we might cover, putting them on Post-its and grouping them on the whiteboard. (Let’s just say that “CI/CD” and “dev/test” were on a lot of our minds.) Before long it was clear that we had seven major categories, such as “compute focused” or “massively scalable”.
We then broke into two groups, each of which was to take half an hour and brainstorm a structure for these categories. Interestingly, although we used different terms, the structures the two groups emerged with were virtually identical. (Which meant there was no fight to the death, which is always nice.)
From there our group of 12 broke into 3 groups of 4, each diving into a section. At the end of Monday, we had 15,000 words already written (of which we’re still sure 10,000 came from Beth Cohen).
I was stunned.
I wasn’t stunned because we had so much content; I was stunned because it was, well, actually pretty good content.
By Wednesday morning, the book was pretty much written, and it was on to editing. Groups read through sections written by others to try and fill in any holes, and Beth and I began editing, to try and even out the tone. After that came two more passes: copyediting (by Alexandra Settle, Scott Lowe, and Sean Winn) and fact checking.
Long before Friday, we had a book that we could be proud of.
What the OpenStack Architecture Design Guide covers
The OpenStack Architecture Design Guide is for architects and evaluators; deployment is covered in the OpenStack Operations Guide, so we didn’t cover that. The Design Guide covers the following types of OpenStack clouds:
- General Purpose
- Compute Focused
- Storage Focused
- Network Focused
- Hybrid Cloud
- Massively Scalable
- Special cases (clouds that don’t fit into those categories, such as multi-hypervisor)
We talked about the different issues, such as user requirements, technical considerations, and operational considerations for each type of cloud, then talked about the actual architecture and provided some prescriptive examples to make things more concrete and easier to understand.
What community really means
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the book sprint is that it was, in many ways, a microcosm of OpenStack itself. We all work for different companies, some of which don’t particularly get along, but in that room, it didn’t matter. We were just people getting a job done, and doing it in the best way we knew how, working long hours and joking about our evil overlords (sprint facilitators Adam Hyde and Faith Bosworth) and laughing about anything and everything to keep from going stir crazy.
We watched Alex learn that American Mountain Dew is very different from the stuff they have in Australia, and we saw her transform from a nervous newcomer to a confident writer and editor (though I’m still going to use two spaces after a period, sorry). Anthony Viega and Sean Collins consistently impressed us with their knowledge of networking. Sebastian Gutierrez showed how passionate he is about storage, and especially the wonders of Ceph. Vinny Valedez produced more great diagrams in two days than I did all of last year. Maish Saidel-Keesing and Kevin Jackson continuously inspired us to be better with their hard work and good humor. I’m still laughing at Steve Gordon’s deadpan humor. (And I apologize to anyone who still has the music from Doctor Who stuck in their head.)
Our goal was to provide a resource for the OpenStack community, to help adoption of a tool we’re all passionate about. Did we joke about it? Of course we did. But at the end of the day, we wouldn’t have been there if we didn’t believe in the future of OpenStack, and what it can do, when it’s done right.
The OpenStack Architecture Design Guide will be available electronically free of charge as part of the OpenStack documentation, and like the Operations Guide and the Security Guide before it, it will be available for anyone to submit patches to, a living document that will only get better. It will also be available for purchase in hard copy through Lulu. Watch this space for a link!
We’re excited to work with all our collaborators and, as you may have picked up in previous posts. we’ve just started to work with BCcampus in British Columbia, Canada. More specifically, we are working with BCcampus Open Textbook Project, an initiative that is producing forty open textbooks for use by educators and students in British Columbia. The project is currently creating open textbooks in the “most highly enrolled subject areas” in the province, having previously identified OER/open textbook material that can be reused and incorporated into the planned textbooks.
During June 2014, educators came together to collectively author a Geography open textbook over a period of four days! Manager of Open Education, Clint Lalonde, kindly agreed to tell us more about the sprint. Read on for more on the project, why they chose to adopt the sprint method, how they made it a success and why they chose Geography as the focus….
Extra special thanks to Clint for taking time out to write the following post. Thanks to Adam Hyde at Booksprints for his advice re: licensing for the image below.
Clint Lalonde (right) with Amanda Coolidge (Photo Credit: CC-BY Adam Hyde, Booksprints http://tinyurl.com/lnom3h4)
“On June 9th, 2014 a group of educators and technologists gathered at the University of British Columbia with a unique challenge; create a first year university level Geography open textbook in just four days.
The collaborative authoring model is known as a book sprint. Inspired by code sprints from the software development world, the goal of a book sprint is to create a book from scratch in a very short time frame.
We began thinking about an open textbook sprint late last fall after being inspired by a number of similar projects like the events carried out by Siyavula in South Africa, and the Creative Commons supported textbook hackathon at the University of Otago in New Zealand which produced a first year media studies textbook. Our first task was to contact these groups to find out how they did it. Along the way, we discovered Adam Hyde and his company, BookSprints who offered facilitation services for events like the one we were planning., A couple of Skype calls with Adam convinced me that having an exteranl facilitator to keep everyone on task was the way to go, and that Adam’s group were the right people to facilitate our event.
Once we had a facilitator in place, we needed to find the people to create the textbook. We issued a province wide call looking for post-secondary Geography faculty who might want to participate. The first to sign on was Arthur Green of Okanagan College, followed by Britta Ricker (Simon Fraser University), Siobhan McPhee (University of British Columbia), Aviv Ettya (University of the Fraser Valley), and Cristina Temenos (Simon Fraser University). Other key participants in the sprint were librarian Jon Strang, instructional designer (and Manager of Open Education at BCcampus) Amanda Coolidge, programmer Brad Payne and illustrator Hilda Anggraeni. It was this group of people, facilitated by BookSprints Barbara Ruehling, who gathered at UBC and created the book.
So, why did we choose to write this particular open textbook using this particular method? A number of reasons. First, the sprint method has a set deadline with a set outcome. The combination of strict deadline with a concreate outcome at the end of that deadline provided momentum to keep the project moving forward over the four days. All the participants cleared their schedule for the full four days and committed to working on this one project for the entire time. We stayed on site together, had our meals delivered to the writing centre where we worked, and cocconed ourselves from the outside world for the full four days. It is amazing what you can achieve when you have the ability to concentrate on a single project for a sustained period of time. As short as four days may sound, it is actually quite a luxury in this day and age to be able to have such a long period of time to dedicate to a single project without life and work distractions sidetracking you.
Second, the sprint offers a great opportunity to begin developing a community around the textbook. Sustainability is always an issue with the development of open educational reosources; how will these resources be maintained in the future? One of the sustainability models that we think has the most potential is a model of community stewardship where a group of educators who use the book take ownership of the book. The intense nature of the sprint provides a great opportunity to begin to develop this community by bringing together a group of faculty from across institutions interested in not only creating, but also adopting what they create. Moving forward, we hope this group of authors will form the nucleaus of the community that can steward this textbook.
BCcampus open textbook sprint participants (Photo Credit: BCcampus_News CC-BY SA 2.0http://tinyurl.com/mank4kf)
Finally, why did we choose geography as our subject? The scope of the BC Open textbook Project is to provide free and open textbooks for the top 40 post-secondary subject areas in our province. One of the strategies we have with our project is to reuse existing open textbooks from other projects, such asOpenStax College, wherever possible. We don’t want to recreate good work that has been done by others and openly licensed for reuse. By adopting a “reuse first” strategy we have been able to create a curated library of over 50 open textbooks matching 36 of our subject areas.
One of the gaps in the collection was Geography. We simply could not find a suitable open textbook to fill that first year Geography requirement. Geography is a discipline that is regionally focused, so it was not a surprise that we could not find a complete textbook covering Geography in the commons as there simply has not been anyone creating open textbooks focused on our region. We saw the opporunity with the BC Open textbook project to create something that was so regionally specific that it was unlikely to be created by any other open textbook project.
As for the book itself, it was completely planned out on the first morning of the sprint by the participants. This is vitally important to the success of a book sprint. The people in the room create the book together. This creates a sense of shared ownership and helps to keep the participoants motivated to work 12-14 hour days as they become personally invested in creating something that they define. The end result in our case is 48,420 words across eight chapters which incorprates numerous custom illustrations, interactive maps, elements of open pedagogy and suggested service learning activities. The book also contains numerous contemporary case studies specific to the province of British Columbia, and bridges the various different sub-disciplines of Geography.
Currently, the book is being copy edited and will be released with a CC-BY license in August. It will be available for download from open.bccampus.ca.
See photos of the 4 day sprint on the BCcampus and BookSprint Flickr accounts. We also tweeted about it using the #bcbooksprint hashtag, and live blogged the four days at open.bccampus.ca/tag/booksprint.”
“Day One” (Photo Credit: BCcampus_News CC-BY-SA 2.0 http://tinyurl.com/k8ztb5n)
The third book we Book Sprinted with the OpenStack Foundation is now available!
“This book was written in a book sprint format, which is a facilitated, rapid development production method for books. For more information, see the Book Sprints website (www.booksprints.net).
This book was written in five days during July 2014 while exhausting the M&M, Mountain Dew and healthy options supply, complete with juggling entertainment during lunches at VMware’s headquarters in Palo Alto. The event was also documented on Twitter using the #OpenStackDesign hashtag. The Book Sprint was facilitated by Faith Bosworth and Adam Hyde.
We would like to thank VMware for their generous hospitality, as well as our employers, Cisco, Cloudscaling, Comcast, EMC, Mirantis, Rackspace, Red Hat, Verizon, and VMware, for enabling us to contribute our time. We would especially like to think Anne Gentle and Kenneth Hui for all of their shepherding and organization in making this happen.”
Last week we ventured into new grounds and tested the Book Sprint method in a new environment and in quite a different genre: writing a mining policy for Burundi.
Writing a policy differs from other Book Sprints in some important ways. Other than many books that have been written in other Book Sprints, a policy is short and concise, it is framed as a set of positions and recommendations, and it needs to be compliant with the national laws such as Burundi’s mining code, and international agreements such as the African Mining Vision.
In most Book Sprints, a group of already established experts in a certain field comes together drawing from their knowledge and experience, whereas in this case representatives of several government agencies and ministries came together that are just gaining insights and experiences into new economic opportunities and the environmental and social issues that come with it. Burundi does not have industrial mining so far, and so the policy focuses mostly on artisanal mining, while creating a vision for future development as well as safeguarding against the often hazardous effects of mining.
The GIZ, partner to the Burundian ministry of mining, organized a workshop prior to the Book Sprint to familiarize the government representatives with the most important subjects, headed by Moussa Sylla from the Senegalese consultancy Géo-Mines and facilitated by a team from STRATEGIES, Cameroon.
Then we followed with a three-day Book Sprint in Kayanza in the Burundian mountains. Led by Book Sprint facilitator Barbara Rühling and translator-mediator Laia Ros, a group of 18 contributors agreed on the focal points of the policy, its general vision and principles, and its structure. They then continued to write, revise, discuss, and polish the contextual information and the set of recommended actions for each of these focal points. On the third and last day, a team of one representative from the mining ministry and one external expert made the last pass at the text for consistency.
We are very happy that the process was considered a success by all participants, the hosts, and the facilitators. The policy will now be presented to the Burundian mining ministry for approval.
More photos can be found here https://www.flickr.com/photos/101584348@N06/
We were invited some time ago by the GIZ (germany) to facilitate the production of government policy for Burundi. Our facilitation team is now there and will be working for 3 days on this project. Barbara Rühling and Laia Ros from the Book Sprints team are working hard in a mostly offline environment and will send reports and updates when they have returned.
More photos can be found here https://www.flickr.com/photos/101584348@N06/
It’s the fifth and final day of the Book Sprint for the OpenStack Architecture Design Guide and the contributors are tired and occasionally looking to the facilitators as if to ask, “Why are you doing this to me?” But the good news is they have a book and it’s been in a very rigorous cycle of review for the last half of the sprint, guided by this ever-expanding matrix of tasks. Now, the last facts are being checked and the grammar enthusiasts have been let loose on the text.