Summer of Content 2007 History


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What do software developers have to teach creators of other content? What do other content creators have to teach developers? What are the traditions that should be honored here, in the way that the FOSS and free licensing communities honor the idea of common spaces where creativity is shared, inspired, and grown? -paraphrasing Karsten Wade

  • This article refers to completed 2007 Summer of Content program and is kept as history.
  • See Summer of Content for updates on a current Summer of Content
  • See Summer of Content 2007 for more information about the 2007 program.

Join the mailing list to get updates and announcements.


We believe that this is a powerful idea: that everyone is a creator, and that creativity and understanding improve when they are shared. Open source software is part of this; Open content is another.


The Summer of Content program (SoCon) is a way for us to turn this belief into action. We are focusing on summers in the southern hemisphere as much as in the north; on local creation in developing nations; and on providing an outlet for creators devoting energy to freely licensed content and for organizations that want to support this creation.

2007 Sessions

  • We are currently running a Northern Summer of Content 2007 session from August 17 to September 30. This page also has more general information applicable to all SoCon sessions in general. (discuss)
  • We are also planning a Southern Summer of Content, with projects running from December 2007 to February 2008. (discuss)

Frequently asked questions


What is SoCon?

From the Summer of Content 2007 main page:

The Summer of Content (SoCon) program offers budding creators mentorship and stipends to develop open content and run free culture events throughout the world. Inspired by Google's Summer of Code program, our goal is to support a self-sustaining ecosystem of open content by encouraging growth of contributor communities, and attention to communication and accessibility around projects, where they're most needed.

There are two Summer sessions a year, each lasting approximately 10 weeks: a Northern Summer running between June and August and a Southern Summer running between December and February. (The current Northern Summer 2007 is a pilot run, taking place in August and September 2007.)

Each summer, applicants, mentors, and the open content community define open content projects that need working on. Applicants describe the projects they want to work on and the kind of work they want to do. Mentor organizations describe the projects they can support and the mentors they have available. SoCon acts as matchmaker for mentors and interns, and project work begins! The Summer ends with a series of local Jams around the world to showcase and gather feedback on the new creations.

See the original proposal on Wikieducator and some first ideas about the first round at Summer of Content 2007/Archive, and add your own thoughts to the mix.

Why is this important?

From the Summer of Content 2007 main page:

Open content is at a turning point. While a few big memes such as Wikipedia and Creative Commons have brought the concept of free and open content into the public awareness, it remains unclear to many how to apply open licenses and ideas to their own work. Even the most successful open-content projects struggle to turn readers and users into contributors.

On the other hand, there is a growing demand for educational and artistic content that can be freely reused and repurposed. There is excellent infrastructure in place to support modular learning materials and lesson plans, and a growing number of schools and teachers looking to new sources for texts. And there are local authors looking for collaborators and ways to make themselves heard.

By matching potential interns and creators with mentors in organizations that can guide their work, we hope to contribute meaningfully to the pool of shared knowledge. More importantly, by creating and publicizing processes for individuals, organizations, and caretakers of knowledge repositories to get involved in the open-content movement, we hope to provide a route for others to do the same.

We're lowering the barriers to participation in free culture and open content development, making it easier for everyone - including demographics that have traditionally been underrepresented in the open content world, such as non-technical people or residents of developing countries - to participate. We're not just building content, we're building an entire ecosystem - a community of content. This item on the FAQ has a more detailed explanation.

Isn't this just Summer of Code... for content?

Yes and no.

The Summer of Content program draws much of its inspiration from the Google Summer of Code program, but aside from focusing on content rather than code, there are a few key differences:

  • We're aiming for the inverse demographic. The Summer of Code program has traditionally attracted a large number of individual students with technical backgrounds from the developed world. By making our stipend $500 instead of $5000 and allowing teams to apply together, we're hoping to attract an even larger number of collaborating creators from the developing world - including non-students and people with non-technical backgrounds.
  • "Content" doesn't just mean Content. We're aiming to nurture a self-supporting networked ecosystem of projects. In other words, in addition to more traditional content-production projects (write a book, curate an encyclopedia, compose a piece of music, etc) there will be meta-content projects - for instance, accessibility and documentation projects with interns whose jobs will be to publicize, disseminate, and make other SoCon projects more accessible to various populations, as well as event/testing projects with interns whose jobs will be to run Test Jams and other local free culture conferences/events to get feedback to other SoCon creators about the work they're producing. Other types of projects will also be encouraged, but the important point to note is that SoCon is not just about the creation of open content, but instead about making that content useful and accessible and therefore used for Awesome purposes by the rest of the world.
  • Projects designed for people, not organizations. Unlike the Summer of Code program, interns do not go directly to individual mentoring organizations to apply. Instead, they post the projects they'd like to work on, and the mentors come to them. We hope this will encourage more freedom and creativity in project proposal and selection - we think it'll help us sponsor a few ideas that wouldn't otherwise have been suggested.

This stipends seems mighty small.

And that wasn't a question. It all depends on what you are used to — we are not trying to match student salaries for the developed world, but rather to provide a large number of competitive stipends for contributors in the developing world.


Am I eligible to apply?

Probably. You don't have to be a student, live in a particular area, speak a particular language, or have a particular degree. You do need to be eligible to work in the country you will be residing in during the time of the Summer session. Certain mentor organizations may have their own restrictions; if you're interested in working with a specific mentor organization, check with them.

How do I apply?

See the Summer of Content interns for information.

How does payment work?

For the summer pilot, each mentor organization is sponsoring its own interns. This means that if you are accepted, your mentor organization will arrange payment with you individually.

Stipends are $500 for the Summer of Content 2007 session. This amount holds regardless of how many people are on a team. You may propose a larger budget in your application if you wish, but it is ultimately up to the mentor organizations to decide which proposals to accept and fund.

  • An initial stipend of $100 at project start
  • $200 at mid-term check in if progress is satisfactory, as determined by progress reports
  • $200 at project end if progress is satisfactory, as determined by progress reports

Can I apply in a group?

Groups can apply (and indeed, are highly encouraged to apply) to share a stipend. Since one of the goals of the Summer of Content program is to reach as many people as possible, some mentors may give additional weight to teams with multiple people.


I want to be a mentor! Where do I sign up?

Add your name and a description about yourself to the mentors page - this is the first step. A full mentor application should include filling out details of what projects you have experience with, what organizations you are with, and how much time you have for mentoring (we understand this may vary with how closely interns you are matched with work on your active projects).

Preference will be given to mentors with experience, or those from sponsoring/mentoring organizations. Successful mentors will be matched with one or more interns who share their interests, and expected to review their midterm and final reports.

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