Grants/ElectricalWhat: A tool for students, teachers, makers, hackers, and diy'ers

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Applicants: Luke BrownGold
Affiliation: Parsons The New School for Design
CC affiliated? No
Contact: Luke BrownGold
Coordinator: Luke BrownGold
Project Start: 2010/08/01
Project End: 2010/12/30
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Describe the project you are proposing as clearly as possible in just five sentences.

Frustrated by the difficulty of searching schematic symbols through long lists with little information led to the creation of ElectricalWhat, a database of electronic components. Electrical What displays all electronic components in an accessible, cataloged format. ElectricalWhat stands apart from other reference materials in its ability to provide search based on a symbol's appearance. The image based search provided by ElectricalWhat simplifies searching for electronic symbols. ElectricalWhat aggregates electronics symbols in an easily accessible format that is a publicly available resources for students, teachers, makers, hackers, DIY'ers and anyone getting into electronics.

Detail the tangible project output (e.g., paper, blog post, written materials, video/film, etc.; this would be in addition to the final written report that successful grant recipients will be expected to deliver to CC at the conclusion of the project).

This grant will be used to hire technical expertise required to improve site functionality. The current site does not allow its users to create or edit content. New functionality will include the ability for site users to contribute to main articles and add photographs of symbols,circuits, etc.

Describe the community you are targeting. How would the project benefit the community?

This project targets people that want to learn or teach electrical circuits. This resource would be invaluable to educators wishing to give their students a reference guide to learn electrical components and schematics. This project will also help electronics makers, hackers and hobbyists who may not have access to educational />

What is your relationship with the community you are targeting? Why are you the best individual/organization to lead this project? Do you have prior experience in related projects?

Currently I am a student at the Arts, Media and Technology program at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City where I met a vibrant community of electronics hackers and hobbyists. While learning about electronics myself I saw the need for such a reference guide as ElectricalWhat. While in school I have gained valuable experience in web development and electronics prototyping needed to supervise this project.

How will you measure and evaluate your project’s impact - on your main participants? Other contributors? On the larger community?

This project's impact will be measured through content contribution to the site by its users. Furthermore the site is built to track site analytics such as page views, average time on site and site traffic etc.

How many participants do you expect to be involved in your project? How will you seek and sustain their involvement?

The initial participation in the project will come from a web developer who will create the necessary functionality that will allow user contribution. User contribution will be a key element for sustaining the site indefinitely.

Describe how your project will benefit Creative Commons' mission to increase the amount of creativity (cultural, educational, and scientific content) in "the commons".

This project benefits "the commons" by creating an expanding,evolving, centralized location where electronic symbols can be referenced for free. This site will also serve as an archive of electronic symbols that are no longer in common use. ElectricalWhat will assist the understanding of electrical schematics.

Describe what technologies and tools your project will use. What kinds of technical skills and expertise do you bring to the project? What are your technical needs?

ElectricalWhat will expand upon the MediaWiki and Wordpress platform. Custom plug-ins will be integrated into both platforms for content management of user contributions. I have prior experience in web development and expertise in the Wordpress platform.

What challenges do you expect to face, and how do you plan to overcome them?

Much of the site has already been developed without focus on user contribution. The site's content is currently sourced from Wikipedia. The challenge lies in developing ElectricalWhat so that it successfully balances external sources(such as Wikipedia) with user contributions. I will meet this challenge by employing professional design expertise for this project.

How do you plan to sustain your project after the Creative Commons funding has ended? Detail specific plans. How do you plan to raise revenue to continue your efforts in the future?

Revenue can be sustained with the publishing and sale of print materials generated from site content. Print material such as books and posters can be sold to educational institutes to provide funding for the website. These print materials can be given or used by students in classroom where direct access to the internet may not be available.

Referral links to online stores could be provided on individual articles. This will fund the site while providing useful information for anyone looking to source components to construct electrical schematics.

How can this project be scalable, or have a scalable impact?

Users will add symbols to the database creating an evolving, expanding, flexible database allowing ElectricalWhat to be sustained by its users.

What resources and support do you expect Creative Commons to provide to your project to ensure its success (if any)?

Recommendations regarding qualified individuals for web design and management are appreciated. This project does not expect Creative Commons to provide any resources to ensure success.

Describe how your organization currently communicates with its community members and network partners. (100 words)

Currently I have received feedback from NYC RESISTOR, a collaborative technology and hacking community in Brooklyn, NY. NYC RESISTOR has recommended ElectricalWhat for use as reference in their classes. They also have sent me positive feedback regarding the project. I have been receiving emails containing feedback and suggestions for site improvements since the launch of the site. I have consulted about site design with peers and professors at Parsons The New School for Design.