Creativity in the wild: Leveraging the success of creative content systems

This project investigated how specific user-generated content (UGC) systems like YouTube and Flickr, are being used by millions of people to generate and disseminate their creative products. A better understanding of the dynamics of participation in such systems would allow for more effective system support for creative activities in future UGC systems, as well as a richer model of IT-enabled creativity.

Start date: 9/1/2009
End date: 8/31/2013

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For researchers and developers of creativity support tools, online spaces of user-generated content (UGC) such as the video-sharing site Youtube.com and the photo-sharing site Flickr.com are of particular interest. These systems are massive, diverse spaces for creative production, interaction, collaboration and appropriation. This project investigated how specific UGC systems, those we call creative content systems (CCS), were used by people to generate and disseminate their creative products.

Amateur/professional interactions have become increasingly prevalent in online communities and the differences between these populations in creative practice and intended audiences needs to be better understood and supported. The research sought to generate and assess design recommendations for next generation creative support technology. A better understanding of the common and distinct factors of amateur and professional creative practice is a necessary precondition for evolving the next generation of support tools for creative individuals and creative communities. 

This project focused on the audience models underlying differences between amateurs’ and professionals’ participation in CSS.  The project investigated these issues via qualitative analysis of multiple data sources including semi-structured interviews and observational sessions, content analysis of digital behavioral traces of user activity in CCS, and evaluative task-based analysis of user interface prototypes. This work generated enhanced models of creative practice in the context of CCS.  In doing so, this project generated and evaluated design recommendations for creativity-enhancing tools.

This project also received an additional $16,000 from the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program in order to support active research participation from undergraduate students. 

Grants

CreativeIT Pilot: Learning from Creativity in the Wild: Leveraging the Success of Creative Content Systems, National Science Foundation: $274,009

REU Supplement:CreativeIT Pilot: Learning from Creativity in the Wild: Leveraging the Success of Creative Content Systems, National Science Foundation: $16,000


 

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…"