Tuesday, February 06, 2007

CAMPWARE: Helping to get the Word Out

One of the difficulties for NGOs in Africa and other developing nations is the inability to communicate effectively with a target audience. The Media Develoment Loan Fund (MDLF), through its initiative Campware is addressing this problem.

The text below is taken from the Campware web site.

The Media Develoment Loan Fund launched the Campware initiative in March 2001 as a platform for open source solutions for independent news media organizations in emerging democracies. The initative is coordinated by MDLF's new-media arm, the Center for Advanced Media--Prague (CAMP).

Campware grew out organically from the need of MDLF's CAMP to provide cost-effective, open solutions for a number of new-media projects it was pursuing.

While searching for such solutions (from 1999 onwards), CAMP realized that most available software solutions for print and radio catered to commercial players in the West and were thus beyond the financial reach of independent media in emerging
democracies. At the same time, open source software tended to cater to the geek/webmaster community and as such was not tremendously suitable for journalists. Mulitlinguality or Unicode-support were just an occasional afterthought.

CAMP's main idea was that software developed and distributed under the Campware initiative should be user-centric, i.e. built explicitly for the end user. Our first project, Campsite, first released in March 2001, embodied such ideals. For example, we called things the way they are called: our article was an "article," not an "asset"; our images were called images not "objects"; Campsite's user interface was automatically customized to each user based on his rights, so there were almost no "You don't have the right to do this, please contact your administrator" messages. And all of this the end user could read in her very own language.

Campware continues to adhere to the logic of short learning curves and non-mystifying interfaces in all its projects, from the Cream customer relationship management software for newspapers, to the emerging Campcaster radio automation solution.

MDLF's active partners in Campware are Redaktion und Alltag (Berlin) and the Department of Digital Design of the Parsons School of Design (New York). Campware is open to cooperation with likeminded projects.

Some of Campware's products are listed below.

Campsite is a free and open multilingual web publishing tool for news sites. It provides a robust, stable, and journalist-friendly solution for online magazines and newspapers.

Campcaster is a free and open source automation system for radio stations. It provides live studio broadcast capabilities as well as remote automation in one integrated system.

Cream is a free and open-source customer relationship management (CRM) system designed for media organizations.

Cream is designed to meet the unique demands publishers have, including features that allow subscription management, support for multiple products (print subscriptions, advertising, online subscriptions, books, etc.), customer communications (both incoming and outgoing), and easy-to-use reporting and analytical functions. Cream also enables publishers to track special offers, such as seasonal discounts and trade shows.

A distribution-management system for print publications.

Dream helps publishers by providing ways of monitoring distribution, ensuring that publications get out to readers in the best possible way, and optimizing the number of returned copies in an edition.


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