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Help releases Playbook, updates equip

The O'Reilly/DARPA blog post notes the of released their 'Makerspace Playbook' and updated the high school makerspace tools & materials doc.  They have asked for comments on the PDFs.  I have not read them in detail yet,  but thought these would be a great starting point for discussions at Space Camp. is a parallel (and funded) approach to building makerspaces from ours here.  They are being very open about their docs (as we've come to expect from MAKE and O'Reilly).  I think there is great opportunity for collaboration and extrapolation.  Similarly with the USFabLab Network... they are also working on a playbook for starting a space.

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Thanks for sharing this with us! From a quick read, it's far more developed than the Space Kit in terms of detail. I'd love to see what we can learn from this, and share with MAKE.


There is one very worrisome bit in this...  The document reads very much like there is a particular brand of space called a Makerspace that conforms to the requirements set down by see pgs 42 and 46 in particular.  Several people have noted this branding before and in comments (on about this document.   I posted a comment last night about it on the blog article.  While I got a personal email from Michelle saying she agrees with me, the question of branding has been passed along for others to answer.


This is what I posted to them ...


This Playbook and the Tools & Materials are a excellent documents and I am very happy to see such early (preliminary) releases from your project.  I have shared links to this blog post to a number of places (eg. G+, FB, SpaceFactory and discuss@hackerspaces.)


One part that sticks out to me personally is that while you talk about community there is also an undertone of exclusion of spaces that are not DARPA/O'Reilly Sponsored MAKErspaces.  There are hundreds of spaces around the world that call themselves Makerspaces.  Only a very very small number are officially connected with the DARPA/O'Reilly/Otherlab project.   There should be some recognition of this larger community in the document.  The 'Connecting with other Makerspaces' section on pg 27 has not yet been written. It would be a good place to acknowledge the other Makerspaces and Hackerspaces and FabLabs (also Dorkbot, etc.)   Ch 7 Startup (pg 34) 'Get Listed' section should include joining other social networks - by listing on, etc.


The site, for listings and for the quite useful wiki (especially ) would be a good Resource for the documents readers.


Many of the other makerspaces (and those that call themselves hackerspaces) are open to youth.  It is not clear if DARPA/O'Reilly is open to the community of older, hobbyist, entrepreneurial makers. (Note: it may not be possible for a school based makerspace to host such externals (non-students) as easily as non-affiliated spaces. I understand this has been an issue for some university/college based FabLabs and hackerspaces. The host entities have their rules and liabilities.)


I am a VERY STRONG believer in an open inclusive Maker community.  I believe O'Reilly is. My personal interactions with Dale lead me to believe he is a strong believer in this open community (evangelical even).  The Playbook should reflect this sentiment.


I understand it is aimed at the Middle/High School MAKErspace per the DARPA program (perhaps one of the deliverables specified in the SoW), however there should be a way to phrase things that are more inclusive of the wider community.


One big step would be to address the concern raised in the wider community about the term 'makerspace' itself.  The way it is used in this document makes it sound as if it is a very particular thing - one that 'require' a Makerspace to have/do specific things (eg pgs 42 & 46).  This sounds very much like a Trademark argument is being prepared for the term 'Makerspace'.


I asked once before and did not get a direct response. Others are now questioning this service/trade mark use of the term ( ....


Can you please state for the public record that O'Reilly (et al) will not ever try to restrict the term 'makerspace' ?


Thank you.... and keep up the good work!



One of the things that I have found challenging is the term "hackerspace." When talking up our space I usually get weird looks. So I use the term "Makerspace" whenever I can. It would be disappointing if O'Reilly got it into their head to put a (TM) at the end of that term. (I checked the trademark site and they have not trademarked that term)


I agree -- that is worrisome. Willow and I last talked with Dale on Mar 5, and we talked about the Make a Space Kit -- and we offered to collaborate. In the meantime, we started developing Makerscouts and thinking of ways to make spaces safe enough for activities with young people and groups--a 'safety protocol.' I think we need to connect with Dale again and talk over these concepts. 


Hopefully we can all connect up again at Maker Faire/Space Camp.  There are a lot of parallel efforts at making spaces - space factory, hackerspace patterns, fab lab,, etc.  It is good to have the options, as one size will NOT fit all.

I've been talking up MakerScouts locally and at least one of our Maker parents is interested - and his boys are very excited.  We'll talk more about this soon.

Another new effort to bring kids into a *space is Tara Tiger Brown's Kid Friendly Hackerspace for LA...

Tara is married to serial space creator Sean Bonner. Most hackerspaces are not really all that kid friendly.  Tara is looking to see what can be done.  Maybe we'll see them up at the Faire too.


I agree-- we should use SpaceCamp and MakerFaire as a forum to discuss these things in person with Dale. There is a plethora of options out there (School Factory and Space Federation as just one) and I think it would be useful to start linking everything together so the options don't become confusion. 

Jerry, we are having a quick intro call tonight on Makerscouts. I added you to the group:

can you join us?


Update on branding of the term 'Makerspace' ...


Some folks (myself included) have posted concerns that the recent playbook ( reinforces a perception of a 'Makerspace' brand. Dale Dougherty sent me a private email that in part states:

"To be explicit, I have no intention to restrict use of the term makerspace. I want to do quite the opposite - promote its use. It is not limited to or restricted to the DARPA program. 

I'm specifically using it in an educational context and believe it is a better name for use in that context than hackerspace. What I want to see and support is the growth of makerspaces and the development of education programs inside of them. "

I have updated and resubmitted my comment on the playbook page to include this.

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