FLOSS Manuals

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BookSprints: CaseStudyOne

Inkscape Book Sprint

The first 'full featured' FLOSS Manuals Book Sprint was for the Inkscape manual. Inkscape had very little documentation which was surprising for such a mature project. We gathered a team of people together from the USA, France, Russia, Australia, and Amsterdam - most of these already comprised the 'offficial' Inkscape documentation team. We were 'shooting in the dark' with this one as the process was entirely unknown...Book Sprints were at this stage, just a mystery.

Since this sprint we have tried to add something new to the FLOSS Manuals interface to assist the sprint process, but for this sprint we just used the basic version of FLOSS Manuals as it was then.


Thankfully the costs were covered by Google from their Summer of Code project (big thanks to Google and Leslie Hawthorn).

Invite List

The process was fairly simple. FLOSS Manuals in co-ordination with Joshua Facemyer (Inkscape Documentation Team) invited those active in Inkscape documentation to attend via personal emails and an email or two to the Inkscape Documentation email list. Everyone said yes!


We held the event in France once it became clear that most of the participants were from France. The event happened in the Cite de Sciences in Paris. Although the sprint was extremely productive it was our first one and we could have avoided some simple mistakes had we understood the process a little more. I think we suffered a little from the accommodation being over an hour away from the venue and those attending from out of town were staying in four different places. Also we had partial access to the space since security would check and kick everyone out if it was past 10pm. Additionally the access to food was limited.

However, this was our first sprint and Elisa did a fantastic job of organising everything - its just that we didn't know what an optimum sprint required at the time. Despite this, it was a very successful event which goes to show that despite our inexperience, we still produced a lot of excellent material.

Much of the content actually already existed in French and was translated during the sprint to English. For this sometimes two people would sit together - a native English speaker, and a native French speaker - and work through the translations together.


Lasting Outcomes

The sprint team still works together remotely and a very strong French language team continues to collaborate on the translation of the manual. Joshua Facemyer (pictured left) also attended the Digital Foundations Book Sprint as the Inkscape and Scribus expert. Also, during this event Brianna Laugher (pictured right) produced an excellent manual on how to contribute to Wikimedia Commons.



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