According to Fisher and Durrance (2003) makers for fill all five characteristics for what a groups needs in order to be a maker.
- Exploits the information sharing qualities of technology
They own the internet. They are search ninjas and have the uncanny ability to "research" while checking out their next big project.
- Collaboration among diverse groups
What happens when a seamstress wants to add twinkling lights to her newest creation.....she asks a maker who is passionate about electronics.
- Formation around user needs
Craftster: Where knitters, felters, and general artsy craftsy people go.
Instructables: More fabrication and design, electronics, 3D printing, welding, survival/prep how-tos. One of the largest depositories of how-tos on the internet.
Thingiverse: a collection of files for 3D printers or CNC mills that user can download and print or remix and upload.
And those are just a few I frequent, out of hundreds where makers converge to seek help or inspiration for their next project.
- Helps to overcome trust barriers
Makers need to trust that the information they are receiving is correct. They also need to understand that sharing and collaboration are part of what makes the maker community great.
- Fosters social connectedness
Because making is global, makers develop bonds and friendships over long distances. They rely heavily on social networking in order to communicate with one another.
I am a maker, I belong to one of the fastest growing makerspaces in Maine the Open Bench Project. There I meet other members of the community who are passionate about sharing their knowledge (and love) of producing something. As a maker and librarian I am also passionate about collaborating with makers to bring making into the library. To allow individuals access to tools (and skills) that are often prohibitive because of cost or space.
I also share my communities feelings on making as an educational tool. I learn best by doing, GIVE ME A PROJECT! Let me fail, let me search, let me try to figure it out on my own, and trust that if I need help I will ask. I will use the knowledge I already posses, combined with the knowledge I retrieve and create something amazing. I guess the biggest take away from my research of the maker community is that in order to succeed you have to fail and in doing so learn from those mistakes and move forward.
Good luck to all in their quest for your MLIS. Just remember be tenacious in your quest for knowledge and understand it's OK to fail, learn from it. Just like the makers do. :)
Milne, A., Riecke, B., & Antle, A. Exploring Maker Practice: Common Attitudes, Habits and Skills from Vancouver’s Maker Community. Studies,19(21), 23.
Torrey, C., McDonald, D. W., Schilit, B. N., & Bly, S. (2007). How-To pages: Informal systems of expertise sharing. In ECSCW 2007 (pp. 391-410). Springer London.