Writing a book about Raleigh being an open source city

It’s about time to come out of hibernation mode and come out swinging for 2013. I’ve been quiet the last two weeks. Red Hat had their annual holiday shut down from December 24 to January 1 and I decided to extend that until January 3. I head back to the office this Friday.

Over the last two weeks, I spent some time with the family, did a lot of running (I made my goal of running 1,000 miles in 2012), and I played a little too much Skylanders Giants.

Before the break, I was contemplating writing a book about the open government movement in Raleigh with a focus on the characteristics of an open source city. I jotted down a few title ideas and drafted an outline in early December one Saturday morning. And I sat on that for a week or two. Letting the idea marinate.

I shared my book idea with a few select people and they seemed excited and supportive. I turned my contemplation into a reality and starting writing over the break. As I was working on it, I shared hints about writing the book on social media. A lot of curiosity ensued.

Merri Beth thought I was crazy and that I wouldn’t spend any time with the family over the holiday break. However, I reassured her that I would be present and wouldn’t get too distracted with the book. And for the most part, I didn’t.

My approach

My strategy was to collect a lot of the content I’ve written for opensource.com about open government, CityCamp, and Code for America that’s under a Creative Commons license and organize it in some sort of sane manner. I would write original content where needed and make sure everything flowed together nicely.

My initial goal for writing this book is to collect Raleigh’s open source story and share it. I’m not interested in making a huge profit from the book, but I wouldn’t mind bringing in a few extra bucks.

I plan on releasing the book under a Creative Commons license but I’m undecided how I want to publish. Self-publishing is an option and I’m leaning towards Lulu, but I want to keep my options open. I’ll cross that bridge in due time.

For now, I’m focused on finished the book. I’ve completed most of Chapter 6 and plan to wrap up Chapter 7 this weekend. Then the first draft will be complete.

Below is the working outline of my book. Your feedback is welcome. For what its worth, I’ve had fun putting all of this together. I’m bias, but I think this is a really good story. And a few parts of the book really made me think about things. Hopefully, this story will be a catalyst for more open government, open data, and citizen participation in Raleigh, and beyond.

An open source city: Laying the foundation

Chapter 1: What makes a city open source?

  • What is open source?
  • What is open government?
  • The beginning of my citizen involvement
  • The elements of an open source city

Chapter 2: Citizen participation and culture

Part 1: CityCamp—The beginning

  • An interview with the mayor
  • A CityCamp was born
  • Organizing CityCamp Raleigh
  • Creating a citizen movement for open government
  • Changing government culture the open source way

Part 2: The culture of Raleigh

  • Raleigh: A place to find your tribe
  • SPARKcon: A creative event with open source roots
  • BarCamp: A technology-focused unconference
  • Walk Your City: Open source wayfinding
  • There’s something in the culture

Chapter 3: Open government and open data

  • An open source city takes shape: Open, online tools and data
  • The impact of Open Raleigh
  • How to get your city to pass an open government policy
  • Raleigh’s open government resolution and roadmap
  • Open data: Meaningful, visual information
  • The influence and impact of SeeClickFix
  • An open platform for the future

Chapter 4: Supporting user groups and conferences

  • Four ways Raleigh supports user groups
  • A signature, open source event
  • Hosting a FOSS fair the open source way
  • A playbook for user groups
  • A leader in open source

Chapter 5: A hub for innovation fueled by open source

  • Open source develops the future of downtown Raleigh
  • Connecting the dots: Open source, government, and economic development
  • Hosting an innovation summit
  • A year after the innovation summit
  • NC State feeds the innovative engine
  • Open source: A pillar of an innovative brand
  • A hub of open source companies

Chapter 6: Applying open government

Part 1: Code for America

  • A look inside Code for America
  • Hacking on code and culture: Failure as validated learning
  • What does open government mean to you?
  • Send in the brigade
  • Race for Re-use gives open source projects a second wind
  • Starting a Raleigh Code for America brigade
  • Raleigh brigade presents at city council
  • Race for Re-use results
  • Engagement days

Part 2: CityCamp tour & best practices

  • CityCamp Colorado
  • CityCamp Honolulu
  • CityCamp Kansas City
  • CityCamp and unconference best practices

Part 3: Evolving CityCamp Raleigh

  • What open source can teach government officials
  • The winning team: RGreenway
  • Transitioning from camp to code

Chapter 7: The future for an open source city

As I mentioned, feedback is welcome. If anyone would like to review a chapter or a section before I publish, please contact me.

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About Shibby

Jason Hibbets is a senior community evangelist at Red Hat which means he is a mash-up of a community manager and project manager for Opensource.com--a publication and story-telling platform for open source communities. At night, he wears a cape, and is a Code for Raleigh brigade captain as well as a CityCamp NC co-chair. Jason is the author of a book called The foundation for an open source city--a resource for cities and citizens interested in improving their government through civic hacking. While writing the book, he discovered his unknown super power of building communities of passionate people. Jason graduated from North Carolina State University and resides in Raleigh, NC with his wife, two kids, two border collies, nine chickens, lots of tomato plants, and a lazy raccoon somewhere in an oak tree. In his copious spare time, he enjoys surfing, running, gardening, traveling, watching football, sampling craft beer, and participating in local government--not necessarily in that order, but close to it. You can follow him on Twitter: @jhibbets
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  1. Pingback: Book introduction: The foundation for an open source city | hibbets.net blog

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