Hybrid Spaces

ISAM • 7th International Symposium on Academic Makerspaces

BridgeIt (2023)

Crossing the Knowledge Gaps Between Maker Communities of Practice

Screen shot 2023 10 18 at 1.41.36 pm.png ha


In recent years, online tutorials on video sharing platforms like TikTok and YouTube have become a prominent resource for DIY and makerspace learning, especially in offering valuable insight on the tools, materials, and techniques used. However, existing platforms often lack the comprehensive tools needed to navigate and connect knowledge across different DIY domains, creating a barrier for newcomers who must start from scratch when learning new skills. This result is hours spent watching video tutorials, mostly consisting of redundant information in hopes of finding answers to specific questions. The problem is compounded when operating in interdisciplinary practices because maker communities can be isolated in discrete “filter-bubbles” by search-engine algorithms which partition and segregate information into niche sub-communities whose motivations differ. To overcome this knowledge isolation challenge, we introduce BridgeIt, a knowledge discovery tool. BridgeIt allows both new and experienced makers to quickly understand a Community of Practice (CoP) by visualizing shared concepts between two communities, encouraging users to compare and contrast domains. Leveraging YouTube, BridgeIt collects tutorial transcripts from various communities, extracts key concepts, and presents them in an easily digestible format, supporting the development of a common language between otherwise disparate maker groups. Through effective aggregation and dissemination of community-based knowledge, BridgeIt empowers makers to collaborate and explore new interdisciplinary mediums.




Img 5408.jpg ha
Adam Emerson
Cesartorres.png ha
Cesar Torres