Ravelry.com: Examining Collection Scope and Domain

Indexing (documentary) units:

Documentary Unit: Free downloadable pattern with CC0/Public Domain designation

Young, C. (2010, September 18). Rainbow Ripple Baby Blanket pattern. Retrieved February 8, 2019, from  https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/rainbow-ripple-baby-blanket

Documentary Unit: User Project Post

DayanaKnits. (2010, November 15). DayanaKnits' Fabulous Freija. Retrieved February 8, 2019, from https://www.ravelry.com/projects/DayanaKnits/freija

Documentary Unit: Trademarked, downloadable 4.60 Euro pattern

Behm, M. (2010, November 15). Hitchhiker pattern. Retrieved February 8, 2019, from                               https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/hitchhiker

Collection (documentary) scope:

o   Creators and their characteristics:

Creators share a registration to Ravelry.com, experience with knitting, crocheting, or both, experience with following or creating a pattern, and access to knit and crochet tools/implements. Creators of the documents may also share traits such as: patience, attention to detail, knowledge of knitting technical terminology, knowledge of crochet technical terminology, knowledge of knit/crochet construction techniques, and basic web navigation skills.

o   Medium:

Display medium of documentary units include: patterns and pattern project images (.pdf, .jpeg encodings) displayed on web browsers, paper – if patterns are printed out from the web browser or hard disk after download, server – all units are hosted in the cloud by Ravelry, and yarn – as patterns and projects made are encoded as physical objects upon completion.

o   Periodicity:

Documentary units are uploaded regularly, and may also be updated periodically or regularly depending on the creator of the unit. For instance, User A may upload patterns every 4 months, and post updates to each pattern every 3 months, while User B may upload and update daily. Some units may never be updated, however.

o   Time of publication and/or creation:

This criteria is varies across each documentary unit – but there is no unit in the collection that precedes the time of publication of May 2007, which is the launch date of Ravelry as a website.

o   Place of publication and/or creation:

As with time of publication, this varies across each documentary unit – as the documents can be uploaded from any server with Internet access – but the place of publication for each unit will include (but not be limited to) Raverly.com.

o   Copyright status of the documentary units (are most of the documents in copyright? if yes, who holds the copyright?)

The default copyright of each unit is as follows according to Ravelry’s copyright notice: “All Rights Reserved. All Content Copyright and other rights reserved by its Respective Owners. No Content May Be Duplicated Without Express Written Consent.” However, many users waive this right in place of Creative Commons licensing, and/or CC0/Public Domain listing for their documentary units.

o   Level (audience):

Documentary units are intended for the Ravelry.com audience; this audience shares characteristics with the creators of the documents: a registration to Ravelry.com, experience with knitting, crocheting, or both, experience with following or creating a pattern, and access to knit and crochet tools/implements. The level of “skill” required of each audience member to interpret the unit varies from unit to unit.

o   Form/genre/style/domain:

“Form” is the most applicable of these scope criteria, as each documentary unit is linked, or could be linked, to a pattern: the “blueprint” to a knit or crochet project.

o   Language:

Documentary units will be in knit or crochet technical terminology; Ravelry lists the following languages as linked to documentary units as well: English, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Afrikaans, Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Faroese, Galician, Greek, Hebrew, Indonesian, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Persian, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak, Turkish, Ukranian, and Welsh. These languages are Romanized and non-Romanized across different documentary units.

o   Symbols:

Documentary units will include specialized knit and crochet symbols (charts, and stitch diagrams) as well as the Roman alphabet, and various non-Roman alphabets (such as Hangul, or Cyrillic characters).

o   Any qualitative criteria used to limit coverage:

Aside from the above, the most limiting qualitative criteria is registration and copyright. All documentary units in the collection are placed in the collection by registered Ravelry users. All documentary units in the collection cannot infringe on copyright holders (for instance, Ravelry cannot host an illegal upload of a designer knit pattern not provided by the designer).

The collection scope of Ravelry.com is vast, but there are key criteria that allows the index to be reliably usable and relatively effective to maintain. The first of these criteria: registration. Requiring users to become registered in order to add documentary units to the index will limit the amount of units that are added. Not all knitters or crocheters will register for Ravelry.com. The second and third criteria: Form and Audience. Each documentary unit will either be representative of a knit or crochet pattern, project, or product – or, it will be otherwise representative of a related knitting or crochet topic. The audience, as the users, is limited by the forms of knitting and crochet. A fiber artist interested in sewing will not consult Ravelry.com, further limiting the scope.

Additionally, the entities involved in indexing are usually established products: clothing, accessories, or soft furnishings. There may be ambiguity in some entries, but most documentary units will be straightforward to identify.  There are competing collections to Ravelry; most notably, collections from Creativebug.com and Craftsy.com which prioritize video documents. Someone may use Ravelry in place of these competitors, however, because many documentary units are free to access and reproduce, and the index itself is also free to access.

Collection (documentary) domain:

·       Is the collection open or closed? If it is closed, why is it closed? If it is open, how active is the process of acquiring new resources for the collection?

The collection is open. New resources are added in relatively large numbers weekly; the acquisition process is quick and large because of the amount of unit creators – over 1 million users have accessed the collection in the last 30 days, and of those, a proportion will add new resources.

·       Identify and describe the source(s) from which documents have been or can be obtained:

All items being sold are primary sources (products), and the people who create the documents are registered users of Ravelry.com. Items are, on the whole, relatively inexpensive because they are not “finished,” consumable goods. For instance, a sweater pattern for 6.00 euro, and accompanying yarn of 60.00 euro (both documentary units that could be in the Ravelry index) is less expensive than a 600.00 euro sweater from a designer brand. Additionally, important to note: Ravelry resources do not include resources outside of Ravelry users. As with Wiley Journal Finder, Ravelry has not economic interest in connecting users to resources outside of their collection.

·       Assess the impact of the collection domain on index usability and maintainability.

The limitation of registered-user uploaded items gives the collection a high level of maintainability but limits usability. Restricting the flow of documentary units to those placed into the collection by users makes the index finite and more easily maintained. However, the usability of the index is affected in that anyone who accesses the index will not be able to access documents not affiliated with Ravelry and it’s terms of service.

Display medium of the index

·       Identify and describe the medium used to display the index (not the documents in the collection). Comment on impact of display medium on access and retrieval.

The index is displayed via a website; the website is built with the encoding language of Ruby and the framework of Rails. The index is then hosted on a Ravelry server.

The index’s construction with Ruby on Rails is consistent with current web standards; making it effective and reasonable to access Ravelry from most browsers. Retrieval is similarly effective because of the display medium. Web standards and web security are two factors that may impact this effective access and retrieval. If most browsers, say, began to eliminate Ruby as a supported programming language they would display, then the index would become inaccessible and irretrievable. Similarly, if the Ravelry website is under DdoS (Distributed-Denial-of-Service) attack, the index will be inaccessible and irretrievable.