MacGuffin will be a content-hosting platform and smartphone app for user-generated short stories. Free to use, all the stories on MacGuffin will be in text and audio form, making it perfect it for commuters, audiobook lovers and visually disabled users.
What’s special about it? With MacGuffin, a reader can hashtag other people’s stories, grouping them into genres (e.g. #spec-fic), memes (#lifechangingstories) or reading lists (#jimsfavouritehorrorreads) to share. A writing group can use it to share work in progress (#LeedsUniWriters). A writer can target new work to a specific target audience (#feminist #apocalyptic). And a reader can find something perfect for them (#10minutestories #crime #London). The more people tag, the more it helps discoverability.
MacGuffin will also offer an unprecedented range of analytics that anyone can use, helping writers, publishers, librarians and booksellers to see which stories, genres and memes are being read and shared by readers, and where. You’re a writer, and you want to know where in the world your story has been listened to this past week? MacGuffin can do that! Want to know how many readers stopped reading/listening after the first page? MacGuffin can do that, too.
MacGuffin launches in June 2015. We’ll be beta-testing from April 2015, so if you’d like to get involved, please email jim dot hinks at commapress dot co dot uk, and we’ll be in touch nearer the time.
The project is a collaboration between the award-winning independent publisher Comma Press, the Manchester Metropolitan University School of Computing, Mathematics and Digital Technology, and fffunction, a web design agency specialising in user-experience. It’s supported by the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts – Nesta, Arts & Humanities Research Council and public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
About the Digital R&D Fund for the Arts
The Digital R&D fund for the Arts is a £7 million fund to support collaboration between organisations with arts projects, technology providers, and researchers. It is a partnership between Arts Council England (www.artscouncil.org.uk), Arts and Humanities Research Council (www.ahrc.ac.uk) and Nesta (www.nesta.org.uk).
The fund wants to see projects that use digital technology to enhance audience reach and/or develop new business models for the arts sector. With a dedicated researcher or research team as part of the three-way collaboration, learning from the project can be captured and disseminated to the wider arts sector. Every project needs to identify a particular question or problem that can be tested. Importantly this question needs to generate knowledge for other arts organisations that they can apply to their own digital strategies.
For more information about the MacGuffin Project, please visit commapress.co.uk/macguffin