SERA: a brief Q&A, July 2015, Version 4
1. WHAT IS SERA
SERA is principally an archive of evaluation and research work relating to the Venezuelan music education initiative El Sistema and other Sistema inspired organisations around the world, placed onto Google Drive. SERA was set up in October 2012 following several months of discussion between Eric Booth, Richard Hallam, Glenn Thomas and myself in order to help spread knowledge of, and stimulate new initiatives into, El Sistema evaluation and research.
Members of SERA have also begun to place some interesting Sistema non evaluation and research material on the site. I have allowed the archive to grow with this additional material by recently adding a separate folder for this material, which varies from annual reports, symposia agendas to recorded interviews with Maestro Abreu.
As of this note on 26 July 2015 SERA has well over 150 members in 4 continents and contains almost 40 documents relating to Sistema work in Brazil, England, USA, Canada, South East Asia, Switzerland, the Caribbean, Venezuela and Scotland with interested members from many other countries. It is already a formidable assembly of material, probably the greatest concentration of informed and also varied Sistema evaluation material in the world. It is intended that the archive will eventually contain all published El Sistema evaluation and research work of importance in one online archive, as well as thinking about El Sistema evaluation and research, other research relevant to El Sistema, and as much proposed and ongoing evaluation and research work as people are comfortable placing in an open archive. The Archive is only accessible to a person once they have requested and received an invitation to access it (See 3. below).
The archive should be seen as a partner space for the Linked In Sistema Global sub group Sistema Research where global conversations about Sistema evaluation and research are taking place. Anyone using the archive is likely to want to join these conversations. Glenn Thomas runs the Linked in sub group, and indeed the parent Sistema Global.
2. WHO IS SERA FOR?
SERA is for anyone who wants access to Sistema related evaluation and research work, and/or who wants to place their own or other people’s work onto an open space online. You may want to see what research is and has been going on, access a particular document, submit a document for access by other people, including thoughts about research and evaluation. The accent is on an open network where thought can be given to the increasing demand for high quality data relating to El Sistema and Sistema inspired programmes. Interestingly the networks members vary from assistants and students to CEOs and Sistema Directors.
3. HOW DO I ACCESS SERA?
To access SERA you need to have a gmail e mail account and to e mail me (Marshall Marcus) at firstname.lastname@example.org for an invitation. When you receive the invitation click on the link. Should be that simple. In time there may be other ways to access the drive.
1. When you become a new member you agree to make sure that you have read, understood and agree to any duties in this Q&A, and that you agree to read any Q&A updates as they are issued.
2. When you become a new member please make sure you have filled in your details in the Users database. Anyone not registering here may have their access revoked. If you are an editing member you undertake to fill in your details on the SERA database in Folder 0., and if your are a read only member you undertake to provide your details (name, relevant positions, organisations you have positions with, and a contact e mail), AND to update these details when necessary.
3. Please ensure that you only place relevant work, that is, only true evaluation or research in the folders, except for Folder 8. Apart from Folder 8, this is not the place for comment on or discussion about Sistema (no matter how valuable) unless it relates to any real piece of evaluation or research. If you are not sure, place it temporarily in Folder 7 and e mail email@example.com to ask for advice. Wherever possible preface the title with the date of publication (if published), or the date of creation (if not published).
THANK YOU for respecting these few rules.
4. HOW SHOULD SERA BE USED?
All documents should be placed and accessed according to the following current categories:
- Folder 0. Data base of members, and Q&A
- Folder 1. Proposed Evaluation & Research Projects
- Folder 2. Ongoing Evaluation & Research Projects
- Folder 3. Published Evaluation & Research Projects
- Folder 3a. Non public Domain Published Evaluation & Research Projects
- Folder 4. Writing about Evaluation & Research Projects
- Folder 5. Non Sistema but Relevant Evaluation & Research Projects
- Folder 6. Sistema Evaluation Tools
- Folder 7. Currently unclassified material
- Folder 8. Archive of Sistema non Evaluation/Research writing
Please take care to place all documents into the correct category, and do not under any circumstance alter any documents already placed on the drive, unless you are the unique author.
It is strongly recommended to begin the name of all documents with the year of publication or initiation of work. To repeat the rules above:
1. If you are an editing member you undertake to fill in your details on the SERA database in Folder 0., and if your are a read only member you undertake to provide your details (name, relevant positions, organisations you have positions with, and a contact e mail), AND to update these details when necessary.
2. You agree to only place relevant work, and only in the appropriate folder, wherever possible prefacing the title with the date of publication (if published), or the date of creation, or initiation of the the work or idea (if not published).
In true Sistema fashion as the needs of the community using SERA develop so will the archive.
5. WHAT DO I DO IF I HAVE ANY PROBLEMS WITH SERA?
Please e mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org (please note that the old email@example.com is being phased out as an address)
Many thanks, Marshall Marcus