Shiftspace is an opensource decentralized metaweb, which allows users to annotate pages, communicate, share, and swap content on a layer that exists above the web. While the Internet's design is widely understood to be open and distributed, control over how users interact online has given us largely centralized and closed systems. The web is undergoing a transformation whose promise is user empowerment—but who controls the terms of this new read/write web? The web has followed the physical movement of the city's social center from the (public) town square to the (private) mall. ShiftSpace attempts to subvert this trend by providing a new public space on the web.
By pressing the [Shift]+[Space] keys, a ShiftSpace user can invoke a new meta layer above any web page to browse and create additional interpretations, contextualizations and interventions - which we call Shifts. Users can choose between several authoring tools we're working to develop - which we call Spaces. Some are utilitarian (like Notes and Highlights) and some are more experimental/interventionist (like ImageSwap and SourceShift). Users are also invited to map these shifts into Trails which can be used for collaborative research and extended as a platform for a context-based public debate.
ShiftSpace is commissioning artists to use its developer API, and create their own spaces. The platform evolves through an Open Source process that seeks to build advanced social software tools, develop workshops and create online public spaces within a distributed network architecture.