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This wiki space contains archival documentation of Project Bamboo, April 2008 - March 2013.

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A Social Network of Scholars, Researchers, Domain Experts and Technical Specialists


Bamboo should become a social network of scholars, researchers, domain experts and technical specialists who are interested in collaborating on projects and academic efforts, but because of differences in research domains, support areas, or professions may otherwise not be aware of opportunities to share ideas and contribute expertise outside of their immediate institutions or specialist communities. This social network, "Bamboo Grove," can be thought of as an umbrella above virtual research environments but below generalized social networks such as Facebook, Bebo, LinkedIn and MySpace.




Proposed/originated by:

Chad J. Kainz

University of Chicago

Current facilitator(s)



Back to main Mapping Future Directions page... 

Why might this direction be appropriate for Project Bamboo?



Create  "Bamboo Grove"

Bamboo includes faculty, librarians, IT professionals, scientists, representatives of organizations and industry and there is seems to be a lack of a way to easily connect across these various domains. From its early beginnings, Bamboo has become a community of individuals who seem to share a common vision of "enhancing arts and humanities research through shared technology services," so it seems natural to extend the collaboration beyond the technology layer and into the practice of research, learning, and scholarship by establishing a means to connect members across institutions, disciplines and professions. "Bamboo Grove" could knit together these various groups and enable connections that would otherwise be too difficult to create without some focused academic purpose as a starting point.

Aid the discovery of tools, services and resources

At some level, Bamboo will require some type of discovery service and a tool for that service. Bamboo Grove could be the user interface to the Bamboo discovery service as well as other services.

Could provide an environment to create opportunities for new collaboration

As a social networking environment, Bamboo Grove could integrate technologies such as Open Social to enable the adoption and use of common and widely adopted commercial social tools and environments. In doing so, Bamboo Grove could enable opportunities for broader collaboration beyond the traditional academic communities and virtual research teams/VREs.

Marketplace for Exchanging Resources, Ideas and Services

See the related direction.

Aid the discovery of tools, services and resources (cont'd)

The "Summit on Digital Tools for the Humanities," UVA, 2005, Final Report included these observations about the need for a tool or platform to aid in collaborative scholarly efforts: "Because these tools are just emerging and are evolving rapidly, participants concluded that the most valuable aid for collaboration would be a clearinghouse to inform and educate digital scholars about useful tools. Specifically, they would like to see a forum for evaluating when and how a tool is usefully wielded and what undocumented bugs the tool might exhibit in its functioning. This would include a careful description of each tool and a URL link to the tool's host site; the creator's vision of the tool; related software tools, resources, and a list of projects which use that tool; and rich indexing and categorization of tools listed in the clearinghouse or repository. To be even more useful, site content could be subject to a quality control process, which might include peer review of tools that are listed, as well as in-depth objective analyses of the pros and cons of the tool for various applications and necessary level of maintenance. Competitive tools in a category should be rated fairly against one another on several dimensions. The site should also provide relevant facts, such as dissemination history, pointers to full documentation, objective descriptions of uses by other scholars across multiple disciplines, statistics on adoption, and published results that cite the tool's use. This kind of a clearinghouse would require long-term funding support. However, it would be a useful mechanism for funding agencies to learn what tools are more productive, how they are being used, who uses them, and what tool functionality is still needed." (Collaboration, p. 17)  [contributed by Steve Masover]

  • Partial Data from "Future Directions" Exercise at Workshop 1.  Note, that this area was the most cited recommendation from workshop 1.  It is important to distinguish between the "social network" and the possible technological embodiment of this.  Also, note the wide variety of metaphors invoked here... "Craigslist", "marketplace", "lattice of interests", "trading zones", "marketplace", .... (David Greenbaum)
  • "Academic Craigslist" "Craigslist for project development" 1a
  • "Lattice of interests" 1a
  • "moderator of moderators"  "curator of curators" 1a
  • "focus on shared pain points" 1a
  • "Create a community that challenges & considers alternatives to current standards of authority/validation" Chicago, 1b-D
  • "Consortial network focused on intellectual/scholarly goals of technology in Arts & Humanities: (1) Engagement as institutions (2) Catalyst for inter- and intra-institutional networking ... & international" Paris, 1c-A
  • "How to engage non-US partners? o Build critical mass + Institutions at multiple levels + Have to know what "it" is + What are we networking - researchers, resources, or both? o Representation o Specify a prerequisite o Multiple levels o Awareness of opinion leaders (funders) o Need a focused committee to engage + do missionary work" 1c-B "A Community-Driven Organization. 
  • A clearinghouse to connect: people, projects, practice. Thinktank. -cross-cutting common practice" Princeton, 1d-B
  • "Establish central registry" of projects, tools, archives, 1d-c
  • "Trading zones: -Common language across disciplines -data exchange standards" 1d-C
  • "Help move projects from local/specific to broadly distributed/general" 1d-C
  • "Model collaboration between specifically-focused Humanities scholars and library/IT expertise" 1d-C
  • "Discover the silos, explicit community-building: people focused on this." 1d-D
  • "Establish think tank or professional organization to provide a framework/process to resolve, discuss, share and address current and future issues." 1d-E
  • "Knitting together, networking the "academic cloud" -sense of returned value -credibility of source -sustainability (including maintenance) -quality standards -dissemination standards" 1d-F
  • "Bamboo as a way of thinking, not just a thing." 1d-G
  • "Internationalize the experiences of people in the U.S. and how it fits/compares with overseas experience"  1d-G
  • "Build national coalition of digital humanists" 1d-G
  • "clearinghouse: -connect -people -personalize -projects -build relationship -expertise -tools" 1d-H
  • "Think Tank: -Balanced -Across all 5 sections -Process for continual improvement" 1d-H
  • "Sustainability models - evaluation standards process" 1d-I
  • "Meta level -> structuring community clearinghouse" 1d-I

Why might this direction be inappropriate for Project Bamboo?



Existing virtual research environments already cover this

VREs cover this for specific domains, so there may not be a need for Bamboo Grove

Digital workbenches exist

Digital workbenches for assembling tools into workflows already exist and creating another workbench does not seem like a valuable use of time and energy

What tools, standards, organizations, or efforts exist in this area?

Note:  This list does not need to duplicate listings on related-theme page(s) linked above. 


Description - what is it?

URL or other reference

Open Social

Google's Open Social APIs for connecting social tools together


Facebook social networking site


Bebo social media site


MySpace social networking site


Heurist collaborative knowledge space out of the University of Sydney


Elgg social networking platform

10 Open Source Social Platforms

From comes a list of the top 10 open source social platforms

JISC VRE Programme

JISC Virtual Research Environment Programme


Insoshi social networking platform


Social network for professional relationships

Tools for Data Driven Scholarship

GMU/MITH Conference Sponsored by NSF/NEH/IMLS to explore this theme and followup on UVA 2005 conference.

What tools, standards, organizations, or efforts are missing from this area?

Note:  This list does not need to duplicate listings on related-theme page(s) linked above.


Description - what is it?

URL or other reference



Related Theme(s) of Scholarly Practice


Related theme(s) of Scholarly Practice (links)

Rick Peterson

Although not a theme, there is a proposed direction that relates to this idea.

Jim Muehlenberg

Unsustainable Tools covers some of this territory, as referenced above in the excerpt from the 2005 Summit on Digital Tools for the Humanities contributed by Steve Masover.

Back to main Mapping Future Directions page...