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  • Alfresco ECM Pilot and User Research

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

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A primary goal of the Bamboo Technology Project was to  “build applications and shared infrastructure for humanities researchers.” An essential element of this effort is the work space – an online environment in which scholars can organize, store, search, browse, annotate, manipulate and share the digital materials with which they work, securely and with ease. Work spaces also provide general tools, such as wikis, blogs, discussion fora, etc., to support the collaboration and communication needs of scholarly projects. 


In February 2011, the Alfresco ECM (ECM) work space team at UC Berkeley conducted user research to validate the functional requirements for a work space that adequately serves the endeavors of humanities and arts scholars. Across two focus groups with UC Berkeley faculty members and graduate students, participants viewed a functioning prototype of a Project Bamboo work space, logged into the prototype and completed various tasks; and engaged in open discussion as to what functionality worked, what functionality did not work, and what functionality was missing.  


Focus group results validated the functional requirements that guide the development of a Bamboo work space. The participants’ enthusiastic response to the ECM prototype confirmed the overall need for an environment of this type. In particular, participants found the prototype intuitive and easy to learn. All could accomplish key tasks after only a brief introduction to the platform.
The scholars embraced the work space’s tools for managing digital resources. During the hands-on trial, and in the discussion that followed, we asked participants to describe scenarios in which they could foresee using the work space. They saw the work space as:  
• Ideal for running a seminar, and for communications and collaboration among a course’s graduate student instructors. pros: common activity, cons: not good for mid semester activity?
• A great way to collect and organize research documents, images and multimedia, and then to use them as teaching and research materials in undergraduate courses. pros: good fit for research hub; cons: image gallery missing (but way better than b-space)
• A good means for co-authoring articles and papers, or for getting comments on a draft from a trusted colleague. pros: hub good for managing access to multiple colleagues; cons: simple collaborative authoring of single doc might not warrant investment in research hub, offsite colleagues through calnet affiliates program is tedious
• An archive for materials important to graduate students within a department, both academic documents and those geared to the multitude of training in which graduate students endeavor. Also, as a tool to support communications among this community of graduate students. The ability to categorize posts and documents was important here. pros: good fit for hub; cons: desire for better tagging, filtering
• A place to store movies viewed in a film class. pros/cons: this will be a strength of future offering of platform (a/v handling)
• A hub for collection of materials in preparation for journal production. pros: a good fit for hub; cons: might require offsite collaboration
Wiki and threaded discussion tools to support a digital collection. pros: strong ties to other bamboo activities; cons: not public, offsite collaboration might be issue

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