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This is an outline for Phase 1 (24 months) of a Bamboo Implementation Proposal.

The purpose of this document is to provide information to institutions and organizations participating in the Bamboo Planning Process so that they can help determine (1) the long term future of Bamboo and (2) define what activities Bamboo will carry out in its first implementation phase. The intent of this document is to solicit community input toward the ongoing development and revision of the implementation proposal. As this is an early draft, it is not yet a commitment to carry out all or any of this work.

Please note that we are updating this document frequently based on wide ranging input from the Bamboo community. These updates will occur periodically and will be indicated as ".1", ".2", ".3", etc updates. In addition, we will occasionally make major document revisions. These are noted as "1.X", "2.X", and so forth. Between major document revisions there may be some inconsistencies in language used between the sections of the document.

4.2 - Bamboo Atlas

4.2.1 Summary

The Bamboo Atlas will enable articulation, collection, review, and discovery of scholarly methods and digital technology that supports scholarship. Functionality - storage, organization, annotation, rating, review, search, and discovery - will be optimized to support the formation of communities of interest in humanities scholarship and support.

Scholars, librarians, and technologists will each find avenues into a rich store of practices and generalized workflows (a.k.a. "recipes") derived from those practices. Generalized workflows will include hyperlinked references to digital tools; to digital content; and to defined activities that involve using tools to examine, organize, annotate, and transform content. Tools will be further linked to technology services from which they are partly or wholly composed. Each of these elements and the relationships between them may be richly annotated with reviews, ratings, and descriptive tags (keywords). Atlas consumers will be able to use multiple methods of search and discovery that align to different user perspectives. Materials of interest and relevance can be surfaced via tailored filtering based on reviews, ratings, and tags related to self-identified areas of interest. Alternatively, filters may be based on contributions by trusted members of a scholarly community.

Initial scholar participation will be seeded by humanities faculty, including leaders in their discipline, whose participation will form a part of their institution's contribution to Project Bamboo. Incentives for ongoing contribution to the Atlas is key to the effort's success; incentives will include peer-reviewed publication of scholarly methodologies linked to Project Bamboo, and Atlas participation as an element of partnership with tool, application, and content projects (described in the Bamboo Services Platform section of this proposal). The Atlas will be further seeded by integration with existing efforts to catalog practice and technology as applied to the humanities. Over time, a gravity of proven utility and desire to participate in a vital network of engaged, collaborative scholarship will draw more and ongoing participation.

The Bamboo Atlas will be built as a services "back-end" that will enable the initial interfaces developed through close, iterative consultation with faculty and other Atlas users. The Atlas services will support a proliferation of interfaces, including unanticipated "mashups" implemented by interested parties outside or at the periphery of the Bamboo community. Human and machine interfaces to the Atlas materials will be enabled to permit presentations and analyses of the data by general or specialized communities of interest, as well as by those interested in humanist methodologies and their intersections with technology as an object of scholarship in and of itself.

4.2.2 Description Atlas elements and function

The technology services that realize the Bamboo Atlas will focus on the following principal elements:

  • Elements of Scholarly Methodology
    • Scholarly Narratives - Description of particular aspects of scholarship, scholarly methodology, research, and/or teaching from the scholar's point of view, and in her own language.
    • Recipes (generalized workflows) - Recipes describe how to achieve goals using information technology. Recipes are written for scholars and use non-technical language to describe the tools, digital content, and steps (activities) needed to complete work. In short Recipes generalize the particulars articulated in Scholarly Narratives into activities that occur across multiple processes of scholarship, and enable librarians and academic support professionals to develop technology to support those activities.
    • Activities - Steps (units of work, process, or procedure) that occur in the course of scholarship.
    • Tools - Software that a scholar uses to accomplish her goals. A tool usually aggregates and organizes a number of related software capabilities for the user's convenience.
    • Content - Digitized objects of scholarship. These may be digitized texts, images, audio, video, etc.; and may themselves be artifacts of prior scholarship.
  • Elements of Shared Technology Services
    • Services - A unit of software that delivers a related set of capabilities (functionality). Services implement capabilities that have been decomposed then logically grouped to flexibly facilitate (a) interoperability with other software and/or digital content; and/or (b) combination and recombination with other services in support of multiple tasks or workflows. A tool may aggregate, organize, and present the capabilities of multiple services.
    • Capabilities - In a service, a piece of work (software functionality) that the service can deliver on request.
    • Service Family - A group of related services.

The Bamboo Atlas will enable the following interactions between a community of scholarship and Atlas elements:

  • Contribution - Authoring (solo or collaborative) of each Atlas element, and assertion of relationships between them (e.g., Recipe X is a generalization of Narratives Y and Z)
  • Categorization - Atlas elements may be categorized in an individual's or in group-curated collections; and collections may be shared with individuals, groups, or the world
  • Annotation - Atlas elements and the relationships asserted between them may be annotated with "tags" (i.e., associated with a word or phrase from a curated or an unconstrained vocabulary)
  • Review - Participants may contribute a review of any Atlas element, including collections of elements
  • Rating - Participants may rate any element or relationship between elements on multiple scales (e.g., interestingness, utility, degree of generality/specialization, etc.)
  • Discussion - Participants may comment on Atlas elements, relationships, and metadata in "threaded" discussions
  • Community - Participants will be able to organize themselves in communities of self-defined interest, sharing profile information that enriches opportunities to connect
  • Search - Participants may search based on key words; occurrence of specified text in an Atlas element; association of an element with one or more tags; ratings; existence and character of reviews associated with Atlas elements; etc.
  • Discovery - Participants may browse Atlas elements filtered by association with a community of interest, trusted person, disciplinary topic, content type, language, annotation/tag, etc.; and will benefit further from unanticipated discovery services whose invention will be enabled by the open programming interface (API) to Atlas materials.

Back-end (behind the scenes) functionality will:

  • harvest and link to catalogs or registries of method, practice, tools, and services maintained by other projects and communities, enriching direct contributions by Atlas users with broad and deep effort that already supports humanities scholarship; and,
  • track usage of the Atlas, and present the information collected in ways that enrich search and discovery functionality
  • support notification to users who want to follow the evolution of Atlas elements, including metadata associated with and relationships between them.

Sidebar: Considering Precedent and Best Practice

A variety of user-interfaces will be enabled by services that provide access to Bamboo Atlas information; only a subset of those interfaces will be built by Bamboo partners. However, the range of that variety will be broadened or narrowed by service design decisions made by Bamboo partners. An iterative process of user-centered design will be employed to maximize the breadth of possibility. This process will include consideration of precedent and best practice in areas of Atlas function and interface, and exploration of how the Atlas can be tailored to specific contexts of humanities scholarship.

Here are some examples of existing precedent and practice in user interface design and function - mostly from well known commercial sites - that might both illustrate the concepts described in this proposal, and inform aspects of Atlas function and interface:

Search, Discovery, Trust

  • includes a book's citations and citations by other books, (see, for example, R. Ellmann, Yeats: The Man and the Masks, (Norton, 2000)).
  • includes key phrases "mined" using multiple algorithms from a book's text, (see, for example, R. Ellmann, Yeats: The Man and the Masks, (Norton, 2000)).
  • includes a concordance of the most frequently-occurring words in a book, as well as additional statistics mined from a book's text (see, for example, the concordance for W. G. Sebald's Austerlitz (Modern Library, 2002))
  • suggests similar items in its catalog based on usage patterns (in Amazon's case this is based on other books bought by those who bought the book being presented).
  • is a well-known example of how "tags" can function as a kind of one-word summary of the content of an image - tag visualizations on Flickr can search as a discovery mechanism, and can be focused by popularity or recent contribution.
  • uses geotagging to allow access to its billions of images by place
  • combines multiple sets of information, such as "where the clickthroughs are coming from; who comments on it and when; who marks it as a favorite; its tags and many more things which are constantly changing" to arrive at a measure of "interestingness," which serves as a path for discovery based on what others have found valuable.
  • In a (scientific) research context, presents recommendations based on other items viewed by those who viewed the item being presented (see, for example, the Nanohub entry for a Crystal Viewer tool)
  • An example of "faceted search" - the ability to search not just by keyword, but by categories of information - can be seen in the Flamenco list of Nobel Prize winners
  • exemplifies how deep hyperlinking - affording ability to wander idiosyncratically through a body of information, finding one's serendipitous way - can offer rich opportunities for discovery (start, for example, at the disambiguation page for the term Austerlitz, which can leads one to a novel referenced in examples in this list, as well as through articles on several cities, on the eponymous Paris train station, and on the performer Fred Astaire).

Review and Rating

  • includes views of a smaller, more prominently presented set of reviews, and a larger more complete set (see, for example, the initial, smaller and more detailed & complete presentation for W. G. Sebald's Austerlitz (Modern Library, 2002))
  • presents contributed reviews and ratings of a book in aggregated (chart) form and in detailed modes that permit viewers to see how other viewers judged the reviews/ratings, e.g., "most helpful" (see, for example, reviews and ratings for W. G. Sebald's Austerlitz (Modern Library, 2002))
  • allows a simple expression of approval via its one-click "Like" function that can be applied to the status updates, photos, and other content contributed by one's social network ("friends" in Facebook's jargon)
  • Apple Computer's support forums allow someone who submitted a question to mark a response "helpful" or "solved," which awards "points" to the person who responded. A participant's accrued points boost the level of a status marker that appears next to each of the participant's contributions, affording viewers a quick way to judge how the community ranks or trust contributions from active participants.

Present information tailored to different interests and audiences

  • presents articles on a topic in different languages. Some of these articles may be or may originate in translations of a single contribution, while others are presentations of a topic contextualized by contributors whose perspectives are situated in different national or linguistic frames (see, for example, the English-language article on Gare d'Austerlitz, the Paris railway station; this article is translated or differently-presented in fourteen languages as of 25 May 2009).
  • Dell Computers is notorious for organizing its website to obscure content by forcing users to choose a perspective (such as "Home" or "Public Sector") that influences - most often narrowing - the range of products presented as available for purchase. The Bamboo Atlas will want to avoid that trap.


  • Many Eyes is a data visualization lab run by IBM. From tag-cloud examples to maps portraying where the "worst drivers" can be found in the U.S., this site gives some sense of the breadth of possibility when a well-defined service back end opens data to visualization "mashups."
  •'s concordance (also used as an example in the Search, Discovery, Trust section, above) displays the most frequently-occurring words in a book as a tag cloud (see, as above, the concordance for W. G. Sebald's Austerlitz (Modern Library, 2002)) Atlas-enabled activity

Visitors and contributors to the Bamboo Atlas will participate in a number of meta-activities, some simply in the course of using the Atlas, and others as deliberate explorations and analyses of Atlas content and usage. These meta-activities include:

  • User-centered design: Bamboo members will work together to observe how users interact with the Atlas in order to refine its functionality and interface.
  • Contribution as a mode of scholarly communication: Contribution to the Bamboo Atlas will be linked to avenues of scholarly communication, such as publication in digital journals focused on methods of scholarship in the arts, humanities, and interpretive social sciences.
  • Design and review of technology services: The Atlas will serve as a forum to express the nature and methodology of humanist practice, and to respond to evolving implementation of technology services that attempt to support scholarship.
  • Evaluation of scholarly practice: Scholars will use the collection of information in the Atlas to consider the nature and evolution of scholarship in the arts, humanities, and interpretive social sciences.
  • Linking research and pedagogy: Research practice and method represented in the Atlas will be available as source material for pedagogy in modes of humanities scholarship; and pedagogy represented in the Atlas will be available as source material for research in pedagogy.
  • Assessment of the impact of Project Bamboo: Patterns and shifts in modes of scholarship will be traceable through usage activity collected about services offered and/or tracked by the Bamboo Atlas. These trends can inform assessment of Bamboo's qualitative and quantitative impact on its community. Incentives to Atlas contribution

Integration of effective incentives to participation is fundamental to the success of the Bamboo Atlas. Incentives might include particular elements or functionality in the Atlas, and might be modeled on successful community-building functionality in "Web 2.0" sites, platforms, and other contexts (e.g., Amazon, Flickr, Wikipedia - see sidebar). Incentives might also include linkage of other activity, such as deployment of services on the Bamboo Services Platform or publication of methodology in peer-reviewed journals, to Atlas contribution. Efforts to identify incentives have begun in the Bamboo Planning Phase, and will continue as a vital strand of Implementation Phase work.

Incentives proposed to date include publication of Atlas contributions in a digital journal (e.g., Atlas contribution of narratives and recipes documenting humanist methodology as a path from or to a dedicated, peer-reviewed vehicle of scholarly communication). It is expected that partnerships described in the Bamboo Services Platform section of this proposal will include an element of contribution to the Bamboo Atlas as well.

Incentive suggestions are being actively solicited for inclusion in this proposal. Please contact David, Chad, or any of the Program Staff with your suggestions.

4.2.3 Value

The Bamboo Atlas will connect the ebb and flow of teaching and research with the constant changes of technology. Shifting ideas about how practices, resources, and services can and should be linked together will be implicit in the Atlas, and available for discovery, analysis, and interpretation by humanists with more and less engagement with technology-enabled methodologies. Dialogue generated in the course of exploration and review will connect scholars with technologists, researchers with content providers, students with instructors and practitioners, and domain specialists with engineers.

Awareness: The Atlas will function as a living library to record, preserve, and make available information that traces the developing course of digital scholarship in the humanities. While it cannot be complete, it will leverage user contributions as well as harvested and linked information from catalogs and registries maintained by others. In doing so, the Atlas will offer tailored access to descriptions of practice and method, and provide pointers to methods, tools, and digital content applicable to the interests of Atlas users. Ability to dynamically view and "mine" (use software to detect patterns in) evolving resources and analysis, and draw connections to broader contexts and categorizations, will help faculty, students, librarians, funders, institutional leaders, technical architects, and service developers to engage in and support humanities scholarship.

Insert here: a humanist's take on how Awareness will affect her work (multiple, different perspectives - particularly from faculty with different degrees of engagement with technology-enabled methodology - would fit well here)

Connection: Shared profile information and the ability to form communities of interest around contribution, review, rating, and annotation of Atlas content will foster connections between scholars across disciplinary, institutional, and international borders.

Insert here: a humanist's take on how Connection will affect her work

Collaborative Design: Scholars' narratives and "recipes" (generalized workflows) will inform technologists of humanists' real-world needs, while ratings and reviews provide direct feedback that will shape revision and evolution of technology services.

Insert here: a humanist's, technologist's, librarian's, or iSchool faculty member's take on how Collaborative Design will affect her work

Consideration of practice: Means to surface and assess usage patterns and shifts in modes of research and pedagogy will inform scholarly assessment of technology's impact on the humanities, as well as assessment by funders and campus stakeholders.

Insert here: a humanist's or iSchool faculty member's take on how Consideration of practice will affect her work

4.2.4 Work Plan

Realizing the Bamboo Atlas will involve multiple strands of effort that will strongly influence each other in iterative increments. Some effort can (and must) occur in parallel, with appropriate coordination points and processes. Implementation Phase efforts will be informed by Proof of Concept accomplishments during the Planning Phase. At a high level, elements of Implementation Phase strands of effort are:

  • Year One
    1. Refine concepts and attributes of Atlas artifacts (Narratives, Recipes, etc.) and the processes by which they are collected, analyzed, and annotated
    2. Develop and realize incentives to participation in Atlas activity
    3. Model an initial base set of user interfaces to Atlas functionality, using an iterative user-centered design process
    4. Collect, contribute, analyze, organize, annotate, review, and rate Atlas content, both during and after service development phases
    5. Model services API and data structures to support Atlas functionality, conforming to relevant standards and taking into account the above in iterative stages of model development
    6. Build services to support Atlas functionality
    7. Identify valuable external sources of information to harvest and/or link to from the Bamboo Atlas
    8. Build software that will appropriately ingest information from sources other than participant input
    9. Deploy Atlas services on a Bamboo Services Platform
    10. Build an initial base set of user interfaces to Atlas functionality
    11. Deploy an initial base set of user interfaces to Atlas functionality
  • Year Two
    1. Model, design, implement, and deploy enriched functionality and interfaces based on experience and analysis of Atlas usage and value
    2. Model, design, implement, and deploy functionality to enable community-curation of vocabularies (taxonomies, ontologies, synonymies) to enrich search and discovery mechanisms
    3. Model, design or adapt, implement, and deploy service registry functionality

Each of the elements listed will have many component pieces of work; these are fleshed out further in the Detailed Work Plans section of this proposal. The high level effort for Year 1 (2010) might be represented graphically, in sequential layers and mutually-influencing strands:


Annual Deliverables




Year 1

  • Productionized Bamboo Atlas services
  • Productionized base set of user interfaces
  • Body of Atlas materials (contributed and harvested)
  • Incentive program(s) to attract participation
  • Services Registry model or adoption-plan
  • Year 1 Atlas entities will include Narratives, Recipes, Activity Definitions, Tool References, Content References; but will not include Services Registry elements.
  • Year 1 Atlas metadata entities will include Discussions, Reviews, Ratings, and Annotations (Tags).
  • Year 1 community entities will include People, Profiles, and Community Groups.
  • Year 1 Atlas services will enable all interactions listed in 4.2.1, above, at a useful and usable level of sophistication
  • Year 1 Atlas services will expose administrator-curated vocabularies (designed and refined by Bamboo Plan partners)
  • By the end of Year 1, an extant Services Registry implementation will be selected, or a model for a Bamboo Services Registry will be sketched. The intention is to implement/adopt Services Registry functionality in Year 2.

Year 2

  • Enriched user-profile
  • Enriched search and discovery functionality
  • Enrichment and evolution of Year 1 Atlas functionality (based on user-centered design feedback)
  • Community-curated vocabularies (taxonomies, ontologies, synonymies)
  • Services Registry


Sidebar: Modeling Challenges

As the Bamboo Community sharpens its conception of the Atlas, modeling and design complexities will arise in both predictable and unanticipated areas. Some of the non-trivial issues likely to require resolution include:


  • What should be versioned? Only major entities (e.g., narratives, recipes)? Reviews and ratings? Relationships between tags and entities?
  • Should the relationships asserted between major entities be "version aware"? What (if anything) should happen when a relationship has been asserted between Narrative X and Recipe Y, and Y is revised? Must the assertion be revisited? May it be optionally re-asserted vis-a-vis the new revision of Y?
  • Should superceded (old versions of) content be indexed, or should search mechanisms only index current versions of things like narratives, recipes, reviews, and ratings?
  • If multiple groups form, and the full membership of each decides that the groups ought to be merged, how should the Atlas track pre-merge group activity (such as group-contributed reviews or ratings, assuming such activity is enabled)?
  • If a scholar uses a certain word to "tag" Atlas content, then decides she would rather use a more broadly-employed equivalent term, should her original choice disappear, or should it remain part of the Atlas in some inactive or less-preferred form?

Collaborative, Editorial, and Curatorial Activity

  • Is all collaborative contribution a collaboration among peers, or might a role of principal author, curator, owner, or editor-in-chief apply to certain modes of engagement with the Atlas?
  • Should an editor/curator be able to assert "this is a variant of artifact X" and release that variant to the world, allowing the original author to actively accept, actively reject, or ignore the proposed variant? Or should the submission be to the original author, allowing her to decide which suggestions to accept and reject?
  • Should a contributor be enabled to grant a "collaborator" or "editor" role to whomever she wishes? Should such a role be grantable for each contribution, for all contributions, for contributions of certain types (e.g., all recipes, but no narratives), or all the above?
  • Should an individual or group be enabled to keep a contribution private until the contribution is judged ready to share? In such cases, should the contribution's evolution (versions) be made public, or only the ready-for-release draft - or should both options be available?

Federated Content

  • How should the Atlas incorporate or refer to material maintained by other tools, sites, or archives?
    • Copy/cache or simply refer?
    • What if a referral URL/URI is not permanent?
    • Should there be ongoing, automated link-checking; and, if so, what ought to happen when a link is discovered to be broken?
    • What metadata could be identified and stored to facilitate finding a cached copy of an artifact (e.g., in the Internet Archive) should originally-referenced material go away?
  • What arrangements can and should the Bamboo Atlas make with copyright holders of materials that are image-digitized but for which OCR'd text is not directly available? E.g., in the case of journal articles about humanist methods that are held by JSTOR, should the Atlas be designed to federate search across the JSTOR index (cf. XML Gateway) on demand (when a user explicitly searches) ... or should the Atlas attempt to incorporate JSTOR search results into its own map of humanist methodology?
  • How can information of value to the Bamboo Atlas be identified and appropriately culled or referenced out of sprawling, unfocused archives in which it may reside, e.g., in the HATHI Trust collections, or even on the web as a whole?

Privacy vs. Value

  • How can the Atlas be designed to encourage sharing of contributions that enrich search and discovery functionality?
  • Should Atlas contributors be permitted to maintain private collections of information on Atlas infrastructure?
    • Private to themselves alone, to groups they belong to, to institutions with which they are affiliated?
    • Is there a type of obfuscated sharing that ought to be minimally required - such as profile attributes that are publicly exposed without association to individual identity; and public concordances of words that occur in contributed material associated with identity-obscured profile information but not with the private material itself?
    • Should sharing information with internal Bamboo Atlas indexing functions be required? What about sharing with analytical software that uses the Bamboo Atlas as a source of information, but resides outside the "boundaries" of data governed by access permissions that Atlas users define?
  • Should a participant be allowed to dissociate her Atlas-profile from public-domain publications, associations, and other expressions of ideas that no longer fit her point-of-view? Or should such information be preserved, with a provision for the participant to declare her current relationship to it (e.g., "I no longer believe this is true"?


  • Which elements of the Atlas should be maintained in alternate languages for internationalization purposes, if any?
  • Which translated elements ought to be maintained as part of the core Atlas information, and which as part of an internationalization service "layer" atop the services that provide an interface to core Atlas information?
  • How should the Atlas services be modeled to facilitate declaration of the language in which a submission (narrative, recipe, review, tag) is being contributed?  Should the Atlas record whether submissions contain text in multiple languages, and if so how? (Note a begged question here, which is an independent category of modeling challenges: how and to what degree and using what standards should textual contributions be marked up with respect to semantic content, formal structure, and/or presentational format.)
  • How can Atlas services be modeled to best interact with services that machine-translate textual content?
  • How can Bamboo best engage partners with expertise in language issues, such as CLARIN?

  • No labels


  1. Unknown User (wnmartin)

    In case you did not see my comment/pointer on the Major Areas of Work page,
    I made an entry in "Blog Posts and Discussion" area about "community design",
    the necessity of it, and the way I imagine the Scholarly Networking and Bamboo Atlas areas can work together to enable and encourage it.
    See: Community Design.

  2. Unknown User (

    David Germano (UVA) made a good point about needing to create pragmatic incentives for faculty to refer and contribute to the Atlas (and to not lose track of the extended community of users of digital resources and tools). The scholarly networking group is working on (as a possible direction) a plan to help create software for a "social networking" extended faculty directory, such as Vivo (used at Cornell). From here one could provide hooks into an Atlas so that faculty e.g. could move easily from looking for colleagues w/similar research interests to tools related to those interests and vice versa. This may address at least the first issue.

  3. Unknown User (

    Draft discussion notes from first (of 2) Atlas break-out sessions/Wednesday

    Initial concerns voiced:
    not enough 'arts' in Bamboo proposal
    education and pedagogy not strong enough

    Questions: What exactly is the Atlas? Why would someone go there? What would they find? What incentives would there be for anyone in the Humanities to contribute?

    Some answers:
    End-to-end processes and that can become integrated into teaching programs
    A place where researcher with a project in mind would look for similar projects, software, etc.
    A place for go for help with classroom projects and find out what are the tools, how was it evaluated, how much time did it take, etc.

    "Recipe" reflects a technologist's approach. We're talking about an inquiry into scholarship. It would be helpful to see use cases in the narrative about how different users would approach the Atlas.

    The proposal needs to characterize the Atlas as scholarly problems that are of interest to humanists.  There are other ways to find tools, if you put on your technology hat.  Perhaps the need for the Atlas might not be as acute once it's what we do.

    To make the registry concept work, the proposal needs to emphasize interoperability. There is a concern about having people look one place for local services and another for shared services. Key will be to coming to agreements on taxonomies, controlled vocabularies, etc.

    Why we don't have graduates and undergraduates in the language of the proposal? Students as scholars?

    Recipe metaphor: content (ingredients), tools (utensils), and activities (steps)...and people who eat the food. The Atlas must be socially network.  Expect several entry points.  

    Proposal needs a narrative about how the Atlas is used in the proposal

    Consider groups of scholars, not just individual scholars as audience

    Invert the presentation and start with the value of the Atlas to the community

    Steve addressed the Atlas as registry/repository...It's not just a bunch of buckets to hold a bunch of information, people can come together to express what is important to their particular areas of arts and humanities, where there can be some back-and-forth discussions. We're trying to articulate the Atlas as a forum for the community of scholarship to come together and go back and forth on what matters in the Humanities.

    Is keeping a current directory of scholars in the Atlas an incentive for scholars or a diversion from doing something new through Bamboo?  

  4. Unknown User (bbobley)

    Current discussion is about a "curated" repository.  Team members might want to consult with "Tools for Data Driven Scholarship" final report written by CHNM and MITH staff.  It discusses the idea of a curated tools repository to facilitate discussion, networking, and code sharing.  See:

  5. Unknown User (

    To add to our breakout group discussion:

     Perhaps the concept of pedagogy is incorporated into the Atlas but the language is not strong enough for many teach institutions (such as CUNY or San Jose State).  I also brought up including students and pedagogical innovation into the language (as scholars or artists).  For an example, see what has done with their exhibits:

    Mary (from Dartmouth) at the last meeting suggested that we start from the bottom up with students -- while that's not the discussion here today, surely we can incorporate especially graduate students more into this proposal (question).

     Steve Brier and others brought up a good idea about not only using the atlas to discover "how" in the face of a question from a student who wants to do a particular project, but also how to incorporate (for instance) more film studies in the entire semester/quarter's curriculum.  That would incorporate more pedagogy into the Atlas. 

    These are all random thoughts based around pedagogy that may or may not be able to be emphasized in the BIP.  How do we do this so that teaching-focused institutes will have more incentive to join Bamboo?  (CUNY has 23 campuses; CSU has 22 campuses -- these alone would be a massive boon to the Bamboo community, yes?)

  6. Unknown User (

    To ensure we make clear the benefits of Bamboo to pedagogy, we should have the opening case statements include pedagogical elements. I would prefer one of them be pedagogically targeted: 'I had been using text analysis tools in my research and wanted to teach them to students, so I went to my local computing center and talked to ... '.  This way when we mention teaching in the various sections (such as Recipes should include the term) it will not seem isolated. [later note: I seem to have confused "case statements" with "narratives." Could narratives be used in the case statement section?]

  7. Unknown User (dfg9w)

    ˇI talked about the tool that we have built at UVa, partially with an eye towards the discussion in Bamboo which has evolved into the Bamboo Atlas, and offered it as asa possible base for developing the Atlas. "Fathom" (an early name which may be changed) is a Ruby on Rails software application intended to facilitate (info) social networking, (ii) a directory of tools, technologies, and standards, and (iii) integrated access to usage scenarios, recipes, case studies, narratives, and methodologies relating to the use of digital technology in higher education for learning, teaching, research, performance, service, engagement, and publication.

    The application has been developed in 2008-9 by the University of Virginia's SHANTI (Social Sciences, Humanities, and the Arts Network of Technological Initiatives) in collaboration with the UVa Library's Scholar's Lab. The lead programmer has been Nick Laicona of Performant Software, along with John Feminella of Performant Software, Matt Matchell of the UVa Library, and Heiser Mazariegos of UVa's Tibetan and Himalayan Library (


    • a WYSIWYG interface with standard tagging features to enable individuals, projects, and organizations to describe themselves and their work in structured ways
    • user-generated tagging to describes interests and affiliations in different classes (disciplines, time periods, geographical areas, technologies, etc.)
    • similar interface and tagging for creating structured descriptions of tools, technologies, and standards
    • indexing of tools entries through a web service api of a separate application that maintains an annotated hierarchical typology of tools, technologies, and standards
    • ability to specify relationships between individuals, projects, organizations, and tool entries
    • visualization tool to visualize these relationships
    • faceted searching/browsing of entries using user-generated tags

    We are currently planning to have release 1.0 in August of 2009, but we have an earlier release with limited functionality in production for UVa at The project is open source, and the source code can be found on Ruby Forge (

    A present (summer 2009), we are working on the following tasks for completion in the next month:

    • ability to add multiple "reviews" to tool entries which have a structured template
    • creating a new posts section, which allows posts that are classified into categories (looking for programmer, seeking intern, etc.) as well as tagged with associations (technologies, academic disciplines, etc.)
    • making the application into an "engine", which will allow software to be presented in different styles and contexts without being wedded to a specific website/presentation
    • implementing RSS/email notifications
    • completing the tools module by adding various functionalities and refinements.
    • improving the presentation of the faceted searching interface to make it a bit more user friendly

    Once complete, we will proceed to the following tasks:

    • redoing the browse interface for people, projects, organizations, and tools, to do such things as integrated the facetted browsing
    • address how to present narratives, use cases, and recipes of various scholarly activities and how they relate to technologies

    Since input data is incomplete, much of the above can only be fully seen in the editorial interface.

    You can also see the annotated taxonomy builder at, as implemented for Tibet things. This includes:

    • capacity to easily build and modify hierarchical taxonomies on the Web
    • to put multiple descriptions, each with author attribution, for each category and subcategory
    • to specify bibliographical sources for descriptions
    • to specify curators of any taxonomy, or taxonomy branch
    • web service api to use as a service in indexing other applications

    In Fathom, this is being used through a web service api to index the tools according to type.

    Some aspects were just built, or are just being finished up. So, again, only the editorial interface fully shows its power. Then the main thing we are working on is using the taxonomies to browse data which have been indexed by them. In the case of fathom, the idea is to show the tools entries that have been indexed by a given category; for the Tibet work, this will include showing images, audio-video, maps, etc. that have been indexed by any given category.

    1. Unknown User (

      David, we are finally at a stage here at SJSU to build a virtual space in which our faculty can collaborate and share.  Our new CIO (Bill Maguire) has given us server space and an IT staffer to help with the rollout here at SJSU. Since we have momentum this semester, we have to move ahead to build some sort of centralized arena; this will in turn attract more partners on campus (for funding, collaboration, etc.).  

  8. Unknown User (

    A few additions to the above summary comments:

    1. A stronger statement re: pedagogy is important, if Bamboo wants to transform humanities scholarship, its reach needs to extend into the educational process so a next generation begins to think differently about new types of analysis enabled by existing and new tools.

    2. The elements specified in are a good base but not exclusive.  Where did these come from?  Can that be phrased more open ended. 

    3.  I wonder whether the examples in are a bit misleading?  Do we really expect this type of critical mass in any tools developed by Bamboo?  Maybe consider other success criteria.  You might want to use some more humanities examples: Flicker Commons, Everglades Digital Library does ranking, Australian Newspaper (National Library of AUstralia) project crowdsourcing to correct OCR of  newspapers, Polar Bear Expedition Digital Collections does collaborative filtering.  Participation varies greatly in these sites, but they have more of the type of information used in humanities scholarship.

    4. In the deliverables for years 1 and 2 there should be something about evaluation (Bamboo process, any tools developed, etc.).  

  9. Unknown User (

    Perhaps both research projects and curricular projects would be served by including the ability to note ways of establishing the efficacy of a given recipe/tool/method.  In terms of pedagogy this might help in terms of thinking about assessing the efficacy of a particular type of exercise or tool.

  10. Unknown User (jonmck)

    To reiterate something I raised at the start of the Atlas workgroup on Wed: the entire BIP document-and thus Project Bamboo-stills slants toward the humanities and away from the arts. Two telling examples: 1. in the Wordle cloud displayed at the second day, one is hard-pressed to find the words "art," "artists," and "creativity"-I did find the word "arts" in the tiniest of fonts, but only after a long search; and 2. the phrase "scholars, librarians, and technologists" appears throughout the document and effectively serves to define the Bamboo community, but most artists I know don't readily identify as scholars but rather as practioners, researchers, and, well, artists. While "educators" might work, I suggest we adopt "scholars/artists, librarians and technologists" as a start in revising the BIP "toward" artists. Another start: we need to unpack the verb "transform," especially in relation to content: scholars cite, annotate, gather content but artists transform content and that raises lots of interesting and thorny issues (eg, copyright, fair use).

    A related question: does Bamboo really propose to serve the arts broadly conceived or only arts educators? Whereas the vast majority of humanists work in educational institutions, only a minority of artists do....

  11. Unknown User (

    John Coleman's concrete proposal on Wednesday for a measure of success for the Atlas in Year 1 of Build is:

    "A working, partly-populated prototype Atlas with some (but not complete) functionality, sitting in/on a working instance of the Services Platform, and accessible via a couple of different, actually-existing institutional front ends."

  12. Unknown User (

    I've been talking about the Scholarship of Teachingand Learning and the importance for the Atlas group to include pedagogy as one of its areas of interest and focus. I also mentioned Randy Bass at Georgetown. One of Randy's most important projects in this area is the Visible Knowledge Project, info about which can be found at:

    I would also call attention to one of Randy's original digital humanities projects, American Crossroads, a digital project in American Studies, info about which can be found at:

  13. Unknown User (dfg9w)

    The Bamboo Atlas will help faculty and students (info) find tools to do what they want to do in their scholarly activities and lives (whether research, teaching, learning, service, engagement, networking, or publication); (ii) then assess each tool in terms of its functions, how broadly it is used in general, how extensively it used/being developed/being supported specifically within their peer micro-communities (locally, nationally, internationally, within institutions, disciplines, etc.), what the strengths/weaknesses of each tool are, and various use scenarios for its utility; and (iii) finally of course to actually chose a tool based upon the preceding and get as much information, support, and guidance as they can for their use of that tool.

  14. Unknown User (

    I volunteered, along with Kathy Harris, to write something about pedagogy and SOTL as a value proposition for the Atlas

    1. Unknown User (

      Mark Williams & Worthy Martin are also on board with writing this value statement.

  15. Unknown User (mfurlough)

    Nikki Saylor, Michael Spalti and I will draft text to highlight the potential value of the Atlas for stewards of content.

  16. Unknown User (dfg9w)

    Why should research and pedagogy not be separated?

    • many basic technical needs and tools that are required for research and pedagogy are the same
    • by including pedagogy explicitly, it both expands our pool of participants and hence increases the likelihood of a vital community maintaining and expanding the Atlas's information
    • * if people have to go different places to find research vs pedagogy tools descriptions, narratives, etc., it confuses and dissipates energy
    • many are looking at how to take research principles and embed them into the classroom, so that classes become more of a research agenda; this includes publishing the results of classroom activity, and having classrooms merge with the  collaborative research programs.
    1. Unknown User (

      Thank you for this list, David.

      A recent Digital Humanities article discusses this idea that DH now forces people to think about pedagogy, service and scholarship as irrevocably intertwined.

      Scott Jaschik. "Tenure in a Digital Era." Inside Higher Ed. 5/26/2009

  17. Unknown User (

    Draft discussion notes from second-day morning session

    What is it we should do in year one? How will we identify success?
    Initial thoughts about what constitutes a success in year one:

    -          Getting engagement from scholars (others thought that was too ambitious)

    -          Developing a toolkit for scholars and finding a good methodology

    -          A body of narratives


    Don't underestimate how hard it is get narratives.

    If we have 10 narratives per area, that is plenty, but what about curation of those narratives?

    Element set doesn't get us to the analysis we need. We need guidance about what we need before we collect more narratives.

    If each participating institution commits to submit narratives, that gets us on our way to a significant body of content.

    Doubts were raised about the value of the narratives or description of tools vs. 'where's the stuff' (content), but that is not an endorsement for yet another catalog

    Pedagogy of teaching and learning belong in these narratives/recipes--- it gives us a broader audience to engage.

    In the recipes metaphor, emphasis local foods. Bamboo isn't about making someone's scholarship homogonous, but making it dynamic and transformative


    Bamboo fellows---post-docs to gather scholarly narratives (through interviews?) or project-specific fellows charged with submitted documentation to Bamboo (others raised the concern that with advertising, hiring, etc., it could be hard to achieve in year one)

    Make narratives a condition of institutional and grant funding.

    Getting reciprocal access to others' tools

    Automatic advertising of your stuff when you contribute

    Mechanism for providing a stable/standard citation for what is contributed (places scholarly obligation to cite work---tool or scholarship)

    Site can accumulate metrics for who is looking for what and how much interest exists for topics/tools

    Incentivize developers at institution to refactor project-specific tools as open-source & document


    Principle incentive---it's directed at the humanities

    Additional comments

    Make content reviewable, rated and discussed as a way to facilitate evaluation

    We don't want to be too bound by one-year timeframe and self-select

    Lots of focus on narratives in the proposal, but we need more about how do we develop this ongoing feedback loop  

    Do we want to engage the stewards of content more?

    The era of the individual scholar is over...this will be news to some

    Humanities love to be meta---there is a way to rhetorically situate that concept

     Bamboo should identify societies, journals, disciplines---reach out to the communities that have been established

    Rich suggested that while content, narratives, and tools need to interconnect, we should figure out what lens to approach this with

    Do we know enough about what the Atlas is to say what the value is? (There is a chicken & egg problem, but creating value statements can help shape the 'what.')

    Research v. pedagogy discussion

    It was suggested that research should be up-front  v. pedagogy

    We've been trying to think about bringing research into classroom. Segregating the two interferes with the more interesting things that digital technologies have afforded us. (See Germano post.)

    It's possible that the structure for the Atlas is amenable to including stories about pedagogy. Structure that Bamboo builds will accommodate a great variety that our community members want to use it for.

    Value of the Atlas (Statements  due June 30 to Bamboo staff)

    A way to credentialize tool-building - interoperability/usability would be an important credential

    Seeking reliable tools, services, and people to communicate with on the development of those

    Look at areas of high-usage to lead Bamboo development tools for the community

    Statements...(a rough accounting of who is interested in doing what)

    1)      Value to cultural organizations---They  can no longer afford to take on digital initiatives in an opportunistic way. They need to identify communities of practice to engage, to make sure content has impact, provide evidence to the value of refactoring tools/content (Michael Furlough, Penn State, and Nicki Saylor, Iowa, will lead others in writing a paragraph)

    2)      Value to IT people who support digital humanities. The Atlas helps them understand the range of practice and how to connect local efforts to efforts elsewhere. (Jim Muehlenberg, UW-Madison)

    3)      Help finding a faculty member find a tool they need, find out who is developing the tool, its strengths and weaknesses (David Germano, Virginia)

    4)      Addressing campus administrators---will help us build on what has been done, help target resources effectively, leverage local resources (Janet Broughton, Berkeley)

    5)      Value to faculty in search of how-to information? (Howard Morphy Australian National)

    6)      Value to stakeholders? (Deb Keyek-Franssen, Colorado)

    7)      Value of pedagogy of teaching and learning (Stephen Brier, CUNY and Kathleen Harris, San Jose State)

    8)      Value to those leading support-intensive projects at Carleton and how the Atlas could be made easier by making connections (Andrea Nixon, Carleton)

    9)      Value for disciplinary societies--The Atlas helps them know what is already out there, what can be adapted--can direct IT people and other stakeholders to information surrounding a project (John Laudun, University of Louisiana)

    10)   Transformability between research to curriculum (Clai Rice, Louisiana)

    1. Unknown User (

      Under #7 for value statements, that should be Katherine Harris.  TY

  18. Unknown User (deblkf)

    4.2.3 VALUE

    Local sustainability of digital humanities initiatives and local team-based support of humanities research

    The Bamboo Atlas will allow local teams of humanities faculty and libraries and IT staff to tap into a rich network of disciplinary-based expertise, to connect with and learn from faculty and staff at peer institutions and professional organizations, and to bring that new knowledge to benefit digital humanities initiatives and humanities research on home campuses. All three groups—humanities faculty, libraries staff, IT staff—will gain direct benefit in three distinct areas:

    • An increased understanding of humanities research methodology: faculty will enhance their scholarly work by exposure to different models of reflection on humanities research ("scholarly narratives" of research approaches, etc.); libraries and IT staff will gain a better understanding of the research process in the humanities and therefore will be better able to support it.
    • Identification of tools and content: faculty will enhance their scholarly work through new knowledge of and easy access to tools and content; libraries and IT staff will be better able to support research in the humanities by their increased understanding of the tools and content necessary for that research, and by learning how to access those tools and to integrate them into campus systems.
    • Recognition of teaming as valuable to humanities research, and identifying effective practices in teaming: faculty will enhance their scholarly work by gaining a new perspective on the benefits of teaming with campus libraries and IT staff, as well as with peers within their disciplines, and by understanding practices that can help make those teams successful; libraries and IT staff will gain a similar perspective and understanding of effective practices in successful team support of humanities scholarship.
    1. Unknown User (

      This (particularly the first sub-point) reflects the value statement that I had mentioned and that I had volunteered to write up.  Just to give it another version here, for me as an information technologist and for my Library colleagues, I think the Atlas artifacts serve to document and help us learn about the range of scholarly problems, methods and practices that are typical for arts/humanities/interpretive social sciences faculty, including the language they use, the kinds of content they work with, the types of tools they use or might benefit from, the actual activities that comprise their work, and the like.  This education for those of us new to trying to support the needs of that community is most helpful, and helps us better support our faculty by understanding typical needs and processes, helping us bring to bear resources from other departments or institutions or disciplines, helping us plan for shared campus needs, helping to plan for new LIbrary services and resources, and so forth.  It lets us avoid starting from scratch in providing solutions to expressed needs. 

      A related value for IT and Library is it fosters a dialog with the faculty that may not have occurred prior to the campus involvement with Bamboo, it brings new connections and opportunities for partnership, it helps local faculty and institute/center directors and deans and the like see that they have an on-campus partner who cares about their problems and their general lack of resources to support their technology needs (at least on our campus this has been the case).

  19. Unknown User (

    Just a few comments on this draft:

    I still wonder if "Atlas" is the most intuitive term to our audience.  When I explained this to our Associate Dean for Arts and Humanities, she said "oh, a clearinghouse, that's smart."  Just food for thought... 

    4.2.2 Description:

    Rating interaction - another rating would be amount of actual use of an element

    Harvest and link - big question to me on what this means, how we approach this, how complex this might get.  Also, add "content" to the list of registries.

    Track usage - will also enhance ratings

    Sidebar for Review and Rating - I would add HUBzero/NanoHUB to this list of examples

  20. Unknown User (

    Below is the value statement that Kathy, Jon, Worthy, Mark and I agreed to provide in support of an expanded emphasis on pedagogy and teaching and learning in the Bamboo Atlas. All of us did not actually weigh in on this draft, but it's a broad enough consensus of what we'd all been talking about, I believe.

    Steve Brier

    Value Statement about Teaching/Learning/Pedagogy for the Bamboo Atlas:

    Digital humanities work doesn't divide neatly into teaching and research categories. Rosemary Feal notes in a recent Inside Higher Ed column ( that one of the exciting aspects of the new digital projects being created is that they advance scholarship and create teaching tools at the same time. The development of a growing body of scholarship of teaching and learning (SOTL) over the past decade helps us end the false dichotomy between teaching and research work. For digital humanities practitioners, teaching becomes the place where scholarship is practiced and modeled for students.

    Digital humanities work, by its nature, focuses on multiple audiences:  scholars, technologists, teachers and just as importantly, students (graduate and undergraduate). Moreover, while Project Bamboo will build appropriate digital humanities tools and resources to facilitate faculty and graduate student research, if we don't introduce those digital tools into classroom pedagogy and use them to improve teaching and learning, our audience will remain limited to a small portion of the higher education learning population. The way to overcome the false divide between teaching and research is to *HEIGHTEN* the visibility of pedagogy within that equation.

    We believe strongly that research and pedagogy should not be separated in Project Bamboo, but rather integrated, through the Atlas, to take full advantage of the natural synergies that exist between the two functions and allow those synergies to emerge:
        * many basic technical needs and tools that are required for research and pedagogy in the digital arts and humanities are in fact the same;
        * by including pedagogy explicitly in Project Bamboo, we expand our pool of participants and increase the likelihood of creating a vital and engaged community that will maintain and expand the Atlas's information and minimize confusion and dissipation of energy;
        * many arts and humanities faculty and graduate students are actively exploring the ways to take research principles and embed them into the classroom so that classes adopt  a more active research agenda, including publishing the results of classroom activities and merging classroom practice with collaborative research projects.

    The Bamboo Atlas is the locus for the dissemination and discussion of related educational and curricular materials in the arts, humanities and interpretive social sciences that can help faculty, students, library and technology professionals, and others to integrate emerging digital content and tools into research, teaching, and public service. The Bamboo Atlas can serve as a "Craigslist element" of sorts, to encourage individual scholars to discover and then share and improve on such pedagogical ideas and "services." Bamboo can then keep track of who is using the services and report on how that technology is being deployed for research, teaching, professional development, promotion, and grant proposals.

    1. Unknown User (

      Steve, Katherine, Jon and Mark,

      Thanks for this. It seems this is a merger of the SOTL/Pedagogy example from Katherine and Steve and the "research trajectories" example from Jon and Mark.

  21. Unknown User (geoffreyrockwell)

    At one point it seemed Bamboo was aimed at support units and staff. Has that been lost? If you still want to support the support staff you might imagine a way that a recipe could be adapted by a particular college so that it foregrounded the tools/services that college could support.

    For this reason I would suggest that Bamboo allow others to harvest Atlas information and offer it under a Creative Commons license.

  22. Unknown User (geoffreyrockwell)

    For suggestions were solicited for Incentives. Here are some:

    1. One incentive is "fame". To that end you might want to make it easy for a contributor to maintain a page about themselves and for the Atlas to provide a list of contributions as in "Geoffrey Rockwell's Bamboo Shoots". This list could include information about which items were curated and reviewed. You might also want to look at making it easy for contributors to see what of their contributions have been commented on, voted on, curated or reviewed.

    I would use the tricks of social network sites to reward fame - have a Top Contributors list, highlight people on your front page with a Spotlight feature and so on.

    2. Another incentive is formal roles. Why not have a process where area curators or reviewers get titles like "Bamboo Tools Reviewer". You could go further and offer Internships (for grad students to take on a role for a year and get credit), Guest Curators (for researchers to take on an area and build it up. Roles should be time-limited and have some appointment system. In some cases you might provide support to people in roles. Here is a list of possible roles:

    Bamboo Scholarly Board Member
    Guest Curator
    Special Curator

    3. Another incentive is support. A little support from the Bamboo team to do something might go a long way. Support could take the form of small grants to hire an undergrad to do something.

    4. You need incentives for support units and people. If you end up charging a subscription fee to universities you might think of ways of lowering the fee if a university agrees to take on some task. Payment in kind would make it easier for large universities to buy in. Otherwise large places will figure they can offer all the services anyway without paying.

    5. Competitions and exchanges. Competition/exchanges are a great way to provide an alternative to review for tool development. Recognition in a competition is a recognized alternative to peer review. See how MIREX is able to get the community of developers involved in defining challenges for music information retrieval and then use the challenges to advance the art. See

    6. Asking and Recognizing. There is nothing more flattering than to be personally asked to contribute something. If you don't have the staff then ask curators to do the asking. The trick is to then Recognize. You need a way of thanking people formally who contribute when asked. Why not have an annual "Bamboo Thanks" list with links that the thanked people can send their deans to. "Look dean, I was recognized by Bamboo as contributing in this field."

  23. Unknown User (

    For those looking for the aggregated list of value statements for the Bamboo Atlas, I am posting them as a child page of this page. Here is the link: