Page Tree:

Child pages
  • BIP 0.6 Bamboo Commons

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

Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata


This is a DRAFT of the Bamboo Implementation Proposal and is being published in this form to solicit community input toward developing and refining the scope of work for the first 12-24 months of Bamboo. Because this is merely a draft, there is not a commitment to carry out all, a subset or any of this work until the document is finalized and formally released.

4.1 - Bamboo Commons

4.1.1 - Summary

The Bamboo Commons will enable scholars (including researchers and instructors), artists, librarians, technologists, and others to identify and connect with each other based on self-defined profiles describing their work, methodologies, areas of interest, expertise, and history. Any participant may initiate or join communities-of-interest to focus interaction, discovery, contribution in the Commons; and to facilitate collaboration and exchange, within the Commons and beyond.

Connection and interaction includes interchange through multiple media formats, threaded discussion, and collaborative curation of structured description of scholarly practice. Interaction may be organized around any topic, and/or may focus on Commons elements that describe research, pedagogy, creative work, or cultural artifacts. Commons activity will be enabled, archived, interlinked, and made discoverable, providing a record that will itself inform assessment of technology's impact on the humanities.

Interaction focused around methodology, digital tools and services, and digital content will provide a forum for broad community engagement in design and evolution of technology that supports arts, humanities, and interpretive social sciences. Through this engagement, scholarship will drive technical evolution and innovation, most directly impacting the Commons-facilitated evolution of services running on the Bamboo Services Platform.

The Commons will be designed to fit into platforms, systems, virtual research environments (VREs), and tools that provide the most natural and familiar avenues of digital engagement, whether those environments are local to an institution, specific to a disciplinary society, or unite diverse communities by providing functionality useful across traditional borders.

Commons participants will be able to identify, filter, and engage with a growing network of individuals and material through a variety of search and discovery methods, from keyword searches to algorithmically derived concepts, from association with communities of interest to characteristics of ratings and reviews contributed by trusted experts. Commons materials will include direct community contributions, seeded and incentivized by programs developed as part of Bamboo implementation, as well as valued stores of content harvested from or linked to repositories not associated or loosely affiliated with Bamboo.

4.1.2 - Value

Researchers, teaching faculty, artists, and librarians will connect with each other and with technologists through the Bamboo Commons; and institutionally based teams will connect with rich networks of expertise. Humanists will be able to discover, analyze, and interpret shifting ideas about how practices, resources, and services can and should be organized and evolved, as these ideas will be both explicit and implicit in the Commons, and accessible to scholars whether they engage in technology-enabled practice or not.

Awareness: The Commons will function as a living library to surface scholarly method and practice by recording, preserving, and making available information that traces expression, discussion, and evaluation of the course of scholarship in the humanities. Leveraging user contributions as well as harvested and linked information from catalogs and registries maintained by others, communities of scholarship will find a rich venue for finding, assessing, choosing, and using technology in the Commons. Commons participants will gain tailored access to descriptions of practice and method, and pointers to methods, tools, and digital content applicable to the their interests. 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.

Connection: Humanists will connect across disciplinary, institutional, and international borders, assisted by shared and networked profile information and the ability to form communities of interest around any topic, as well as in relation to contribution, review, rating, and annotation of Commons content. Communities whose divergent tools for and modes of digital engagement would otherwise tend to isolate each in its own context will be connected by incorporation of Commons content and function into institutional or disciplinary platforms, as well as into social networking platforms and VREs.

Collaborative Design in Research, Pedagogy, and Creative Practice: Technologists will be informed of humanists' real-world needs by Commons content, while discussion, ratings, reviews, and citation provide direct feedback from scholars that will shape revision and evolution of technology services that support research, shape curricular change, and integrate categories of teaching and research.

Consideration of practice: Scholars will be empowered to assess technology's impact on the humanities by surfacing and analyzing usage patterns and shifts in modes of research and pedagogy that are recorded in the Commons. Funders and campus stakeholders will also be able to utilize this information as input to decisions for which they are responsible.

To further illustrate these values, below are a number of perspectives contributed by those who took part in the Bamboo Planning Project.

Perspective: Tapping Rich Networks of Expertise

The Bamboo Commons 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.

- Deb Keyek-Franssen, Director, Academic Technology; University of Colorado, Boulder

Perspective: A Venue for Integrating Teaching and Research Categories

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 Commons, 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 Commons' 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 Commons 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 Commons 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.

- Katherine Harris, Assistant Professor, English and Comparative Literature; San Jose State University
- Steve Brier, Senior Academic Technology Officer, Graduate School & University Center; City University of New York
- Jon McKenzie, Professor, English; University of Wisconsin at Madison
- Mark Williams, Professor, Media and Film Studies, Dartmouth College

Perspective: Collaboration Among and Between Learned Societies

The central focus of the learned society remains the pursuit of reliable knowledge and its effective communication within and without the society. Cyberinfrastructures expand the communicative modalities available to learned societies and their members. However, these same infrastructures threaten some of the most venerable revenue streams, emphasizing the importance of maximizing the return on investment in the digital realm. What learned societies need are at least interoperable, if not common, infrastructures that allow members to communicate and collaborate, in a trusted fashion, with other scholars, be they mutual members of the same society or in an adjacent field. By participating in a common technological ecosystem, learned societies can leverage their investment to give their members the tools and content they need to advance their own scholarship, and thus the impact of the society itself.

- John Laudun, Associate Director, Center for Cultural and Eco-Tourism; Folklorist, Department of English; University of Louisiana, Lafayette

Perspective: Strategic Creation and Curation of Digitized Content

After fifteen years of digitization by libraries, museums, cultural heritage organizations and other content providers that has led to large-scale digitization partnerships, there is still a tremendous wealth of primary and secondary resources not yet digitized, or even processed to a degree that it is discoverable. Existing digital content is often difficult to discover, or made available through systems that may inhibit reuse and repurposing. However, these organizations, especially academic research libraries, will become more invested in supporting these communities of practice and their efforts to create and disseminate data. Their effective practice will depend upon the degree to which they are tightly integrated into the cluster of inter-institutional collaborations that enable the creation and use scholarly content. Going forward, stewards of these materials must make strategic investment choices about how they create and curate collections of digitized content, and those choices must be informed through a deep engagement with scholars in all disciplines.

The Bamboo Commons should provide content stewards with evidence of scholarly engagement with digital resources, elucidating current trends and cutting edge research in the digital humanities and social sciences. The Commons could identify communities of practice for which particular collections and services may have significant value and impact. The documentation of scholarly practices should also provide content stewards with insights that will assist them in designing and implementing services for the curation of digital humanities data, including the "refactoring" of content to work with tools and/or services supported by Bamboo. By using and contributing to the Commons, librarians, archivists, curators, and faculty may jointly discover opportunities for local collaboration that draw upon and contribute back to developments within the wider Bamboo community. Perhaps most significantly, the Commons could provide content stewards with an avenue for direct collaboration with members of the Bamboo Community to support the development of additional contextual materials or other value-adds to their existing collections.

- Mike Furlough, Assistant Dean for Scholarly Communications, University Libraries; Pennsylvania State University

Perspective: Finding, Assessing, Choosing, and Using Technology

The Bamboo Commons will help faculty and students find tools to (1) do what they want to do in their scholarly activities and lives (whether research, teaching, learning, service, engagement, networking, or publication); (2) 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 (3) finally of course to actually choose a tool based upon the preceding and get as much information, support, and guidance as they can for their use of that tool.

- David Germano, Associate Professor and Director, Tibetan Himalayan Library; Director, Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts Network of Technological Initiatives (SHANTI); University of Virginia

Perspective: Surfacing Scholarly Method and Practice

[...] Commons 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 [...].

- Jim Muehlenberg, Assistant Director for Academic Technology; University of Wisconsin at Madison

Perspective: Informing and Shaping Curricular Change

A curriculum is a structure that emerges under the demands of the educational institution at the interface of faculty knowledge-building, student learning abilities, and a society's broad consensus of what constitutes education. The competing demands of all three domains - faculty, students, and the society at large - are negotiated through processes of curricular innovation and refinement. The Bamboo Commons can assist in curricular change by providing a documented map of the migration from experiment to consensus of tools, methodologies, skills, and knowledge forms.

As computing technologies have spread throughout cultural forms, all three stakeholders in the educational process have sought curricular changes that respond to what they see as the most important elements of these technologies. As faculty increasingly utilize computing in their own research, they change the tools and topics of their courses to integrate new skills and knowledge structures. [...] The Bamboo Commons will provide case studies of curricular innovation that faculty can use to evaluate changes contemplated for their own institutions.

Students create the need for curricular innovation as they arrive with sets of learning skills and expectations that vary from those of previous generations. The ubiquity of cell phones has necessarily challenged traditional classroom practices like quizzes and tests. Or more significantly, students more comfortable with image-based forms like film are also increasingly challenged by the demands of writing in traditional essay forms. Pedagogical practices discussed within Project Bamboo will be catalogued and made available by the Commons to those seeking to improve classroom practices to benefit student achievement.

The rapid impress of computing technologies on the practices of daily life have increased the public demand for computing and technology skills to become a standard part of education. Public demands give rise to "top-down" modes of curricular change, such as the current imperative to integrate assessment practices into all levels of the curriculum, or the "computer literacy" initiatives undertaken by so many state governments. The Bamboo Commons will aggregate the narratives of many different actors within the various phases of such top-down changes, allowing for shared experiences to inform ways of implementing such imperatives in ways that are educationally sound and genuinely beneficial.


In sum, the Bamboo Commons will allow users to seek out, aggregate, and annotate the various primary contents - stories, recipes, tools, and services - to highlight the ways that humanities computing affects curricular innovation and refinement. Ideally, research on humanities computing in curricula will utilize such resources, and in turn be evaluated by the Bamboo community and returned to the pool of resources to become a part of the continuing development of the field of humanities computing.

- Claiborne Rice, Assistant Professor, English; University of Louisiana, Lafayette

Perspective: Consideration of practice

Scholarly practice in the arts and the humanities has developed over centuries and includes a rich array of theoretical frameworks to guide inquiry and analysis, research methodologies, and pedagogy. Project Bamboo is about supporting and transforming these scholarly practices in the arts and humanities. Practice is often unarticulated, tacit knowledge, embedded in both thinking and doing. Through the Commons, humanities scholars will be empowered and encouraged to reflect on, articulate, and interrogate the rich methodological and pedagogical practices represented in humanities scholarship. This dialog about how the work is done, its important goals, and salient characteristics will facilitate collaborative and iterative work among scholars and computer scientists to design technologies that better scaffold arts and humanities research practices through data analysis tools or content dissemination as well as enable new methodologies to be applied in these fields. Revealing the array of practices will also bolster collaboration and interdisciplinary inquiry and teaching among diverse disciplines in the arts and humanities.

As well as documenting and exposing current practice, scholars will be able to use the Commons to monitor the transformation of that practice. This will enable the impact of Project Bamboo tools and systems to be studied to better understand which technologies are best suited for Bamboo-style design and deployment. It would also open up a wider interrogation of (changes in) research and pedagogical practices in the humanities as well as the economic and social structures surrounding that work. This form of self-evaluation of the Bamboo process could be studied through analyses of activities in the Commons, e.g., analysis of usage patterns, or by tracking adoption and diffusion of Bamboo tools and services. Network analysis of the Project Bamboo virtual spaces could also yield information about the nature of participants and their participation in different parts of the Bamboo community (developers, humanities scholars, content providers). Funders and campus stakeholders will be able analyze these data as input to decisions for which they are responsible. For example, funders supporting the creation or use of Bamboo tools and services might use citations of those tools and services as a metric for impact. Or, campus stakeholders, such as librarians, could use these data to become more attuned to the format and types of content needed by humanities scholars for more robust analysis or librarians could work with humanities scholars to ensure that the products of their work can be preserved for later reuse.

- Elizabeth Yakel, Associate Professor, School of Information; University of Michigan

Perspective: A Venue for Community Design

In the original proposal to Mellon for the Project Bamboo planning project, "community design" was returned to numerous times. In the context of the envisioned interplay of scholarly networking and institutional consortium there is the opportunity for "community design" to take on a new character. The opportunity is to establish a complete software lifecycle in which a highly multidisciplinary community fully participates in all aspects of the lifecyle. The full participation is crucial to the success of the development and deployment of a cyberinfrastructure for the arts, humanities and interpretative social sciences for several reasons:

  1. The disciplines represented in this community are only slowly adopting scholarship and performance methods enabled or enhanced by cyberinfrastructure (though many believe the adoption rate is accelerating) .
  2. The sciences that have embraced computational methods, e.g., discrete simulation in particle physics, went through a substantial phase of evaluation and critique before those methods were given credence.
  3. The content and methods are tightly interwoven and both are evolving.

What has emerged in the Bamboo Commons is a spectrum of formulations for requirements analysis. Narratives of practice couched in scholars' terms offer points of entry to other scholars as well as a broadly vetted array of needs and wishes to inform the work of technologists. Service descriptions, at the other end of the spectrum, articulate technical characteristics important to software developers and support staff. The Commons would function much in the way of the open-source community, providing the basis for a directory of services, tools and content, as well as the means for recording evaluations of specific items in that directory. The difference will be that the directory and evaluation recording will have "entry points" all along this spectrum of formulations, permitting scholars to engage in all phases of exploration, planning, and building of service technology. This will certainly require substantial effort beyond what the open-source community does in producing and collecting descriptive and evaluative information about applications. However, this additional effort will be crucial for the arts, humanities and interpretative social sciences community to fully participate in the complete community design and implementation of the shared cyberinfrastructure.

- Worthy Martin, Associate Professor, Computer Science; Acting Director, Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH); University of Virginia

(adapted from Community Design, a blog post of 13 June 2009)

4.1.3 - Description

The Bamboo Commons Area of Work will be realized through a set of interrelated Projects that will strongly influence each other in iterative phases. The Commons Projects are: - Commons Core: Scholars and Scholarship

Individuals, groups, projects, and self-initiated communities-of-interest may add, import, or refer to profile information describing their work, methodologies, areas of interest, expertise, and history. Connection and interaction among these participants may include interchange through multiple media formats, threaded discussion, and/or collaborative curation of structured description of scholarly practice. A variety of search and discovery methods will enable participants to locate and filter a growing network of individuals and material. This broad set of core Bamboo Commons functionality may be described in greater detail in four categories: Profiles, Connection & Interaction, Elements of Scholarship, and Search & Discovery.

Profiles allow individuals and groups to identify and characterize themselves as participants in the Bamboo Commons. Richness and accuracy of profile information made public to Commons participants will enable and refine an ability to find and interact with each other based on reputation, trust, commonalities, and differences. Information in a Bamboo Commons profile will include research and teaching interests, institutional and organizational affiliations, publication citations, associations with other Bamboo Commons participants, and a searchable inventory of contributions to the Commons. Profile information will initially prioritize attributes that facilitate activity within the Bamboo Commons, but will broaden and deepen over time to include attributes and structured data of specialized use to particular communities, such as higher education institutions or disciplinary societies. Sources of profile information beyond individually-contributed material may include discipline-, institution-, or organization-centric platforms, and/or social networking sites or platforms on which a Commons participant is active; interchange (import and export) with such sites/platforms will be enabled through Bamboo Commons service APIs.

Connections & Interactions enable Commons participants to engage in forums on any topic of interest, whether as individuals, groups, or self-initiated communities-of-interest. Forums may be conducted as on-line discussion, multimedia interaction, or other exchange associated with topics, people, groups, projects, elements of scholarship recorded in the Bamboo Commons, or any citable object of interest (e.g., a journal article, monograph, performance, course, seminar, conference session, etc.).

Elements of Scholarship are methods of research and pedagogical scholarship in the humanities that are described in a scholar's voice; as well as descriptions of method and practice that are generalized as a sequential or recurring set of activities that orbit objects or events of interest such as texts, images, audio and video recordings, creation, performance, lectures, seminars, or archaeological artifacts. Pedagogy, as a mode of scholarship that includes teaching and learning, may itself focus on research methodology, practice, or history. Performance and other arts are inherently related to humanities scholarship, and may themselves be a form of analysis or commentary. Research, pedagogy, and performance may include the use of digital tools to automate, extend, or enhance activity in the arts and humanities. Reusable software services are a type of software that can be used by multiple digital tools to automate, extend, or enhance parts of scholarly activities without the burden of repeatedly programming the same or similar software. From actual practice in the voice of practitioners to technical descriptions of software services, the "elements of scholarship" describe a spectrum of humanist methodology and instruments used to effect it.

The Bamboo Commons will enable and record multimedia description and community curation of these elements of scholarship. "Narratives" will describe scholarship (research and pedagogy) and the arts in native voices, including those of researchers, teaching faculty, artists, and students. "Recipes" will generalize and group structured activities, the objects of those activities, and tools used to perform them. Services that support scholarly activity in a reusable way will be registered, described, and evaluated in forms appropriate to both those who use and those who develop and maintain them. Activities, objects of activity, tools, and services may also be described in the Commons independent of "recipes"; and may be described, discussed, reviewed, and rated at any point in their evolution so that the Commons may serve as a forum for community design of technology in support of scholarship. Community curation will include the ability to categorize, annotate, review, rate along multiple spectra, and discuss elements of scholarship and the community curation that has been performed upon it. Annotation will include association of notes, tags, links, and/or citations. Each element of scholarship and each artifact of curated activity will be citable as a permanent URL, facilitating a richly networked web of information, critical evaluation, and discussion among scholars, librarians, and technologists. The ecosystem of Commons material will be available under a Creative Commons license for analysis and interpretation of research, pedagogical, and arts practices, as well as of modes and patterns of interaction in and among communities of scholarship. The Bamboo Commons will also be designed to incorporate or reference catalogs or registries of method, practice, pedagogy, content, tools, and services maintained by projects and communities not associated or loosely affiliated with Bamboo. These aggregated or linked materials will be available for review, rating, and incorporation into "narratives" and "recipes" by Bamboo Commons participants.

Search & Discovery services will facilitate access to elements of scholarship, forums, and artifacts of community curation in the Commons. Search will be enabled based on key words, specific sequences of words, algorithmically derived concepts, and frequency of the occurrence of tags. Discovery of elements of interest will be enabled through filtering by association with or contribution by one or more communities of interest, trusted person(s), volume of Commons contribution, rated value of Commons contributions ("reputation"), disciplinary or pedagogical topic(s), content type(s), and/or language(s). An open programming interface (API) will enable the evolution of unanticipated discovery services and innovative uses of information in the Bamboo Commons. Translation services will render Commons information accessible across language boundaries.

User Scenario: Seeking analysis and instruction tools, and a place to organize my material

I'm an art historian by trade who is employed by the Educational Services Division of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and who just happens to teach American Paintings and Sculpture on an as-needed basis at nearby Columbia University. One of the Museum's recent trustees has bequeathed his private collection of American paintings and etchings to the Museum with the understanding that the Museum provide maximum access to the works. In addition to merely incorporating these paintings and etchings into our collection and having them available for viewing in one of the several American Paintings and Sculpture galleries, the Educational Services Division has decided to make digital representations of each work and place them on the Museum web site. I wish to take the process one step further and provide museum visitors (and my art history students) opportunity to analyze these images more closely using available technology. I am first of all seeking a piece of software that will allow me to inspect the digital image's details and a second piece of software which will allow me to capture my analysis techniques directly from the computer screen. I would like to narrate the various steps required and possibly incorporate into what is captured from the computer screen some video clips which discuss the evolution of analysis tools and/or provide background to the piece being analyzed. I think it would be a unique, interactive experience for the museum visitor or the art history student to be able to learn to use the digital image inspection software via step-by-step instructions captured on screen. I guess, as well, that I will need to find an efficient means of storing all the information and disseminating it to potential users in the Museum and on the Internet.

\scenario contributed by Dick Kuettner, Director, Tucker Multimedia Center; Washington and Lee University\ - Interchange and Access

A core characteristic of the service-enabled Bamboo Commons will be its ability to share content with and to incorporate changes that participants initiate from analogous discipline-, institution-, or organization-centric platforms. Thus, an in-house system at Oxford, CUNY, or Berkeley could integrate full or selected Commons materials through its interface(s); and could enable local faculty, students, and staff to contribute and curate Commons materials without leaving the local system. An institution could utilize Commons interchange services to make locally maintained profile information available to participants' profiles in the Bamboo Commons, or augment local information with profile data imported from the Commons.

Bamboo's service architecture will also enable creation of software in the form of 'gadgets,' 'widgets,' or 'plug-ins' that similarly bring Commons information and capability into existing social networking platforms and/or virtual research environments such as Facebook, Sakai, SEASR, Heurist, and/or Zotero; and/or bring information from those platforms and VREs into the Commons. Depending on interest in and value for Bamboo participants, these software connectors may be developed by Bamboo partners; alternately, software developers outside the Bamboo consortium could enrich their environments by integrating Bamboo Commons services via gadgets, widgets, or plug-ins of their own.

In addition, Bamboo will develop or adapt a browser-based means of accessing the Commons that is open to all, independent of institutional or organizational affiliation. This avenue to the Commons is likely to fill a critical need for many in early phases of Commons development; yet it will be built and maintained with the expectation that its centrality may wither as the Bamboo Commons are incorporated by systems, platforms, VREs in which its participants are already working and interacting.

Add user scenario here - Services Registry

Services will be described in the Bamboo Commons' Services Registry, using formats, protocols, and terms useful to technologists, as well as descriptions of use and interest to scholars who use them.

A service is a unit of software that delivers a related set of capabilities (functionality). Services implement capabilities that have been decomposed then logically grouped to 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. Combination and recombination with other services - re-use - is only possible if services are accurately described and evaluated, so that technologists can find services that meet their needs more easily than the effort involved in duplicating functionality; and can be confident that services will be reliably available for use. A services registry, then, is a catalog of services, including descriptions of offered functionality; technical information on accepted forms of requests of a service, and the offered forms of response; access restrictions; guarantees of availability; relation to and backward-compatibility with earlier versions; and so forth.

The Bamboo Commons will incorporate a services registry that will integrate closely with other Elements of Scholarship. Minimally including the information described in the preceding paragraph, the Commons' Services Registry will also be integrated with curatorial activity described in the Elements of Scholarship project, above:  participants will be able to categorize, annotate, review, rate, and discuss registered services. An ecosystem of dialog between technical experts and scholars, as well as deep linkage between a service catalog and descriptions of the scholarship it means to support, will deeply inform both the evolution and uptake of shared technology services.

Add user scenario here - Growing and Sustaining the Commons

The Bamboo Commons will succeed only if it is well seeded with valuable contributions in its early incarnation; if institutions, individual scholars, and humanities projects are provided incentives to participate; and if it is thoughtfully and reliably curated. To these ends, this project will focus on evangelism, establishment and management of incentives for initial and ongoing participation, and editorial or curatorial work. Unlike the other Bamboo Commons projects, this set of activity does not involve software development. Instead, it is a place for the Bamboo Community to shape the character and value of a Commons enabled by technology.

A variety of potential incentives has been identified by participants in the Bamboo Planning Project. These include establishment of "Bamboo Fellows" to gather and curate Commons materials, and to formally recognize highly valuable contribution; competitions offering fungible rewards based on quality contribution to the Commons; contribution requirements imposed by institutions, funding agencies, and the Bamboo Consortium itself; and linkage of Commons contribution to peer-reviewed digital publication in online journal(s) of research and pedagogical methods. Certain incentives will become meaningful as the Commons material and usage grows: exposure for one's contributions, including advertising of digital tools and services, expert review and recommendation, and vetted linkage between methods and digital content, services, and tools; usage tracking as inputs to measurement of value and impact of Commons contributions and the ideas, artifacts, and/or software they reference; and ability to reference (cite) any contribution and the ecosystems of evaluation and interest that form around it.

Add user scenario here

4.1.4 - Work Plan

Project Investment across All Areas of Work

Percentage values given in the table below represent investment of all types. These are percentages of investment Projects across both Areas of Work, the Bamboo Commons and the Bamboo Services Platform. The sum of percentages in each year is 100% across both Commons and Platform Projects; for readability, this table is reproduced in full in each area's Workplan section.

Area of Work


Year 1 Investment

Year 2 Investment


Commons Core Services




Interchange and Access




Services Registry




Growing and Sustaining the Commons




Shared Services Lifecycle




Services Partnerships




Strategic Content Partnerships




Realizing the Bamboo Services Platform and Utility Services




Platform Hosting and Management



Bamboo Commons Project Deliverables

Deliverables described in the second table below are differentiated between those scheduled for Year One, those scheduled for Year Two, and those whose delivery is expected in subsequent Bamboo implementation phases. Detailed information about goals and deliverables, including quarterly goals and deliverables for the first year of Bamboo implementation, can be found in Section 8 of this proposal, "Detailed Plans of Action."


Year One (Y1)

Year Two (Y2)

After Year Two

Commons Core: Scholars and Scholarship

  1. Permanent, citable URLs for all Commons elements and artifacts of Commons curation
  2. Service interfaces and implementations to realize lightweight profiles for individuals and groups, with scope focused on near-term utility to Commons-supported activity
  3. Service interfaces and implementations to realize lightweight discussion functionality focused around and/or citing any one or more declared topic, Commons element, Commons activity, external event, or external object
  4. Refined articulation of concepts, constituent parts, attributes, and processes pertaining to Elements of Scholarship (narratives, recipes, et al.)
  5. Service interfaces and implementations to realize contribution and curation (ratings, reviews, categorization, etc.) functionality for Elements of Scholarship
  6. Service interfaces and implementations to realize core textual search (key words, specified phrases, associated tags)
  7. Service interfaces and implementations to realize search of and search based on ratings, reviews, and forums
  8. Service interfaces and implementations to realize filters to screen for association with communities, individuals, disciplines, or content type
  9. Identification of content of strategic value to Bamboo Commons growth and activity in the form of catalogs or registries of method, practice, pedagogy, content, tools, and services (Elements of Scholarship) maintained by projects and communities not associated or loosely affiliated with Bamboo
  10. Deploy and integrate this project's services with other Commons services
  1. Evolve enriched service capabilities (e.g., deeper profile information, expanded language and translation support, broader algorithmic search capability, multimedia discussion/interaction, facilitation of inter-community exchange, community-curated taxonomies and ontologies, etc.)
  2. Evolve service interfaces where appropriate and necessary, with careful attention to issues of backward compatibility
  3. Evolve back-end implementations to handle enriched service capabilities (e.g., to handle ontology curation and use in discovery, to facilitate search and discovery based on data mining algorithms, etc.)
  4. Service interfaces and implementations to harvest and/or link (analogues of) Elements of Scholarship that are maintained outside Bamboo and have been identified as valuable to Bamboo's community, and which provide a full record of provenance
  5. Working with the Services Registry project, integrate curation capabilities with the Services Registry
  6. Deploy and integrate this project's services with other Commons services

Continue evolution of Commons, with particular attention to its values as an aid to service design/evolution and service discovery/uptake

Interchange and Access

  1. In concert with the Commons Core project, contribute to establishment of Core interface capabilities necessary to anticipated integration with platforms or systems local to Bamboo Partner institutions.
  2. Develop and deploy a fully operational web-browser based interface to Commons content and function (via Commons services). This is expected to be an initial or "reference" access point, but not necessarily a dominant or permanent avenue to the Commons.
  1. Functioning interoperability (integration) with multiple (at least three) platforms or systems built for and/or hosted by Bamboo Partner institutions, such that Commons content is exposed into and can be augmented and curated from those platforms or systems
  2. Evolved web-browser based interface to Commons, improving usability and expanding capability to expose new and evolving services.
  3. Developed and operational gadgets, widgets, or plug-ins (one to several) that deliver selected Commons content and function into existing social networking platform(s) and/or Virtual Research Environment(s) (VREs), pending clearly identified interest among a strategically valuable community of potential users
  1. Facilitate integration with additional Bamboo Partner institutions, focusing on examples and tutorial materials to enable "self-starters"
  2. Continue to evolve web-browser based interface to Commons, as needed

Services Registry

  1. Articulation of qualities, information attributes, and technical requirements for a service-based services registry deeply integrated with other elements of the Bamboo Commons
  2. Identification and evaluation of candidate services registries that might be adopted or adapted to meet Bamboo's service registry needs
  3. Service modeling, design, and contract specification necessary to integrate a services registry into the Bamboo Commons in Y2
  1. Integration (including necessary adaptation or development, and deployment) of a services registry with the Bamboo Commons, providing linkage to Elements of Scholarship and full curation functionality (services can be reviewed, rated, discussed, annotated, etc.)


Growing and Sustaining the Commons

  1. Articulation of near- and long-term programs to incent institutional, disciplinary, and individual participation in Commons activity, both in an initial period and over time
  2. Realization of near-term programs to incent initial Commons activity, establishing content likely to attract broader and deeper participation
  3. Engagement of a core set of strategic initial contributors to the Commons
  4. Articulation of appropriate editorial/curatorial roles for an evolving Commons, and recruitment of an appropriate set of Commons editor(s) / curator(s)
  5. Cultivation of initial and ongoing contribution and curation of content to the Commons
  6. Evolution, including fundraising as applicable, of long-term programs to incent ongoing, broader, and deeper participation in the Commons

Continue the work articulated in Y1 deliverables.

Continue the work articulated in Y1 deliverables.

For further detail, please refer to Section 8, Detailed Plans of Action

  • No labels


  1. Unknown User (


    Part of what's happening in the world of Web 2.0 (and the larger everyday world, especially for younger generations) is that online the wall between professional and personal lives is thinning. Although an important reason we're creating cyberinfrastructure that incorporates networking is due to Facebook's inadequacies (too little gravitas to meet the intellectual networking needs of scholars), the Commons will in the long run draw greater participation from scholars if it also provides them with options to note personal recommendations and interests. Even aside from how thin the wall is becoming online, think of how thin it often is in real life. When scholars network at, say, a conference reception, they will often talk not only about each other's research and teaching but also about personal interests and recommendations unrelated to their work. The more Bamboo reflects the way people, who happen to be scholars, network in real life, the greater the participation from scholars in Bamboo is likely to be. One way to rewrite the planning wiki to take account of this (and to add some additional specificity re professional contributions) would be as follows in the Profiles section of

    Information in a Bamboo Commons profile will include research and teaching interests (and for those who wish to note them, personal interests), institutional and organizational affiliations, publication citations, associations with other Bamboo Commons participants, and a searchable inventory of contributions to the Commons. Contributions might include syllabi, video lectures, event announcements, or recommended tools for research (such as archives or local language interpreters) or teaching (such as illustrative photos or teaching tips). Optionally, scholars can choose to make personal recommendations, such as films or books they've enjoyed.


    A second comment re

    Scholars networking with each other is great. But one of the more creative sources for scholars developing new lines of thinking comes from scholars' networking with those who, though not in academia, nonetheless have a professional stake in the work that scholars do and often play a major, intermediary role in interpreting scholarship to the public. Enabling the Commons to facilitate such interaction would meet an aspect of Point 1 of the Bamboo Case Statement Materials: "higher education's engagement with civil society in support of humanistic understanding." To the planning wiki text, the following might be inserted after the first sentence of Connections & Interactions:

    (In later versions of the Commons, participation may expand to include other occupational categories whom scholars engage intellectually, such as publishers, journalists, public policy analysts, and museum curators.)

    — Steve Herrick, Director of External Relations, American Academy of Religion

    1. Unknown User (

      Thank you for these, Steve. I am replying to comments as I scan through them to assure they are appropriately addressed in our next proposal draft. I have taken your first comment almost verbatim.

      In the second comment, I see that you have drawn a conclusion that Profiles would be maintained only for scholars, and I can see how the language of v0.6 led you there. We did not intend that, and have clarified the language a bit to that end. I think that while 'specialized' profile information will almost certainly be tailored in initial releases toward expression of information that fits scholarship, the intention is to include participants from all Bamboo's communities in Commons engagement.

  2. Unknown User (

    I find the Search and Discovery section very weak. This must be a core consideration if the Commons is going to be more than a tool exchange. The user perspectives on digital content and curation have it right, it is the digital content that must be searchable and accessible across ALL Bamboo partners (and hopefully all members) and this means an infrastructure of search protocols and access mechanisms that extends across the entire collective digital contents of the participants. I am not one who believes that if we wait long enough Google will do it all for us.

    In effect what seems to be missing is the digital library covering all of the content. The physical library was often considered the "heart" of universities and the laboratory of the humanities. The commons as described here seems to be missing such a heart.

    1. Unknown User (

      Ray, thank you again for this. Per our off-wiki correspondence, I've added language in the v0.7 draft to refer specifically to Search and Discovery services as a goal of "Strategic Content Partnerships" (a project in the Bamboo Services Platform area of work; cf.

  3. Unknown User (

    Great draft!  I like the concept and terminology of the Bamboo Commons, a nice merger!  Here is some rather detailed feedback:

    4.1 overview, first paragraph -- as this reads, it suggests one must first create a "self-defined profile" or must "join a community-of-interest" before interacting with the Commons.  I trust this is not the case, but the wording seems to suggest that here.  The final paragraph of the overview seems to not suggest that as much....

    4.1.2 Perspective:  Surfacing Scholarly Method and Practice -- it might be better to restore the context here:  I propose starting with "For campus information technologists and for our Library colleagues," -- and you can then drop both "[...]" things with my permission!  (As that was my quote.) overview -- a few comments from Library colleague Dorothea Salo:  If the Commons can become a fashionable place for Humanities scholars to hang out and be noticed, we're home free.  (And in particular, need the established leaders here, senior faculty, not only the newest innovators.)  Also, can we conceive of what an e-Festschrift might look like and how the Commons might relate to such a concept?  [Festschrift*:*  a volume of writings by different authors presented as a tribute or memorial especially to a scholar -- Merriam-Webster Online] Profiles -- at the December 2008 CNI meeting, Cliff Lynch spoke of "institutional research management systems" including facilities to track faculty research/interests/publications/grants and such, mentioned lots of them are under construction (at Wisconsin, we have BibApp, Digital Measures, and several websites with such content; there's VIVO at Cornell, and many others), which link people, identity management, scholarly communications, granting processes, and so forth.  These are typically smaller, below the radar systems, per Cliff; he also mentioned potential CNI/ARL/ECAR work coming up to try to make some emergent sense of these multiple scattered developments.  We may wish to engage with this work as it clearly fits in scope of Profiles and Interchange and Access. Elements of Scholarship -- name should be bolded I assume.  A bigger point is these are rather buried down in the detailed layers of the Commons write-up; to me this seems worth elevating more clearly into the Commons overview, given how important many of us believe this is to successful faculty engagement. Search & Discovery -- really, translation services in the first two years?  Is that overly ambitious?  Also, a possible user scenario might be something like:  "I'm a Shakespearean scholar on the English faculty at Wisconsin, where we originated the BibApp software (see  BibApp helps track my publications, showcases my research profile and collaborators, and helps our Libraries gather PDFs of some of my publications for our campus repository; it also feeds our campus installation of Digital Measures (see which my College of Letters and Sciences uses to support my CV, produce my annual activity reports and feed into my P&T package, as well as to support our College's reaccreditation.  Now that we're implementing Purdue's HUBzero software (see for our campus digital arts & humanities community, I expect to provide shared access to my literary visualization and analysis toolkits and sample datasets along with references to my papers, research methods and projects.  Finally, now that we're full Bamboo participants, I am glad to know that all these sources of my scholarly profile will seamlessly interact with the Bamboo Commons and be readily shareable with colleagues across the Bamboo community."  (OK, is that too cheezy and techie?  (smile)

    4.1.4 Work Plan, Commons Core, Year Two, item 1 -- if community-curated taxonomies and ontologies are introduced in Year Two, this seems to imply some retrofitting with already-curated artifacts and any controlled vocabularies used by those artifacts?  Or is the idea that such taxonomies, thesauri, ontologies and the like are not interlinked with artifacts but more a reference aid and search aid?

    1. Unknown User ( - Growing and Sustaining the Commons -- a late addition of a possible seed to start growing a user scenario here:  "As a up and coming leader in my field, I have embraced digital methods and content heavily in my work.  In fact, my work would not be possible without major doses of information technology and support of colleagues and others in my field.  I have discovered the new Bamboo Commons which is a wonderful source of ideas and techniques that I can try out and incorporate in my work.  In exchange for this value received, I am now contributing my own work to this storehouse, in terms of 'narratives' and 'recipes' which also make reference to the digital methods, tools and content I utilize.  As I am working on my P&T documentation, I find the usage metrics, comments and ratings around my contributions to be important documentation.  With the Bamboo partnership with Dartmouth's e-journal of new methods in scholarship, my contributions have become part of a peer-reviewed journal with little additional creative work on my part, adding to their reach and recognition.  Moreover, with the interesting ideas (admittedly foreign and even distasteful to me at first, but now strangely welcome as I see them at play) around 'Public Relations 2.0' and 'Conversation Indexes' and the fascinating 'Conversation Prism' by Brian Solis (which I understand were introduced to the Bamboo folks by Prof. Randall Bass of Georgetown's Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship), I am getting a real sense of the value of my scholarly reputation among all forms of scholarly and social networking sites (or to use the 'PR 2.0' terms, the value and reach of my 'brand' as a scholar).  These all make my relatively modest efforts in contributing my scholarly methods to the Bamboo Commons worth their weigh in (virtual) gold.  It's a win-win for scholars like me and the larger community."

    2. Unknown User (


      Responding to your comments, vis-a-vis changes being made to the next (v0.7) draft –

      • 4.1 – No requirement to create profile, but 'networking' features that find 'people like me' or similar will, of course, require that participants define a bit what 'me' means
      • 4.1.2 – Modified the "Perspective" you contributed as requested. To avoid breaking flow, perspectives are being moved into an Appendix section in the v0.7 draft; they will be referred to from Section 4, and some may be quoted there.
      • – Dorthea's certainly right about making the Commons a place to be. Doing that is a project in and of itself: "Growing and Sustaining the Commons" (cf. Interesting concept re: the e-Festschrift ... perhaps that's somehow a concept that can emerge in the related publications 'incentives' to be developed by the Growing and Sustaining the Commons project? Not sure that it fits the concise and largely conceptual articulation of these projects in this section of the Bamboo Implementation Proposal.
      • "institutional research management systems" – yes; hence the "Sources of profile information beyond individually-contributed material..." text at the end of the Profiles description.
      • – "Elements of Scholarship" was not bolded as initially published; since then we've fixed it. Thanks for the catch! Elements of Scholarship are referred to in the Summary section (as "structured description of scholarly practice" and "Commons elements that describe..."), but are not called out at length, because we're trying to keep the summary quite short and to use general language that does not require readers to refer to definitions or to have the experience of the Planning Workshops.
      • – "Search and Discovery" – Time will tell ( (wink) ). I've added your "User Scenario" to the Appendix where they are being collected in v0.7 – thanks!
      • 4.1.4 – "community-curated taxonomies and ontologies" – these modeling questions are ones we'll be thinking about in Year One, anticipating Year Two activity
      • Scholarly Reputation – added this User Scenario, also, to the Appendix where they are being collected in v0.7 – thanks!
  4. Unknown User (

    The following was posted by Debjani Ganguly as a separate wiki page on 17 Aug 2009

    User Perspective: Supporting local software development for specialist needs

    One of our current research projects involves the analysis of the material culture collections of Australian Indigenous communities - material culture that is in museum collections all over the world and material that continues to be produced in communities today. We require a web-based system for multiple researchers to collate and analyse this material.

    We are aware that by developing a system that only fulfils the needs of this one project would be a waste of resources. We have also learnt the hard way that the timelines and funding of a regular research grant are not enough to develop what we really need and when the research funding for that project runs out there will be no or few ongoing resources to support the maintenance of the system. To attempt to overcome this problem we are collating researcher requirements from several local projects with similar needs to explore the possibilities of developing a shared service. We are also researching existing open-source solutions looking for possibilities to build upon the work of others and develop software partnerships.

    In future we hope that a Bamboo Services Registry would be our first 'port-of-call' and save an immense amount of time in searching for and evaluating existing software. We also hope that if we do manage to develop something of use to the research community that it could be nurtured through a process such as the Bamboo Shared Services Lifecycle, such that it could be made available to other researchers and made interoperable with other systems and tools.

    (scenario contributed by Katie Hayne, Project Officer, Research School of Humanities, The Australian National University)