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  • BIP Glossary v0.4

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

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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.

This is a PRELIMINARY glossary that requires engagement of community members beyond Program Staff to properly articulate definitions.

As of v0.4, the glossary contains Program Staff definition of terms that occur in the Bamboo Implementation Proposal sections that describe two Major Areas of Work: Bamboo Atlas and Bamboo Services Platform.




Steps (units of work, process, or procedure) that occur in the course of tasks or workflow that comprise scholarship.

API (Application Programming Interface)

Instructions explaining how a body of software may be used to gain the benefit of its functionality. (From Wikipedia: a set of routines, data structures, object classes and/or protocols provided by [software] libraries and/or operating system services in order to support the building of applications.)


A packaged set of technology elements, from operating system to service-delivery technology stack, that can be easily replicated on hardware as a standalone or virtual server (e.g., via an automated/scripted set of instructions).


In a software service, a piece of work that can be delivered on request.


A distributed set of remotely-managed servers, most often provided by a specialized hosting vendor, consortium, or institution whose processes facilitate creation, operation, and retirement of multiple-server "farms"

communities of interest

Groups of people whose formation is based on desire to engage in activity around a shared area of interest or expertise, such as a scholarly discipline, a corpus of work, or an activity such as museum curation or textual analysis.

community design

In the context of creating and adapting technology, a process in which stakeholders from multiple areas of experience and expertise, and from multiple organizations or institutions, collaborate to design and realize a technology outcome (such as a set of software services) for mutual benefit.

community source

(from Wikipedia) "Colleges and universities have used the term Community Source to refer to a type of community coordination mechanism that builds on the practices of open source communities. [...] Copyright for the software is often held by an independent foundation [...] modeled on the contributor agreements, licensing, and distribution practices of the Apache Foundation."


In digital media, the substance of a work or collection of any format. Content may refer to text (from blog entries to digitized books), to visual media (digital images of manuscripts, paintings, theatrical performances), audio (radio broadcasts, recorded interviews), etc.

content provider

An organization (e.g., a university, library, archive, or commercial entity) that holds content and makes it available, often under the terms of a license governing use of the content.


(from Our Cultural Commonwealth) "The 2003 National Science Foundation report Revolutionizing Science and Engineering through Cyberinfrastructure [...] described cyberinfrastructure as a 'layer of enabling hardware, algorithms, software, communications,
institutions, and personnel' that lies between a layer of 'base technologies ... the integrated electro-optical components of computation, storage, and communication' and a layer of 'software programs, services, instruments, data, information, knowledge, and social practices applicable to specific projects, disciplines, and communities of practice.' [...] In other words, [...] cyberinfrastructure is more than a tangible network and means of storage in digitized form, and it is not only discipline-specific software applications and project-specific data collections. It is also the more intangible layer of expertise and the best practices, standards, tools, collections and collaborative environments that can be broadly shared across communities of inquiry."

data mining

(from Wikipedia) "Data mining is the process of extracting hidden patterns from data. [...] It is commonly used in a wide range of profiling practices, such as marketing, surveillance, fraud detection and scientific discovery." This concept is closely related to that of textual analysis.


To run or operate, as in a body of software, generally applied to software that serves functionality to a distributed set of users. Thus, one might "deploy a web application that grants public access to the university library catalog"; but would not say "I deployed my web browser on my laptop."

generalized workflows

A description in generalized terms of activities that are undertaken in more specific forms. And example is probably most helpful. One person may navigate to the website; type the title Yeats: The Man and the Masks into its search engine; find a biography of the eponymous poet; and perform the business of selecting, paying for, and addressing a shipment of the W.W. Norton & Co. paperback edition of 2000 to her office on the Dartmouth campus. Another may navigate to the Barnes & Noble website; type the name of author Richard Ellman; find Norton's 1978 hardcover edition of the Yeats biography; and perform similar selection, payment, and shipping business in order to have the volume delivered to her home in Ann Arbor. A generalized workflow would describe the steps of navigation to an on-line book seller; search for the desired volume based on some set of characteristic information; selection for purchase; and the generalized steps of supplying information pertaining to payment and shipment. The activities described in the generalized workflow could be applied to similar processes using most any on-line bookseller: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Powell's, etc.


In software services, a quality of a service interface (the means of accessing the service's functionality) that masks details of how the service delivers its functionality. For example, an implementation-agnostic interface would not show or imply the language used to program the software service, or the technology used to store data (e.g., a relational database, a set of files on a filesystem, or a Content Management System). Implementation-agnostic interfaces are a useful means of insulating users of a service from changes in the underlying technology, which can often occur for reasons irrelevant and uninteresting to the services users - such as changes in cost or licensing terms for an aspect of the service implementation that leads a provider to make changes that reduce provision cost without altering the nature of the service itself.


(from Wikipedia) Interoperability is a property referring to the ability of diverse systems and organizations to work together (inter-operate). The term is often used in a technical systems engineering sense, or alternatively in a broad sense, taking into account social, political, and organizational factors that impact system to system performance.


In software, the stages of a body of software's conceptualization, modeling, design, implementation, maintenance, evolution, and retirement.


(from Wikipedia) "Metadata [...] is 'data about other data', of any sort in any media. An item of metadata may describe an individual datum, or content item, or a collection of data including multiple content items and hierarchical levels [...]" Cf. "tag."


cf. "data mining"


Expression of a particular aspects of scholarship, scholarly workflow, research, and/or teaching from a scholar's perspective, and in her own language.

open source

Open source generally refers to a software licensing model which permits end-users to view the source code of an application, and often implies a level of community involvement in the development process. The Open Source Initiative maintains a list of licenses which they consider qualified for the Open Source designation, but opinions on the precise meaning of the term vary widely.


Applied to services-delivery, a particular set of technologies, generally conceptualized in a stack, that underpins the delivery of services implemented in a particular language, framework, or paradigm. Services run (are deployed) on a platform as web browsers and word processors run on an operating system (e.g., Microsoft Windows).


Applied to software, to prepare for operation in a mode that transacts actual work and is available for use during expected "business hours" (which may mean "always," as is the expected case for Google's search engine). For large-volume or critical systems, this can involve engineering for qualities such as redundancy in case of machine failure, scalability in case of spikes in demand, etc.


Scores assigned on a defined spectrum of discrete steps (e.g., one through five). The steps in such a spectrum may describe most any gradation: good -> bad, essential -> useless, accurate -> inaccurate, general -> specialized, A -> F. In theory, anything that can be identified can be rated - an image, a journal article, a book, a suggestion for how to accomplish some task with specific software, an archive, a description of scholarly method, a user interface, an Application Programming Interface (API), a grant proposal. Ratings may be judged as authoritative or not by different communities. Cf. "reviews."


Recipes describe how to achieve goals using information technology. Recipes are written for scholars and describe the tools and steps needed to complete a task in non-technical language. In short Recipes are built on the stories academics tell about what they want to do by generalizing to shared tasks and they allow Bamboo to organize technology to support those tasks.


Cf. "services redirection."


(from Wikipedia): "The process of changing a computer program's internal structure without modifying its external functional behavior or existing functionality. This is usually done to improve external or internal non-functional properties of the software, such as code readability, to simplify code structure, to change code to adhere to a given programming paradigm, to improve maintainability, or to improve extensibility."


A message sent from a user to a server configured to respond in defined formats to requests of appropriate format. For example, typing a URL into a web browser and clicking the button that "goes to" the website to which the URL refers, is actually sending a request to a web server, which responds with the requested web page.


A response, generally in textual, narrative form, but possibly created as video, audio, etc. Examples might include reviews of books in scholarly journals, the New York Times Sunday Book Review; or Reviews may be given at any length or level of formality, and may be judged as authoritative or not by different communities. Cf. "ratings."

rules engine

(from Wikipedia) "A business rules engine is a software system that executes one or more business rules in a runtime production environment. The rules might come from legal regulation ('An employee can be fired for any reason or no reason but not for an illegal reason), company policy ('All customers that spend more than $100 at one time will receive a 10% discount'), or other sources." This hypothetical (and complex) rule that might apply to a service supporting scholarship has to do with identifying proper names in a text: "Three adjacent space-separated tokens, where the first and third tokens begin with an upper-case letter followed by lower-case letters which may be intermingled with hyphens, and the middle token is an upper-case letter followed by a period, is a probable name."


A unit of software that delivers a related set of capabilities. Services implement functionality (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.

service families

A group of related services.

service orchestration

Marshalling multiple services to deliver functionality that combines capabilities delivered by each. Service orchestration is an alternative to developing the same functionality multiple times for task-specific software: using a pre-built wheel rather than reinventing one.

service redirection

Processing a user's request to a service, addressed to a well-known location usually identified by a URL; and responding to that request using hardware and software located elsewhere, e.g., a location identified by a different URL. Redirection thus permits a large load of service requests to be balanced across multiple sites that respond with a distributed set of resources (servers); should one such site become unavailable due to power outage or machine failure, users making service requests are automatically and transparently redirected to an available set of servers.

service registry

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; etc.

service request

A message sent to a service that requests delivery of its functional capability. For example, a URL is a service request sent to a website to request a specific page - the URL sent to the Project Bamboo web site is a message requesting an electronic copy of the Bamboo Planning Proposal to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

shared services lifecycle

The stages of a service's conceptualization, modeling, design, implementation, maintenance, evolution, and retirement.


A tag is a relevant keyword or term assigned to to an item of data (e.g., a text, a picture, a video clip, or smaller parts of any of these) in order to describe it and thus allow keyword classification and searches. Tagging is the process of adding one or more tags. Cf. "metadata."

textual analysis

A methodology in which texts are studied as to authorship, authenticity, and meaning. Textual analysis aided by algorithms performed by software over corpra of texts is a major area of digital humanities scholarship.


In software, a collection of related functionality, generally packaged behind a coherent, navigable user interface. A word processor such as MS-Word is a tool for writing, formatting, and organizing text; a tool such as Adobe Photoshop enables manipulation of digital images; Zotero is a tool to help collect, manage, and cite research sources.

tool and application projects

As used in this proposal, institutional, organizational, or consortial efforts to build software tools or applications.

technology stack

(from Wikipedia) "A technology stack comprises the layers of components or services that are used to provide a software solution or application. [...] Technology stacks are often articulated as a list of technologies, such as 'J2EE with Java Server Faces running against a [MySQL] database' or as a diagram."

usage metrics

Measures of how and how much a site, web page, tool, service, or other software function was used over a defined period of time by a defined population. For example, the number of times a Google search is performed by people all over the world in a month is a usage metric (about 8.5 billion in January 2009 if you're curious); note that in this example the "defined population" is "everyone."

usage patterns

A set of usage metrics analyzed and interpreted to reveal how a given resource or set of resources is used. For example, if one were to analyze queries performed with's search interface, and find that 70% of people who purchase books use terms related to a title while 20% search for an author's name, one would understand something about the usage patterns of people who buy books from Amazon.

user interface

A set of images and cues, arranged as elements on a computer screen, that allow a person to interact with software. A simple and well-known example is the Google search page, on which an input area for typing text, and an image of a button labeled "Google Search" allows a person to request information from the Google search engine that corresponds to the typed text.

virtual machine

(from Wikipedia) "A virtual machine (VM) is a software implementation of a machine (computer) that executes programs like a real machine."


(from Wikipedia) A workflow is a depiction of a sequence of operations, declared as work of a person, work of a simple or complex mechanism, work of a group of persons, work of an organization of staff, or machines. [...] A workflow is a model to represent real work for further assessment, e.g., for describing a reliably repeatable sequence of operations.

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