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  • Bamboo Case Statements 0.4

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

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WORK IN PROGRESS

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.

Introduction to this Section

This is an early draft of materials to help prepare the "Case Statements" for Bamboo. The Bamboo case statements will be one or more short documents that explain what Bamboo is and why one should participate and invest in Bamboo. We imagine we will need case statements for several different audiences. First, leaders at local institutions such as Presidents, Chancellors, Provosts, Deans, heads of Libraries, and/or CIOs. These leaders will decide whether and to what degree their local institution should commit resources to the Bamboo Project. Second, case statements will be needed for funders from Foundations (private and federal) and corporations. Such funders will need to understand the broad, multi-institutional, and in some cases international value that Bamboo provides. Third, we see the need for case statements that can speak to the very large community of those engaged with humanities scholarship world wide (perhaps as many as 100,000 individuals). This third community is critical to the large-scale engagement with Bamboo in the long-term.

Below we've posted an initial list of arguments for leadership, participation, and/or investment in Bamboo. We seek the Bamboo Community's suggestions on:

  • What should be changed and added to any of these particular arguments
  • What additional arguments should be added
  • Which arguments are most appropriate for different audiences

Several important things to note:

  • We expect to use different parts of the materials below (and other arguments) to help us prepare the different case statements for the three audiences noted above. That is, part of these materials may be more relevant for the case to be made to a university Provost or CIO than to a humanities scholar, and vice-a-versa.
  • We expect the form of the case statements to vary. For example, some of language here may be part of a brochure for Bamboo. Some of the language may be used in the final implementation grant proposal.
  • This section as it stands now is not meant to be the introduction to the 2 year Implementation Proposal, although some of the language here may be used in the introduction or other parts of the proposal.

Case Statement Materials: Reasons to Participate and Invest in Bamboo


  1. Support the Breadth of the Arts and Humanities. Bamboo strives to provide benefit to the broad range of disciplines in the arts and humanities, and to scholars at nearly every level of technology adoption. For humanities researchers who are deeply engaged with digital technologies, Bamboo seeks to provide shared services and infrastructure so that scholars can spend more time on research and teaching and less time sustaining technologies and managing technologists. For humanities faculty and students who want to explore what is possible in their field, Bamboo can provide multiple avenues to connect to what other scholars have done with digital technology, see what next steps to take, and learn how to use shared services.

  2. Collaborate Across Boundaries. The Bamboo philosophy is centered in bringing together colleagues from the humanities, computer and information sciences, the library, museums and archival collections, university presses, learned societies, and information technology organizations. Bamboo's community model works to make this happen on campus, between campuses, and with other organizations and partners central to the cyberinfrastructure for humanities. Participation in Bamboo thus gives a focus and locus of activity for faculty and staff on a campus to work together in a coordinated fashion to further research and integrate resources.

  3. Understand Scholarly Practices, Search for Commonalities, Build Shared Services. In Bamboo, teams of humanities scholars and technologists work together to understand scholarly practice, now and in the future. They use this growing body of qualitative and quantitative data to search for commonalities across disciplines. From these commonalities of need, they build reusable software components that can be exposed and combined as shared services for the humanities. In this way, collaborative research about humanities scholarship drives the development of software.

  4. Connect Content to Tools, Tools to Content. Digital collections and corpora in all forms are increasingly fundamental to humanities scholarship. Libraries, museums, and archives face challenges in growing and sustaining these collections so that they are accessible to researchers and the public alike. By bringing together content stewards with information scientists, and by investing in a shared platform for services across higher education, Bamboo will help to connect tools with content resources, and to make content across collections far more usable. Often the concerns and methods of content stewards and tool developers have been isolated from each other. The future of the digital humanities requires a common culture of information management. Bamboo will help to develop this shared culture.

  5. Sustain Digital Scholarship with Common Infrastructure. At the heart of Bamboo is the development of sustainable infrastructure for shared technology services across institutions. This will allow digital humanities projects to transition from project-specific applications to longer-lived, broadly supported, efficiently operated, and widely reused services. The Bamboo Services Platform, combined with a partnership process to help existing applications make use of a services model, is the core to this infrastructure. Bamboo believes a sustainable infrastructure for shared services will set the stage for a future in which many scholars can easily discover, combine, and re-mix content and technology to create new forms of research and teaching.

  6. Participate in a Technological Ecosystem for Innovation. Bamboo's philosophy is to leverage and fit in with a much larger ecosystem of tools, content repositories, community source programs, cyberinfrastructure initiatives, and open standard offerings from technology corporations. Bamboo will realize this goal by focusing on the platforms, APIs (programming interfaces), models for data exchange and interoperability, and "gadgets" for services. In this way Bamboo can connect with a wide range of collaborative environments, collections, and applications --- thus harnessing innovation from many fields, many technologies beyond Bamboo. In addition, Bamboo will help to coordinate and participate in discussions about critical technical standards across higher education.

  7. Leverage Investments, Save Time, Share Expertise. Throughout its efforts, Bamboo is looking for ways in which small and large higher education institutions can partner together to leverage investments, share expertise, and support the academic and professional development of a cadre of scholars, librarians, technologists, and researchers who can work together for the long term to support the humanities.

  8. Help Lead an International Effort to Advance Humanities Scholarship. Leadership in Bamboo is an opportunity for an institution to partner with other colleges, centers, and organizations globally to nurture technology-enhanced research and teaching in the arts, humanities, and interpretive social sciences. By participating in Bamboo, an institution can leverage the broader community's expertise to solve problems, shape methods for sharing tools and content across disciplines, and influence the direction of humanities research. Participation in Bamboo can be an important means to attract and retain researchers, staff, and students. Helping to lead Bamboo is a concrete step your institution can take to support and advance the humanities locally and across higher education.
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3 Comments

  1. Unknown User (martinmueller@northwestern.edu)

    A comment about "Connect Content to Tools, Tools to Content."

    There may be ways of reading this that make sense, but there are also ways that raise alarms. Who are 'content stewards' and who are 'information scientists'? If I look at the Bamboo community, the librarians may identify themselves as the former, and programmers as the latter. Where are the English professors, art historians, historians, philosophers, etc. in this? And what is "content"? The librarian's view all too often is that 'content' consists of books or 'booklike objects', where a 'booklike' object may well be a digital file, but it is 'like' a book in the sense that it is up to the reader/user to decide what to do with it. The 'information scientist' may be a programmer (or somebody from a computer science department) who is interested in moving this 'content' around as long as s/he doesn't have to touch it.

    Left out from this deceptive opposition of content stewardship and information science is the whole middle area of data curation. Data curation is anything that makes data more manipulable for scholarly purposes. Cataloguing a book is a form of data curation. So is linguistic annotation, and so is the 'tiling' of an image that makes it visible at different levels of granularity.

    Data curation is a very tricky business. It is time consuming, tedious, and requires domain specific knowledge about the structure of data and what scholars might want to do with them. Are those activities included in the phrase "make content across collections far more usable"? I wish I could be more confident on this point.

    I cannot help feeling that in the tone and rhetoric of these paragraphs the missing element is a real interest in deep and searching scholarship and the commitment to make data more deeply analyzable. Phrases like "easily discover, combine, and remix" remind me of a world of DJ's. That's a world, too, but is it the world Mellon should fund?

  2. Unknown User (elli_mylonas)

    My comments are phrased as edits, for speed. They are impressionistic, of course, and I realize that each of these points is written to be put to use with a different audience.

    point 2: add "digital humanists" to the list of disciplines.

    point 3: Suggest changing "to understand scholarly practice" to "to articulate scholarly practice." (or express)

    point 4: (possibly supporting Martin's comment) Change "By bringing together content stewards with information scientists, and by investing in a shared platform for services across higher education" to "By bringing together content stewards with information scientists, by referring to functionalities and practices in current digital humanities projects, and by investing in a shared platform for services across higher education"

    point 6: the sentence "Bamboo will realize this goal by focusing on the platforms, APIs (programming interfaces), models for data exchange and interoperability, and "gadgets" for services." isn't very clear. Are all 4 of these items antecedents to "for services"? i.e. or is the phrase just '"gadgets" for services'? I know that gadget is used to mean 'little application" but it sounds funny here, especially since it isn't defined, and it's in scare quotes.

    point 8: Seems to shift between arguing that Bamboo will broaden the reach of the humanities in institutions, and arguing that Bamboo will help improve the humanities. I'd personally be more comfortable with this point if the phrase ", and influence the direction of humanities research" were dropped.  


  3. Unknown User (sbrier@gc.cuny.edu)

    I feel like a broken record (old technology reference) for saying this for the third or fourth time, but there is little if any mention, let alone discussion, about teaching and the profound impact that the digital humanities has already had on the ways in which knowledge is transferred to future generations of humanities scholars. I didn't find the word "teaching" until the final (eighth) point, and it was there in a string and not much elaborated upon. I made the exact same point about an earlier document.

     I'm not looking to minimize the importance of developing good tool sets, which remains a key goal of PB; I'm merely asking that we pay more than lip service to teaching and pedagogy in our discussions and in our plans for the next, funded stage of Bamboo. As the PB representative of a stand-alone doctorate degree granting institution, it's going to be very hard for me to justify commitment of resources unless I can convince the president and the provost that our participation in Bamboo will help build The Graduate Center of CUNY a stronger program that supports our primary and twinned missions: to encourage and advance scholarship in the humanities and social sciences and to produce the next generation of cutting-edge scholars. Surely there's room in PB for a perspective that values good pedagogy as much as good technology (and those don't need to be seen in any way in opposition to one another).