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

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This glossary is a collaborative effort to define terms used in the many disciplines and communities that participate in Project Bamboo.  At each of the Bamboo workshop series we are asking participants to list terms that they would like defined and/or would like the community to know about.  The list below comes from Bamboo workshops 1 and 2.




Amazon S3




Artistic Practice


Attribution Signals





an acronym created for an already-existing word. One etymology describes "backronym" as a portmanteau term (or Frankenword) derived from the combination of "backwards-formation" and "acronym."

Bamboo, v.

This definition is currently a placeholder. In current spoken American English, nouns often become verbs without changing their form. Examples: Parent, n. becomes Parent, v. (and not *Parentize, v.); Google, n. becomes Google, v. (and not *Googlify, v.). Even nouns that aren't commonly used as verbs can be understood if used this way. Example: I museumed yesterday. If Bamboo takes off, "Bamboo" is likely to become a verb whose meaning will depend on what Bamboo turns out to be. In other words, this definition is a placeholder for the question: What will it mean "to Bamboo"?



Best Practices



Also, bitechnical. The ability to move between two technological paradigms, for example, analog and digital. One could also be bi-technical within a digital framework in moving from one kind of digital paradigm (say, software system) to another.

Beowulf Cluster

A Beowulf cluster is a group of usually identical PC computers running a Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), a Unix-like operating system, such as BSD, Linux, or Solaris. They are networked into a small TCP/IP LAN, and they have libraries and programs installed that allow processing to be shared among them.


The "bounty" model of funding activities involves publicizing a desired goal or end product, and promising a reward if the requirements of the project are met. This approach can result in duplicated effort, but has the advantage of avoiding bureaucracy that can develop around the awarding of contracts, and places an emphasis on results over the structure that leads to results.


an automated practice of saving the state of your work at various points, so if something goes awry you don't have to start over. [Computer Science]

Cloud computing






The study of codices (singular codex).  A codex is a book:  it has separate pages bound together within two covers.  The codex came to replace its predecessor in the West, the scroll.  Sometimes "codex" is limited to referring to manuscript (handwritten) books produced before the era of the printing press.



Community Source


Community of Practice


Consortial Model





a social bookmarking site available at



Digital Cuneiform


Digital Humanities

(My Dean keeps asking for a clear definition; anyone have a suggestion?)

Digital Surrogate


Dirty OCR


Disciplinary Capsule




Distributed Environment








Federated Search

the simultaneous search of multiple online databases through a common portal. 

Fog, Debilitating

a cloud viewed from another perspective, i.e. from the inside.  When one is inside a cloud, it can seem like a debilitating fog.


Folksonomy is a portmanteau word, formed by a fusing of "folk" and "taxonomy" without fully embracing the meaning of either word. In general, it refers to the semi-structured end result of a collaborative tagging activity, wherein a range of individuals apply a range of terminology or descriptors to a single artifact, word, digital object, etc., generally without any regard for ontology or consistency. One example of the uses of folksonomy can be viewed at the photo-sharing website Flickr, where individuals are invited to "tag" photographs without any restricted vocabulary.

Framework for Co-Production of Value



Descriptor for an entity which has been decomposed or analyzed to a pre-determined level of specificity. For example, one might describe an object in terms of its components, sub-components, molecules, atoms, or particles -- each of these represents a different granular level.



Habermas's Theory of Communicative Action



HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory) is " A consortium of humanists, artists, scientists, and engineers, of leading researchers and nonprofit research institutions [...] committed to new forms of collaboration across communities and disciplines fostered by creative uses of technology."

Highest Common Factor

This term was introduced into the discussion at workshop 1b to contrast with "lowest common denominator" solutions that "dumbed down" research tools. Thus, searching for the "highest common factor" among different users and their needs when building tools is proposed as an alternative to searching for their lowest common denominator.

"If you can make it work, it's yours" model




Intellectual Production







KWIC stands for KeyWord In Context. It refers to the short snippets sometimes given in search results which can help a user decide whether to click through to the document in which the keyword was found.


To convert into a lemma; to transform or normalize all inflected word forms contained in a text to their dictionary look-up or canonical form


Lexicon can mean

1. a word-book or dictionary
2.  (a) The vocabulary proper to some department of knowledge or sphere of activity; the vocabulary or word-stock of a region, a particular speaker, etc.    (b) A list of words or names.
3. The complete set of meaningful units in a language; the words, etc., as in a dictionary, but without the definitions.
4. An MS-DOS word processor that went under the name "Lexicon," popular in the Soviet Union and Russia at the end of the 1980s and the 1990s.
5. A specific computer-assisted role-playing game named Lexicon. As originally proposed, it is played online using Wiki software. Players assume the role of scholars who write the history and background of a particular fictitious time, setting, or incident. As the game goes on, the players collaboratively create an elaborately interwoven account.



Marketplace of Ideas



Markup is the process of embedding tags (see Tagging) in an electronic document so as to distinguish the document's logical, syntactic, or structural components. Markup can also refer to the tags so embedded.
Markup may be used both to format the appearance of a document and to facilitate searching and other operations.
A markup language is any of the various tagging systems used in markup (e.g., HTML, SGML, XML).



Material Intent






Morphological Analysis





May be positive or negative, depending on context. Some sources differentiate the meaning with the spelling "mungeing" versus "munging", but this distinction would disappear when the word is spoken. 1) making damaging and usually irrevocable changes to (a system, etc.), or destroying or corrupting (data, etc.), usually through a series of minor changes that, taken individually, would be innocuous enough but together add up to unintentional, irreversible damage to the original.  Mung has at least two backronyms: "Mash Until No Good" and "Mung Until No Good." For example, "The programming error had completely munged the database by the time we noticed it." 2) to chew; or in internet jargon, to mix or play with multiple data sources in loose or creative ways to yield an interesting, informal result. For example, "If you munge the student attendance data together with the daily high temperatures and the proximity of summer vacation, it seems to me that spring fever is to blame for the empty classrooms -- but this isn't a double-blind study cleared by the human subjects board, so don't quote me on it."




NITLE (National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education, pronounced "nightly") "is a community-based, non-profit initiative that provides professional development programs, managed information services, and peer networking opportunities to independent, undergraduate-centered institutions of higher education that participate in our Network."

Named Entity Recognition

identifying and tagging individual textual elements that fit into predefined categories.  For example, a NER system might find and tag names of known persons and places (historical or fictional) in a particular corpus of texts.  Named Entity Recognition (NER) is a form of information extraction. 

Not-Reading, Aggressive



National Science Foundation. From the NSF's website ( "The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency [in the United States] created by Congress in 1950 'to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense...' With an annual budget of about $6.06 billion, [the NSF is] the funding source for approximately 20 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities. In many fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences, NSF is the major source of federal backing."

Open Publication


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.



Oxygen XML



Pal[a]eography is the study of "old" handwriting; a paleographer analyzes letter forms (characters, glyphs) and the individual strokes that comprise them. The term is conventionally used of manuscripts written before the eighteenth century in Western Europe and the U.S., though practically speaking there is no reason not to apply a paleographer's analytical tools to materials written since then or elsewhere.

Parallel Computing


Pattern Recognition





"PhiloLogic, a suite of software developed by the ARTFL Project at the University of Chicago in collaboration with The University of Chicago Library, provides sophisticated searching of a wide variety of large encoded databases on the World Wide Web. It is an easy to use, yet powerful, full-text search, retrieval, and reporting system for large multimedia databases (texts, images, sound) with the ability to handle complex text structures with extensive indexed metadata." 

Plumbing Standards

Technical standards.


A technique for gathering group feedback that has been commonly used in the Information Technology Leaders Program (ITLP). Pluses are things that worked; deltas are things that should be changed.

Point Cloud


Premature Normalization




Primary Sources

From the Princeton University Library Reference website (
A primary source is a document or physical object which was written or created during the time under study. These sources were present during an experience or time period and offer an inside view of a particular event. Some types of primary sources include:

  • ORIGINAL DOCUMENTS (excerpts or translations acceptable): Diaries, speeches, manuscripts, letters, interviews, news film footage, autobiographies, official records 
  • CREATIVE WORKS: Poetry, drama, novels, music, art 
  • RELICS OR ARTIFACTS: Pottery, furniture, clothing, buildings

    Examples of primary sources include:
  • Diary of Anne Frank - Experiences of a Jewish family during WWII 
  • The Constitution of Canada - Canadian History 
  • A journal article reporting NEW research or findings 
  • Weavings and pottery - Native American history 
  • Plato's Republic - Women in Ancient Greece



Pub/Sub (publish/subscribe)













An initialism for "Service Level Agreement". Generally refers to agreements between service providers and service recipients, specifying the rights and responsibilities of each side. SLAs often include a characterization of the resources allocated to the service, the promised performance and reliability of a service, and the availability of support.

Scalable Vector Machines



Promotional items or products used in marketing and communication programs, often given away at trade shows and conferences.  Items are usually imprinted with a company or project or product name, logo, or slogan.



Secondary Sources

From the Princeton University Library Reference website (
 A secondary source interprets and analyzes primary sources. These sources are one or more steps removed from the event. Secondary sources may have pictures, quotes or graphics of primary sources in them. Some types of seconday sources include:

  • PUBLICATIONS: Textbooks, magazine articles, histories, criticisms, commentaries, encyclopedias 

    Examples of secondary sources include:
  • A journal/magazine article which interprets or reviews previous findings 
  • A history textbook 
  • A book about the effects of WWI


(in relation to handheld data collection devices)




"The Shibboleth System is a standards based, open source software package for web single sign-on across or within organizational boundaries. It allows sites to make informed authorization decisions for individual access of protected online resources in a privacy-preserving manner."


  1. a pejorative term referring to an inextricably-integrated, inflexible environment, service, or department. Carries a connotation of waste and anti-collaborative practices.
  2. a positive term referring to a highly-integrated, seamless environment, service, or department. Carries a connotation of stability and reliability.
  3. a cylindrical building found on farms and used for the storage of agricultural products.



Small Science


Social Networking


Social Tagging



A stemma is a family tree of manuscripts.  The root of the tree is a hypothesized single originary text from which all manuscript copies are descended.  The tree, or genealogy, groups the manuscripts into families based on whether or not they share particular errors on the theory that
1. new errors can be introduced every time a manuscript is copied,
2. errors in a copy are perpetuated in copies made from that copy,
3. shared (or conjunctive) errors in a group of manuscripts indicate a common ancestry, and
4. different (or separative) errors imply different ancestries. 
After constructing a stemma, scholars can then attempt to recreate the original by reversing the errors appearing in the various families descended from the original.


See "Schwag."



Tag Cloud

A tag cloud is a visual depiction of tags that describe the content of web sites or databases. A tag is usually a link that leads to items associated with that tag.  Some search tools now produce tag clouds as the result of searches.  Such tags clouds are constellations of related terms, spelling variations, and translations of search terms.  See, for example,


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.

Technology Bootcamp

An intensive workshop where faculty could go to learn quickly everything they need to know about using relevant technological resources. (Whether such a thing already exists is a matter for debate.)


A term formed by analogy with "housekeeping."

Time- v. text-based media


Topic Analysis




Trust Metrics






Virtual organization



  1. The Visualization of Information: In a series of books that began with The Visual Display of Quantitative Information in 1983, Edward Tufte argued that maps, graphs, and other kinds of visualizations can offer explanations.  His classic example: mapping outbreaks of cholera allowed John Snow to determine in 1854 that the disease was passed by drinking water.
  2. Visualization and Understanding: Barbara Maria Stafford and others have examined the history of scientific diagrams and their impact on empirical understanding.  Another classic example: Niels Bohr's model of the atom makes it look like a Solar system because Bohr believed in a resemblance between the two.
  3. Digital Visualization: Mapping or creating graphs of information and displaying them on a High Resolution Display Wall would allow us to envision huge amounts of information at once, performing what Franco Moretti calls "distant reading." We could then drill down into information bits (through clicks or perhaps even touching spots on the screen) so that we can ultimately perform close reading as well.



Wayback Machine

The "Wayback Machine" at is a window onto archived versions of web sites. By entering a web-site address (URL), a visitor is presented with clickable dates for which snapshots of the requested web page are available.


A free, open-source Firefox extension for collecting, managing, and citing research sources. Website:

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  1. Unknown User (smatei)

    can new terms be added to the list?

    1. Unknown User (

      I agree.  I think they can be added using the "edit" feature.

      1. Unknown User (

        You should be able to. If not, let us know.

        1. Unknown User (smatei)

          Hi, I see no "edit this" link or tab...

          1. Unknown User (

            You must be logged in to edit.  Please check out the Bamboo Wiki FAQif you lost (or never obtained) your password.