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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.

1 - Phase 1 Case Statement

Table of Contents:

Introduction to this Section

This is an early draft of materials to help prepare the "Case Statement(s)" for Bamboo.  The case statements will be one or more short documents that explain what Bamboo is and why one should invest in Bamboo.  We imagine that 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, funders from Foundations (private and federal) and corporations.  Such funders will need to understand the broad, multi-institutional value that Bamboo provides.  Third, the very large community of those engaged with humanities scholarship world wide (perhaps 100,000 individuals).  This third community is critical to the large-scale engagement with Bamboo in the long-term.

Below we've posted two versions of case statement materials in two different styles to serve as starting point for conversation and refinement with the Bamboo Community.  We seek the Community's suggestions about how best to structure and make these arguments.

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.  But some of the language here may be used in the introduction or other parts of the proposal. 

Case Statement Version I: A One Page Elevator Pitch

(This is the shortest version.)

Why arts and humanities?  For millennia, human beings have debated fundamental questions about the meaning of our lives.  Today, it is vital for us to continue this process of self-understanding, which can transform individuals and entire societies.  

Why technology?  In 21st-century colleges and universities, technology can help the arts and humanities to power these fundamental debates in new ways.

  • Making ones and zeroes a treasure-trove usable for all.  Digital resources are expanding at an astonishing rate, giving today's scholars unprecedented access to the world's texts, art-works, music, and ideas, both past and present.  Yet only if we can find and use what matters will these resources yield knowledge.
  • Widening and deepening debates.  With the help of technology, scholars can now work in close collaboration with a world-wide community, bringing in new perspectives that can spark new ideas.
  • Providing specialized tools in common ways.  These tools don't just make hard jobs easier; they make impossible jobs possible.  But developing and sustaining digital technology for the humanities should not be an impossible job in itself.

Why collaborate?  Individual higher education institutions struggle to provide the needed support for digital scholarship in the humanities.  Collaborating within and across institutions is a better solution.  But working together takes work.  Thus 2+2 may not equal 5.  But 2+2+2 can equal 3.  That is, if done right, each institution gets back more than it put in and we all benefit.

What is Bamboo?  Bamboo is an international consortium of humanities scholars, content stewards, and information technologists working together across higher education institutions to deliver shared content and technology services for the arts and humanities.

Why Bamboo?  To advance knowledge in the arts and humanities, the foundational technology for research, teaching, and scholarly communications must be collaboratively developed so that all the pieces work together, all can be shared, and the community as a whole benefits.   That is Bamboo's mission.

Case Statement Version II: 7 Reasons to Support and Help Lead Bamboo

1.    Supporting the 5% and the 95% of Humanities Scholars.  Bamboo strives to support humanities scholars at all levels of technology use, and in all disciplines in the arts and humanities.  For the 5% or so of 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 managing and sustaining technologies and technologists.  For the 95% of humanities faculty and students who want to take the next step in exploring what is possible in their field, Bamboo will 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.    Collaboration for Digital Scholarship. The Bamboo approach is centered in bringing together colleagues from the humanities, computer and information sciences, the library, research museums and archival collections, and information technology organizations.  Bamboo's community model works to make this happen both within and between campuses.  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.    Content Connected to Tools; Tools Connected to Content.  Digital collections and corpora in all forms are increasingly fundamental to humanities scholarship.  Libraries, museums, and archives face many challenges in growing and sustaining these collections so that they are accessible to faculty 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 our most powerful tools with essential content resources, and to make content across collections far more usable.  Often times the concerns and approaches of tool developers and content managers have been isolated from each other.  The future of the digital humanities requires a common culture of data management.

4.    Sustainable Infrastructure for Shared Services.  At the heart of Bamboo is the effort to build sustainable and shared technology services infrastructure for the humanities across higher education institutions.  This will allow digital humanities projects to transition from project-specific applications to longer-lived, more broadly supported, more efficiently operated, and more widely useful services.  The Bamboo Services Platform, combined with a partnership process to helping existing applications to make use of a services model, is the core to this shared infrastructure.  The Bamboo Project believes the investment in sustainable infrastructure for shared services will set the stage for a future in which many scholars, content stewards, and technologists can easily discover, combine, re-mix, and share content and technology to create new forms of digital research and teaching.

5.    Working as Part of a Technological Ecosystem. Bamboo's philsophy is to leverage and fit in with a much larger ecosystem of scholarly tools, distributed repositories, national community source programs, international cyberinfrastructure initiatives, and the open standard offerings from information and technology corporations. Bamboo will realize this goal by focusing on the platform, API (programming interfaces), data models, and lightweight widgets for services which can be part, and help to connect, many collaborative environments, content sources, and tools.  In addition, when appropriate, Bamboo will help to coordinate and participate in the discussions about critical technical standards across higher education.

6.    Saving Time and Leveraging Investments. Throughout its efforts, Bamboo is looking for ways in which small and large higher education institutions can partner together to leverage investments, share knowledge, 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.

7.    Leadership in Bamboo as an Institutional Commitment to Advancing Humanities Scholarship. Leadership in Bamboo is an opportunity to grow and evolve a center for excellence for digital humanities at your local campus in partnership with a larger community. It is a concrete step your institution can take to continue to support and advance the humanities locally and across higher education.  We believe that participation in Bamboo will be a means to attract and retain leading researchers, staff, and students.

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