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  • Pre-Workshop Input

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

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Table of Contents

Initial Q&A

Humanities and technology

Beowulf translators - can spend a month trying to figure out the first word so the audience gets into the spirit of engaging with the text
Technology has to respect the boundaries of scholars
Interaction between science, humanities, arts, etc. is an exciting venture - not limiting yourself to one way of thinking

"Innovation" sparingly used - if you look at research, the definition is creating new knowledge; analysis of things you see, or looking at doing things differently
When IT drives things, it can be a good conduit for innovation, especially nowadays when information is more valuable than raw data

"We"

Really like provocative challenge of thinking as "we"
Who are "we"? What are the boundaries?
"We" of technologists distinguished from "we" of faculty - there are technology faculty in some places, but they're not the kinds of technologists we're trying to get at?
DAG: We wanted to engage full breadth of arts and humanities faculty (and social sciences - there's a gray area)
We want people from computer/information science, plus different kind of people who are part of information technology organizations - many manifestations there
Rich representation from libraries and museums
But after we put the proposal out there, the university presses asked why they weren't included
Initial "we" expanded as proposal got around
 - So, you had your "we" growing, as the "we" developed gaps, did some people in initial group just not show up?
DAG: No, but with leadership council we had to determine audience for Workshop 2; wanted substantial humanities faculty representation - fundamental for Workshop 2
Need help that, given the different kind of audiences/perspectives, how do we keep the process moving ahead, balancing group conversation with specialization
CJK: We missed one dimension, and we're now working on engaging with it: academic professional societies
Association for Computing in the Humanities, Psychology Association, etc.
A lot of scholarly practices are reflected in those societies, but in case of psychology, ~22,000 members - how do you represent that?
Encouraging participants to let us know if you feel you could represent or connect with a professional society you're associated with
We're looking at this from an institutional level, how do you connect in that space?
We've had conversation with NITLE re: how that organization representing liberal arts colleges connects with Bamboo; it doesn't develop software, it doesn't have an IT staff, but it's an organizing body, enables collaboration, etc.
We were aware of this when we put the proposal together, but didn't think about it
Part of what Bamboo should be is something that fits into what we're doing overall, not something that stands out - fitting into the daily lives of the people/activities it supports
How do we do that? - The "we" is getting very, very, very big
DAG: The "friendly invasive species"

About the scope: what have you come up with?
In Australia, 55% of our researchers fit in that category, getting common services for such a wide range of people is difficult
Really generic services that go all the way across?
CJK: Both specific and generic services
There are opportunities for utility services (data storage service, etc.)
Once you get above that layer, what are other services that might benefit multiple disciplines? - We're sorting through many different ideas
At a high level, looking at niche services
If we keep that firm belief in "we", one person's niche thing might be the one thing another discipline has been looking for
Until we try some things and make it easier to connect one person's project/service with another, we might not realize missed opportunities
Dictionaries: US Dept of Education - South Asian language, standard in TEI for describing dictionaries of multiple languages - there was a connection for a faculty working in a totally different language
Had some focus groups before launching project: a faculty member looking for geospatial data, was in the UK and happened to be at a particular pub, and someone from the RAF happened to be there who had data
Can Bamboo build a lot of pubs? - be a digital pub, your data/project might be valuable to someone else
Our goal: walk away saying "this is what Bamboo is, this is what it's not."

Parallels with sciences

A&H shouldn't lose sight that virtual organization, arranging data, etc. also affect the sciences
We should look at how sciences choose to tackle these problems
Easier for scientists to develop integrated environment
How do we build discovery environments?
Is it appropriate to use parallels with scientific world? We don't want to re-invent the wheel. If there's solutions in the scientific world, they'll help everybody. Is there a plan at this workshop?
CJK: Not at this workshop.
Part of it is looking at reasonable project stop
This is funded by Mellon - known for funding A&H projects; this is a boundary condition in the planning project at a certain point
Focusing on an underserved population
Opportunities even on one's own campus to connect with scientists and bring their knowledge into the community
-"Also, PB could translate over to the sciences"
DAG: Goes both ways, also with quantitative social sciences
We want to focus on a broad community w/ commonality re: approach, tradition, etc., and find some models that support them
That alone is a large, complex scope
CJK: As Bamboo's grown outside US, perspectives of these problems are different
Benefit for us to have branched out, connected with other parts of the world that bring different perspectives, infusing those ideas into the project
German view of Humanities is very different than US view > leads to good input

Need for particular tools

Dictionaries - you see how terms change in domains over time. Who's saying what when? A specialst term in the sciences now didn't used to be called that
You need a tool showing how domains change, interpretations have to be reinterpreted
Need to have these tools for humanities - computationally the same as parallels in the sciences now

What's been done so far?

My concern: what have you figured out so far? What assumptions have you arrived at? What do you think people from Workshop 1 have already figured out?
DAG: Workshop 1 involved setting stage for what Bamboo was about, having a discussion about current/future scholarly practice
Gathering data, have discussion about what Bamboo should be
Workshop 1: not a lot of resolution, but casting a wide net, exposing a lot of information
Between workshop 1 and 2, looking to publish that data, do preliminary synthesis
Now: there's a lot that people have talked about, let's narrow that down and take the next steps
If you did a survey and asked what people got out of Workshop 1, would get a lot of different answers, but Workshop 1 wasn't about coming up with answers
Lots of good data on the wiki, but the problem is that there's a lot of data
We need to make the next level of interpretation over the source data to help make contribution possible
CJK: Originally we thought - services
This was 20-degree view
We left with 270-degree view
This led to deep, analytical discussion, and people felt open to sharing thoughts/ideas and put them on the table, without worrying that we'll try to narrow it down to 5 things by Saturday
DAG: Based on directions people said we should go, we looked at what got called out many times - we then tried to synthesize these as potential directions
It's a big scope; we've got to have discussions about rewards/risks of pursuing those different discussions

Group Sharing

Expanding "we"

We made "we" a little larger - is it about creating new knowledge?
We're interested in conveying knowledge to students; where does that side of what faculty do fits into what Bamboo does?
CJK: Talked with Charles Blair, said a lot of the time Humanities scholarship for faculty ends up being a very solitary thing
How can one bring their area of expertise into the research context (promotion/tenure, etc) and also teaching/learning context
If you make it easier to connect resources/services/etc - if they're inspired to bring it into the classroom, they can
Blending/blurring of teaching/learning spaces is part of Bamboo

Giving back to the public

Field learning experiences - students go out and are interacting with communities; shouldn't just be an "extractive process"
We build online digital libraries that can be more interactive
How might that factor in? Those community stakeholders who are partnering with our students/us as faculty are part of the "we"
DAG: This topic came up everywhere in Workshop 1 - outside-in Humanities, public Humanities, dialog, community-generated ontologies - people brought this up passionately

Teaching vs. research

Can increasingly give students access to primary materials, as we figure out that discovery is a good way to learn, some divisions break down
DAG: Several back-and-forths about use of "scholarship", "research", "artistic practice", "teaching" - some authors wanted this broader view of connection with teaching and pedagogy
-Challenge is that it carries less weight on campus re: tenure/promotion
Going to a Bamboo event that focuses on "Humanities Research" looks different than "pedagogy"

Working with digital and non-digital materials

Widening the circle of the "what" - how does the undigitized/analog fit into this?
Only a tiny fraction of the material they want to work on is in digital form
Discussion is in a digital universe, but my barrier is that there's so much more in traditional forms, even though we have a wealth on-line it doesn't compare
How can Bamboo facilitate that material that won't be digitized for centuries?
Connects to "Discover" - libraries have done well creating metadata in the last few generations about things residing in repositories
Where do you go to find things?
CJK: One of the most powerful points - as a folklorist, his data is anything in the world that might have a story with it, many things are not documented.
Idea that the world is the data set is daunting
We want to engage content collectors who might be able to solve a problem for a project with the opportunity to collect rare data, create an opportunity for that conversation where you'd never otherwise realize that was the group to talk with
leads to opportunities for new collections, "hidden collections"
Importance of not looking at this as a data movement problem, but "how does a community come together to help address the current/next generation of research problems" - many don't have the data to do computationally, but maybe we can move one step closer
DAG: Do you mean a challenge re: digitization, or the issue of capture/creating streams of new data from existing cultural practices?
-"Process of ingesting materials, but there's many aspects to it
Outreach beyond the boundary of digital

Librarians and metadata

Challenge for the curators of the material to describe it, there's a workflow issue
There's a separate project to help libraries provide better metadata for manuscript collections
Opportunity for scholars, librarians, other curators to work together to describe materials
Need to break down perception that librarian is guardian of metadata; take advantage of scholars browsing through collections, crowdsourcing
Historically, "here's a data set, I'll build a GUI and some tools, if you want more tools, tell me." Now, "here's a generalized toolset, bring me your metadata."
We can't go describe everything ,and you wouldn't want us to, but can we come together by taking those tool sets and applying them to your problem

Differences in language between IT and Humanities

There's a divide of language and terminology between IT and Humanities in general
It's a group therapy session where we all talk and listen to each other, but how do we arrange this so it's something driven by humanities instead of centered/driven by IT people?
We hope this will be something different, in being humanities driven initiative
What are the process/mechanisms built into Bamboo to make it that way?
DAG: Are we talking about one driver? Or right set of people?
Risk that it's a hard thing to do, how do you get the right balance, right people driving at the right time
Chad and I are coming from "Central IT perspective", but trying to shepherd a project forward led by people from 4/5/6 different worlds
Want to build a consortium with respectful, shared leadership from all represented groups
-"Need to change the mindset, both Humanities and IT
Part is building a common language
DAG: One of our big hopes is that we're building a common language and inform tech staff how to engage in a conversation, or people in different areas of the humanities
CJK: There's a glossary on the site, words that were discussed at the workshops
"Silo" - we tend to work in silos, to some people in traditional silo'd organizations, these people knew right away; to another group, people are thinking farming
Until we come closer in terminology, we won't make a lot of progress - that's some of what happened in Workshop 1
As we define how Bamboo should work moving forward, need to figure out how project connects deeply into A&H & Social Sciences
DAG: Sequence of multi-point translations, and a series of overlapping languages

Extremely important observation - how we're talking about our work, so much is conveyed about how we work that we're not hearing each other
IT/Humanities divide - talking at each other with words coming out of our fields
We're at an evolutionary phase in the humanities that's driven by technology, and we're all trying to work with this
Trying to be sensitive to how other people are talking

What are Arts and Humanities?

The Arts, The Humanities - is there a description of what these things are?
DAG: We tried to give some sense of scope in the proposal, a broad scope with common traditions/practices
When we were in Europe, looking at Germanic tradition, there's a difference between "human sciences" and "natural sciences", and art/artistic practice isn't even part of that
There could be a deeper discussion about boundaries/definitions/etc, but that'd be a workshop in and of itself
There are some people in the process trying to think about these questions
We thought, there's a unifying tradition, let's focus on that even though there's going to be rough boundaries
Want to move the discussion forward where A&H as a whole were part of the conversation
This can be something people push forward in the working groups
CJK: From a practical institutional perspective, every institution defines boundaries differently for different reasons
We said, "Ok, what you think is Humanities, what you think is Arts, bring that to the table."
We want to focus on macro issues, being as inclusive as possible
Geneticists aren't probably humanities as we understand it today, so National Science Foundation funds them
Areas of performance - Bamboo can relate, and there's ways it can, and we want to explore the boundary conditions in these conversations