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  • Scholarly Networking- Meeting 1 Notes

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

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These notes were taken by Quinn Dombrowski during the 12/9 meeting of the Scholarly Networking group. Please feel free to correct any omissions.

Do we have enough information about communication practices?

  • Question posed about that we know a bit more about research practices, not so much about communication/collaboration, drivers and practices among humanists
  • Do we have enough information to go in the right direction? How do we get it?
  • Communication practices - discussion happened in W1 and research has been done about research needs, but when talking about scholarly network this is how they collaborate

Future practices and the need for focus

  • Encourage not just how they work now, but encourage collaboration of humanities scholars with people from sciences and technical side
  • Bias from previous work that a lot of this has to start with face-to-face communication, then continue virtually - prefer face-to-face to start
  • Replicating in new media what people do already, establishing new modes and frameworks that are only possible/facilitated by a scholarly networking software
  • I don't rule that out, and we don't have to replicate it with a new network, but I'm arguing that w/o the purpose/goal/shared engagement in some objective, the communication network is just a network, no purpose as such
  • Learn how it can best perform if we have specific projects to work on
  • Start it with some particular project in mind, they have similar goals, you'd see connections - ultimately you want to facilitate people finding people, related activities/papers/projects/etc via this collaborative tool

Facebook and other existing networks

  • Arguing for a Humanities Scholar Facebook?
  • That's what I heard being talked about at the first two workshops - re-presenting this information; I can see how Humanities could take advantage of that; I haven't been on Facebook long, but it's interesting to find the people that want to connect back up with you
  • Different ways Facebook has enabled people to find you; different ways to let people find each other - common data, from the same university, using the same technique on different data sets; some means of allowing people to get connected via different metrics
  • If you add grouping potential of applications for social networking, could follow up on a conference group
  • Some way to facilitate self-organization; Facebook does that, ManyEyes allows grouping- can be formed in any way, self-defined
  • Start this scholarly group on Facebook? It has many qualities we like, it's already established - now we just need to seed it, be the nucleus for something self-forming
  • There was some negativity about Facebook, rather, looking at the features of Facebook, LinkedIn, a number of other ones; Brainify - more scholarly
  • What is the "project"? Needs to be some kind of purpose to it, common project

Thought Ark

  • Working on a project/platform that has evolved to look at how scholars communicate, how they network - Thought Ark (http://www.thoughtark.com), repository of personal information, can be shared with colleagues; the most important feature is the processes of adding metadata to citations that scholars use as they use them - can be any sort of scholarly resource; citation increases the value; about halfway done
  • Can we use it in some sort of way?
  • Could this be a demonstrator?
  • This is not a gadget; there's research on scholarly practice that goes with it; it's not a publication platform, it tries to track uses (resources, scholarly practices); this is how I'm proposing it for our discussion
  • Want to determine metrics that people are going to want to use to find other resources, information about things, people/projects/etc
  • Metrics are built into the system; the most valuable aspect of the platform is that it monitors research/social networking activities
  • As research engages in activities, these are used for generating value data for the social connection and resources that researcher uses, so you can tell which resources are more/less utilized -> value
  • Can reverse the value - example of how not to do it
  • Monitoring process is part of the system - using "idle cycles" of research process; what you do in the solitude of your office is put into the system, can tell what's more/less used
  • When it collects the data, what does it do? What's the value of the data on usage for the research process?
  • It's analyzed and attached to every piece of resource that's been utilized
  • Each resources has a utilization score based on user usage
  • You can use a formula to decide what the value of a citation is
  • Details about what technologies you're using in the tool?
  • Was written from scratch; it's a mix in terms of functionalities we've built into it
  • Blogging system (don't necessarily blog like bloggers, you write papers)
  • Serial publication system with social networking capability - whatever you write can be shared/posted on your "wall" and people can express interest in it
  • Function similar to Digg - become more valuable with voting, but voting is automatic based on usage
  • Built from ground up using what?
  • Written from scratch, doesn't incorporate tools built by anyone else before; written in Ruby on Rails
  • Not Open Source, but will be released probably under Creative Commons
  • Peer-to-peer connectivity; can install it on your local machines, or on a campus; can harvest other citation resources
  • Storing info in RDF, database?
  • Storing it in a database right now, but database is carefully structured and standardized
  • Can export, remote connection
  • Can allow the client to sit on top of the database to share databases
  • When you join the system, do you assign attributes based on area of research?
  • Yes, categorized in multiple ways - integrate teaching and research; how you've gotten information as an instructor
  • Can categorize by field and discipline, can have original criteria, group/class-based, project, etc.
  • You're going to want users to fill out a profile - do you have that?
  • Yes; architecture includes that
  • Can people control access to their info? - that came out a lot in the workshops
  • There are privacy controls built into the system, especially with intellectual products
  • If you decide not to share the paper you write in the system, you can do that; you can also have it not harvest your activities - but the system will die if too many people do that
  • Is part of the system connecting with other people so you're not necessarily ready to engage with them, but are looking and lurking and trying to find connections?
  • This is an open question; I have my own answer I can't share yet, this is a critical issue to discuss
  • Way of thinking of things proposed by Thought Ark can be used as a template or starting point; are there ways to do a Thought Ark-like platform
  • I'm committed to the platform, but I'm talking here as someone interested in architecture rather than a tool
  • Is it possible to experiment with Thought Ark as a potential demonstrator?

Reusing (parts of) exiting networks?

  • Pushback from Facebook
  • Oriented less towards Facebook itself, have same functionality
  • I've used LinkedIn, but I don't like the feel as much
  • There's also open source stuff, not that we don't want to use Thought Ark but there's other tools that are open source that we could install
  • What are the capabilities we want to have? vs. trying to get something up
  • Can use four different tools - each has a different capability
  • Developing cases/stories - once you put together a story with these architectures, then it starts to be real - might get a reaction and feedback from more of the humanities scholars who attend the workshops
  • Danger of spreading effort too thin to test out too many systems at once; concentrate on two, sharpening up a sense of the functionalities you do/don't want > identify where Bamboo would eventually go in terms of what it needs to do to build on existing resources
  • I imagine Bamboo wants to build something at some point that will be quite new and custom-made; I'm for exploring anything/everything in Facebook/LinkedIn, but my hunch is that Bamboo wants to build something almost from scratch, get all these opinions and visions together through workshops, then sit down and launch 1/2/3 projects that would be quite ambitious and autonomous
  • I don't see Bamboo just doing a small application that would sit on top of Facebook
  • I Don't know - this is another conversation that takes place
  • Not opposed to using existing tools, but none can do the job that what Bamboo wants to accomplish
  • It's a place for people to meet and have a laugh and share some information, but it's difficult to share information that we as researchers care about, especially intellectual property related information
  • Just like you would share a picture - look, enjoy, move on, but none of the processes we engage in
  • Need list of functions/features represented in those tools, it's these criteria that lead us to the recommendations
  • Need to keep an eye on this
  • Bamboo doesn't necessarily want to build from scratch if we can avoid it
  • "We're not closed, we're open, etc.:, we have to look really hard at what's available out there - when I look at Facebook, LinkedIn, etc, I see that there's certain things they do well, but the gist of what scholarly communication is about, identifying who knows what, trying to figure out if what they know is valid to me or not, has not been put together as a coherent and useful environment - I'm not talking just "tools", we don't have an environment for scholarly information processing
  • Discovery, publication, and social networking
  • Also, Connotea, other little projects that publishers have been dabbling with - this and that and everything but there's no one environment, but Bamboo needs to focus on this
  • However the environment will be brought to life by creating an integrated tool, or proposing standards - focus should be on The Environment, rather than tools in isolation

Going forward

  • Where do we go from here? - working with and evaluating existing tools is a way to clarify the kind of functionality and needs that we have
  • When I think functionality and Facbeook, " which does grouping the best?"
  • We're looking for a "user environment" - the question is "do we have a list of user requirements to start with?" "after we figure these out, should we go on and start talking about an environment architecture?" - environment shouldn't be a tool, but an integrated way of doing things supported by technology
  • We can have a productive conversation rooted not in evaluating existing technology, but proposing first a list of user requirements and thinking about an environment that would support scholarly networking, where emphasis is on networking, not on technology itself
  • How would we create scholarly networking above and beyond any possible/existing technology
  • What are the kinds of practices/resources that a scholar would need to create a social network that will help them that's rooted in these user requirements
  • What actually are those requirements? What will include everyone to think
  • A lot of this came out from workshop 2 - happy to add to that list
  • How are we taking things forward?
  • How about drafting a "roadmap" - areas of investigation?
  • Suggestion of thinking of user requirements? What would they be when we talk about a social networking environment?
  • Look at types of architecture(s) that would help users network and do research?
  • Another area that looks at evaluating whatever's going to be created
  • Let's focus on the higher level question for requirements - notion of being able to build and ask things so you can pull info from these other places; in a Fedora instance, or talk via Semantic Web via other entities that could exist from tools/repositories
  • We should think about doing things in a way that gives us the ability to extend things
  • To help this conversation, we should start with this initial document that has three headings
  • requirements, architecture principles
  • Interested in trying it out and seeing what sort of lessons we learn from that as a group as we're looking at demonstrators
  • Interested in having some cases and getting more scholarly reflection on the direction we're taking - Humanist input
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