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  • Selected Modeling Challenges in the Bamboo Commons

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

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In the initial draft of this wiki page, the listed modeling and design complexities are taken wholesale from the Bamboo Implementation Proposal v0.5 page on the "Bamboo Atlas" (since reframed within the Bamboo Commons).

As the Bamboo Community sharpens its conception of the Atlas, modeling and design complexities will arise in both predictable and unanticipated areas. Some of the non-trivial issues likely to require resolution include:


  • What should be versioned? Only major entities (e.g., narratives, recipes)? Reviews and ratings? Relationships between tags and entities?
  • Should the relationships asserted between major entities be "version aware"? What (if anything) should happen when a relationship has been asserted between Narrative X and Recipe Y, and Y is revised? Must the assertion be revisited? May it be optionally re-asserted vis-a-vis the new revision of Y?
  • Should superceded (old versions of) content be indexed, or should search mechanisms only index current versions of things like narratives, recipes, reviews, and ratings?
  • If multiple groups form, and the full membership of each decides that the groups ought to be merged, how should the Atlas track pre-merge group activity (such as group-contributed reviews or ratings, assuming such activity is enabled)?
  • If a scholar uses a certain word to "tag" Atlas content, then decides she would rather use a more broadly-employed equivalent term, should her original choice disappear, or should it remain part of the Atlas in some inactive or less-preferred form?

Collaborative, Editorial, and Curatorial Activity

  • Is all collaborative contribution a collaboration among peers, or might a role of principal author, curator, owner, or editor-in-chief apply to certain modes of engagement with the Atlas?
  • Should an editor/curator be able to assert "this is a variant of artifact X" and release that variant to the world, allowing the original author to actively accept, actively reject, or ignore the proposed variant? Or should the submission be to the original author, allowing her to decide which suggestions to accept and reject?
  • Should a contributor be enabled to grant a "collaborator" or "editor" role to whomever she wishes? Should such a role be grantable for each contribution, for all contributions, for contributions of certain types (e.g., all recipes, but no narratives), or all the above?
  • Should an individual or group be enabled to keep a contribution private until the contribution is judged ready to share? In such cases, should the contribution's evolution (versions) be made public, or only the ready-for-release draft - or should both options be available?

Federated Content

  • How should the Atlas incorporate or refer to material maintained by other tools, sites, or archives?
    • Copy/cache or simply refer?
    • What if a referral URL/URI is not permanent?
    • Should there be ongoing, automated link-checking; and, if so, what ought to happen when a link is discovered to be broken?
    • What metadata could be identified and stored to facilitate finding a cached copy of an artifact (e.g., in the Internet Archive) should originally-referenced material go away?
  • What arrangements can and should the Bamboo Atlas make with copyright holders of materials that are image-digitized but for which OCR'd text is not directly available? E.g., in the case of journal articles about humanist methods that are held by JSTOR, should the Atlas be designed to federate search across the JSTOR index (cf. XML Gateway) on demand (when a user explicitly searches) ... or should the Atlas attempt to incorporate JSTOR search results into its own map of humanist methodology?
  • How can information of value to the Bamboo Atlas be identified and appropriately culled or referenced out of sprawling, unfocused archives in which it may reside, e.g., in the HATHI Trust collections, or even on the web as a whole?

Privacy vs. Value

  • How can the Atlas be designed to encourage sharing of contributions that enrich search and discovery functionality?
  • Should Atlas contributors be permitted to maintain private collections of information on Atlas infrastructure?
    • Private to themselves alone, to groups they belong to, to institutions with which they are affiliated?
    • Is there a type of obfuscated sharing that ought to be minimally required - such as profile attributes that are publicly exposed without association to individual identity; and public concordances of words that occur in contributed material associated with identity-obscured profile information but not with the private material itself?
    • Should sharing information with internal Bamboo Atlas indexing functions be required? What about sharing with analytical software that uses the Bamboo Atlas as a source of information, but resides outside the "boundaries" of data governed by access permissions that Atlas users define?
  • Should a participant be allowed to dissociate her Atlas-profile from public-domain publications, associations, and other expressions of ideas that no longer fit her point-of-view? Or should such information be preserved, with a provision for the participant to declare her current relationship to it (e.g., "I no longer believe this is true"?


  • Which elements of the Atlas should be maintained in alternate languages for internationalization purposes, if any?
  • Which translated elements ought to be maintained as part of the core Atlas information, and which as part of an internationalization service "layer" atop the services that provide an interface to core Atlas information?
  • How should the Atlas services be modeled to facilitate declaration of the language in which a submission (narrative, recipe, review, tag) is being contributed?  Should the Atlas record whether submissions contain text in multiple languages, and if so how? (Note a begged question here, which is an independent category of modeling challenges: how and to what degree and using what standards should textual contributions be marked up with respect to semantic content, formal structure, and/or presentational format.)
  • How can Atlas services be modeled to best interact with services that machine-translate textual content?
  • How can Bamboo best engage partners with expertise in language issues, such as CLARIN?
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