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  • User Needs - Questions and Use Cases for Bamboo Commons

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

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This page is a collection of information that grew out of a brainstorm for materials requested by UC Berkeley Information School faculty in the course of defining their contribution toward the Fall 2009 demonstrator project.

Please feel free to contribute/edit. If you are narrowing the scope of a question or use case, please don't "nuke" the part you are eliminating - include it as an "additional question" (for example), or as a separate use-case.

-Steve Masover

Core Questions To Be Addressed by the Bamboo Commons Demonstrator

[See the Assumptions and Definitions section, below, for orienting context.]

Questions

for Everyone

  1. What sources of material (methodology descriptions, tool references/descriptions, content references/descriptions, reviews/ratings of any of these) would you recommend as sources that might be included in or linked from the Bamboo Commons, to enrich its body of information? These might be anything from contacts with individual scholars or projects or archives; to journals focused on methodology, or catalogs of digital resources.
  2. How might you most effectively contribute to shaping the development of software services or tools that benefit scholarship - i.e., to specifying requirements, critiquing function, suggesting improvements to usability?
  3. Within the frame of an on-line environment, how would you prefer to express your views on the value, utility, usability, effectiveness, or other qualitative aspects of technology and/or digitized objects of scholarship ("content" or "resources")? E.g., narrative text; tags (perhaps from a controlled vocabulary); video/audio "review"; reference to a formal publication; quantitative rating ("four and a half stars") along a relevant spectrum (such as usefulness, accuracy, generality, or realization of the intended purpose).
  4. What issues of privacy or controlled release/publication/exposure (e.g., to "the world" vs. only to groups or individuals you select) are involved when considering how and what you might contribute to the Bamboo Commons?
  5. Along what axes might you form communities of interest in the Bamboo Commons (e.g., scholars from my discipline; librarians focused on specific media types; technologists with skills in a particular language, framework, or coding paradigm)?
  6. What would make the Bamboo Commons a valuable resource to integrate into a system, platform, or site based at your institution/organization or in your discipline? Would you want or require a particular type or structure of Commons content? Would you want or require adherence to a particular (set of) data standard(s) for interchange? Would you want or require a particular interface protocol?

for Scholars

  1. How would you like to engage with other scholars in an on-line environment - from your discipline and/or others - to productively further your scholarship (type, frequency, purposes/topics of interaction)? How does this intersect with your current on-line engagement with other scholars (e.g., e-mail; discipline-focused websites; social networking such as Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter)?
  2. What would motivate you to contribute descriptions of your scholarly practices (research and/or teaching) to an on-line forum, and in what way would you prefer to describe them (e.g., medium, format, level of detail, degree of structure)? After initial contribution(s), what would motivate you take in other scholars' practices and engage in ongoing contribution of consideration or evaluation (both of practice and of technology that supports scholarship)? To contribute evolutions in your own practice?
  3. How would you approach a search for technology that could help you in your scholarship? What influences your decisions about which technologies or tools to use in support of your work?
  4. What information about yourself (a "profile") would you expect and want to share to enable others to identify possible commonalities of interest; and to enable Bamboo Commons software to effectively identify people, technology, and content that might be of interest to you? What sources of that information should the system "harvest" from other electronic or on-line information (rather than require re-entry - e.g., a CV, a personal web page, an institutional/disciplinary web page, an institutional tracking system, a collection of Zotero citations)?
  5. One use of the Bamboo Commons will be to help prioritize IT investment.  What are meaningful ways to collect and weigh evaluations of technology and/or digitized content in terms of value to scholarship? What are inherent dangers that would predispose misinterpretation of scholars' input on these questions, and how could those dangers be mitigated?
  6. When developing a generalized workflow/methodology (a "recipe") based on scholars' narratives, how should the narrative contributors be involved? How should scholars who did not contribute the narrative in question be involved? Is 'recipe development' an activity you would want to participate in? Why or why not?

for Librarians, Publishers, and Academic Support Staff

  1. How would you characterize the skills or other resources you offer in support of scholarship as part of a Bamboo Commons profile?
  2. Given that the Bamboo Commons will incorporate or link to 'outside' sources of information about scholarly methodology, tools, and digital content, how (if at all) should catalogs of library collections and similar catalogs of published content be related to the Bamboo Commons?
  3. What would motivate you to contribute descriptions of your scholarly practices (research and/or teaching) and/or support of scholarship to an on-line forum, and in what way would you prefer to describe them (e.g., medium, format, level of detail, degree of structure)? After initial contribution(s), what would motivate you take in other contributed material and engage in ongoing consideration or evaluation (both of practice and of technology that supports scholarship)? To contribute evolutions in your own work?

for Technologists

  1. What kinds of feedback contributed to an on-line environment would be helpful to your efforts to design and/or refine software services in support of scholarship?
  2. How would you characterize the skills or other resources you offer in support of scholarship as part of a Bamboo Commons profile?
  3. What would motivate you to contribute descriptions of technology that supports scholarly practices (research and/or teaching) to an on-line forum, and in what way would you prefer to describe that technology (e.g., medium, format, level of detail, degree of structure)? After initial contribution(s), what would motivate you take in other contributed material and engage in ongoing consideration or evaluation (both of practice and of technology that supports scholarship)? To contribute information about evolution in software you or your group create?

Use Cases

Everyone

  1. Contributing
    • Profile information
    • Reference to and description of a body of content (digitized or not) about which I have some interest or knowledge
    • Reference to and description of software (tool or service) about which I have some interest or knowledge
    • Assertion of a relationship between elements of scholarship in the Commons (e.g., this tool could solve the problem described in that narrative, this service could address that activity described in a recipe)
  2. Searching / Discovering
    • Scholars using, citing, or critiquing technology, content, or methodology I contributed to the Bamboo Commons
    • Digitization and preservation options that will allow me to preserve, compute over, and (optionally) share content I or my institution own/have/developed
  3. Interacting
    • Form or join a community of interest (e.g., focused around discipline, practice, topic, curriculum, monograph, article, conference, body of content, content type, service, tool, or technology)
    • Discuss (e.g., to evaluate, adapt, or sharpen a methodology; to weigh and articulate requirements for a tool or service)
    • Collaborate (e.g., on a description of methodology; on a community-curated vocabulary; to develop a conference presentation; on a review of or specification for a service or tool; on a composition or integration of services; on solving a deployment problem)

Scholars

  1. Contributing
    • Articulation of method (research or pedogogical) as a narrative
    • Articulation of generalized method/workflow (research or pedogogical) as a recipe
    • Evaluation of tool / service in relation to scholarship I practice
    • Evaluation of another scholar's method
  2. Searching / Discovering
    • Scholars doing work like mine
    • Scholars using tools I'm interested in
    • Technology and/or digital content that fit my interest and method (research, teaching, or practice of an art form)
    • Technology and/or digital content of interest to (or well-rated by) people who have interests similar to mine (e.g., in my discipline)
    • Technology and/or digital content of interest to (or well-rated by) individuals I trust or respect
    • Technologists who can support me in my research, teaching, or practice of an art form
    • Faculty teaching a curriculum similar to mine
    • Curricular material appropriate to courses I teach
    • Content (digitized or not) of interest to me in my research, teaching, or practice of an art form
    • Content (digitized or not) to which I can apply a practice/methodology/tool/service that interests me
    • Support for improving and making available to others a standard, service, or tool developed to support my own research, teaching, or practice of an art form

Librarians, Publishers, Academic Support Staff

  1. Contributing
    • Articulation of method (research or pedogogical) as a narrative
    • Articulation of generalized method/workflow (research or pedogogical) as a recipe
    • Evaluation of tool / service in relation to scholarship I perform or support
    • Evaluation of a methodology I use or with which I am familiar
  2. Searching / Discovering
    • Scholars whose work I can support
    • Scholars using or with a need to use tools in which I am interested or expert
    • Technology and/or digital content of interest to (or well-rated by) those whose scholarship I support
    • Technology and/or digital content of interest to (or well-rated by) individuals I trust or respect
    • Technologists who can help me support research, teaching, or practice of an art form at my institution
    • Faculty teaching a curriculum similar to those taught by faculty I support
    • Curricular material appropriate to courses and faculty I support
    • Content (digitized or not) of interest to those I support in their research, teaching, or practice of an art form
    • Content (digitized or not) to which I can apply a practice/methodology/tool/service that interests those I support
    • Digital resources I can make available to my campus
    • Support for improving and making available to others a standard, service, or tool developed to support research, teaching, or practice of an art form at my institution

Technologists: Service Developers, Tool Builders, Central Campus IT

  1. Contributing
    • Evaluation of tool / service in terms of its technical qualities
  2. Searching / Discovering
    • Scholars whose work I (or my tool / service) can support
    • Scholars whose work I would like to support by creating technology not yet developed
    • Scholars using or with a need to use tools in which I am interested or expert
    • Technology and/or digital content of interest to (or well-rated by) those whose scholarship I support
    • Technology and/or digital content of interest to (or well-rated by) individuals I trust or respect
    • Technologists who can collaborate with me in supporting research, teaching, or practice of an art form at my institution
    • Digital resources I can make available to my campus
    • Faculty teaching a curriculum similar to those supported by technology in which I am interested or expert
    • Content (digitized or not) appropriate for use with tool / service in which I am interested or expert
    • Support for improving and making available to others a standard, service, or tool developed to support research, teaching, or practice of an art form at my institution

Assumptions and Definitions

  • Bamboo Commons has (or a participant expects it will have, or wants to help it acquire) a body of material that can help the participant in her work
  • As used here "scholarship" includes both research and teaching in the humanities, arts, and interpretive social sciences.
  • A range of personas will be included in the Commons Demonstrator (e.g., multiple scholarly disciplines, multiple levels of comfort/engagement with digital technology)
  • Currently conceived "Elements of Scholarship" (or of Scholarly Methodology) in the Bamboo Commons are:
    • Narratives - Description of particular aspects of scholarship, scholarly methodology, research, and/or teaching from the scholar's point of view, and in her own language.
    • Recipes (generalized workflows) - Recipes describe how to achieve goals using information technology. Recipes are written for scholars and use non-technical language to describe the tools, digital content, and steps (activities) needed to complete work. In short Recipes generalize the particulars articulated in Narratives into activities that occur across multiple processes of scholarship, and enable librarians and academic support professionals to develop technology to support those activities.
    • Activities - Steps (units of work, process, or procedure) that occur in the course of scholarship.
    • Tools - Software that a scholar uses to accomplish her goals. A tool usually aggregates and organizes a number of related software capabilities for the user's convenience. The Bamboo Commons contains references to and descriptions of tools.
    • Content - Digitized (and other) objects of scholarship. These may be digitized texts, images, audio, video, etc.; and may themselves be artifacts of prior scholarship. The Bamboo Commons contains references to and descriptions of digitized (and other) objects of scholarship.
    • Services - A unit of software that delivers a related set of capabilities (functionality). Services implement capabilities that have been decomposed then logically grouped to flexibly facilitate (a) interoperability with other software and/or digital content; and/or (b) combination and recombination with other services in support of multiple tasks or workflows. A tool may aggregate, organize, and present the capabilities of multiple services.
    • Capabilities - In a service, a piece of work (software functionality) that the service can deliver on request.
    • Service Family - A group of related services.
  • Currently conceived modes of "community curation" (of the elements listed above) in the Bamboo Commons are:
    • Contribution - Authoring (solo or collaborative) of each Commons element, and assertion of relationships between them (e.g., Recipe X is a generalization of Narratives Y and Z)
    • Categorization - Commons elements may be categorized in an individual's or in group-curated collections; and collections may be shared with individuals, groups, or the world
    • Annotation - Commons elements and the relationships asserted between them may be annotated with "tags" (i.e., associated with a word or phrase from a curated or an unconstrained vocabulary); and/or with more complex notes
    • Review - Participants may contribute a review of any Commons element, including collections of elements
    • Rating - Participants may rate any element or relationship between elements on multiple scales (e.g., interestingness, utility, degree of generality/specialization, etc.)
    • Discussion - Participants may comment on Commons elements, relationships, and metadata in "threaded" discussions, including multimedia contributions
    • Community - Participants will be able to organize themselves in communities of self-defined interest, sharing profile information that enriches opportunities to connect
    • Search - Participants may search based on key words; occurrence of specified text in an Commons element; association of an element with one or more tags; ratings; existence and character of reviews associated with Commons elements; etc.
    • Discovery - Participants may browse Commons elements filtered by association with a community of interest, trusted person, disciplinary topic, content type, language, annotation/tag, etc.; and will benefit further from unanticipated discovery services whose invention will be enabled by the open programming interface (API) to Commons materials.
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