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Network of Scholars Workplan

These notes were made by the Institutional Support group at Workshop 2. The final working group can edit this page to reflect the group's current workplan.

What needs to be done before Workshop Three? (Jan 12)

  • Find out what's already known about scholarly work and social networking 
  • Determine useful questions to ask scholars about scholarly practices and networking. Ask them. 
  •  Build a demonstrator that is part (video?) presentation, part toy that can be tried out/shows benefits w/a small "Aha!" payoff
  •  Seek potential user (scholar) feedback on demonstrator
  •  Adjust proportion of participants to tip balance a little further towards faculty, who are the end users


  • Find out what Bamboo Team already knows about networking in this context 
  • Do a gap analysis to find out what's missing from what's known about what the scholarly networking needs of faculty might be 
  • Fill in these gaps with info about faculty practices and needs 
  • Search for existing video demonstrations that would help show what social networking is 
  • Identify and possibly adapt an existing tool that would be useful to show what intellectual payoff could be (Possibility: Six degrees of citation.)
  • Build a demonstration that incorporates the above
  • Seek and process feedback on the demonstration

Useful Metaphors

  • Drinking from a fire hose (Being overwhelmed when trying to "drink in" information)
  • Concierge 
  • Cocktail party
  • Hubless hub
  • Push Me Pull You

Minimally-processed conversational data

Scholarly Networking, Afternoon Break-out 10/17/08

Jared Johnson, Arno Bosse, Chris Mackie, Tricia Heffernan, Alex Wirth-Cauchon, Joan Getman, Katie Hayne, Charles Blair, Harry Bruce, Allan Hanson, Lisa Schiff, Elizabeth Edwards, John Wallace, Robin Valenza

Scholarly Networking

John:  What we discussed this morning amenable to mashup.

Joan:  Amenable to what we do before applying for grants.

Group call for Roberto @ 2:45!  Messenger dispatched!

Alex:  Would it be useful for Chris's chart to be shared?

Joan:  Part of task is workplan.

Massimo:  Who shares John McKenzie's pessimism among faculty?  (He doesn't.)
One of functions of scholarly networking is providing examples and resources.

Katie:  We have faculty who don't see a way forward:  no one to teach them how to do something.  Desire but not a way to do it.

Chris:  What are the top three things working group should address?
Which make sense in terms of demonstrator?  We should emerge from here providing some guidance to working group.

Katie:  We agree some sort of social working thing is essential.

Lisa:  Survey, analysis, review of what's out there needs to come first.  what's serving well/not well.

Joan:  Someone said to me that's been done w/in Bamboo planning team.

Lisa:  Then they need to share it.  What does Bamboo know about social networking tools, and what do they need to know?

Chris:  Notion of different communities.  What it means to do social networking in a multivalent environment.  Minimize the cost to you of participating in multiple communities.

As an involuntary compulsive user of social networking sites, what I want instead of a hub?

Wants a concierge.  Wants it to know enough about my interests that it goes out and pre-filters.  Wants to get back a summary, a digest w/opportunity to drill down w/links.  Doesn't want social networking but what social networking provides.

Assuming that he wants to participate in some of these communities, but right now he's drinking from a fire hose.  

Joan:  Where is the conversation going on?  Do I have to go to a society that I may not be welcome in?  Or does the conversation happen in the Bamboo space?

Chris:  Access.  Most you can hope for Bamboo to get out of the way to let communities set their own access standards.  

Evolve a mechanism for knocking on the door in a new conversation.  Not that hard to do technologically.  Needs to be made seamless & effectively effortless.

Joan:  Easier scholar to scholar.  Harder for multidisciplinary team to have a conversation.

Alex:  An argument for the separate social space?  Or saying ASA should allow access to librarians?

John:  Have we heard from enough scholars?   To do item.

Joan:  My research partner doing work on how humanities scholars do their work.

Patrick:  Ties to education group.  

Massimo:  @ various levels in profession.

Chris:  Domain specificity.  Not necessarily junior/senior but cross-disciplinarity.
Scholarly networking rather than social networking.  You can't take away anything from my social networking diagram.

White boarding.  Calendaring.  

What do you need to add to commercial concept of social networking to arrive at something that seems effective scholarly networking?

Joan:  Not necessarily a working space from the start.  

Chris:   Facilitate reference sharing.  

Robin:  Cocktail party.

Elizabeth:  Important stuff @ conference is the informal, unstructured ways of eavesdropping.

Arno:  Twitter is a model.
John:  We're not all sitting here typing @ each other.  Getting out of that model.  Things don't come across correctly via email.

Integrating a voice technology.

Chris:  Visual, too.  Cost not an obstacle anymore.

Second Life.  Virtual simulation.  Move around in the world, interact as if you're in a space together.

Harry:  Another challenge to concept of pace of technology.  He has a faculty member from Xerox park, now embracing study of information & the quality of life.  Reexamining trajectories of innovation & where they might be taking us.  Deep philosophical look @ whether or not this is a place we want to go.  Idea of humanities scholar & time for contemplation.  Technology ramps it up, potentially interferes w/pace that activity needs.  Depth of thought, different time-frame.

Arno:  Concept of "just b/c we can doesn't mean we should."
Bamboo needs to do things that are impossible or virtually so w/o technology.
We can already do a lot of social networking stuff, which aspects are we going to computerize?

Chris:  Arrogant of us to pick an choose.  Just put tools and allow communities of practice to use them.

John:  IGoogle, where you assemble the bits & pieces that work for you.  You can take out the audio, for example, if it interferes w/your thinking.

Arno:  We may not disagree.  Borges' short story about man who set out to create a map of the world, and the map the same size as world itself.

Chris:  Part of what Bamboo has to be about is autonomy.

Alex:  Institutions where for the bulk of the year your access to scholarly conversations, esp. expert ones, have to be mediated.  Ways of enriching that.  

Chris:  Scholarly communication might need to invite learned societies.  Conceptual reason:  they're already loci of social networking.  Pragmatic reason:  they're in middle of technological change, losing annual meeting and journal, two revenue schemes.  If Bamboo wants to arrogate one of their other tasks, social networking, this could be perceived as hostile if they're not invited in.

Allan:  Facilitate interdisciplinary conversations, since learned societies already take care of disciplinary ones.

Joan:  Starting point:  Start w/gap analysis.  Add features to that.  Citations, white-boarding, special needs for humanistic disciplines.  

Pathway to finding someone.  Visualizing (human) networks electronically.  (Six degrees of separation?)

John:  Given what's supposed to happen in workshop 3, what do they need to have then?

Joan:  We want a demonstrator.  

John:  Maybe they make a video about what they know.

Joan:  Ask scholars about how they want to interact.  

Chris:  How do you manage the information flow you have to deal with as a scholar?  Pressure to keep up.

Alex:  Hydrant of relationships.  Hydrant of material, information, products.  What is the relationship between them.

Joan:  A filter.  Concierge.  Finds relevant path.  

Alex:  Resource to develop people associated with it, tools, can discover anything.  

Massimo:  Can have a profile.

Chris:  Machine learning tool; it learns from your choices.

[Arrival of Roberto.]

Jared:  Currently, there are so many tools; don't know where those are & how to find them.  Bamboo a directory, but not like a static webpage w/a list of links.  Similar to concierge model.  Maybe the only thing I input into Bamboo profile is what I work on, not my dog's name or what I ate for dinner last night.  Predefined tags/categories, and allow people to create their own.  Conversation doesn't have to happen w/in Bamboo, but this is a tool for me to get there.

Joan:  Light beginning.  Networking piece is the starting point.

Want a demonstrator project.

Elizabeth:  Like TiVo where you teach filters by clicking, "Yes, I like this" about specific programs, and it learns what you like.

Chris:  Piece of technology like a concierge.  Keeping aware of scholarly communication in the same way that a hotel concierge can act for you in recommending a show or restaurant and connecting you in the same way that s/he can get you a ticket or reservation.

Charles:  Wheel and spokes metaphor useful.
Discrete conversation spaces like circles.  E.g., Arno sends me technological info so I have another weapon to help solve their problems.

Concierge is a hubless hub.

Push model:  RSS feed/aggregator is our current model.
Pull model:  Concierge.  Can monitor spaces and pull threads intelligently.

Chris:  It's a little tendentious.  Semantic web:  about managing info flow.

Hubless hub exactly right.

What it is that the people using the technology actually want.

Social networking structures conversation around the technology from the beginning.

John:  Let's get it up there visual.  

Charles:  Let's move to cocktail napkin.  Lots of good ideas get done that way.  

Lisa:  We don't have enough faculty in the room.  We're speculating.
Goal: a room w/a lot more faculty.

John:  We can put something out there to see if it fails.

Harry:  There are already things like cocktail party conversations and tools out there.  Most faculty don't like those.  But what they're looking for is a conversation that maps to practice.  Want to get in a more substantial conversation, not trivial cocktail party.  Find individual at the cocktail party.

Massimo:  Invitations are good, too.

John:  Milestones:  figure out what faculty want to do.

Joan:  Want to be able to connect w/team that Bamboo represents:  want to hear from people solving their problems, librarians, IT.  Network has to connect us.

Allan:  That's v. important.  Faculty are communicating w/one another quite nicely.  

Joan:  Around digital humanities challenges.

Group: Around anything they want.

Patrick:  Needs to have a more educational aspect.  Educating on how to use collaborative tool, esp. w/in intelligensia.

Chris:  Entry needs to be effortless.  Something of value to you w/no help.

Joan:  Criteria for demonstrator?
We want a prototype of network, need criteria, requirements.

Alex:  What combination of drawing & language would bring more faculty?

Chris:  Lots of faculty intrigued by social networking.

Allan:  As it stands, each institution can have 3 individuals, one of whom needs to be a faculty, the other two librarian and IT. Should we adjust this?

Arno:  Look @ themes on wiki already put together by faculty.  This is the workshop where the faculty will have most say.

Massimo:  Different composition of teams.  Three faculty, one IT.

Chris:  Time btwn.  This wkshp & next to invite extensive faculty comment.  

Joan:  Would have to be visual for my faculty.

Chris:  Demonstrator that gives us multimedia tools.  Tool for opening conversation w/faculty.

Joan:  Seeing a tool would be helpful.  Mashup that's not just Facebook.

John:  Need something that'll get us more feedback.

Arno:  3-minute videos on what wikis and blogs are.  Animations.  Maybe a video.  What is social networking, done at a level of abstraction?  Cartoony.  The people who did these will do them for other things.

Demonstrator request:  find what other people have done to explain social networking @ a high level in video and information format.  Give it to us.  When do we need that by to go to faculty and get feedback.  


Joan:  Faculty like to see the challenge.  Building some education piece driven that way.  

John:  Small suite of demonstrators?

Chris:  Mechanism to accept feedback.

Robin:  Can we include an existing toy that someone can try?  Not new software.  Six degrees of citation.

Arno:  Something similar to CiteULike?

Katie/Roberto:  Q. about concierge.  Once concierge tells you, where does cocktail party happen?

Alex:  Might happen in ASA's space.  

Chris:  You need to be able to go where the party is.  

Roberto:  The party happens when you get there.

Katie:  There might also be a party happening w/in Bamboo?

Massimo:  Bamboo sends out invitations to party.
We all have institutional pages.  If they can talk back to each other.....

Chris:  You'd update your own vita more often if it automatically put the word out.

Katie:  Needs all this functionality to have party there as well.  Chat, etc.

Chris:  @ least connect out to institutional sites.