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

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Plenary Sharing 5

  • What kind of consortial models could work for Bamboo?
  • What guiding priciples should Bamboo adopt?

Table A

1) Must enable central goal of project, to give scholars what they need in forms, ways that scholars need it
2) Should reflect the diversity of community - organizational, international, affiliation, etc.

Table B

Many options - large community, you pay a fee, you get access to additional stuff, but there's also a lot available for free
Produce, develop, initiate
Also, ELI - all about community, not about production; relatively inexpensive, but gets a lot of tension, energy, activity - brings focus, promotes discussion of things that will move forward community's interests
Sakai/Open Source Portfolio - invite everyone to build, very small-shop build, strongly encourages others to join a build in one form or another
Non-Profit model - JStor, is a service, people can access it
Everything hinges on what is going on here; a big group? small core? What's PB going to do? If it's building, go small. If community, go big.
What is the nature of the project? To produce? To promote discussion and discovery? What's the lifecycle? 1-3 years? 20-30 years?
Re: principles - should be added that community must maintain relationship between research and scholarship, and teaching and learning in the Humanities; respect this as a continuum/relationship
Didn't see explicitly that PB's focus is on advancing Humanities focus through discovery, etc

Table C

How does this group differ from other consortia?
Like this assembly of people because it's sustaining this conversation, coming from 5 different identified disciplines; this is a valuable thing to support beyond a technology stack
Like a model where we are a consortium that helps support cyberinfrastructure for A&H; production of service framework is a great first project that sustained conversation can deliver
For models: wanted to look at group providing guidance to community, not necessarily Standards - best practices, help foster the conversation; in doing this, we need to recognize that we have to sustain membership by different types of institutions; different levels of commitment
Initial barrier of entry must be low - not a huge financial investment, but there might be other levels of involvement attained either through financial contribution or in-kind commitment of resources
Two principles:
1) Support collaboration around best practices
2) Technological openness; not necessarily IP openness, but as a core principle, supporting APIs and standards that produce open flow of information

Table D

Re: models, can be various models; different models for implementation and continuous organization
Principles: everyone contributes, but what that contribution means can be defined differently
Government is correlated with contribution

Table E

Principles: contribution in-kind came up
Openness - decisions need to be open and reproducible (rationale for decision must be accessible and open - building trust)
Consortial model needs to have in its statues the ability to change and be nimble about its own structure, the direction
Technology will change quickly

Table F

Lessons could be learned from other consortia - Sakai, etc, how were they built, how do they work?
Communication between different memberes of consortia - technologists and faculty
Have to say what's going on in terms of policy makers, faculty, technologists
Faculty don't want to be leading-edge, but we need to make tools with complex features only if you want
Faculty and technologists have to work together as equal partners - faculty members can start off not realizing this, but it's valuable

Table G

Structure: balance democracy and sustainability
Network like the internet - weighted distribution, in the form of a leadership council drawn from members of the organization involved in applying for/distributing funding for institutions
Council should have term limits, so no institutions become overly powerful
Representation both regionally and kinds of institutions in Bamboo community (small liberal arts colleges, JStor, research universities)
Family of trust inclusiveness,
Provision of incentives to members of Bamboo community (access to developments of other members, access to funding)

Table H

How can Bamboo wither effectivley if necessary?
How to bootstrap itself - gaining critical mass so participation has value
To what extent does membership confer privileged form of access - is membership a requirement for access?
Unclear what Bamboo will do/provide
How strong is the boundary between inside/outside Bamboo? On behalf of whole community, or just Bamboo community?
Bamboo could be a set of specifications and agreements; something one could conform to and conforming would result in the kinds of goals/behaviors PB is seeking
NSF model articulated for Datanet - substantial funding is offered against which institutions can bid, but there's conditions
Bamboo should be prepared to die or evolve functionally - a sense of its own temporal limitations
The best outcome for this process would be a 20-page (3-page?) which articulates guidelines under which Mellon will fund certain projects in the next 5 years
No overhead, no assumptions, no leadership council - could consume a lot of money and time without adding to the actual doing
Less is more

Table I

What is Bamboo trying to do?
A lot of underrepresentation of various groups, especially in the performing arts
How should we broaden the scope of the community?
Need to understand what Bamboo is going to try to achieve in implementation - need some degree of focus
Resolving that tension is an important issue
Role of Stories is important; need to use that to understand how we can come up with models to facilitate faculty participation and leadership; how at an institutional level that can be developed
Need models for buying out faculty time

Facilitated Discussion - Greg Jackson

GJ: Other important perspectives?

Networks for excellence

- Looked at it managerially, difference between doing things better and doing better things
Incremental vs. radical innovation
Change in attitude, when people collaborate on cataloging books; same kind of thing will happen here
Benefits to individual, community, wider Bamboo community, and beyond
What kind of social arrangements can there be to drive this?
Networks of Excellence - maybe Networks FOR Excellence, can have something in it for individual members, anyone striving for improvements in scholarships
Could also work for institutions - even those without money
Something in it for "me", whatever the "me" is

Institutional support and leadership

-Institutions with a common purpose (A&H research through technology)
-> Institutional support and cooperation is necessary; how do we meet institutional needs?
Institutions should decide on how they're represented
Community formation should take place in parallel to any project execution (project board separated from governance of sustaining organization)
Leadership is probably something more pragmatic than control


-Mature organizations develop specialization (this is a generalist body), for making progress we might want to develop specialized parts of the organization relatively early
Developing things that are of value in themselves - stories would help technologists dream of new technologies, don't need any other part of Bamboo to inspire technologists
When you survey what's already there, you could put that out and help people who want to do something today, even if they're not interested in PB
You don't have to join the community to benefit from it, you can benefit from the product of the community because the community publishes

GJ: Array of perspectives; very different models with convergence over broad set of goals
One could go from umbrellas of various sorts (collections of specialized activities) all the way to private clubs who do good on behalf of the world (secretly, then open it up)
Progress requires a small group - nimble
5-model group: stories about existing organizations in many cases aren't stories, but myths (not necessarily false, have a core of truth, but not exactly right)
Sort out among various truths, what are the useful myths that help us go forward?
Myth of large collectives making progress - usually there was a not terribly well defined/known small group that was the engine for progress; how do you build that engine within something that's inclusive?
Develop need for sub-groups -> fragmentation
Right now we're in a process designed to lead to a plan - various perceptions of what the goal of the plan is (more money?)
Another goal: celebrate Mellon's contribution, create something self-sustaining without it
Truth is somewhere in-between, but how we structure depends on how we think of goals
Many of the principles were goals more than organizational principles
Other comments?

Who will be making the decision?

- How do we increase number of people doing the worrying? (Decisions for how to proceed)
GJ:  There's a meeting next week to discuss how to broaden it
If we had to create a document by noon today, couldn't do it - too many people; equally flawed if Chad/David do it alone
Question of trust - key to progress here
Find the right set of people so the right things happen; also, make sure that communication is open enough so others can trust the group to make the right things happen (teams vs. committees) - everyone wants their group represented on a committee, teams come together for greater purpose/good
Don't want to think about broadening team as if it were a committee

Experience with consortium-making

- Felt out of depth with this question; none of us have made a consortium
Probably some people at our institutions with more experience with this than we do
This group in the room might not be the best informed about consortium-making
GJ: The right team to move this forward might not be at this or other workshops, but we have to make sure the right people are involved
Never thought about having management principles until asked - conspiracy and bribery 
Conspiracy: need the right people to work with and try to get it done
Bribery: the right incentives are in place, so if the conspiracy works, you can get people to align with you
You don't get there by broadly-based representative democracy, but broad discussion is important

Models outside the Humanities

-Would Bamboo be a consortium of consortiums, or one of many?
Are there other models outside the Humanities (science? Comp-sci?)
Business and entertainment - Humanities critiques Hollywood, but this is the culture for students
Sciences and Hollywood are flush with funds - don't look at them just as models, but involved in whatever consortium we build

Faculty and demographics

- Felt that A&H faculty voice was hard to catch, but statistically almost 1/3 of people are A&H faculty
Another workshop where there were slightly more A&H faculty?
Difficult when other 2/3 are library science/technology - certain stereotypes about Humanities that are no longer true
Including more actual Humanists who do work with computers in some way
GJ: Consistent theme as we work forward

Do "we" make the decision?

-Danger of participatory process ("we") is that we might take you seriously
Not a demand that "we" all together make this decision, but whoever makes it brings it back to the community for sanctioning
Call for transparency in the process, influencing the conversation and outcome

Implications of minimalism vs maximalism

-What has been contributed here is a rich set of possible principles; minimalists on one hand and maximalists on the other
In both cases, what's being talked about is a principle that can't be fully fleshed out because we don't have info about other aspects of decision making
A smaller group will think about the notes and come up with some more fully fleshed out ideas; would be good if two alternatives proposed could be fleshed out as scenarios along with full consequences - some things can't be supported if we pick one or another
We can't decide here, you can't even tell what we'd vote for because we don't know full scenarios would be
Transparency is important - before PB goes forward, needs to be a process that re-involves all of us in a way that equips us to contribute to a decision
GJ: we live the challenges we talk about; what suite of technologies (meetings, wikis, etc) enables and makes easier that transparency; glass will be transparent, but you won't see through it unless you look
Need to draw people in so communication works
Wiki has worked for some, not for others; same with this conversation - microcosm of the challenge we face