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

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Table of Contents

Opening Remarks

Video (mp4, 126 MB, 11 min) - Maurice Sevigny, Dean of the College of Fine Arts, University of Arizona, and Janet Broughton, Dean of Arts and Humanities, University of California, Berkeley, and co-PI of Project Bamboo

Perspectives: Clifford Lynch, Executive Director of CNI

Video (mp4, 50 MB, 18 min)

Perspectives: Scholarly Practice

Video (mp4, 126 MB, 47 min)

James Chandler - Director, Franke Institute for the Humanities

  • How should humanities centers evolve to support scholarly practices driven/influenced by Digital Humanities?
  • Most productive way to understand Hum centers, and Hum center movement (the kind been around less than half a century, mainly N America), not much before 1970, now there's a couple hundred and we have a whole organization
  • Less helpful ways of thinking about it: kind of club given to someone who gets an offer elsewhere but the institution wants to keep them, so they give the person a center
  • Institute of advanced study model - CHCI met with some Euro counterparts to talk to them about how they saw what we do/find out what they do
  • They tend to favor institute of advanced study model there (think tank, shelter of scholarly activity, folks from different disciplines, but discipline question isn't in play, or connected w/ universities, or contexts, or involving questions about disciplines
  • Not necessarily embedded in universities, but alongside
  • This is a real model, but to some extent it's part of hum center form in N America
  • We get closer to N America form if we think about interdisciplinarity- this has been shibboleth under which these centers have been developed
  • Counting how often provosts/presidents use the word interdisciplinary - astonishing how many times they can use it in 3 minute greeting
  • This gets closer, but not the key issue for humanities centers
  • A way of thinking about disciplinarity posits disciplines as static and stable and imagines all interesting work appears between them - doesn't do justice to either end
  • Form that has developed w/ others in last 40 years to deal with intellectual change and disciplinary change in H and SS
  • These wouldn't be divided in Europe
  • Try to accommodate in absence of any serious work of recomposition new methodologies/topics/problems/media
  • Hum center form can be understood as more generic center of a whole series of other kinds of centers that hve been developed in last 40 years around "studies" (gender, race, science, etc)
  • Clearinghouse for all those specific "studies" - shadow disciplines trying to emerge
  • "Emergingly disciplinary"
  • That evolution, can be helpful to think of CenterNet project - evolution from parts of universities that are IT places that have increasingly addressed disciplinary fields
  • Humanities center form evolving toward a notion of institutional change - taking more responsibility for, not to defer change by virtue of their existence, but new ways of putting university together
  • Movement on d hum side represented by digital humanities center -supplying most important/powerful engines of change
  • Not engine of change that led to Hum institute for in 50's/60's (new theoretical formations, new topics)
  • Foucault doesn't belong in any single American department
  • Consortia might be served by the sort of consortium we're building here - supply forms of connection and modes of services in the way that David mentioned

Neil Fraistat - Director, Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH)

  • Emergence of DHum as coherent field - accompanied by/result of Hum Computing center as institution as found in Princeton/Rutgers center for electronic texts, UVA Institute of Advanced Tech in Humanities, Brown's scholarly tech group
  • Other places like Oxford/King's College- labs for application of info tech to humanities, advocacy for significance of that work, focal points for theorization of digital humanities, and influential models
  • Crucial seedbeds of innovation - need increase in public funding, "Our Cultural Commonwealth"
  • Report released in 2006 - in answer to call to increase number of public funding and connection among digital humanities center - had meeting in 2007 bringing together directors of 17 d hum centers, 14 major funders
  • John Unsworth cited strengths of DHum centers bringing to field - mentoring for H scholars doing digital research, staffing and long-term security for projects, opportunities for H faculty/grad students working as collective intellectual enterprise
  • D Hum centers could play fundamental role in transforming humanities if they worked together
  • Most important outcome: founding of CenterNet - over 200 members
  • Born from conviction that centers could do more together than separately
  • "a survey of Digital Hum centers in the US" - sobering assessment of current landscape
  1. silo-like nature of centers is creating untethered digital production, projects with little support outside center, more likely to be orphaned
  2. doesn't leverage resources community-wide
  3. large-scale coordinated efforts to build cyberinfrastructure are missing
  • Collaborations are small, focus on individual partners' interests that don't scale up for community-wide needs
  • Can see from problems how Bamboo's silo-busting, big-picture approach might appeal to CenterNet and constituent centers
  • DHum centers are quintessential Hum labs for kind of exploration/demonstration, sandbox, support in which PB is deeply invested
  • Keynotes for people/projects/tools/services at heart of PB, hubs and disseminators of best practices
  • Stories - we've got lots
  • Scholarly communications had a meeting between CenterNet and CHCI - happy convergence of most fundamental goal of Bamboo and centers of both kinds
  • We are all concerned /w disciplinary innovation and transformation
  • Task before us all - produce "change we can believe in"
  • Discussions > concrete ways we could together effect meaningful change
  • One of biggest problems - involving mid/late career humanists
  • These scholars who have been warning younger colleagues of "death by tenure denial" if they pursue digital interests
  • Need to engage/educate first group and liberate second group to see the change we need
  • SCI Forge Group has been planning proposal to involve 5+ inter-generational groups
  • Teams might come up w/ proposals for study fo middle ages through visualization, or hemisphere of Americas through geospatial methods
  • Teams would specify what specifically they'd do, but all teams would have common goal of joint research environment (texts, tools, data sets) - documenting/rationalizing methodological decisions
  • During pilot phase - teams would also be associated w/ hum centers of both kinds that would host 3 face-to-face training sessions
  • Would have to commit to public lectures/programs related to research project/methods pursued by the team
  • Engaging local humanities community
  • Crucial element: inter-generational; senior/junior/post-doc/graduate students
  • Engaging w/ different stages, including not digitally expert, hope to socialize entire group in new research culture by asking everyone to contribute (or methodologocial commons) - foster dialogue for best methods for doing research job
  • Understanding use of tools
  • Allows junior scholars for getting  credit for expertise, training younger generation of scholars
  • Knowledge gained/documented could be of use to scholars w/ similar problems
  • Take advantage of established d research environment
  • Still discussing final shape, but currently soliciting feedback
  • Speaks to fundamental goal shared w/ PB of disciplinary innovation and transformation
  • We can play a vital role w/in PB community

Debjani Ganguly - Head, Humanities Research Centre

  • Head of research of Austrailian Research Council
  • Hum Research Center at AU - history that goes back to 1970's -
  • New cluster of research projects began emerging - H research center realized that it didn't have infrastructure/wherewithal to support cutting-edge projects that were emerging
    set up consortium for research and information outreach - begining of evolution of d hum from humanities post-graduate/research activity at AU
  • Consortium for research/info outreach had 5 main goals: develop/publish research in digital video/database formats
  • Development of infrastructure
  • Serviced all hum scholars across the university, not just those in hum research center
  • Collaborate w/ multimedia researchers, integrate digital media
  • Extend opportunities for postgrad training - new development in last 5 years
  • Short-term professional courses for staff in Australian institutions who want expertise
  • We specialize in certain kinds of scholarly practices
  • Supported work under 3 interdisciplinary rubrics
  • Lots of scholars trained in disciplines - anthropologists, lit scholars, linguists, etc
  • Visual culture, museums and collections, cultural/linguistic mappings
  • Connecting research results- bringing info from different research projects together (prototype multi-institutional search engine)
  • Preserving research data - archive and accessing in various projects (indigenous land-management practices, etc.)
  • We have worked w/ other institutions, we can't do this with just one institution - critical collaborators
  • Another scholarly practice we have there: ethnographic filmmaking, use of digital video as research/documentation method, one of formats of research output (besides monographs) has been prolific production of ethnographic films
  • Designing websites for special projects - very specially focused projects, making research publicly available (South Seas Project - traces journey of Captain Cook)
  • Living Knowledge Project
  • Enabling open access to research - not all research projects have taken form of monographs/videos/formal academic output
  • In the process of putting it together in more formal formats in addition to blog
    E-[press and e-prints
  • In the last 3 years, also realized that like a lot of us in Humanities, about critical input of digital media into humanities - can't just stay as niche research platform
  • Began to pervade a lot of research being done across the board in the centers
  • Since 2006, has been development - evolution of humanities research
  • Had a lot of discussion to create what we call a digital humanities hub
  • Just got some funding in the middle of last year
  • Contains all constituents who supported initial stage of formation of digital humanities hub - range of activities is a lot wider, caters to a wider constituencey
  • Arms are functional arms of humanities hub as we see them
  • Research projects; has support to staff and students, undertaking postgraduate research training
  • Another critical arm of digital hum - collaboration w/ national cultural institutions
  • Australia's only federally funded institutions - mandate to work closely w/ cult institutions
  • Work w/ national museum, national library, national gallery, each project involves collaboration w/ them
  • Last functional arm has become critical in last two years
  • Input into government commissioned reports about Australia's e-research infrastructure and strategy - new development
  • Australian gov has set up national collaborative research structure strategy, but until 2007 it catered only to science sector
  • Millions of dollars of funding, but didn't think Hum needed research infrastructure in this area
  • Only early last year they said they'd include Hum and SS in assessment of the sector's capability
  • Giving them 50 mil dollars if they can justify that they need those resources
  • Our center has been critically involved - Chad was at one of the early workshops
  • Work closely with Australia's academy of humanities, other lobbying groups
  • Part of a lot of e-research commissioned by federal gov
  • See slides for list of initiatives Bamboo could compliment
  • In 2006 - UK/Australia (Oxford and U of Queensland) did JISC and DEST Services Roadmap, "look, there is a generic, shared services framework"
  • Hum needs to evolve their own infrastructure drawn from these sources - this would be a valuable source

Anthony Cascardi - Director, Townsend Center for the Humanities

  • Role of D Hum in relation to centers, and vice versa
  • Calling these remarks "What do Humanists really want?"
  • They come and tell us
  • In listening to them, attempting to respond, might be worthwhile to put pressure here on the notion of research and project
  • Research: would prefer to re-describe or re-name what we are attempting to designate "research" either as scholarly practices or simply in terms of work activity
  • In content of Hum centers, this does tend to be interdisciplinary, breadth that reaches from arts through trad hum disciplines, to social sciences, but isn't particularly adherent to (has mandate not to) work with specific disciplinary divisions, but work across and between them 9and across media)
  • We were traditional center up to a year ago
  • Work involves activities of communication, dialog, commentary, exchange of ideas)
    working with and around materials and ideas as much as work on objects
  • Would be missing something important if we went forward thinking about DHum in any context w/o taking account of amount of work/activity that goes in form of "exchange of ideas"
  • Centers typically the hubs of exchanging ideas across disciplines/in relation to various media
  • How can DHum help support and enhance kinds of idea exchange contexts and situations that tend to take place at centers?
  • Centers sponsor things for fellows, focused seminars, sponsors lectures, panels, conferences, symposia; working groups of various sorts
  • Some involve some sorts of publication
  • Many forms of activity: scholarly communication that doesn't correspond to publishing in press context
  • Scholarly dialog/exchange of ideas
  • "Projects" conceived around opportunities for exchange of ideas
  • Looked at this as ways to expand and enhance range of activities we're already involved in
  • Making concrete live events by posting materials that will be topic of discussion - primary texts/images/sound files by providing space for comment on these works
  • Capturing events, putting them on-line , space s for dialog
  • Need to do more to address this particular set of opportunities for d hum
    centers are very good place to pursue this for extension and enhancement of internal scholarly communication that makes up a lot of what humanists do
  • Our involvement corresponds to existence of PB in terms of timeframe; were looking into setting up a new website when we learned about what PB might be and possibilities
  • As result of dialogs, we made some decisions and confronted questions that seem to have parallel in a microscopic way some of the same questions and problem that PB has been confronting
  • Questions like "how much does it make sense for individual center to build", "what sense does it make or a center to adapt tools", "how does one find out about tools in commercial center", how do we design in flexible/adaptable ways that affect broad set of needs, etc.
  • All this under the umbrella of a virtual research environment that will live on the Web - we've had this in progress for as long as PB has been around
  • Various successful partnerships with IT on campus and commercial developers
  • Can bring focus and drive to a project - important in getting things done
  • In the process, we've kept in mind the ways in which our efforts at the center can help coordinate and model some activities in DHum that can be broadly useful to scholarly community on our own campus and beyond
  • Ways in which these efforts can help us/other make public what they're doing in dig technologies in relation to humanities
  • We're not the only ones who're pursued a piece of a project only to find after months that someone down the hall has already done it
  • Or that there's a far more widespread use of dig tech by humanists colleagues
  • Or that grad students in Hum had unbelievable degree of tech expertise
  • Not pursuing a "ghetto" for dig humanities, but blend seamlessly in activities of the center
  • Enhancing and supporting the activities we carry on regularly
  • Recognize that there's out there in the world some skepticism and resistance to some of these new directions
  • Were told at one meeting "why are you doing this, we want to spend less time in front of our computers"
  • Clearly Hum centers can take a lead (some of these activities can be blended as seamlessly as possible into ongoing scholarly practices - a greater chance of success)
  • Both in what we've received/learned and what we're putting out - one needs to be careful in managing expectations (hopes, promises)
  • Gone through several cycles of enthusiasm and disappointment (what can be done)
  • Fascination w/ new possibilities recognition that some things are more difficult than they seemed
  • be careful in what we put out to our colleagues - temptation and enticement
  • Make sure we have some way of following through in expectations we set
  • In this version of D Hum (supports/enhances scholarly dialog) -  one in which we can imagine someday saying "wow, everything seems kind of the same but it's all new"
  • That sort of transformation where the world is the same but wholly new that I imagine us pursuing for Hum center

Q & A

Q: Ideas, possibilities are dazzling- would like to have something concrete to take away
PB, if ti came to fruition, would be able to help w/ a project to visualize middle ages; I'm interested in that, but what would PB do to help?
I can line up the medievalists, but my university doesn't have financial resources to put into this
How would PB go about this?

  • A: The point I was trying to make wasn't that Pb would do this, but this is an initiative that D Hum centers want to put forward as one of maybe several different things that emerged from meeting - possibility for multi-generational/institutional teams to be formed; want to have those teams cross subject area with digital methodology
  • Visualization as a technique was a suggestion of what teams might want to do
  • The fact that you're in a place where you can't do what you like to do, suggests the kinds of efforts we're talking about now would be useful
    if a group like that actually formed and created a kind of on-line repository of their procedures/techniques/data, you could just go there and see what the group had done and start adapting things

Q: Where will more info about that initiative be published?

  • A: Initiative grew from our collective heads yesterday - not prepared to say yet where info will come from, but I am prepared to say we're working in a focused way to reduce grant funding
  • There will be all kinds of announcements of that happens
  • In some ways, it'd be useful for us to hear from you maybe through Bamboo abut what you think of the initiative, to hear your story abut why that might make sense
  • And think more concretely about it
  • It's not about what PB can do for you, btu we need to think productively about what role PB might play in that

Q: When you mentioned Arts/Humanities/Social Science capabilities will be documented, soliciting support in larger initiative, what's timeframe/availability of documentation

  • A: First stage of work is already over - submission to the collaborative body has been made already
  • At the stage for federal government to go through it, when our budget comes up, then there's a decision by government made sometime after March
  • There's a higher education endowment fund
  • That decision will be made then
  • This is just a first stage of the process

Perspectives: Content

Video (.mp4, 85 mb, 32 min)

Timothy Babbitt - Chief Information Officer, JSTOR

  • In context of humanities, JSTOR is very interested in how content works with the scholar in the humanities
  • Long history of working with technology
  • Lots of humanities content, heavily utilized
  • How should we think of JSTOR environment?
  • Acceleration/transitioning of content into electronic format for greater usage
  • Content in a digital form so you don't have to travel to see it
  • Helped provide savings in community - shelf space, making content more discoverable by scholars across the globe
  • Also, important globally: broadening access so eeryone can get access to it
  • Expanding our outreach to make it available all over
  • Secondary schools gobbling it up as a way to help their students get up to speed by the time they get to higher ed
  • Other partners: getting Irish collection up, getting material about Africa on-line, working with botanical gardens to do digitization of plant specimens - reaching out in different ways to make content available, different kinds of content available in the platform
  • Content wants to be found ,we want to help make it so it could be found
  • Large corpus of journal material - already have some monographs in JSTOR
  • Addition of monographs, pamphlets, etc
  • More linking  - finding one thing > finding more things
  • Navigation features - finding things in unique ways (faceted search), text enhancement with keywords, zeroing in on the content of more importance to you w/ searching
  • Trying to build services for discovery
  • Tools exist that can use our content w/o explicitly using JSTOR interface
  • Zotero: interacting w/ JSTOR to gather up material, doing other things w/ it
  • Data for research program - trying to help researchers do data mining on whole corpus of content in JSTSOR
  • Ways of finding patterns/material that'd help in analysis of material on-line
  • User-generated content
  • Want to make it so material that people have, whether it's contributed content (like Queens University) bringing it into repository in a more widely distributed fashion
  • Bringing in special collections - no need to travel to see material
  • Building capability to do annotation so you can share your comments with others
  • Collaborative filtering, other tools that are user-generated
  • Need collaboration - a scale to collaborate w/ resources like JSTOR - faster than building from scratch
  • Put innovation into the platform
  • Need to take some risks
  • Need to change platform - open up access and utility to platform that does risk the way we think about things
  • Challenges how JSTOR has operated
  • Risky, but will help us move along
  • Learning from each other
  • Can all benefit from more communication along those lines
  • Collaboration has to be done carefully

Stacy Kowalczyk- Digital Library Program, Indiana University

  • Do not speak for all libraries, including own
  • Have a mission to support research, providing collections/services/environments that lead to intellectual discovery
  • Usually use many more words, but come down to the same process
  • At a high level, libraries are in complete agreement w/ mission of Bamboo
  • Problem: often barriers for libraries to do it
  • Those barriers come in distinct categories - technical and process
  • Lower the tech barrier
  • A lot more files are there than are immediately obvious from library UI
  • Make all those files discoverable, visible to people
  • Sometimes we'll get a page image with OCR, but you can't download the OCR (just for searching)
  • Re-OCRing is ridiculous
  • Structural files that hold all the pages, describe all the relationships - should be able to give those to you
  • Lots of issues involved; should also be able to give you high-quality images, we keep these off-line
  • Technical issues in delivery
  • Want to be able to use shared authentication service to give that to people
  • Not as easy as it sounds
  • Not only problems in giving data, but also would like to receive data from researchers
  • That's another problematic area
  • Most with digital library programs/content have repository systems
  • Preservation is a big part - persistent data store that helps maintain integrity of individual files _+ files that make an intellectual object
  • Persistent access to those
  • Most libraries don't have tools/processes for individuals who aren't associated to contribute content - this is a real problem
  • This would be helpful to make the round-trip of data from library to researcher and back
  • We would like to do this for different types of data - individual additions but also community and reference collections
  • Not just a tech problem, also a policy problem
  • Lib don't have collection models for dealing with taking digital assets
  • Issues in using digital projects for tenure - how is it embedded, where has it been, etc
  • Would require thinking and talking and working through
  • Technology: could play a number of roles
  • A number of library dig repository systems in wide use among libraries
  • Would be helpful to work as community to build connectors so services become seamless, so we're not trying to re-engineer all the time
  • Could provide opportunities for new services for libraries to participate in creating/distributing content
  • Can we use Bamboo for round-trip to enhance collections w/ research products
  • How do we automatically get links for article written about set of images/audio files
  • Are there new additions being created? can we get the links back to link it up? we don't have to own it
  • If someone downloads images of 18th century letters, can transcriptions come back?
  • Notification services - if you find a resource you're interested in, and you want to know when there's new material, you could be notified
  • If you're interested in a topic (WWI) - could you get that from a finding aid system as well as the sheet music systems, and other systems
  • Could be very useful to researchers, could be facilitated by Bamboo
  • Not only tech problems, but process problems that stop flow of information
  • Copyright: legal barriers, and our own processes put on top of legal barriers
  • Don't have good processes for differentiating between research requests for data, and publication requests for data
  • Have to think about this and work through it
  • Need to streamline process for pub rights
  • Libraries beginning to offer services to help researchers w/ copyright issues
  • Help lower barriers by working w/ owners of licensed content
  • Not everyone's as generous as JSTOR in sharing data w/ researchers
  • Developing new language for license agreements to streamline process
  • Lib has a good community method for doing this work w/ licensed data
  • PB can help w/ this by creating community of support w/in libraries
  • Providing discussion forums, policy and best practices

John Unsworth - Dean, Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois

  • Title "Bamboo and Content Stewards" changed to "Clumps and Runners"
  • "Torturing the Bamboo metaphor"
  • Exchange of ideas - lots of work in the humanities carried on this way
  • There are no ideas but in things
  • Things in the humanities - wide variety of material and cultural heritage
  • Tracing DNA in parchment to trace movement across medieval systems of commerce
  • Lots of interest in things in the humanities
  • When we deal w/ things in digital representation, have problems of re-presentation in digital
  • These come up a lot in digital humanities
  • High level of abstraction - want to engage in prosaic level
  • With text objects as example, but any of the problems are ones you'd encounter in your own flavor in other media
  • For text, there's TEI - maintains guidelines for literary and linguistic text encoding
  • International/interdisciplinary standards used by widely and inconsistently used by libraries, museums and publishers
  • But TEI call themselves guidelines for encoding and interchange
  • Interchange has been part of the goal from the beginning
  • One of the Google lessons - why do markup at all? Isn't it just words that matter? Can't we reduce it to sea of words?
  • Recent experience in MONK - good if you're interested in words but if you want subset of books you couldn't ask OCA or Google Books "I just want fiction". Not because no one's categorized things that way (OCA has MARC record fields) but no one fills those fields in
  • Can't ask for books about England, except by implication
  • All this metadata isn't there, would take the form of markup
  • Do we need structural markup? Does it matter paragraphs?
  • Paragraphs, sentences, verses, lines, are meaningful units of composition - meaningful units of analysis
  • Being able to approach analytic l tool/process w/ aware of structural units is useful
  • This requires structural markup
  • Also useful if you're going to ask statistical questions - differentiate between core intellectual content and other stuff (table of contents, running headers, index, tc)
  • Those words could throw off your stat results in ways that would obscure info
  • What about word level?
  • Tag cloud visualizations of frequency of words in a novel, most frequent words are names of characters
  • So ignore proper names to get at the next level of what's going on in the book, but to ignore them you have to identify them -> tag as proper names
  • Other tagging takes place in POS tagging, preliminary stage to almost anything you'd want to do
  • Argument w/in MONK project - is interoperability desirable/achievable/TEI is the way to do it?
  • Steve Ramsey - representing the programmer's point of view
  • Using things in different ways in different purposes, it doesn't achieve interoperability - why not chuck it and roll your own? But it's better to not go alone, you say.
  • ECCO texts we're trying to bring in
  • Data store includes different kinds of data
  • "Needless and heedless divergence" - a lot of work, but a ot of problems can be solved by supplementary conventions
  • TEI level 4 guidelines, if you'd spent 2 hours about what to do re recommendations of soft hyphens, a lot less grief
  • A lot of difference s in encoding practice are unmotivated, unnecessary, accidental
  • One of roles for PB is reducing accidental divergence across data collections
  • Progression from JSTOR and its interface and how it wants to make its content accessible, then a library point of view, envisioning that people might take content out of this environment (including things we don't normally publish in the library) - what happens when you take them off somewhere? Put them w/ things from other places, make them do things together, then you run into these problems
  • Show-stoppers form the point of view of the person trying to do the work
  • For a sufficiently uniform format: first requirement for doing things with it
  • Argument - what's a sufficiently uniform level?
  • You need to have this in the presence of examples of things, communities
  • TEI hasn't risen to solve problem of interchange, not an error in approaching the problem, but most resources haven't been interchanged yet
  • Building them in "clumps" without any "runners"
  • Data interoperates within clumps, but not a system of clumps and runners yet

Q & A

Q: Struck by proposal that a goal of PB could be reducing needless divergence
"standardization" alienates people, not another standards body
Would be good if that were included in value proposition

Q: Not just simple things like hyphens, can't reliably find author, title, year - Philologic, round up the usual suspects and see what you can get
This is really important

  • A: Not TEI, anyone's records and metadata
  • OCA vs Google Books - very hard

Q: For JSTOR, you had two thins on early slides, on your agenda for future inclusion is user generated content and "other primary source" - given new things going on, wht are those phrases?

  • A: Primary source material that comes from a number of anything you can think of
  • Need to be judicious about what we decide to invest in
  • Auction catalogs - each catalog going back to 1600s so you can look at gavel price of a piece of art through all major auction houses in the world
  • That's primary source material, een though it wasn't thought of that way
  • Rock art to plant specimens
  • If you try hard enough, "every closet is a walk-in closet" -- everything is a resource content

Comment: Metadata guesser, avoiding divergence, M Mueller contributes that there has to be human element in this process
Have to know about workflows and modules that may be interrupted and checked by humans
Heuristics can't replace what humans need to do
As we evolve services and tools ,there's hybrids of humans and mechanical
In this community, same issue comes up
Need for human involvement in the process

Perspectives: Information Technology

Video (mp4, 63 mb, 23 min)

Rick Peterson - Chief Technology Officer, Washington and Lee University

  • How can PB add value at my institution?
  • Group of small liberal arts institutions
  • We all had a neg impression for what possibilities would be for small lib arts inst
  • Does it make sense for us to continue to be involved?
  • Want to stay positive- we can build something together that will be great
  • World's Fair in Chicago, previously- the Paris Exhibition
  • What could they build that would outdo the Eiffel Tower
  • Tried to attract people, be innovative, memorable - built the Ferris Wheel
  • What can PB do that's creative, innovative, and will last that will entice people to use PB services
  • 3 small thoughts  on what that could be
  1. Bamboo Facebook - could PB make some sort of service that acts as scholarly orientation/organization for dig hum?
    • Twitter people, poke your faculty friends, do digital scholarship, all Web 2.0 - don't have to have hard buildings for hum scholarship, could do it virtually
    • My faculty might be interested - we're in a small area in Virginia
  2. Bamboo Marketplace
    • I have faculty asking "I just have a little small project, some Java code, something that will do this) - we don't have a Java programmer for your specific project, but what if there was a marketplace and look for people who might be selling their wares there
    • Java programmers with some background in the Humanities - like bringing something home from the marketplace and taking it home
    • Helps me - solved problem for faculty member
  3. Finally - float up a Bamboo cloud
    • Help me get out of storage4 business, high-performance computing
    • We're a small place - do I have to hire computationalists to run a comp cluster for 3 faculty members who run the same 5 codes as everyone else everywhere?
  • Keeping positive about Bamboo

Alex Wade - Research Program Manager, Microsoft Research

  • Undergrad in philosophy, Janet was his Hume professor
  • Got a lib degree at University of Washington, academic librarian at U Washington
  • Did not spend a lot of time looking at questions - my responses have all come up, a couple things that came up today were around cloud computing and if a PB cloud is useful
  • Companies like Google, Amazon, Microsoft will/are offering utility computing services, cloud-based storage, etc
  • Teasing apart highly specialized from things like e-mail and storage that are hosted services already
  • Do as little as possible, code as little as possible, and take advantage of existing services
  • What Microsoft Research does: dialogs we've been having over 17 months, 2 years with Academic Community
  • Have been engaging specifically w/ scientists, tell me how we can continue the engagement w/ digital A&H
  • One way of taking MS software and extending it and making it more applicable to scholarly community
  • MS good traditionally for building out last mile functionality around enterprise computing
  • Not so much in academia, because not as much money to be made there
  • Trying to be that ecosystem, partner w/ individual universities, multi-university teams of extending MS
  • Partnering also w/ libraries, gov organizations, standards bodies
  • Add-in to insert CC licenses into documents - not just what people are doing cut-and-paste, but it links up to CC web service
  • Walk through a series of questions, query CC web service, then you can see the license and insert it into your documents
  • Puts in the visuals, and also machine-readable metadata
  • UC San Diego- domain-specific ontologies, go into Word, and markup different parts of texts in xml based on ontologies
  • Broad Institute and MIT - authoring environment of Word and gene pattern database; query from w/in document, get snapshot of data, download graphics and data set
    Johns Hopkins- data archive project
  • Object reuse and exchange resource map - describing parts of Word documents
  • Where data set actually lives
  • Cambridge University - authoring chemical equations w/in word
  • Partnership w/ National Lib of Medicine- nice authoring environment for their xml dtd
  • Creating an xml file under the overs that can be uploaded into PubMed
  • Lots of things we're offering as platforms for things like research and collaboration
  • Researchers can come together, have shared space, create wikis and blogs - can archive and preserve sites
  • Hosted service for electronic e-jornals - spin up a new title, does all the back end workflow for peer review
  • Repository platform - don't want to compete with Fedora and DSpace, but partner with them to develop a common set of APIs to enable interoperability w/o needing to worry about what repository is in the back end
  • Multi-university collaboration to look at how chemistry scholarship/pedagogy can change by putting a certain infrastructure in place that automates the workflow from electronic lab notebooks to data mining to web services, etc
  • Preservation and conversion of file types
  • Work with arXiv to enable to accept word documents and exposing their services via emerging standards
  • Taking away science-related aspects, would like to look at what the net layer of things is to facilitate scholarship in general across higher education
  • A lot of stuff is around archiving/collaboration/storage, but what other aspects wyoud you like to see us extend to
  • What services can we offer bck out?
  • Let us know -

Greg Jackson - Chief Information Officer, University of Chicago

  • Ferris wheel wasn't ready when fair opened, didn't open until 6 mos later
  • Just that people are talking about something is all it takes for success00 you don't have to do it
  • Location of ferries wheel was lost somewhere along the line
  • Things we should not forget:
  1. Irtnog efsitz
    • Comes from a short piece that EB White put in New Yorker, November 30, 1935
    • Arguing that now we have reviews, soon we'll need reviews of review
    • Until there's one word that would summarize everything that happened on one day
    • When one tries to be totally inclusive and concise everything into one thing, you get something that could be an accurate summary but not terribly useful
    • Awful lot of degrees of freedom in tech opportunities
    • If we try to capture all of it and embrace it all, we'll end up with this
  2. When one talks about tech infrastructure, it's not about tech infrastructure
    • It's always more complex than just "computing"
    • Then there's networks for things that aren't geographically together
    • You can have a wonderful processing thing that depends on data elsewhere, but if network fails, there's nothing you can do
    • Different phases in technology - true for everything
    • There's a period where you're installing (design & implementation), then "operate" (different kind of function), and "support" (also different)
    • Leaving any of these off leaves an incomplete picture
    • Unless you worry about the other pieces, we end up with nothing
    • Complicated even further that each can occur locally, replicated, and shared
    • Replication not the same as sharing; "how do I get that so I can install it?" - that's not sharing
    • replicating is more easy than sharing, local implementation are easier than replicating
      If we're doing what we're talking about with shared services, must not make that confusion
  3. Not try to do everything, we'll end up with irtnog
  4. With tech infrastructure, we're dealing with a matrix
  • There's no right answer, but the mistake is forgetting about dimensions in the cube

Q & A

Q I like how complicated you've made it- because it is
Is it een messier? We think about install/operate/support, but one of new models is perpetual beta - always changing
Would this be a model we should consider for PB?

  • GJ: People do perpetual beta for different reasons
  • Things are appropriately going to change, and don't want to freeze
  • Operating a system that's dynamically changing, part of the design
  • Not perpetual beta, but understanding things will change
  • "Beta' is for limiting liability - this is ducking responsibility

Q: Constantly changing dynamic, and that's fine - but this kind of model is something that we assume a stable operating environment in which we have tasks and when tasks + technology + understanding of what we need are changing, then perhaps it's the first condition, a perpetual operating state that's in flux

  • GJ: There's no such thing- IT organization "architects" are there because there's no such thing as a stable operating environment; everything has to have clear principles and architecture behind it
  • We have to understand how evolving environment is going to affect applications

Q: Could add a fourth dimension for capturing and preserve

  • GJ: Had a college roommate could visualize 5 dimensions - it's hard enough to put 3 on slides
  • Not that it's a cube, so much as that most simple explanations have orthogonal dimensions

Q: A lot of talk about confining/setting the limits
From an IT perspective, what can you offer? Suggestions for what the borders of PB are? What are the constraints we should think about as we move forward in the next 24 hours?

  • GJ: From IT hat, what are contributions PB can make, rather than setting boundaries
    • It's priorities, not boundaries
    • If I had to choose priorities, we saw a lot of things based n different environments, not sure whether those environments had ot be different to get the functionality
    • What is limited set of platforms upon which most of the things we want to do could be made to work
    • More of a reference-expressing exercise
    • "What should I develop?" -Start here if you don't have any idea where to develop
    • Priority #1 - that kind of standards
    • Providing guidance to each other
    • Some of these turn into religious wars - you may have to say "choose your religion and go ahead"
  • RP: Working w/ provost at Rice who'd get questions about what we'd provide to who and why, GJ pointed on this-- limited, reasonable, and not overly restrictive systems and services
    • I bet PB won't build a particular thing that works in a particular way
    • Limit it and make it reasonable is something to think about
  • GJ: When you're looking for a theory, you want something as simple as possible but ono simpler

Q: Rick - follow up, you mentioned a marketplace, do you think your provost could allocate money and resources and a way to prioritize locally you could put it as a pay-it-forward into a marketplace?

  • RP: I'm not sure I'd go right to the provost and ask for money, but I've already set money aside in my budget for consultants, projects, another set-aside that'd allow me the freedom to meet faculty members' needs
    • I want to be able to just give them what they want, if I have the money set aside
  • GJ: If I go to the provost and ask for a quarter million of a bucks a year, that's 1-2 faculty members-- powerful argument
    • More faculty or doing that?
    • Then he says "why don't you find this money?" - then that's 4 graveyard shift computer operators
    • There's no money tap out there - everything's a trade-off
    • Provost can't pull out money from a golden pocket, which things are more valuable than other things?
    • If we're going to ask for money, we have to answer "what are you willing to give up to get it?"
    • That's the right way to talk w/in a college university

Q: Museum of Natural History as product of World's Fair in Chicago
Consortia: a couple consortia that were mentioned here during the workshop - Sakai and Kuali - in my understanding they were a response against certain kinds of vendor/commercial providor behaviors for universities to consolidate economic power to build something that fit their own needs in a way commercial vendors were not meeting, reduce cost against high commercial prices for those services
People are here for PB because humanists/artists are often bypassed by commercial sector because isn't profitable
Related but slightly different question - what's different for Microsoft to be a partner in filling these kinds of tools for humanists that wasn't there before? Will we see ourselves creating a consortia for similar reasons as Kuali/Sakai when commercial tools are being made but not the way we like and not at reasonable costs
Or are partnerships reasonable for exploring?

  • A: Landscape is different because my boss came over from e-science in UK and started turning heads in Microsoft and saying they need to change the landscape
  • Microsoft - less about the pricing of it; they give away nearly the platforms to academia
  • The bigger issue is not listening to the need of scholars and researchers
  • Part of y frustrating in working / academia - pace at which change happens, ability to say "yes, that's a good idea, yes you can act on that" at Microsoft they say " go run with it, we'll fund it" - now frustrated w/ pace of the Office team, and even then they've onlyt aken the top N% of features of interest to their top customers who are paying the bills
  • Like to optimistically say the environment is changing so we're trying to paint the picture that open source that we'll give to academic community + MS proprietary software = what we'd like to see
  • Best of both worlds - getting scalability/support of platform, flexibility to take it the last mile
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