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  • W4 - Program Document Section 5

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

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16 April - Overview of Section 5 (Chad Kainz)

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  • Concept of labs - fuzzball diagram
  • Things have happened since people have connected at PB
  • One of important points: need to keep promoting innovation through shared collaboration
  • Incredibly expensive/complex
  • Dabbling in ideas of governance, how that might work inside PB
  • If you have certain activities, can represent leadership/organization/move things forward
  • Important to get different voices
  • Observations about how community works, how things happen
  • Lists of individuals engaged in this process, types of institutions, etc.
  • Very diverse community, we have to respect that
  • We work together, but bring many different perspectives
  • How do we come to agreement? None of the charts have everyone agreeing on the same thing?
  • Need to finds some way of making decisions, finding some kind of consensus
  • There'll be trade-offs on the way, but we're all striving for the common good
  • This should lead to advancements in projects/individual research/etc
  • Integrating things we could benefit from into different projects
  • Evolve as needs and interests change
  • Today what we're doing seems to work, but in 5 years it may be different, and PB has to recognize that things will change and we'll have to adapt
  • "Exploration lab" - what is it?
  • Concept of lab resonated w/ members of leaderships council
  • Place with interesting experimentation
  • Where people solve problems at large scale/small scale
  • Cluster around getting something done
  • Think about work that needs to be done in PB as a collection of labs
  • Not a grand, big project of developing something like Kuali
  • New possibilities, existing possibilities for research/scholarship/learning, etc.
  • Cluster around particular areas of common interest; promoting idea of innovation; if you want something done, you work towards that goal
  • By keeping activity in smaller clusters, you can react more quickly to particular problems
  • For any of this to work, there has to be some structured activity/effort
  • Focus on getting things done: "let's get started with something!"
  • Gotta figure out what the something is
  • There's also a reality of administrative overhead we have to deal with to get through funding stage, etc.
  • Don't want to wait on BAMBOO to make a big decision - that slows everybody down
  • Reducing the amount of administrative overhead necessary
  • Get to the point of getting stuff done
  • Community component - anyone who's interested in what PB is doing
  • Members are people who are coordinating activity at own institutions or here, undertaking/promoting projects, as they evolve they're an instantiation of labs
  • Shaping/refining scope/direction of PB
  • Working w/ other organizations in PB-wide initiatives
  • There's much inside the membership box - didn't want to over think the problem
  • Certain levels of leadership like we talked about before

Individual labs

  • How does all this lab idea map out?
  • There can be many labs, some bigger, some smaller
  • Small ring as small activity
  • Large green ring underneath Explore - large community activity
  • Leadership committees-- coordinates work of that particular layer, cutting across it, there's a special instance in Plan
  • This is where relationships with other organizations connect formally w/ PB
  • Formal connection w/ Sakai
  • In IEEE Standards Committee, works different than ISO
  • Formal liaison
  • Diversity - range of people involved with Bamboo
  • You and your organizations know this kind of stuff in your own local organizations, how paperwork works - can serve as liaison
  • Notion of how can we make sure we get things done - not trying to move 42 institutions in one direction
  • Maybe people at one table think we need one thing, others sort of go along with it, but not everyone has to participate

Q & A

Q: Think of labs as playground, exploration ground for faculty to explore digital humanities projects
But central coordination/duplication of exploration - driven from a more technical POV; building up technical projects, so less a place for faculty
What is the primary purpose?
A: Keep pushing boundaries, keep pushing innovation
Can we extend the work that's going on?
Google Labs - access to services that may or may not be officially supported services, but it's something you can try
Where this breaks down might be extending it to the oversight level of entire project
Larger coordination activities might need to be classified as something else
Overall playground model needs to be treated in a slightly different way?


Alan Burdette, Indiana: If it's a place of exploration, looking at possibilities, strikes me as question that why wouldn't a model in each area be sufficient? Why have multiple?
A: Assumption that there isn't going to be just one activity in any area; there'll be multiple
Assuming that'll probably take more than one coordinating/moderating entity to wrangle that
Proposal review board, sync up periodically
Small group coordinating larger group activity
Plan/build/etc might not need that much depth; could be smaller/more localized to begin with
On Explore side, lots of detail in section 3 refers to small clusters of people tackling different elements
Could be one institution/group, but can't imagine them wanting to carry all the weight
Managing workload, keeping an eye on lots of different things.
DAG: Complexity of what we're trying to accomplish, may require different levels of coordination
Doing something ambitious with long-term goals, like shared services
May require some more complex consortial models
Build something that's more general, see how that applies


Worthy Martin, U VA: A few more thoughts about Explore as labs - lots of opportunities to explore right now
So why would they go to PB to explore, except there's some resources there that make it more possible?
Is that the case? Do you envision having resources there?
CJK: PB isn't meant to become a funding agency - what are the other funding elements?
Deeper resources from other institutions?
There'll be some outcome from this, for better or worse
There's an allocation issue built inside of this


Tim Cole: Perhaps the complex governance mechanism belongs in year 4 or 5 or 6, after there's some meat on the bones, there's some accomplishment to be governed rather than just a lot of intentions. CJK: Governance of early activity needs to happen; but perhaps larger governance effort, that is, governance of Bamboo as a community, waits 'til later.


Tim Babbit: This is governance of third ring; what I'm missing is larger governance of all activity we've been putting dots on
Is this related?
CJK: Yes
This is a later thing
We need to put this together and see what happens; governance needed to get us off the ground isn't the same as the "ring" governance of the long term
You don't start off with a complete set of rings, but parts of them - they fill out over time
Get things out the door ASAP, w/o being weighed down


Neil Freistat: Explore is built into very fabric of PB
Fully articulated version of that won't be there
But in the beginning it wouldn't be a bad idea to have a few PB sanctioned labs doing fundamental exploration
Then we get to resource issues - labor isn't free, but you're not a funding agency
Want to elicit cost sharing, but if PB had incubator fund for first year, to help labs form (w/ understanding that labs "home" would have at least one-to-one matching) - could lead to sustainable model


Robert Gibbs: Mary Jacobus remarked that a shadow governance model is the economy and resource availability. If we develop full-scale models of committees, board, etc. we can use up a million dollars on that alone
Wouldn't be a good use of Mellon funding
Exploratory work going on at the beginning; have a very small PB office, because it's not clear there's the resources to support a huge governance structure
More exploration, less governance would be positive


Howard (ANU): Need sufficient governance to realize a "cloud." Worried about the term "laboratory" used here. Agrees that lightweight governance (heavier only as needed) is better.


Jim Muehlenberg: WG roles might have roles going forward. Are they, as now constituted, labs? CJK: Today, yes.


Bradley Cohen: In document, but not presentation, members pay to play
Pay for privilege
What's the sell for my institution to pay to play when several of us are happy to play and contribute whatever we can find
Chance to lead and shape?
Why would we pay when you can just be a member of the community?
CJK: Universities are all paying in some way; ~million and a half hours been invested
That's a lot of investment - how do we capture that?
Dollar amount question is one we need to wrestle with
How do we do that without pushing people out the door, but also doesn't turn into an incentive for creating an administrative monster that consumes all the available resources that don't end up generating much stuff
Like any project, PB needs to give value back in some way
Could show up more in research administration area
There's value in being associated with it - formal contribution to formal relationship


Debjani G (ANU): Labs have three layers. Governance. Organizing principles of Bamboo effort: EPB. Response to labs re: sections 3 and 4- coherent organizing principle
Three layers to labs section that don't cohere to me
Governance issue is one - pretty utopian to think calibrating value of contribution leads to parity in governance
Governance will be determined by what institutions can put in
Second issue: organizing principles of entire project in explore/plan/build
They're overarching aspects for how all of PB will function
Don't see why it needs to be underneath "labs" - it's overarching principles
Third strand that doesn't cohere for me: liaisons section
Organizational contacts/connections, but can happen through PB Exchange
Dynamic of collaborating w/ organizations
This is a technology project, so why have a separate section on liaisons
CJK: Liaisons are critical so we shouldn't do things we just shouldn't do
How to manifest that, where it fits in - folding these things together didn't work.
Time to split those things apart; if you have anything you could e-mail me, please tell me
Work with me on sorting this thing through, so we can get this right
We have to get this mostly right, doesn't have to be perfect to get us out the door

16 April - Table Discussion of Section 5

Worthy: Structure is hard and expensive
This level of structure is 7-10 year plan
Overkill for 1 year
I'm still trying to see the diagram in the context of the other ones-- where's the forum and community in here? Having a hard time seeing it


Duffy: Felt the same way
A lot of this structure is cart before the horse
Hard to evaluate structure w/o knowing what work is
What projects is it supporting?
Can't build such a structure who are motivated to explore/build on abstract projects
PROJECTS are the key
People want to bring forward projects, leverage two-for-one dollars from Mellon or lead it by pledging funding from elsewhere
Need a light structure that provides governance for bringing people together to work together on projects they already have self-interest to work on
Focus on things that build common infrastructure
More emphasis on building bridge between teaching and research
Move towards undergrad research that's a key thing to be leveraging with this
Real research as an undergrad is actually being done now; helping establish Humanities
Being able to bring this to another level through infrastructure


Tim Babbit: Distinction between governance and economics of membership
Early on, might want it to be free so we could use the wider landscape
Need a lot of people using it? Don't charge membership
May need different models for different work objects
Governing social networking might be different than services
Continuum with membership and communities - not discrete
Opportunities and challenges at the same time
How we think about governance as we start up PB is different than how we sustain PB
Changing mark


Community vs. institutional involvement. Putting too much emphasis on this early in the project
Some of us did like the model
It's a useful conversation
Difference between community involvement and institutional involvement
Individual researchers could participate


Martin Wynne: Too much governance at this stage. Scalable governance is a good idea, as lightweight as possible at each stage. Avoid a structure that will require all/most time to be dumped into meetings. Use enthusiasm/commitment from so many institutions as the main asset, Bamboo to coordinate, promote interoperability. This is the right time for Bamboo because institutions are already engaged in the work PB proposes to address ... so Bamboo need only coordinate/leverage this pre-existing interest. Neil Freistat: what has motivated participation from the beginning? Lots of people jumped in because it looked like Bamboo was the big ship leaving with the Mellon funding. An investment, then. But now there's not enough Mellon money in it up front for those who jumped in at the beginning, so why are those of us who are still here still here? DARIAH in Europe ... we keep thinking of closed structures of governance ... but maybe we should be thinking about how to merge these largely parallel efforts. Jim: Mellon money may be the same in 8 years as we originally expected in three. Maybe the lowering of the up-front incentives to collaboration doesn't change the value of collaboration, so we ought to find a way to do so despite the lack of material, up-front, Mellon-seeded incentive. Short-term vs. long-term requirements are difficult to reconcile. DAG: The power of this effort comes from those institutions who have come on board and stayed with it; yes, the Mellon money is of value, but it's not the main thing.


Howard Morphey: Million and a half dollars, more, already put in
We thought PB was a big ship sailing off with the Mellon money
Thought we couldn't get on the ship
Lots of people jumped in for a whole range of reasons, saw it as a kind of investment
Interesting Mellon-funded ways of improving the field
Because of economic circumstances, we're reached the tiping point for PB
Not enough up-front Mellon money for people who jumped in at the beginning
There's got to be another reason why we're all here
If not, there's not going to be a PB
In some ways, it's a kind of benefit that there's not tons of Mellon money
It's about, do we want to build it together now or not?
The people who are in, are in, for reasons that could sustain PB
If PB wasn't started, someone would probably start something like it - it needs to happen
Close structures of governance - are there ways from the start to be able to scale this, so efforts in US/Europe can come together?


Same issues we talked about
Emphasis needs to be on collaboration and coordination
What do people put in, and what do they expect to get out?
People will be involved if they have resources like access to experts, projects relevant to them, etc
But as soon as they start putting something into the larger PB community (hosting, also, participation in workshops and discussing ways where institutions could add something in the long term
At that stage, they're exercising a leadership role at a generalized level within PB
A year isn't a great deal of time (or money)
There should be leadership at a slightly more centralized level
Be aware of individuals with expertise/commitment even if they're not in a participating institution
Felt that from Australian perspective, we're fortunate to have large private foundations
In a position where global communication exchange/communication and development of resources is absolutely essential to survival and research that we do
Appreciate idea of being part of a wider community, having access to services that mean we can do things we couldn't if we were alone
This is the kind of model that operates within Australia
PB is a potential extension of we're already oriented towards


John Norman: Most has already been covered
Apache model offers something worth looking at
Large organization but still has a good reputation after 10 years
Focus on the social - incubation of projects, graduating when has certain purity, open to all but certain privileges on merit
Meritocracy
This is a model we could imitate; $300,000 dollars/yr
If circumstances are so dire, inclined to rethink some of the plans - work out what we might get started doing there
Assume money won't be there, but use what's left of planning grant to get a cooperative organization off the ground


Much of table's focus was re: what this might look like on the ground. What's the real distinction between member and community? Comes down to quantification of contributions, how is participation measured. Longitudinal commitment might have relevance - contribution over a period of years has a value beyond each single year's value (1000 dollars a year for five years has an equal value to a one year commitment of 5000 dollars). Digital Library Federation is a model of an organization that has a fee, and puts money toward projects that demonstrate compliance with the DLF's standards. What does "Bamboo will coordinate" really mean? Is there a Bamboo-funded Project Manager.


Kaylea: Governance as a lab rather than a bureaucracy is kind of a refreshing notion. We don't know all the right answers to how governance should work, and this metaphor acknowledges that. How do students fit into the picture we're trying to draw? Incubation or exploration labs seems the most exciting notion to this community, what are the models from which we can draw lessons. What's the gap between the excitement around exploration labs, and the questions about their value.

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