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

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This document is version 1.0 of the Workshop Discussion DRAFT of the Bamboo Program and shall be used as the basis for work in Workshop 4. The purpose of this document is to frame a dialog among participants and as such, share preliminary and provisional information regarding the Bamboo Program. This will allow institutions and organizations participating in the Bamboo Planning Process to help determine (1) the long term future of Bamboo and, most importantly, (2) define what activities Bamboo will carry out in its first three year implementation phase (from 2010-2012). Unlike previous versions, this draft is designed to solicit input from the participants taking part in Bamboo Workshop 4. Changes, edits and recommendations collected at and immediately after Workshop 4 shall be incorporated into the Bamboo Program Document v1.1.

Please note that we are updating this document frequently based on wide ranging input from the Bamboo community. These updates are indicated as ".1", ".2", ".3", etc updates. In addition, we will occasionally make major document revisions. These are noted as "1.X", "2.X", and so forth. Between major document revisions there may be some inconsistencies in language used between the sections of the document.

The content and direction expressed within the sections of this document shall be considered as provisional and will be subject to potentially substantial change between this version and the final edition of the Bamboo Program slated for release in Fall 2009.

2. Scope of Work

Table of Contents

2.1. The Fundamental Question

Bamboo is different from most community development efforts in that it is not striving to create a single application nor a suite of software. Instead, the scope of Bamboo and the program of work is centered around creating cyberinfrastructure and with that, shared capacity within, across, and between institutions to better enable and foster innovation in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Components, clouds, collaborations, and communities are all part of the scope of Bamboo.

Before detailing the scope of Bamboo for the decade between 2010 through 2020, it is important to understand three pieces of the fundamental question Bamboo continues to explore:

How do we advance arts and humanities research through the development of shared technology services?

First, "we" encompasses not just arts, humanities, and social sciences faculty, researchers and scholars, but also includes the myriad individuals and groups who directly or indirectly support or are engaged in research, teaching, and learning. So in essence, Bamboo includes scholars as well as (but not limited to) students, librarians, information technology professionals, computer and information scientists, content partners and providers, application developers and software engineers, publishers, content creators, archivists, human interaction and user interface specialists. The "we" also engages representatives from funding agencies, humanities centers, professional organizations, digital humanities centers, societies, museums, national and private libraries, cultural heritage organizations, arts organizations, government, and industry. The important part is that all participants in Bamboo believe that, despite inevitable differences, working together across disciplines, fields, institutions and other boundaries will ultimately enhance and advance research, teaching, and learning in the arts, humanities and interpretive social sciences. As long as the members of the Bamboo Community agree that the common good for all Bamboo participants is at the center of its efforts, Bamboo will succeed in its vision.

Second, "advance" refers to continually moving scholarship forward and in doing so, recognizes that innovation is essential to the long-term success of Bamboo. As a community working together, we must strive to not stifle individual innovation but seek ways to balance what's possible with what's desired. Some problems may not be solvable in the short term, but as long as Bamboo continues to contribute toward advancing research, learning, and teaching such ideas may come to fruition over time. To accomplish this, the community must be willing to adapt to changing technological, economic, and social models over the lifespan of Bamboo.

Third, during the life of Bamboo there will be different technological solutions to achieve the goal of sharing resources and capabilities across project, organizational and institutional boundaries. The statement of "shared technology services" represents the concept of Web services and with that, an understanding that there are multiple approaches to provisioning and consuming services. These services shall be shared across institutional boundaries and capable of being used by various elements of the Bamboo Community while respecting the issues and realities associated with licensed content, specialized resources, etc.

"Shared technology services" implies much more than access as sharing itself assumes a level of trust that resources will be available when an individual or project needs them. Therefore, the shared approach assumes that with wider adoption, some services will transition from being research and into production. With that, services will need to be maintained over time and lead to the issue of service stewardship.

Bamboo should strive to "fit in" rather than "stand out" by adopting standards and practices common in higher education and industry as well as within disciplines and fields. What Bamboo adopts in terms of technologies, protocols, and services shall respect "we" and "advance" scholarship; only by doing that will services be shared.

2.2. Scope

As stated earlier, the vision for Bamboo is rooted in sharing technology services across academic, professional, and organizational boundaries with a goal to better foster, grow, and sustain innovation in research, teaching, learning, practice and performance. To accomplish this, Bamboo strives to build shared capacity among institutions to create, reuse, remix, and recycle technology across research projects, learning experiences, and scholarly endeavors. For Bamboo, shared capacity means to amplify one's local resources that support research and teaching (time, staff, technology, finances, etc.) by leveraging the contributions of the community to reduce the need to recreate or reinvent technologies, processes, or approaches that have already been developed.

Fundamentally, Bamboo is a cyberinfrastructure (e-infrastructure) initiative for the arts and humanities. Cyberinfrastructure is widely understood to be much more than software capabilities and technology infrastructure, and as such, Bamboo is no exception. The initiative encompasses the social and support infrastructures as well as the standards and practices needed for the sharing of services, resources, and technologies across fields, disciplines, and organizations.

As highlighted in section 1, the Bamboo Vision for Cyberinfrastructure is loosely based on the "Borromean Ring Team" concept presented by D.H. Atkins, Office of Cyberinfrastructure, National Science Foundation:

 In summary, the Bamboo Borromean Ring model consists of three elements:

  1. understanding of practices and commonalities: collect, discuss, and share scholarly practices in order to identify commonalities and evolve the direction of the initiative over time;
  2. shared technology services: interoperable and composable software services from across the world that can be easily discovered, used, combined, and integrated into key research and teaching practices and projects; and
  3. organizational, partnership, and social models: the human dimension where innovation can be supported within and between campuses and other key organizations.

These elements provide the groundwork for the scope of Bamboo and inform the program of activities. Based on this vision of cyberinfrastructure and the work of the Bamboo Planning Project, the scope of Bamboo includes:

  • identifying and exposing shared technology services to promote inter-institutional and trans-disciplinary use of services in research, teaching, and learning;
  • defining and developing lightweight infrastructure to discover, use, and remix shared technology services;
  • discovering, promoting, and sharing service-aware tools and content sources;
  • developing educational and professional development programs around creating and using shared services projects and/or tools in research, learning and teaching, which includes (but is not limited to) community awareness programs, curricula for undergraduate and graduate students, and workshops and colloquia for faculty, students and staff;
  • collecting and analyzing scholarly narratives that express particular aspects of scholarship, scholarly workflow, research, and/or teaching that are or could be facilitated by technology;
  • exploring, identifying and creating scholarly networking components that aid interactions within a discipline, trans-discipline, as part of scholarly societies, and in mediated/in person settings;
  • identifying, collecting, and selecting common standards and practices; and
  • communicating and marketing the strategic value of Bamboo to institutions and organizations.

This scope represents the work of Bamboo over a 10-year period beginning in 2010. By no means does this scope imply that all of these areas will be tackled at once or in a single development effort. The list represents the range of activity envisioned for Bamboo and elements shall be undertaken as interest, resources, and demand become available.

2.3. Program

This approach places new demands on people, processes, institutions, and organizations. Underlying Bamboo is an idea that by working together within and across our institutions, disciplines, organizations, and areas of expertise, we have the potential to do a better job of supporting humanities scholars and practitioners, whether students or faculty. Because Bamboo is much more than technology, the program includes three distinct areas of focus and leadership: Bamboo Explore, Bamboo Plan, and Bamboo Build.

2.3.1 Bamboo Explore

Bamboo Explore is responsible for developing, growing and nurturing the Bamboo Community. Explore observes and analyzes the community's adoption and use of both Bamboo and non-Bamboo services, tools, and programs and recommends ways in which Bamboo can evolve and adapt to changing needs. Explore:

  • observes and reacts to community needs,
  • connects activities, and
  • contextualizes action and use.

Within this area is the entire Bamboo Community and its various groups and subgroups. Explore coordinates activity among Bamboo Community members, sponsors Bamboo programs and workshops, and promotes Bamboo adoption and use. It is within Explore one can envision cross-disciplinary networks, informal collaborations, and project-to-project resource sharing potentially organized formally as Explore Labs.

Aspects of education and professional development, communication and marketing, collecting and analyzing scholarly narratives, and identifying and creating components that enable scholarly networking exist within Explore. Ultimately, Bamboo Explore investigates possibilities enabled or created by Bamboo and drives the evolution of Bamboo over time as it largely is the voice of the Bamboo Community.

The program within Explore is one based on community engagement and social networking.

2.3.2 Bamboo Plan

Bamboo Plan is responsible for planning infrastructure, formally expressing Bamboo standards, guidelines and practices, and liaising with other consortia, societies and organizations. Plan:

  • acts on input from Explore,
  • filters recommendations, and
  • prioritizes action.

In terms of standards, Plan (and therefore, Bamboo) shall not define and create Bamboo-specific standards. Instead, Plan shall adopt existing standards and specifications, and where standards or specifications don't exist, liaise with appropriate organizations to encourage the development of such materials. Bamboo Plan may compile sets of standards and specifications in the form of a profile to better promote interoperability. Such activity does not indicate the creation and maintenance of a Bamboo-specific standard, but rather such should be viewed as an aggregation of other works on behalf of the community.

Formal relationships with professional societies and organizations are critical to the ongoing success of Bamboo. Therefore, Plan shall include a formal liaison function to promote inter-project collaboration and communication. Bamboo members may act as formal liaisons through Plan in order to better connect Bamboo and its efforts with fields, regions, and activities by leveraging established relationships. Although liaisons are formally recognized in Bamboo Plan, they can engage at any level within Bamboo and as part of any activity that seems appropriate.

Within Plan are elements of identifying shared technology services, defining infrastructure, working with tool and content partners, and analyzing scholarly narratives with a specific aim of planning what needs to be accomplished for the good of the Bamboo Community. In essence, Plan is the architectural layer of Bamboo and as such, acts on recommendations from Explore and filters and prioritizes those recommendations to Bamboo Build. This activity shall occur within a range of Plan Labs.

Envisioned within Bamboo Plan are two overlapping and related areas each with specific activities to lead and coordinate: "Architecture & Services" and "Standards, Guidelines & Practices." Architecture & Services

The program for the Architecture & Services area of Bamboo Plan is based on a model centered on strategic planning and community design. The primary aspects of the Architecture & Services area of Plan are:

  1. Based on input from Bamboo Explore, review, prioritize and initiate development activities that directly benefit the Bamboo Community.

  2. Maintain the architectural and technical vision and plan for Bamboo including the growth, expansion and evolution of the Bamboo Services Atlas.

  3. Design, plan and architect the Bamboo Cloud (in general terms, see The cloud shall be distributed across a minimum of three partners in a virtualized and scalable manner, be capable of elastic expansion/contraction with the ability to dynamically add capacity within or across hosting locations as necessary, and provide continuous and reliable services to the community without having to select a specific provider for Bamboo Cloud services.

  4. Design, plan and architect the Bamboo Service Registry within the Bamboo Cloud. The Bamboo Service Registry shall include both the capability of registering services of interest or provisioned to the community as well as tools, applications, and components that consume such services. The registry shall also include the contracts necessary for service interaction.

  5. Design, plan and architect the Bamboo Recipe Registry within the Bamboo Cloud. The Bamboo Recipe Registry shall be provisioned through the Bamboo Cloud and provide the infrastructure and services for the collection, analysis and dissemination of Bamboo Recipes and workflows. It shall provide services, which in turn, shall be registered in the Bamboo Service Registry.

  6. Design, plan and architect the Bamboo Service Platform within the Bamboo Cloud. The Bamboo Service Platform shall be based on existing technologies, service provisioning platforms or service bus environments and provide the means to host and deliver services to the community. The Bamboo Service Platform shall be the manner in which individual project services that grow to greater utility to the community may be promoted and sustained over time. The initial set of services provisioned on the Bamboo Service Platform may include the services of the Bamboo Service Registry and the Bamboo Recipe Registry as well as candidate services from the Bamboo Community.

  7. Design, plan and architect the Bamboo Services Atlas within the Bamboo Cloud.

  8. Design, plan and architect the Bamboo Exchange.

  9. In collaboration with Bamboo Explore, design, plan and architect a reference user experience (Bamboo Community Environment) for discovering and consuming Bamboo resources, tools, and services. The user interface shall, at a minimum, include plug-ins and/or widgets (one or several) that can be easily integrated into existing virtual research environments (VREs), portals, and/or social networking environments, and be based on open interface specifications such as Fluid.

  10. Design, plan and architect a virtual research environment (VRE) within the Bamboo Cloud that will take the place of the current collaboration environment, Bamboo VRE shall be the space where project collaboration, virtual community building and other activities in support of Bamboo takes place. It shall be built upon and integrate the technologies, standards, and capabilities promoted and adopted by the Bamboo Community and as such, act as a reference implementation for all of Bamboo plug-ins, widgets, and infrastructure. The Bamboo VRE shall be based on existing technologies, services, platforms, and environments wherever possible, and incorporate the Bamboo Community Environment as appropriate.

  11. Based on input from Bamboo Explore and the community, identify, negotiate the use of, and incorporate services into the Bamboo Cloud and the Bamboo Service Platform that have either achieved widespread adoption or seem appropriate to provision in a more generalized manner. Standards, Guidelines & Practices

The program for Standards, Guidelines & Practices within Bamboo Plan is based on standards adoption, maintenance and remediation.

  1. Maintain the collection of standards, practices, and guidelines for Bamboo.

  2. Based on input from Bamboo Explore, establish, review, select and publish profiles of standards and specifications that promote the sharing of content and services across the Bamboo Community.

  3. Establish and maintain formal relationships with standards and specifications organizations.

  4. Define, express and maintain the common specifications around the metadata associate with the Bamboo Service Registry including interoperability requirements for Common Services and their service contracts.

  5. Define, express and maintain the characteristic and metadata specifications including the classes of resources, specifications for expressing and exchanging resources, etc.

  6. Define, express and maintain characteristics and metadata of recipes including the descriptive and technical representation of workflows, and other related materials that are both technical for interoperability and informative for adoption.

  7. Define, express and maintain the specifications and requirements for provisioning services.

2.3.3 Bamboo Build

Numerous models exist for sharing data and processes over a network, and a number of these models are commonplace within industry, content providers, libraries, and campus information technology organizations. Also, several of these models enable highly-specific needs to be met in rapid and reproducible ways at relatively low cost provided an appropriate infrastructure exists to support such work. The Bamboo notion of shared technology services blends the strengths of enterprise computing and content management with the flexibility of Web services and academic exploration. This blend when combined across institutions creates a shared capacity in the form of a common lightweight infrastructure of discoverable and sharable resources.

Let's imagine a faculty member at an institution who wants to develop a project that explores patterns in texts and has access to the resources of Bamboo. In this example, content from one organization can be explored and manipulated by a researcher at a different institution through a combination of services provided locally, by other Bamboo participants, and through commercial providers. The researcher focuses on the problem she is trying to solve by developing only what's necessary, and the local institution leverages Bamboo and its lightweight infrastructure to discover and reuse textual analysis services from elsewhere, thus reducing time and expense by not reinventing what has already been created. The Bamboo community shares the responsibility of providing resources to the individual project but at a low incremental cost. In the long term, institutions participating in Bamboo should see a minimal resource impact in that the incremental contribution to Bamboo would be merely an extension of the services already being provided to its own students and faculty.

Bamboo Build is responsible for adapting and creating the components deemed essential to the Bamboo Community, adopts or implements software components of Bamboo infrastructure and shared services, and manages the technology layer of Bamboo itself. These components, services and infrastructure shall be provided as a utility to the community and as such, be delivered in a manner analogous to a cloud model. The complexity of the Bamboo Cloud shall be placed at a layer of abstraction from the underlying technology and user experience to enable distribution, federation, scalability and replication of the infrastructure and services to occur without affecting use and adoption by members of the community. Initially and more specifically, Bamboo Build shall establish the Bamboo Cloud and within that space, build and minimally maintain the services and capabilities defined by Bamboo Plan as well as the Bamboo Community Environment.

All of these elements shall be initiated, defined, specified, and designed by Bamboo Plan and as such, Bamboo Build shall not initiate development without input and guidance from Bamboo Plan. Maintenance of these elements shall be handled and coordinated by Bamboo Build; this includes minor revisions, bug fixes, etc. Major changes or revisions shall be referred to Bamboo Plan as a candidate project. Work shall be organized as formally established Build Labs.

The program within Build is one based on community-source software development.

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  1. Unknown User (johnlaudun)

    I'll have more to say in discussion, but two nitpicks here:

    • The first sentence in 2.3.2 Bamboo Plan needs to have semi-colons added to articulate the items in the series correctly.
    • We humanists involved in this really need to help out with the visual analogies. The "Borromean Ring" strikes me as a sublimated trinity. I'm not opposed to calling upon deeply embedded mythological structures, but I'm not sure the illustration here really adds anything to the discussion.
  2. Unknown User (

    Section Architecture & Services:

    Item 6 - this sounds like the Bamboo Appliance as written here, although a later section makes it clear it's only part of that.  Since the Bamboo Appliance is not listed in this section, this is somewhat confusing.

    Items 7 & 8 - how do these relate to Item 10, the Bamboo VRE?  And it is my imagination, or is the Bamboo VRE hardly ever mentioned anywhere else in the Program Doc?

    Item 9 - "design, plan and architect a reference user experience" - this is considered production, not just proof of concept, right?

    Item 10 - does the Bamboo Community Environment serve as a/the front end to the Bamboo VRE?

    In general, we need some architectural diagrams here to show the relationships of all these pieces, it can get very confusing to try to follow detailed narratives in this territory without a roadmap!

    1. Unknown User (

      Got it. You're quite right. In terms of the VRE, there's a long tale behind it and amounts to exactly what you've pointed out – a narrative disconnect that amounted to a very last minute bandage over a bigger issue.