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

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Tools & Content Partners


New charter
The Tools & Content working group shall develop models for discovering tools and content, develop recipes that use tools and content to achieve tasks described in the Scholarly Narratives, and identify ways of engaging the tool and content development community. Specifically we will develop:

  • Discovery Models: Identify and define models for discovering tools and content relevant to Bamboo. In doing so, the working group shall develop demonstrations that illustrate how tools and content identified can support digital humanities scholarship taking into account the breadth of institutions and organizations already part of Bamboo and the even broader range of potential tool and content partners.
  • Recipes: The working group shall assist in the analysis of scholarly narratives gathered and generalize these into "recipes" that illustrate concretely how tools and content sources can be exploited to achieve an articulated scholarly needs described in narratives by the community.
  • Gaps: The working group shall identify gaps in the tools and content landscape based on the recipes and work with the Shared Services working group to define the needed tools and content.
  • Delivery Models: The working group shall consider models for delivering tools and content whether centralized, federated, peer-to-peer, or other approaches for integrating tools and content resources. To that end the working group shall place particular emphasis on models employing open interfaces and/or shared services and shall gather references to specific standards and/or practices that promote interoperability and reuse of content, tools, workflows, and/or services.
  • Outreach: The working groups shall identify potential tool developer and content provider outreach strategies that will promote a sustained dialogue of developers and content providers through Bamboo.

Old charter
The Tools & Content Partners working group shall identify and define models for tool and content source discovery that takes into account the range of institutions and organizations and breadth of partners across Bamboo. The working group shall consider centralized, federated, peer-to-peer, or other approaches as appropriate. The working group shall identify and enumerate models of integrating with existing tools and content resources with particular emphasis on those employing open interfaces and/or shared services. Finally in course of its work, the group shall gather references to specific standards and/or practices that would be of benefit to the Bamboo community to promote interoperability and reuse of content, tools, workflows, and/or services. We encourage this group to pursue a small number of demonstrator projects that explore the interoperability of representative tools and content sources in the digital humanities community.

To express interest in and volunteer for this working group, send email to:; include "Working Group Interest" in the subject line. The membership list and work of this working group will be posted on the Bamboo planning wiki.


To Do before Workshop 4

 Resource Pages

To Do before Workshop 3

Working Group Members



Loretta Auvil


Tim Babbitt


David Blakesly


Adrian Burton


Jacob Carlson


Kaylea Champion


Tim Cole (F)


Joel Cooper


Rhys Hawkins


Katie Hayne


David Kahle


Ray Larson


Sorin Matei


Sian Meikle


Martin Mueller


Geoffrey Rockwell (F) 


Raffaella Santucci

Rome (La Sapienza)

Michael Spalti


Claire Stewart


Alex Wade

Microsoft Research

Mark Williams


Richard Wisneski

Case Western Reserve

Patrick Yott


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  1. Unknown User (

    What I am observing in the Tools & Content WG is slightly at odds with the wording of the charter -- in a good way, I think. This is the first sentence:

    "The Tools & Content Partners working group shall identify and
    define models for tool and content source discovery that takes into
    account the range of institutions and organizations and breadth of
    partners across Bamboo."

    This implies, through the grammatical parallel construction, an over-arching focus on discovery. That is, if we expand the construction out, we get two types of discovery, i.e. "identify and define models for tool discovery" and "identify and define models for content source discovery". I have not observed an overarching focus on discovery, however, and I think the group is going in the right direction. Also, either there is a verb agreement problem with "takes" or else I don't understand the sentence. Stripping out a few words for clarity: "We shall identify and define models for (x and y) that take into account...." I suggest we re-cast the sentence like this:

    "The Tools & Content Partners working group shall identify and define models
    for tool creation and content discovery that take into account the
    range of institutions and organizations and breadth of partners across Bamboo."

    What do others think?

  2. Unknown User (johnlaudun)

    Let me begin by saying how sorry I was not to be able to make it to W2. Having participated in the conference call - thank you Tim for setting that up - I feel like there is some common knowledge within the group that I am missing to enable to glimpse the commonality in the potential demonstrators that have so far been discussed.

    And so I am going to try to sketch out a framework here and, I hope, in the process back my way into understanding what it is we are up to.

    I should begin by noting that I'm a humanities scholar, a folklorist to be exact. Those of you who saw my 4/6 presentation at the Chicago W1 know that my current research focuses on the rise and development of a boat peculiar to south Louisiana, the crawfish boat. But I've also done work on a variety of verbal traditions, literature, and done some work in history.

    With that as preface, I offer up a sweeping generalization about humanities studies: it is the study of complex artifacts (understood broadly) in service of understanding human nature. (Historians will be somewhat disgruntled by such a definition, but if a census document isn't a complex artifact, then I don't know what one is.)

    What humanists need, want access to are these artifacts as well as the variety of information clouds that surround them. Now, too often we assume that this stuff that humanists work with is limited to scribed texts of one form or another. What I like about all the proposed demonstrators is that they are clearly not bounded by such precepts: Tim wants to find a way to cite images and their derivatives - I'm assuming the digital form of both. Mark Williams is trying to find a way to make the steady stream of news reporting available for study. And both Ray Larson and Sorin Matei have as one of their proposed demonstrators some form of geographic-aware tool / methodology.

    Ray and Sorin's proposals are particularly appealing to me because as an ethnographic researcher, I have long been interested in some way of "tagging" objects I find in the field and beginning to build a data / metadata cloud around them in their original context - and both objects and contexts being available to other researchers (either in situ or virtually). Objects in this context are stretchy - or "fuzzy" if you prefer. An object could be a town, a building, a boat, a field, et cetera.

    So all this is great news. It's what we've long wanted as a complement, not a replacement, for our extant (call them traditional if you like) data structures which were built around centralizing information in places like libraries and museums. One of the promises of the digital revolution is that information focuses on the object itself, which need not be removed from the variety of contexts which give it its multiple meanings.

    I stumble upon "promise" here, because I remember working for a short time with a team at Indiana University back in the early nineties which had been commissioned by AT&T to work on what it was calling a "WorldBoard." (I think the term was supposed to stand in contrast with the electronic bulletin boards of the time, for those who are old enough to remember, in being "location-aware" information.)

    Fifteen years later and it doesn't really seem like we've made all that much progress. There is KML and there is the Dublin Core. But there is nothing like a Zotero that allows one either to write data to some sort of common database or to "browse" it.

    I bring up Zotero here because I find myself using it and liking it. It's not the world's greatest UI, but it offers a fair amount of flexibility for me as a particular researcher and it seems on its way to offering a way to share information with me as part of a greater collective of individuals studying humans as they move through the world. I can even imagine Zotero becoming a kind of front-end for prior Mellon Foundation funded projects like JSTOR and Project Muse.

    What I would like to see, and maybe it would be something like what Tim is proposing, is a parallel project to ARTstor which might be something like DATAstor. ARTstor is a great resource for getting access to quality images of physical artifacts that are either drawn from the fine arts or that have been of the kind of nature that they would be acquired by museums. The chief problem is, first, that museums have their own biases (and they tend towards the fine or visual arts) and, second, that the promise of the IT revolution is that we would not be so dependent upon museums for providing metadata about objects.

    Interacting with such an infrastructure could mean either making 3D scans or building 3D models of objects and then locating them in time and space. Google has done a great deal towards this, but it does not seem to have caught on. The reasons are probably multiple: First, 3D work is hard. (I know. I have ten thousand images for my current project and only a few primitive models done in SketchUp.) Second, the Google landscape is a bit of a wild west: you're just not really sure about the quality of the work done there. (Could one peer review within Google Earth?) Third, it is an impoverished infrastructure, at least in my experience, because it principally focuses on geographic concerns with little room, or at least structure, for other dimensions.

    Okay, I'm approaching 1000 words, which is probably some sort of limit. I will think some more and write more when I get a chance. I hope this is useful to someone.

  3. Unknown User (

    The georef project description (Purdue, in the discussion this morning) is very interesting -- how far can the idea of simple "sameness" services be extended? Databases that have no actual content but provide valuable links between content that exists elsewhere. Geotags are nice and lightweight. Metadata is also, though slightly less so. Sameness services for full text, full image, full media content would be incredibly valuable. They might overcome the description problem (creating metadata) which is still crippling both for individual scholars and librarians/archivists, etc.

    "I have this thing, how is it like other things..." and push that information back to my data repository (or data repository cataloging tool), or back to the individual scholar.

  4. Unknown User (

    Thanks for a very interesting and thought-provoking workshop. One point I would underscore is the importance of Project Bamboo assisting smaller institutions. I represent one such institution, where our funding and resources are not abundant. However, we have collections that I am sure would be of interest to large and small institutions throughout not just our region, but outside our region as well. It would be great if Project Bamboo could serve, at least in part, as a consortium to aid and assist small institutions needing guidance, tools, and expertise from those more knowledgeable in digital humanities