Continuing our discussions & a suggested topic

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008 | raymond yee

I’m missing the types and quality of discussions we had at THATCamp. We were encouraged by the THATCamp organizers to use this blog as a way of continuing our discussions.

So to that end, let me point to The Bamboo Digital Humanities Initiative: A Modest Proposal, a recent and thoughtful blog post by Sorin Matei (Purdue University) on the Project Bamboo that I first learned about via Dan Cohen. I’m in the process of writing a response and am very curious about what you all (THATCampers and others) think about the ideas in the post.


6 Responses to “Continuing our discussions & a suggested topic”

  1. Sean Gillies Says:

    I must say I’m -1 on building single large (and expensive) Facebook or MySpace type platforms for the digital humanities, slightly less negative about scholarly Facebook apps (if scholars want to use Facebook itself, why not?), and far more in favor of the Web as the platform. The Web is messy, sure, but Matei fails to acknowledge its great strengths: it scales, it has very low barriers to entry, it lets applications be deployed and evolve independently of one another. It even has a theoretical basis (REST).

    Speaking of SOA, I get a little nervous when that term appears because it often implies grand designs with a lot of risk. I hope that Bamboo architects are following the discussion around “Guerilla SOA”. Good (somewhat unserious here and there) presentation on it at

    Martin Fowler and Jim Webber make an analogy from agile development to the Web/REST/Guerilla SOA as a basis for agile deployment and system buildout.

  2. Raymond Yee Says:

    My blog post on Sorin Matei’s post:

    Sean, I agree that a large Facebook/MySpace type of platform wouldn’t be a great thing for the Bamboo project to propose or to try to build.

    Thanks for the reference to “Guerilla SOA” — I’ll take a look.

  3. Sean Gillies Says:

    And of course I forgot to mention that serendipity, which we cherish, is a natural property of the Web. It is probably not a natural property of all architectures (according to Roy Fielding, serendipity emerges from the Web’s REST constraints.)

    I hope I didn’t mistakenly attribute an interest in Facebook type platforms to Matei.

  4. Raymond Yee Says:

    It’ll be interesting to see what Sorin Matei has in mind specifically when he releases a draft proposed architecture.

    I’d like to know how the message of “Guerilla SOA’ is received.

    At any rate, it would be good to think of some concrete examples to ground our thinking. Sean, what problems are you working on that might be interesting to discuss here?

  5. Douglas Knox Says:

    From what I have read, it seems that the greatest strength of Bamboo in the early phases is less a specific architectural vision or approach than a commitment to bringing together a range of participants to make sure the right kind of conversation happens.

    I agree that it’s important to ask how Bamboo will learn from and participate in the open web, which already can affect scholarship even if it doesn’t support everything scholars might want. Jim Michalko, VP of RLG Programs Development at OCLC, just wrote a blog post that seems relevant here. He’s thinking about how heavyweight library data standards have sometimes “diminished the library’s impact in the web world.”

  6. Raymond Yee Says:

    Douglas, I agree that it’s useful to make sure the right kind of conversation is happening. I’m very curious to hear from anybody who has participated in one of the Bamboo workshops (THATCampers?). Thanks, also for the link to Jim Michalko’s post.