Bamboo DiRT at Northwestern University’s CSCDC

Josh Honn, a Digital Scholarship Library Fellow at Northwestern University’s Center for Scholarly Communication & Digital Curation, has been one of the most active contributors to Bamboo DiRT, recently adding many new entries to the database. We reached out to Josh about why he uses Bamboo DiRT.

In my role as Digital Scholarship Library Fellow at Northwestern University’s Center for Scholarly Communication & Digital Curation, a substantive portion of my work is dedicated to researching, learning, and testing digital research tools. My ultimate goal is to both identify specific tools the library should be implementing and supporting (often times collaboratively with other departments on campus), and to connect faculty with the best available tools for pedagogical use and scholarly research projects. Up until now, that is before I became affiliated with Bamboo DiRT, I had been collocating these resources on Delicious, a social bookmarking website. Most recently, I created a Delicious “stack” titled “Digital Scholarly Research Tools,” that I continue to use as an efficient way of saving resources I discover on a daily basis from all over the web into one central location for later use.

While our Delicious account has several followers and is open and searchable, it does not, for starters, engender the sense of community that a central database like Bamboo DiRT does; one built by academics, librarians, and others interested in the digital humanities, escience, and other forms digital scholarship. In addition, Bamboo DiRT allows for a variety of access points, making the searching experience much more intuitive and fluid, something that will benefit those new to these digital tools and practices. Finally, Bamboo DiRT gives me the ability to not only add tools to the database, but to add a robust set of metadata around those tools, allowing for better kinds of discoverability, but, and maybe more importantly, this data presents some of the initial research to users, saving them time and effort as they sort through the myriad applications, platforms, software, etc. available to us online.

For more on what kinds of projects we’re using digital research tools with, I encourage you to visit the Center’s blog or to follow us on Twitter. Like everyone else in this digital age, our services and projects are always evolving with the technology we use, so keeping up is crucial, and I hope Bamboo DiRT will be a useful, productive, and innovative central hub for all of us well into the future.

— Josh Honn

Bamboo DiRT seeks curatorial/steering committee

Project Bamboo is seeking applications for a curatorial and steering committee for Bamboo DiRT, a directory of tools and collections to support digital research. The responsibilities of this committee will include:

1) Adding resources to Bamboo DiRT based on up-to-date knowledge of digital research tools

2) Expanding existing resource entries with additional information, reviews, etc.

3) Managing site folksonomies and metadata

4) Engaging in outreach to, and soliciting feedback from, local campus and broader disciplinary communities

5) Attending monthly steering committee meetings (virtually) to share feedback and prioritize site improvements

We anticipate that this work will involve a commitment of 5-7 hours/month.

Opportunities are also available for committee members to assist directly with site development and upkeep. For this work, prior Drupal experience is ideal, but Drupal training is available if needed.

Graduate and undergraduate students, academic support staff, and librarians are particularly encouraged to apply. Please send a statement of interest to, including any preferences about the kinds of resources you’d like to focus on contributing to Bamboo DiRT (e.g. iPad apps, video editing tools, resources that facilitate TEI markup or analysis, anything Linux-compatible, etc.) Applications will be accepted through 5/25, with notification by 6/1.

Bamboo DiRT pilot debuts at DHCS

Bamboo DiRT-- a pilot project that makes it easier for scholars to find tools, services and collections to facilitate digital research-- is seeking feedback from beta testers at the Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities & Computer Science on November 20th and 21st as part of a poster on integrating digital humanities directories. Rather than attempting to capture all information relevant to digital humanists, Bamboo DiRT is the tool-centric node in what its developers hope will be a growing ecosystem of specialized directories that can achieve sustainability by combining topical focus with seamless data exchange where appropriate.

The DHCS poster illustrates the connection between Bamboo DiRT and the DHCommons project and collaboration hub. The anticipated rollout of the infrastructure needed for sharing data, in early 2012, will help DHCommons users better understand the resources that projects are using, and will enrich the Bamboo DiRT resource listings with information about what projects the resource has enabled.

Bamboo DiRT and DHCommons both welcome active feedback from beta testers throughout the rest of the year before a broader, public rollout in early 2012.
DHCommons and Bamboo DiRT

Bamboo DiRT: Connecting Scholars with Tools and Collections

During the Bamboo Planning Project, workshop participants expressed interest in developing a directory of tools, services, and collections that provides relevant metadata (cost, platform, etc.) as well as information about how other scholars have combined these resources to achieve their project or pedagogical goals. However, participants also noted that an information silo would be antithetical to the philosophical approach of Project Bamboo and would quickly encounter data curation challenges.

In response to this feedback from the planning workshops, Project Bamboo is developing a tool, service, and collection registry application that accommodates both the individual scholar looking for information and other platforms that could access and/or ingest the information. This application can serve as a resource discovery and tip-sharing tool for scholars, and a source of feedback for developers. For its user-facing side, this application builds upon the well-known Digital Research Tools (DiRT) wiki, a partnership reflected in its tentative name, Bamboo DiRT.

While the tools, services and collections developed by Project Bamboo are represented in Bamboo DiRT, this application also aims to capture the broader ecosystem of resources used by digital humanists and includes entries drawn from the DiRT wiki, Humanist listhost, DH Answers, and other discussion fora. Each entry includes as much information as possible about the resource, including a prose description, supported platform(s), cost, screenshots, and technical information. While Bamboo DiRT is not itself a documentation repository, it contains fields for links to end-user, API, and general technical documentation. Authenticated users can indicate that they use a particular resource (following the model of the “like” button) and add tips for other users of that resource.

The development goals for Bamboo DiRT include a robust API that will lay the groundwork for integrating Bamboo DiRT information with the Bamboo Work Spaces and affiliated digital humanities websites built on common platforms (Drupal and WordPress). For example, projects listed on DHCommons that use a particular tool could be automatically listed alongside the tool’s entry on Bamboo DiRT. CUNY Academic Commons users could search Bamboo DiRT within the Commons, and the tools they’ve indicated they use could be listed in their profile. By participating in a rich ecosystem of data exchange, Bamboo DiRT will help users build upon each others’ workflows, whether or not they involve Bamboo tools and services.


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