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A Report from the 2017 DuraSpace Member Summit

Albuquerque, NM The annual DuraSpace Summit report to members was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on April 4-5 following the CNI Spring Member Meeting. DuraSpace Members met to focus on strategy and tactics aimed at broadening and extending the organization’s reach in support of global community ecosystem efforts towards preservation and accessibility of cultural heritage and academic resources.

The Summit took place during a week filled with related events and meetings that included a Fedora Leaders meeting, a DuraSpace Cloud Services strategy session, and VIVO Camp.

Amy Brand, MIT Press Director and DuraSpace Board member offered far-reaching business development ideas in her closing CNI keynote entitled, “Fresh Perspectives on the Future of University-Based Publishing.” Ms. Brand’s innovative views on opportunities for university presses and sustainability models around shared institutional values set the stage for DuraSpace discussions.

DuraSpace Board President Laura Wood welcomed members to the 2017 Summit and introduced the board including new members Kaitlin Thaney and Wolfram Horstmann.

Ms Thaney is an open advocate and Senior Fellow at Mozilla. Most recently she served as the Director of Mozilla Leadership Networks at the Mozilla Foundation, overseeing community-based programs in science, learning, advocacy, Internet of Things, and women and web literacy.  Dr. Horstmann is the University Librarian at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Bielefeld University. Previously he was the Associate Director for Digital Library Programmes and IT at The Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.

State of DuraSpace

Debra Hanken Kurtz, DuraSpace CEO gave the State of DuraSpace plenary emphasizing strong and steady growth, a strategic focus on international engagement, and ideas for increasing revenues going forward.

She reported that for the 12 months ending in December revenue grew 14% or $250,000 over the prior year. Particularly notable was the $132k growth over prior year for cloud services. Organizational expenses increased by less than 2% or $37,000.

Ms. Hanken Kurtz noted that the efforts of staff members and the financial support of members make it possible to provide a full range of project services “under the DuraSpace umbrella” that include executive and technical leadership, community outreach, effective marketing and communications, business administration, planning for sustainability, fundraising, financial management and business support, governance, community development, managing collaborations, organizational infrastructure, and professional development for our open source projects. This is possible because we share a belief that open source software development ensures that our stakeholder community remains strong and builds capacity for innovation. Ms. Hanken Kurtz advised members to expect communications as the 2017 Membership Campaign was launched in conjunction with the Summit.

Project updates from open source project Steering Group representatives 

Maureen Walsh, Ohio State University Libraries, and Michele Mennielli, 4Science, offered an overview of DSpace progress with a focus on the community decision to develop a new, single DSpace UI for DSpace 7. Declan Fleming, UCSD Library, reviewed Fedora community progress and participation towards establishing an API specification, core services, and web standards alignment. Notably the Fedora team led 13 national and international workshops in 2016 with more than 400+ participants. Dean Krafft, Cornell University Library, and Mike Conlon, VIVO Project Director welcomed new VIVO members, reviewed the release of Open VIVO that anyone can join, and encouraged attendees to register for 8th Annual International VIVO Conference in August. Dr. Conlon noted more VIVO progress in 2017 will require more community development effort.

In small groups members investigated activities and tactics that would strengthen the DuraSpace brand and expand the organizational footprint. Ideas and suggestions were discussed and documented for further action based on three topics related to business development:

  1. How to provide greater value to our communities through added services, consulting, and exploratory work
  2. How to engage beyond Canada and the US
  3. What organizations other than the five identified in the strategic plan should we approach and how will we forge strategic partnerships with them?

Suggestions ranged from an idea to collaboratively develop a high-level environmental scan or “map” of the scholarly ecosystem that would rationalize the knowledge infrastructure space, to the idea that DuraSpace might provide a service for member organizations that would enable them to host DuraSpace services under their own brand. Members also discussed new strategies to fund and sustain open source project technical development and how to relate activities and tactics to increased engagement beyond Canada and the US.

DSpace, Fedora and VIVO project leaders spent the remainder of the day working on project-specific questions, marketing strategies, policies and related tasks.

DSpace

Discussions at the DSpace breakout concentrated on two main topics: finding ways to increase membership (especially for non-US institutions),  and working to better engage our large Registered Service Provider network. To increase membership those in attendance felt it was important to provide more tangible benefits to becoming a member, e.g. early notification of security issues, discounts for training/webinars, or even ways that member institutions could "vote" on tickets/features to prioritize for the next release. With regards to the DSpace Registered Service Provider network, it was noted that some service providers contribute more directly to the open source community (via code, support on lists meeting attendence, presentations, etc). DuraSpace should find ways to encourage community contributions from all registered service providers (potentially as part of the contract) and/or recognize those that contribute more significantly.

Fedora

Representatives of the Fedora membership focused on topics relating to sustainability, with the working definition of, "sustained financial support and stakeholder engagement for ongoing innovation". It was recognized that financial health should come from a diversification of project revenue streams, while engagement and innovation opportunities rest with deeper alignment and coordination with adjacent projects, such as Islandora and Hydra. Notions of software sustainability were discussed in the context of an official policy of support for critical patches to previous major releases and formalized, production-scale release testing infrastructure.

VIVO

VIVO members reviewed the mission and vision statements keeping in mind that VIVO now offers institutions a new ability to  present an integrated view of institutional scholarship. The group discussed terms and ideas around the mission and vision statements that could create a more expanive view of the project. Comments and questions on the draft 2017-2018 Strategic plan being developed by the VIVO Steering Group were also discussed and clarified. The main points include how VIVO can gain mindshare, what features are critical for adoption, how can those features be developed, who are VIVO's natural partners, how can VIVO become the obvious choice for representing and using scholarship data, and could VIVO serve as a front-end for repositories?

Robert Cartolano, DuraSpace Board member and Associate Vice President, Digital Programs and Technology Services at Columbia University Libraries/Information Services offered closing DuraSpace Summit remarks by reminding the audience that DuraSpace is thriving, and moving towards integrated knowledge infrastructure solutions based on feedback from their valued members.

Submitted by kristi on Wed, 2017-04-26 00:00