More is Better: The Power of Combined Community

Fri, 2009-07-24 16:33 -- Anonymous (not verified)

by Thornton Staples, Director of Community Outreach and Alliances, DuraSpace Now that DSpace and Fedora have combined forces, we are beginning to bring together our community outreach activities to take advantage of both of our efforts. Chris Wilper and Brad McClean are working together on the developer community side of things, and Valerie Hollister and I are working on the user community. In all of our activities, DuraSpace intends to act as a catalyst and organizing force for a vibrant community that serves the mission of ensuring trusted and durable content, blended with preservation strategies and sophisticated access in continuing to provide the best software solutions we can.
The solution community effort begun by Fedora Commons (http://fedora-commons.org/confluence/display/FCCWG/Home), is evolving into an initiative that is less about Fedora specifically and more about the general mission that all of our communities share—efficient and cost-effective management, preservation and connection of digital content. Our two most active efforts, the Preservation and Archiving Solution Community and the Scholars Workbench Solution Community, both had birds-of-feather meetings at OR09 that drew participants from the DSpace and Fedora communities, as well as from EPrints. We are determined to continue to develop these communities to be directed at the mission more generally.
At our first all-DuraSpace staff meeting recently we also began to talk about how we can cross-pollinate these solution communities with our developer communities. The solution communities are aimed at technically aware managers rather than developers. The idea was to develop communities of interest that would bring together managers from institutions with similar goals to foster collaboration and the combining of our scarce resources to develop solutions that meet our needs. We see a really useful connection to be made to focus efforts on particular software development projects with the solution communities that are most strongly related. More on that in the near future!
Our newest solution community, Small Archives, is looking at issues that are specific to managers of smaller repositories. The idea for this one came out of a conversation that I had with Ari Davidow, from the Jewish Women’s Archive. Ari comes from an institution with a small staff, very little of it IT-related, but who are very sophisticated in the managing and dissemination of rich collections. It is clear to us that there are many such small museums, archives and historical societies around the world that are interested in using our repository systems for their solutions, but lack the resources to develop them on their own. This community will be aimed at bringing together people to develop the functional specifications for repository-based solutions that serve small cultural heritage organizations, and who can band together to gather resources in order to make it happen.
Information about this effort, as well as other solution communities, can be found on the Fedora Commons wiki at  http://www.fedora-commons.org/confluence/display/FCCWG/Small+Archives I encourage anyone who is interested in getting involved in the organizing work in any of these areas to contact me at tstaples@fedora-commons.org.