LYRASIS was pleased to be awarded an IMLS National
Leadership Grant for “It Takes A Village: Open Source Software Models
of Collaboration & Sustainability.”
The one year grant provided funding for a convening of close to 50
stakeholders from open source software initiatives that serve cultural
heritage organizations to elucidate characteristics and forms of
sustainability models as well as factors affecting sustainability.
Information gathered during the forum will contribute to the creation of
a sustainability roadmap which will provide paths for planning and
assessment for new and existing open source projects. The forum will
have lasting impact by raising awareness of the requirements for open
source sustainability, the variety of potential models, and factors that
influence sustainability at different stages of a software’s lifecycle.
It Takes A Village National Forum Event Summary
October 4-5, 2017
The overall goal of the “It Takes a Village” project is to
create a report which will document current practices for sustaining
open source initiatives, create a sustainability roadmap to provide
paths for planning and assessment for new and existing projects, and
provide a resource allocation guide for each phase of an open source
software project’s life cycle.
Gathering the data to write the report took two primary
forms: a survey which we distributed to 25 open source projects in the
cultural heritage sphere; and a forum held in early October in which
one or two representatives from each responding project came to talk
about their specific experiences. Our agenda was very focused on small
working groups, during which the project’s advisory group facilitated
open and honest conversations about project lifecycles, governance,
financing, resources, community building, outreach and communications,
and bumps in the road.
Some of the major themes that emerged: sustainability is
cyclical, not a straight line, and it has many facets. You can be up on
finances, down on governance, and in the middle on community outreach -
and it can all change the next year. We also talked about balance - how
to serve current implementers but plan for the future, have a
diversified income stream (but not too diversified), how to balance
work on our OSS projects with other priorities. The participants were
also very happy to be able to connect with one another. For every person
in the room who was a familiar face in OSS circles, there was another
who was completely new to everyone.
We took dozens of pages of notes, saved slides and giant
scratch pad pages, took photographs, and even walked away with a few
Polaroids (courtesy of one of our attendees). We will dive into all
this data over the coming months and pull out themes, lessons, and
guides to write our report which should be available by March 2018.