April 27, 2020
Building Community and Capacity in the Software Preservation NetworkBy Jess Farrell, Jessica Meyerson, Hannah Ballard, and Katherine Skinner
In January 2019, the Software Presevation Network (SPN) launched a two-year seed funded effort to secure SPN as a sustainable, community-owned organization. As part of this process, institutions were asked to invest—not just financially, but also in a series of facilitated community cultivation sessions in which members would make key decisions regarding the form, function, and future of SPN. True to style, SPN’s volunteers-turned-members (along with several new individuals and institutions) rose to the occasion and dove headfirst into the work.
Using Community Cultivation—A Field Guide as their compass, the SPN community has been able to reach several critical milestones in the Validation Lifecycle Stage, including successfully refining its communication and administrative structures, establishing committee rules and processes, and formalizing its governance procedures.
If you’re curious to learn more about Educopia’s work with community organizations, see our 2019 Annual Report for additional case studies from the Library Publishing Coalition, BitCurator Consortium, and MetaArchive Cooperative.
Within the Governance arena, in particular, SPN’s Steering Committee made significant progress at an impressive pace. Taking a deep dive into available organizational data, the Steering Committee mapped working group and affiliated project activities to existing strategic goals, resulting in a revised set that is scoped, measurable, and actionable for the remainder of the two-year period.
Looking ahead to 2020, the community has formed two subcommittees aimed exclusively at exploring SPN’s growth potential and sustainability beyond the two-year seed funded period. The Research & Innovation subcommittee is hard at work articulating a framework for incubating new research ideas. The Executive & Membership subcommittee is equally busy evaluating member services, designing an operational budget, and determining the structure of future revenue streams for supporting SPN.
After a rewarding year marked by community and capacity building, SPN was the honored recipient of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance’s 2019 Organizational Innovation Award. The award celebrated the community’s many accomplishments, ending the year with this external exclamation point punctuating its success.
To learn more about SPN activities and events, subscribe to Stacktrace (SPN’s newsletter).
To learn more about Educopia’s approach to growing and sustaining collaborative communities, see Community Cultivation—A Field Guide for a wealth of activities, tools, and hard-won lessons for community organizer and leaders.