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Authors: Robin Ruggaber (University of Virginia), Rob Sanderson (Stanford University)
Contributors: Claire Stewart, Michael Giarlo, Mark Bussey, Michael Friscia, Karen Cariani, Tom Cramer
Status: This document was adopted by Steering Group on 7th December 2014 subsequent to a community approval process.  It was updated for clarity in August 2023.

Table of Contents


Interest Groups, as compared to Working Groups, are for discussion rather than developing specific deliverables.  It is expected that working groups will be formed out of interest groups as requirements emerge from the conversations.

Interest Group Formation

  • IGs can be formed at will. A lightweight statement of the topic, the scope and objectives of discussion of the IG should be documented in the wiki, and at least one channel for communication noted.

  • IGs do not need to be approved, but should not be formed without some level of need within the community.

  • IGs may charter one or more WGs to accomplish specific objectives.

Interest Group Requirements

  • At least three organizations must be represented in an interest group.  

  • All of the discussions of the interest group should be transparent and public and the channels used for communication must be published, but there may be situations where either the discussion takes place offline or is not suitable for public dissemination.  These sorts of discussions are not expected to be common.

  • Interest groups should be active, but may still exist when all of the participants are inactive - but see "sunset date" below.  

Interest Group Dissolution

Interest groups can be dissolved if the participants decide that the topic has been explored.  The wiki page describing the group should be updated to state this termination of the group and moved to the Interest Group archive.  Groups should provide a "sunset date" after which its pages can be retired to the archive pages.


Working groups are the main working vehicle within the Samvera Community and may stand alone or be born out of existing Working Groups or Interest Groups.  They are created to perform specific tasks in a defined realm and timescale, thereby allowing collaborative work to flourish in a structured environment.

Working Group Formation

Working groups should be able to be convened with a minimum of effort, while allowing participants to understand what they are signing up for. The group should emerge naturally from discussions and needs within the community, while not penalizing individuals or organizations that were not part of those initial discussions.  Using existing channels, such as interest groups as described below, participants in discussions that show promise of inter-institutional convergence and the possibility of joint development work should document the shared needs and requirements.  This documentation should be more persistent and visible than an email thread, but need not be overly formal.  The preferred method is a maintained page within the Samvera wiki, otherwise a publicly shared document linked from the wiki is sufficient.


This document, henceforth the charter, provides the definition of the working group and its deliverables.  It is not a contract and may be changed with the consensus of the members of the working group at any time, however significant changes such as a 6 month or more delay in timeframes, the abandonment of a deliverable, or the change in the overall scope of the work should be announced to the Samvera community via the regular channels.

Working Group Approval

Once the draft charter is acceptable to the participants in the discussion, there is a Call for Participation (CfP) issued.  This is simply an email to the appropriate lists with at least [CfP] in the subject heading that announces the document and seeks the engagement of the additional participants. Organizations must respond publicly that they are willing to take part and commit development resources towards the working group's goals.  At least three Partners must respond positively, and no more than three Partners may respond negatively, for the working group to be formed.  If fewer than three Partners are willing to contribute, then the working group's topic is likely too specific and the work should be done outside of the Working Group process.  If more than three Partners object to the work being done, then there is a significant issue that should be resolved before committing resources.


Once the working group is approved, the link to the charter will be added to the Samvera Wiki page that lists active working groups.

Working Group Requirements

Participants should accept that the materials to which they contribute may be released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Working groups may self-organize in the most convenient manner to accomplish their tasks, including creation and assignment of additional roles and responsibilities as appropriate.  Sub groups may be formed and disbanded at will, consisting only of members of the Working Group. They do not need to separately meet the requirements of the Working Group, such as having their own Facilitator or Partner members.

Working Group Dissolution

Working groups are dissolved under the following circumstances:


Following current best practices within Samvera, Working and Interest groups should use an existing channel unless and until it becomes clear that a dedicated channel is needed.  If and when a dedicated channel is needed, the new channel should be well publicized and open to any interested subscribers/participants in the community.   When using a shared channel, individual working groups should start the subject line with their name in []s, such as [archives] for the Archives Working Group.

History of this framework

Authors: Robin Ruggaber (University of Virginia), Rob Sanderson (Stanford University)
Contributors: Claire Stewart, Michael Giarlo, Mark Bussey, Michael Friscia, Karen Cariani, Tom Cramer
Status: This document was adopted by Steering Group on 7th December 2014 subsequent to a community approval process.  It was updated for clarity in August 2023.

As the Samvera community grows, the diversity of the participants' interests and expertise is increasing at the same time as the ability to manage the work done within the community becomes more complex.  It was noted at a recent meeting that even tracking what everyone is doing is a challenge, let alone ensuring that different organizations are not working independently on the same issue, or worse at cross-purposes.   There is a strong desire amongst the participants to increase the visibility of their projects in order to encourage ongoing participation, and thereby prevent duplication of effort.  To realize this goal, while remaining a distributed and peer-oriented organization, requires overlaying some additional structure to assist in coalescing and managing the tasks.