Spring 2020 Samvera Partner Meeting

The face-to-face Spring 2020 Partner Meeting to be held at Emory University in Atlanta on 27/28 April has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Arrangements have been made to hold a virtual Partner Meeting on the same dates -  Monday 27th and Tuesday 28th April. On each day there will be an approximately two-hour session starting at 9:00am PDT, 12:00 noon EDT, 5:00pm BST as set out below. The Zoom session will open 30 minutes before the meeting is due to start on each day.


  1. Maria Whitaker (Indiana University)
  2. Richard Green (Samvera Operations Adviser)
  3. Rick Johnson (U. of Notre Dame)
  4. Jon Dunn (Indiana University)
  5. Chris Awre (University of Hull)
  6. Robin Ruggaber (University of Virginia)
  7. Rosalyn Metz (Emory University)
  8. Nabeela Jaffer (University of Michigan)
  9. Chrissy Rissmeyer (UC Santa Barbara)
  10. Mike Giarlo (Stanford University) - April 27th only (conflict on April 28th, sorry!)
  11. Stuart Kenny (Digital Repository of Ireland)
  12. Karen Cariani (WGBH)
  13. Esmé Cowles (Princeton)
  14. John Weise (University of Michigan)
  15. Abigail Bordeaux (WashU)
  16. Franny Gaede (University of Oregon)
  17. Brian McBride (University of Utah)
  18. Nora Egloff (Lafayette College)
  19. Glen Horton (University of Cincinnati)
  20. Simeon Warner (Cornell University)
  21. Alicia Morris (Tufts)
  22. Hannah Frost (Stanford University)
  23. Harriett Green (Washington University in St. Louis)
  24. Margaret Mellinger (Oregon State University)
  25. James Griffin (Princeton University)
  26. Ben Armintor (Columbia University)
  27. Jeremy Friesen (University of Notre Dame)
  28. tom johnson (UC Santa Barbara)
  29. Mark Bussey (DCE)
  30. Rachel Lynn (DCE)
  31. Bess Sadler (DCE)
  32. Lauren Ajamie (University of Notre Dame)
  33. Mark Dehmlow (University of Notre Dame)
  34. Tom Cramer (Stanford)
  35. Carolyn Caizzi (Northwestern)
  36. David Schober
  37. Tim Marconi (UC San Diego)
  38. Jessica Hilt (UC San Diego)
  39. Rob Kaufman (Notch8)
  40. May Chang (Cincinnati) 
  41. Casey Davis Kaufman (WGBH)



27 April

12:00 EDTHousekeepingMaria Whitaker

Relationship with Lyrasis

Status check on appointment of Community Manager and Technical Coordinator (slides)

The Community Manager will be advertised as a remote post. Things will be moved forward as quickly as the hiring freeze at Emory allows. If that becomes problematic we may need to consider an alternative hiring strategy.
We will need to discuss at the October Partner Meeting the relationship with Lyrasis who, long term, would like us to use them as an 'organizational home' - this would be a significantly different arrangement to the current fiscal sponsorship.  We need to agree what we would want out of a relationship and see how that matches what Lyrasis offers as an organizational home - or even if we want such a thing.  Need to be decisions on this by spring next year.

Jon Dunn

Finance and budget reports (slides)

Slides largely self-explanatory.

Richard Green

Steering Group elections 2020 (slides)

Slides largely self-explanatory.

Richard Green

Connect 2020 and 2021 (and maybe 2022) - info and status checks

Connect 2020 in Santa Barbara has been cancelled as the direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  A virtual event will be arranged in place of the cancelled face-to-face conference.  See Brian McBride's presentation below for further details.  We plan to hold Connect 2021 at the University of Notre Dame (this was already in the early stages of planning as Rick Johnson's presentation below shows) and UC Santa Barbara hope to stage the event there in 2022.

Connect 2021 Status Update (slides)

Chrissy Rissmeyer

Rick Johnson

12:55Virtual Connect 2020 - info
May 14-15, 11am - 1pm EST
Currently 12 presentation proposals on a range of topics, 13 working group updates
Working on logistics - timetable likely available next week
Planning meeting on 4/30, until then proposals will still be accepted - ping David Schober and Franny Gaede on Slack if you do want to do so.
David Schober

Encouraging contributions to, and participation in, Connect conferences; ideas for format of fall Connect

Program Committee is reviewing how other conferences are dealing with needing to 'go virtual'.  Seeking input from Partners on how the virtual event might look.  Trying to capture all the valued aspects of past f2f Connects: dev congress, plenary, presentations, lightning talks, unconference, Partner meeting - also keep the social component: themed evening dinners, conversations over coffee.  Other conferences are trying a spread over several days, full-day and half-day on line, spread over multiple weeks with only a short (2hr?)presentation time each day. Can we/should we try to multiple track presentations?  Theme days? Topic days?  Trying to get a lot of feedback from the Community to put together something beneficial and to which people will feel welcome. Please everyone take some time to think this through and offer suggestions about how to structure tracks, themes, social components - either own ideas or ideas from other conferences.  What software might we use?  Need a good sample of data from the Community.  Helpful if we could have ideas by the time of the next Program Committee meeting on 7 May.  Plan to refine it and put 2-3 suggestions to the Virtual Connect meeting for consideration and discussion.  Note that having an online conference might bring in people who wouldn't have travelled to Santa Barbara and many of they could be 'newcomers'. Also online may give us an opportunity to try new ideas that we wouldn't couldn't have done in an f2f.

Initial feedback:
Spreading the conference out potentially allows someone to attend more events than they would physically have been able to but that scheduling your calendar becomes more difficult "people schedule over the top of you". 
Small group dinners have usually gone down well - perhaps we should try and make sure there is a social event (or several small ones) especially for new folks.  A "newcomers coffee hour"? 
In considering what CNI did to go virtual we should remember that they needed to arrange something very rapidly and we should realise that they did not have the luxury of a great deal of planning for it.

Contact brian dot mcbride at utah dot edu Slack: Brian McBride

Brian McBride

Governance assessment exercise (slides)

Governance Working Group produced a set of six recommendations. Exercise is to go through them and judge how well we are doing in implementing them.  Also going to survey more broadly - people who are interested in Samvera but not highly engaged - how we appear to people outside our Community but that we interact with.  Rank each recommendation in a similar fashion to the 'It takes a Village' report:
**Just getting started
**Making good progress but not yet fully accomplished
**Completed an under periodic review
**Don't know
Particularly wanting to surface any places where there is not a good consensus.

  1. Steering will become an elected body from Partners
    Overwhelming majority say 'done' but a handful (including several from Steering) say only 'good progress' (still one more election cycle to complete it).
  2. Samvera will hire centralized staff
    8 say just getting started, 21 say making good progress.
    Still some big questions up in the air and we are still uncertain when the first, let alone the second, appointment will be made.  People can't yet plan to take advantage of this staffing. Nevertheless we think we are close to hiring a Community Manager through Emory (despite the COVID problems) - we're closer to finishing that than to just starting.  Hope that the MOU with Lyrasis, which will allow Samvera to transfer the necessary monies to Emory straightforwardly, will be signed 'in the next couple of weeks' so that we could then post the position.  Contribution Model work takes us some way to putting together money for the Tech Coordinator position in the future.
  3. Samvera will develop a Contribution Model
    Similar split to (2).  We may have the paperwork but we haven't actually seen the money come in yet and we don't know how that will go. We are making progress towards spring 2022 when the contribution model minimum contribution comes into effect.  The Model was created not expecting a major financial crisis; this year will help us see how the Model can be made more resilient to cope with fluctuating funding situations at institutions in the future.  We probably need to put some thought into how we deal with institutions that genuinely can't meet their minimum in a given year.
  4. Partners will establish a Roadmap Council
    19 say completed and under review. Established and doing a lot of good work - looking forward to a Community Manager in place who can help with coordination across the Community.  RC is trying to transition to a body that knows things 'that are going to happen' rather than 'have happened'.  3 say 'making good progress but'.  Not all the Community is coordinating in the way that was envisaged when the Roadmap Council was created.  Several voted 'don't know' - knew that the RC had been formed but not very aware of what it has been doing.  Note that the RC feels they are about coordinating elements of the roadmap - not about creating it. "The reason we don't have a roadmap is that we don't have enough people moving the work forward to justify having one."  A roadmap would need cooperation between Avalon, Hyku and Hyrax "so that everyone is on the same page about what work is getting done."
  5. Newly established Steering will update bylaws
    Solid majority for 'completed and under periodic review'.
  6. Partners will assess governance at the end of 2019
    Accepting that it is now 2020,..  We are currently engaged in this work and it is not yet complete.  Still need to survey a wider group (see introduction to this segment).  Governance is not a value unto itself, it facilitates the functioning of the Community and we should ensure it is doing that.  The Governance Assessment WG will report back when the wider survey has taken place.  We should probably assess governance on a regular basis.
Esmé Cowles


28 April

12:00 EDTHousekeepingMaria Whitaker

Samvera's use of Circle CI

Samvera's current payment plan for CircleCI assumes a fairly steady usage of the tool and doesn’t cope well with the peaks that occur – for instance when we hold a developer event.  It is proposed that we move to a new plan that relies us on buying ‘credits’ which can be used at any rate and topped up if needed.  Our devs think that this may possibly lower our annual CircleCI bill as well as suiting their needs better.  After discussion, it was agreed that we should move to the new arrangement immediately.  The system will initially be set to provide regular credits at approximately the current rate of usage and we can manually finesse this as required - increased to deal with a peak, dialed back if we are amassing a surplus.   Richard Green will notify Lyrasis of the change in charging pattern.  The system will be set to copy Steering's finance subcommittee with details of charges.

Esmé Cowles
12:20Brief reports from Roadmap Council, Component Maintenance WG, Hyku IG, Hyrax MWG and IG

Roadmap Council (slides)

Nabeela referenced the detailed email she had sent out recently giving a quarterly update on the Roadmap Council's work.  Her first slide details the membership of the Council. Subsequent slides set out the Council's three next goals and the pattern of meetings.  The first goal, currently being worked on, involves analyzing roadmaps and planning cycles around the Community to try and produce a centralized roadmap.  The second goal is to facilitate the process for getting code back into core, 'code reclamation'. The third goal is to improve communication into and out of the Roadmap Council, to help increase collaboration across the Community and to help facilitate 'asks'.

Rob Kaufman explained that the code reclamation work is to reclaim useful features for the core that have been implemented in one or more projects.  As part of that it is envisaged that people who have contributed to core code in the past would work with 'new' people who have interesting code but have never yet contributed it back.  Another aspect would be encourage people to look at existing implementations of a feature in the Community, and rather than write their own version from scratch, spend their dev cycles getting a generalized version of that feature code back into Hyrax.  Rob wants to try and break the pattern that "we didn't invent this code and so want nothing to do with it" and, in doing so, cut down on duplicated work.

A reminder from Nabeela that we have lists on the wiki of systems in production and in development which help the Roadmap Council identify features that might usefully come back into core.

Nabeela Jaffer

Component Maintenance Working Group (slides)

James's first slide details Phase 4 (Jan 2020 - Oct 2020) of the CMWG's work and its membership.  Phase 3 had addressed quality assurance and documentation across all the core GitHub repositories.  Phase 4 is addressing Ruby and Rails support to bring our code into line with their latest versions so that we can continue to take advantage of their bug fixes and security patches.  CMWG are keeping up to date the 'State of Core Components' spreadsheet tracking new releases of gems that Samvera uses (note a typo on this slide - the date should refer to 2019).  Future plans include a Community sprint in June 2020 to update our gem dependencies etc and possibly a second one in the fall.  Keen to identify some more active members for the Group to help with the maintenance and documentation work; how do we get them, and would incentivization be helpful?

James Griffin

Hyrax Maintenance Working Group

Group is a stable, agile team that runs sprints on a two weeks on, two weeks off basis to provide maintenance for the Hyrax code base.  Goal is to prioritize security and bug-fixes, provide some stability in architectural direction of the code base and keep a level of coherence in the code across the many contributors.  Group allows for a stable maintenance policy for Hyrax in terms of what gem versions are supported.  Hyrax 2.7 is current, 3.0 coming soon.  QA has moved from a pre-release 'swarm' to also involve ongoing QA on tickets going through the WG - not marked closed until the QA done in addition to the fix.  Like CMWG, also looking to attract new members - please contact Tom or Jessica Hilt.

Tom Johnson

Hyrax Interest Group (inc update on Hyrax PO)

Meeting regularly and trying to 'pick up the slack' of not having a PO.  Lot of planning for Hyrax 3.0 and Valkyrization so ticket grooming is a little behind.  Participation has fallen off over the last few months but it is hoped 'summer will invigorate people'.  Group has been searching for a new PO - this should become the pattern; it should not be for an outgoing PO to find someone.  PO job description has been modified to be a bit more realistic in a 20%-size box but new POs should also be able to concentrate on parts of the job where they feel they can add most value and delegate the rest.  A small number of candidates identified and talked with and Julie Hardesty is likely to take on the role starting July - does not want to take on the Community pieces of the role but to concentrate on the true PO aspects they should go to the Samvera Community Manager (CM), when appointed, or perhaps to a Hyrax CM in the meantime.  Just working through a last few issues before Julie can make a formal commitment.  General agreement that 'community asks' should be a CM role, not a PO one, and that these need to be regular.

Rob Kaufman

Hyku Interest Group

Rob references the extensive Hyku update in the recently published Samvera Annual Report 2019 and does not propose to repeat that. Instead talks about what is coming.  Big things include: the ability to route multiple domains to a given tenant; group and permissions work - trying to align the concept of groups in Hyrax with the rather different one in Hyku (using ideas from the Permissions WG); Bulkrax round-tripping (Hyku now has Bulkrax as a turn on/off option per tenant); Hykuup.com (Notch8) and u-repo.io (Ubiquity) are both live and accepting tenants.  Community contribution is low at the moment. Upgrade of Hyku code to use Hyrax 3.0 is underway.

Rob Kaufman

Report from Marketing Working Group including discussion on website update (slides)

Chris's first slide lists Group members and communications channels - makes the point that new members are always welcome and this may be a good way to involve colleagues who might not normally engage with Samvera - perhaps those who 'market' a library?  Chris's slides summarize the work done by the Group recently - primarily on updating the website where some 'refreshing' was needed and to ensure that it reflects the Samvera Community as it now is - not when it was put together several years ago.  Website now embraces the Samvera vision statement and tries to capture details of newer applications that have emerged. Much of this updating work is now complete but there are a number of pages (especially the applications and demos page) which are still to do.  Chris also pointed to the most recent version of Samvera's 'handout leaflet' for events and reminded people of ways in which they could promote Samvera - even at virtual events.  Please let the Group know of all and any events you may be taking part in where Samvera can be promoted and ask if you need materials for them.

Next steps are considering how to differentiate marketing for different audiences, to add to the user profiles and case studies, and to see how our marketing might relate to, and possibly benefit from, marketing done by Lyrasis, our fiscal sponsor.

Please contact Chris if you have additional material and/or examples for the website or see parts that still need attention.

Chris Awre

Process for forming Working and Interest Groups - review and update the guidelines?  (slides)

Robin's presentation covered a very brief history of Interest and Working Groups, a review of current practice around them, and a look at what direction we might take in future - and thus any changes needed in how we manage them.   In her slide reviewing the currently active Interest Groups, Robin omitted the Repository Management Interest Group and apologized for that.

The wiki contains a detailed guide explaining how to set up an Interest Group or a Working Group; Robin talked through the basics and then started a discussion about what works well and anything that doesn't.  The process of creating Interest and Working Groups and getting Community 'approval' for WGs seems to work well and the WGs are generally producing good outputs - often of direct use to those who come after. There is a question over whether requiring three Partners to be involved in a Working Group is helpful; might a Working Group operate with fewer Partners but many involved adopters.  The wiki list of active and sunsetted groups needs to be regularly checked and updated - this should be a job for the Community Manager when appointed as part of keeping in 'low touch' with them all - an accurate list is important to those planning reports for Connect and Virtual Connect.  It may be useful if the guidelines set out a simple process for notifying the Community that a Group is winding down. Group chairs/facilitators might be asked to send out to the Community mailing list (eg) a link to each new set of minutes so that people can more easily have an overview of Community activity.  Robin will lead a small group to review the guidelines. 

Robin Ruggaber

Partner Ask for Upgrading Hyrax to Improve Valkyrie Work

Partner ask has an analogy with Iron Man: the Hyrax Community is Iron Man.  Iron Man's first suit was a concept with a limited test environment and was intended for single use (cf Princeton's first Valkyrie idea).  We decided we wanted to take this on and incorporate Hyrax and Valkyrie together (the Wings project) and we're now making the next version of the suit (Hyrax 3.0).  It's built and needs real-life tests to look for problems that the writers didn't forsee because everyone has slightly different environments.  Need a commitment from Partners who are using the Hyrax app to upgrade 3.0 (in a test environment) not to use Active Fedora.  Need tickets detailing the issues and giving feedback.  Partners are well placed to help because they are invested in the future of the application and typically have more resources and/or experience to bring to the testing.  This will benefit other potential users who are not so fortunate. Hoping to hold an 'upgrade fest' in June for people other than Partners to create tickets and update documentation.  The whole operation will help the whole Community move forward together.

Jessica Hilt

Parking lot

  • Need to discuss resourcing for (software) development work.
    Discussion about whether contribution to core code might be one of a number of mechanisms to get a discount on a Partner's Contribution Model amount - as an incentive.  Discount was intended only to deal with 'big budget issues'; in any case very difficult to quantify what work justifies what discount.  But do need to have a bigger discussion around possible incentives (maybe not financial): "For the good of the Community" doesn't seem to be a big enough one.  Is there interest in forming a WG to figure out next goals and how to achieve them - solving the resource problem being at the top of the list; a strategic plan? Historically, Hydra did have such a plan.  Might be timely to refresh our goals - which might be based on a consensus strategic plan.  Such a plan would be beneficial for, and help guide, fundraising - especially possible 'external' fundraising.  Of itself a Plan does not address the problem of getting development resources from the Community.  Nabeela's Roadmap Council presentation suggested that they were looking at the resourcing problem: communicating better, better outreach etc?  Resourcing suffers mainly from a lack of day-to-day organizing effort - a Plan wouldn't necessarily help that. More coordination is needed rather than more resources; at the moment we're not good at leveraging them. A Community Manager coordinating things would be very helpful as part of the solution.  It would be good to know why those with resources sometimes don't step up to help: what are the barriers?
  • Samvera's next set of recommendations or goals; what goals we should set to achieve
    See above.
  • contributing local code to core code
    Not discussed further due to lack of time.


Wrap-up - evaluation of on-line versus f2f meeting (may be earlier depending on parking lot items)

Time ran out - this was dealt with by other means, off-line and the resulting Pluses and Deltas can be found here.


Are job adverts put out on our lists successful?  Where did successful applicants hear about their jobs (do we know)?All

Code of Conduct review - status check


Jessica Hilt?