Contributed by: Max Eckard, Archivist for Digital Curation, University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library
The ArchivesSpace Technical Advisory Council provides technical guidance and engages the community to encourage an active community of developers. According to the bylaws, the purpose of the Council includes:
- providing overall technical guidance and reviewing external contributions to the code base and technical documentation;
- reviewing functional enhancements and priorities identified by the Users’ Advisory Council as well as bugs and new feature requests;
- communicating development needs to the ArchivesSpace Program team;
- reviewing guidelines for review and testing of all external code contributions before the code is added to the software code base;
- identifying integration points for ArchivesSpace with other systems (e.g., digital asset management systems, patron and request management systems, etc.); and
- much, much more!
Council meetings happen monthly (our meeting notes are available online) and the Chair (selected by appointment or election) reports to the Governance Board all recommendations and actions of the Council.
Members serve staggered, two-year terms and commit to volunteering their time and expertise to develop the ArchivesSpace community and application. By design, the council includes several members from each level of membership to ensure that ongoing development represents the needs of all members.
Current ArchiveSpace Technical Advisory Council Membership
|Megan Blair||St. Edward’s University (Small)|
|Ed Busch||Michigan State University (Very Large)|
|Terry Catapano||Columbia University (Very Large)|
|Mark Cooper||LYRASIS (Registered Service Provider)|
|Max Eckard (Chair)||University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library (Very Large)|
|Bobbi Fox||Harvard University (Very Large)|
|Patrick Galligan||Rockefeller Archives Center (Very Small)|
|Scott Hanrath||University of Kansas (Very Large)|
|Maggie Hughes||University of California, Los Angeles (Very Large)|
|Jason Loeffler||American Academy in Rome (Very Small)|
|Rachel Maderik||Virginia Military Institute (Small)|
|Julia McGinnis||California University of Pennsylvania (Medium)|
|Cory Nimer||Brigham Young University (Large)|
|Dallas Pillen||University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library (Very Large)|
|Terry Reese||The Ohio State University (Very Large)|
|Dustin Stokes||Atlas Systems, Inc. (Registered Service Provider)|
|Trevor Thornton||North Carolina State University (Very Large)|
The Council also partners with other community members to help with Council initiatives. The roles of these other contributors include:
- Invited affiliate contributors: External contributors with expertise relevant to a particular topic and/or task. These contributors are asked join a particular Council sub-team or ad hoc working group for a period of time to help with a specific task, project or work area.
- Program liaison: ArchivesSpace Program staff and partners. These liaisons are encouraged to collaborate with the Council and join relevant sub-team meetings as a means of ensuring the work of the Program, the Council and community align and are mutually supportive and beneficial.
Sub-Teams and Ad Hoc Working Groups
A number of standing sub-teams accomplish the work of the Council: the Development Prioritization (cross-council with the Users’ Advisory Council, but “reports” to the Technical Advisory Council), Integrations, Migration, Technical Documentation and Testing sub-teams (also cross-council with the Users’ Advisory Council). We also have two term-limited ad hoc working groups, the API Documentation and Awesome ArchivesSpace working groups.
Development Prioritization Sub-Team
This Development Prioritization sub-team is a cross-council sub-team that includes members of the ArchivesSpace Users’ Advisory and Technical Advisory Councils. On the basis of feature requests and bug reports in the development catalog, along with developer availability, this sub-team prioritizes development work for each minor and major release. Soon, the group will also begin weighing and prioritizing larger projects (such as various Staff Interface Working Group recommendations), grouping issues together thematically as a way to surface things from the deeper backlog alongside newly created issues and identifying high priority bugs or small features ripe for community contributions that the program can publicize on a regular basis with the hope of enticing developers with a little time to spare.
The Integrations sub-team supports integration work with which the ArchivesSpace Program is engaged. Currently, such integrations include Aeon, Archivematica and Social Networks and Archival Context, but will include others. Members of this sub-team work with ArchivesSpace developers and staff of other products to help complete an integration of ArchivesSpace with some other product. Such work may include determining scope, writing specifications and testing implementations.
The Migration sub-team generally provides support for migrating data to ArchivesSpace from other systems and support for importing and exporting data such as EAD, MARC XML and CSV
Technical Documentation Sub-Team
The Technical Documentation sub-team works with developers to compose, organize and expose technical documentation for the ArchivesSpace application.
API Documentation Ad Hoc Working Group
The API Documentation working group is creating documentation and/or screencasts for using the ArchivesSpace API, including JSON examples for post bodies and responses. This working group is responsible for determining the scope and timeline of this work, its relationship to the existing API autodocs, its format, where it should live, etc., as well as how it it would be promoted and maintained going forward.
The API Documentation working group is led by Dallas Pillen and their meeting notes are available online.
Awesome ArchivesSpace Ad Hoc Working Group
The Awesome ArchivesSpace working group is creating an Awesome List repository (or similar), to live in the ArchivesSpace or ArchivesSpace-Labs GitHub organizations. The list would start with two categories (which could be expanded later) based on the interests of the current (2017-2018) cohort of Council members: migrations and plug-ins. It would point to items that are and aren’t maintained by the ArchivesSpace program team and that are inside and outside of existing ArchivesSpace GitHub repositories. Inclusion on the list doesn’t represent an endorsement of any kind. The working group would be responsible for the initial population of the list and provide a plan for promoting it as well as adding to and maintaining it going forward. For an example of what this might look like, see the IIIF Awesome List.
The Awesome ArchivesSpace working group is led by Maggie Hughes and their meeting notes are available online.
I hope that this post served as a useful introduction to the work of the ArchivesSpace Technical Advisory Council! Forthcoming posts in this series will showcase the various sub-teams and ad hoc working groups (including the Users’ Advisory Council as well!) Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions about the Council or our activities.
Incidentally, the ArchivesSpace Nominating Committee will soon be soliciting and selecting nominees to run for election to the Technical Advisory Council. Be sure to keep an eye out for the call for nominations and respond if you’re interested!
Max Eckard is the Archivist for Digital Curation at the University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library, where he works extensively with born-digital archives, is the lead for implementing Archivematica and was part of the ArchivesSpace-Archivematica-DSpace Workflow Integration project team. He is currently the chair of the ArchivesSpace Technical Advisory Council.
All About Community is a blog series that highlights the many teams and groups that contribute to the growth and development of ArchivesSpace. This series aims to provide insight on how our diverse community comes together with a shared vision to preserve permanently valuable records and provide access to our researchers.