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CollectionSpace Organizational Home Founding Philosophy and Tenants

Our work is predicated on the Community Source model exemplified by initiatives such as the Apachi Foundation, Kuali Foundation and the Sakai Foundation.  This is a hybrid model that has at its core, the tenants of the Open Source community, and extends that model to include a coordination mechanism provided by key stakeholders who invest time, energy, and resources to ensure that goals and objectives are well defined, priorities match community needs, development efforts are coordinated, and that deliverables are released on-time. While this model is common throughout the open-source and higher education domains, it is uncommon within the museum and cultural heritage domains.  We endeavor to change the landscape through the future CollectionSpace organization.

CollectionSpace has stood firmly behind a grounding set of principles since its inception. We intend for these tenets to continue to guide our work into the future. CollectionSpace guiding principles are:

Everyone is welcome

The CollectionSpace community is inclusive, encourages participation, and welcomes contributions. Everyone is welcome, regardless of participation level. It is our community that sets us apart from other open-source software development initiatives.

We share a set of common values

We begin with a commitment to each other, to the process we are undertaking, and to shared success. We respect each other, seek diversity in our community, and believe that innovation comes from healthy collaboration. We support transparency in all that we do, and embrace change so that we can effectively adapt to changing needs and demands.

We work within a community source software development model

The community source model is the foundation of our development approach. This model provides the opportunity for participation and influence by institutions of all sizes. It insures that all community members are able to have an impact on CollectionSpace activities.

CollectionSpace is made available through an Open Source License

The software that we develop is distributed under the Educational Community License (ECL) v2.0 and is available to anyone, for any use or modification, without fee.

We believe in collaboration and transparency

CollectionSpace began through a collaborative effort. Our continued success comes from our ability to work together, which carries with it the responsibility to listen to each other, provide constructive feedback, be objective, and to be thoughtful in our communication. CollectionSpace endeavors to make as much information publicly available as possible.

We develop software that is grounded in the needs of our community

CollectionSpace software is defined, designed, and developed by our community based on their needs. Community members have an active voice in all facets of our development efforts.

We develop software that is scalable, modular, accessible, and re-usable

CollectionSpace must work for a variety of institution types, sizes, scopes, and missions. As a result, we produce software that can be scaled to serve a variety of user groups and that can be adopted in different configurations (core, profile, institution-specific, etc.). We strive to produce software that is accessible to people who use screen-reader technologies. In addition, we continue to learn from and use open source tools that others have produced, and we share our framework, technical architecture, services, and user interface components with initiatives within and outside of our domain focus. We work hard to avoid recreating the wheel and seek out useful solutions where they already exist.


CollectionSpace Organizational Home Operating Principles

Approved by the Leadership Working Group on (DATE)
(Draft v3: April 2015; Draft v2: February 2015; Draft v1: 27 January 2015)

Article 1: Purpose

The purpose of the Organizational Home is to provide for stewardship of the CollectionSpace software and practices.

Article 2: Membership

2.1. Eligibility and Requirements

Members will be limited to organizations that have or are in the process of deploying the CollectionSpace software for their own use or the use of other organizations. To the extent that Member responsibilities and benefits are contractually set forth, each Member will execute such agreements as may be required.

2.2 Categories

Categories of Members may be created and defined by the Leadership Working Group.

2.3 Dues and Fees

Membership dues and fees, if any, will be recommended annually by the Leadership Working Group to the LYRASIS Board of Trustees. The LYRASIS Board of Trustees will approve dues and fees as part of the LYRASIS annual budgeting process. Such dues and fees may be subject to approval by granting agencies as required by terms of awards in support of the Organizational Home.

2.4 Meetings

Meetings of the Membership may be held at times and places as determined by the Leadership Working Group. At least five days written notice stating the time, place and/or electronic means, and purpose will be given to Members entitled to participate. Any Member may attend a meeting of the Membership by any means of communication equipment by which all persons participating in the meeting can hear each other.

2.5 Voting

The director or equivalent administrator of each Member will have the right to vote on behalf of the Member. Each Member is entitled to one vote in issues coming before the Membership. The manner of voting on any question before the Members will be by ballot either in person or by electronic means. The voting timeframe for electronic ballots will not be less than seven days. A majority of Members voting will decide questions brought before the Members.

2.6 Resignation

Members may resign their Memberships by signifying their intention in writing to the director of the Organizational Home. Any Member will be deemed to have resigned if such Member fails to pay any required dues or fees within 90 days after the date such dues or fees would be due.

Article 3: Standing Working Groups

3.1 Number

The Organizational Home will have three standing Working Groups: Leadership, Technical and Functional.  Working group participants are asked to take a broader view, beyond that of their home organization, with regard to issues raised for discussion. Each of the working groups strives for consensus but, ultimately the majority decides in cases of disagreement. In the case of a tie, the chair makes the final decision.

3.2 Standing Working Group Purposes

3.2.a. Leadership Working Group

The purpose of the Leadership Working Group is to advise the Organizational Home staff and provide guidance in development of the Organizational Home and software so as to engage with and meet the needs of a diverse spectrum of museums in a balanced and equitable manner. Its responsibilities will include:

  • Ensuring the mission of the Organizational Home and software is maintained;
  • Building alliances and partnerships to benefit CollectionSpace and its Members.
  • Enhancing CollectionSpace’s public image and advocating for its advancement across disciplines and domains.
  • Recommending Member dues and fees;
  • Approving strategic objectives and policies related to Member rights and responsibilities and operations of the Organizational Home;
  • Affirming representatives to Technical, Functional and ad hoc Working Groups.

3.2.b. Technical Working Group

The purpose of the Technical Working Group will to provide technical guidance in development of the CollectionSpace software. Responsibilities will include:

  • Oversight of the technical and architectural direction of the software;
  • Defining technical requirements for changes to the software;
  • Reviewing, prioritizing and approving changes to software, including community contributions;
  • Testing all code contributions before the code is added to the software code base;
  • Providing best practice guidelines for all code contributors;
  • Building and maintaining technical partnerships with platform, tool, and integration partners;
  • Engaging with and enhancing CollectionSpace’s public image in the technical community.

3.2.c. Functional Working Group

The purpose of the Functional Working Group will be to advise the organizational home, technical, and leadership working groups on user recommended enhancements to the software, engage members representing a diverse set of use environments to participate in planning for, describing, and authoring functional requirements and specifications; maintain liaisons with the museum and collections care communities, provide advice on design and delivery of organizational home services to benefit the user community. Responsibilities will include:

  • Receiving, suggesting, discussing and voting on ideas for software enhancements;
  • Working with members to properly describe proposed end-user functionality, and vetting proposed contributions for adherence to museum standards and domain-specific guidelines;
  • Reviewing, and testing end-user documentation;
  • Reviewing and testing of the user interface and end-user functionality;
  • Identifying potential integrations with other open source software in support of collections information management and trends in the broader market that will enhance usability;
  • Maintaining liaisons within the museum community;
  • Advising on the design and delivery of Organizational Home services.

3.3. Qualifications and Elections/Appointments

3.3.a. Leadership Working Group

  • Membership: The Leadership Working Group will consist of eight voting Members, six of whom will be elected by the Membership and from among the leadership levels of Member organizations. The Leadership Working Group will be comprised of:
    • Not less than 1 representative from the combined 3 smallest membership categories (xsmall, vsmall, small)
    • Not less than 1 representative from each of the following categories: medium, large, xlarge
    • Not more than 2 seats from any category and based on an institution's ability to contribute to the ongoing success of CollectionSpace regardless of size

 The other two voting members of the Leadership Working Group will be the executive director of LYRASIS and a Trustee appointed by the LYRASIS Board of Trustees. The program director of the Organizational Home will be an ex officio, non-voting member of the Leadership Working Group.

  • Election: Eligible Members will vote annually to fill open positions on the Leadership Working Group. Nominees will be selected in advance of the election by duly elected and appointed Leadership Working Group members. As nearly as possible, an equal number of terms will expire each year so as to stagger turnover among Leadership Working Group members. Leadership Working Group members so appointed by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant to LYRASIS in January 2014 shall determine the terms of their membership by the end of that grant period so as to ensure staggered transition to a fully elected Leadership Working Group.  

3.3.b. Technical and Functional Working Groups


3.4. Terms

Working Group members will serve terms of two years and until their successors are elected. Terms will begin and end, as applicable, at the beginning of the LYRASIS fiscal year. Any Working Group member may serve no more than two consecutive terms and, upon serving two consecutive terms, may serve again after an interim of one year. In instances where a Working Group member serves a partial term of less than 18 months, that partial term will not be considered a term with regard to the two-term limit.

  • Resignations from Working Groups should be made in writing to the Organizational Home director.
  • If a vacancy occurs on any Working Group for whatever reason, it will be filled by a person as follows:
    • Appointed by the Leadership Working Group from among the Membership for elected positions on the Leadership Working Group.
    • Appointed by the LYRASIS Board of Trustees for appointed Leadership Working Group positions.
    • Appointed by the Technical or Functional Working Group from among the Membership and/or Service Provider communities for the Technical and Functional Working Groups. 

3.5. Voting

Each voting member of a Working Group is entitled to one vote. Proxy votes will not be allowed. A majority of Working Group members will constitute a quorum for the purposes of voting. The manner of voting on any question may be by voice vote, show of hands, ballot or electronic means. A majority of Working Group members voting will decide questions brought before the Working Group.

3.6. Meetings

Any member of any Working Group may participate in a meeting by means of a conference telephone or similar communications equipment by which all persons participating in the meeting can hear each other. Each Working Group will meet at least four times per year at times and places as each determines. Records of Working Group meetings and decisions will be maintained by the chairs of those working groups on the CollectionSpace wiki.

3.7. Officers

Working Group members will elect a Chair at the beginning of each fiscal year to preside over meetings, and a Vice Chair to preside in place of the Chair should the Chair be absent. In such case when a chair has not been appointed, then the Functional Working Group will be led by the Community Outreach Manager, the Technical Working Group will be led by the Technical Lead, and the Leadership Working Group will be led by the Program Director.

Article 4: Ad Hoc Working Groups

4.1. Requirements

The Leadership Working Group may establish other ad hoc Working Groups from time to time as deemed necessary. Ad hoc Working Groups will not be standing Working Groups. They will have defined charges and terms of two years or less.

4.2. Members

Members of ad hoc Working Groups will be appointed by the Leadership Working Group and may include both representatives from within and external to the Membership. Only representatives from the Membership may vote on issues and recommendations of the ad hoc Working Group.

4.3. Officers:

The Leadership Working Group will appoint a chair of each ad hoc Working Group. The chair will be an Organizational Home Member or employee.

Article 5: Amendments

Amendments to the Operating Principles may be made by two-thirds majority decision of the Leadership Working Group, voting by mail or electronic means or at any duly convened meeting of the Leadership Working Group, after notice and copy of the proposed amendment has been given to all Leadership Working Group members.





This draft has been updated and approved and the final version is available at: