Skip to end of metadata
Go to start of metadata

Meeting Notes - August 27, 2010

BNHM-IST Steering Committee
August 27, 2010 at the UC Botanical Garden

Attending: Paul Licht, George Roderick, Brent Mishler, Jim McGuire, Charles Marshall, Michael Black, David Greenbaum, Patrick McGrath, Chris Hoffman



David provided some BNHM-IST history for George, Jim, and Charles since this was the first time they have met with the Steering Committee.

IT Bank update

The CTC has approved our IT Bank funding request for 2010-11 but has asked us to update our budget and clarify our sustainability plan. Chris and Patrick will update the response and bring back to the group to confirm. George warned us that the days of IT Bank funding are numbered, and we should expect this all to fall under the OE umbrella in the future. Our approach is very strongly aligned with OE though we will have to make the case even stronger.

CollectionSpace and campus deployment updates

Chris shared the current thinking on CollectionSpace dates and our targets for deployments of CollectionSpace to campus museums. Michael talked about his experience and warned that these efforts require serious staff time from the museums. Each deployment will be unique, and PAHMA's is especially complex. However, the point is important. CollectionSpace 1.0 full release is scheduled for October 20, 2010. This lead to a general discussion about our approach and principles (e.g., how to plan for the uniqueness of collections). Quality must be very good (given recent campus experience with other system deployments). The committee also discussed efforts and discussions outside of campus (e.g., related to NSF projects). As Charles mentioned, we do have other communities that we can and must engage with (e.g., GBIF, PaleoPortal). Brent described the advantages of the community source CollectionSpace model, a segue to ...

Programmatic sustainability

Sustainability has several dimensions – for software development, for deployments to museums, and for ongoing operations. A CollectionSpace foundation-like home will be focused mostly on ongoing software development and support for communities and domain-based extensions and customizations. David will be working on the development of a CollectionSpace international non-profit with museums and non-museums.

How do we within at UCB deal with the operational costs and the cost of local specific customizations? This fall we will start working with the broader campus community of collections stakeholders. David asked for input regarding outreach to other UC campus museums. The CTC and by extension OE leadership will want to see that we are trying to leverage scale by building our community even larger. There are advantages and disadvantages. Committee members generally felt it was necessary but that we need to make sure we are solving problems locally and proving success before getting too distracted by some very challenging targets. David agreed and said he would be having this conversation with others and would get back to the committee on the approach.

In addition, we can make CollectionSpace a more attractive option for other campuses (improving the web site; developing migration tools and templates; writing case studies; adopting domain standards such as Darwin Core). We should talk to OP as well (Daniel Greenstein has expressed interest in these topics in the past). We should also work our existing partnerships such as Consortium of California Herbaria and via Essig's involvement in the NSF BRC project related to a California entomology network.

NSF Advancing Digitization of Biological Collections

The committee then discussed this new NSF program. The general consensus was that Berkeley should be involved, probably in a leadership role for one of the HUB proposals. Various people are already involved in one of the TCN proposals. Much more happened after the meeting on this topic that does not need to be summarized here.

Meeting Notes - April 26, 2010

BNHM-IST Steering Committee
April 26, 2010

Attending: Mishler, Moritz, Wills, Licht, Lindberg, Black, Greenbaum, McGrath, Hoffman

Slides: Click for slides


  • IT Bank/Campus Technology Council: The IT Bank proposal was submitted in March (these can be downloaded from the top level partnership page ). David G is getting positive feedback about the proposal and the level of steering committee participation in the CT presentation. We might start getting more substantive news in late May after the cabinet retreat, but timing is always a challenge.
  • CollectionSpace update: Much work on planning for 1.0 (end of June release) and on developing 1.0. CollectionSpace 2.0 grant proposal is being reviewed by Mellon board on June 18, and all signs are very positive right now. The CollectionSpace project team is therefore already starting to plan for releases between 1.0 and 2.0.
  • CollectionSpace deployment projects are coming along. We've had to align our work to evolving CollectionSpace 1.0 plans and have been constrained by the amount of data we can load. Work in May will be aggressive and will be partially tied to an early June meeting in Ottawa where Chris will be presenting CollectionSpace and our work on data migrations and deployments. PAHMA is looking forward to a new release in 7-10 days which will have more data and functionality.
  • Chris reported on a couple meetings that generally are part of the BNHM-IST Collections Data Working Group umbrella of activities: a joint meeting between the CollectionSpace teams (development and deployment) and the Moorea-Biocode team to talk about interoperability, FIMS, and LIMS; and a joint meeting between the CollectionSpace teams (development and deployment) and VertNet (John Wieczorek and David Bloom) to talk about data sharing standards, TAPIR, IPT, and universal IDs. Another meeting will be scheduled to talk about taxonomy, identification, and nomenclature. Craig recommended a conversation about location services.
  • Brent reported on the UCB-Canadensys collaboration. Much interest about CollectionSpace.  The June meeting in Ottawa will be a great opportunity to present CollectionSpace.  We should allocate some time with Brent to review the presentation.
  • Waiting to hear about the CollectionSpace/IMLS grant (focuses on deployments)

Collections Strategy Document

We reviewed a document that is intended to finalize the Partnership agreement to adopt CollectionSpace as the strategic platform. The document also includes an initial sequence for deployments, principles for deployment projects, a collaboration plan, and a financial sustainability plan. The Steering Committee members will take this document to their directors for review at a BNHM Directors meeting on April 29.  We should seek full sign-off and approval by May 10.

The version of the document handed out to the Steering Committee can be downloaded here .

Engaging with Principal Investigators

Chris brought up the topic of grant proposals again, since we know that PIs are starting to think about the next round of proposals. We do want to know what projects might require time from Informatics Services programmers or resources. More broadly however we want to start planting seeds for PI-driven proposals that will help us build upon the CollectionSpace platform – e.g., to develop services that can be used across natural history collections. Such projects could help us provide broader and more specialized location services, visualization services, and so on. Chris will develop some text and send it around.


  • Several Steering Committee members are going to be on sabbatical next year: Wills, Moritz, and Lindberg. Chris and Patrick will follow up about others who can help fill these positions.
  • We will likely have one more meeting this summer, but this is probably our final full meeting of the year. Thanks everyone for a very positive year!

Strategy and Financial Sustainability

David G stepped us through some slides that are fairly high level initial thinking about the relationship between the scope of our engagement (e.g, from individual museum up to international consortium), where we target funds coming from, and different activities related to collections management systems (software development, deployment projects, and operations – Craig reminded us that there is also an activity related to PI-driven research and development). Where are we now? Where are we going? Where should a software development foundation be managed – at the local level or at a much higher level? This lead to some good conversation about basic principles.

Meeting Notes - February 16, 2010

BNHM-IST Steering Committee
February 16, 2010

Attending: Michael Black, Craig Moritz, Kip Wills, Brent Mishler, Paul Licht, David Lindberg, David Greenbaum, Patrick McGrath, Chris Hoffman


  • Collections Data Working Group Update
  • Other Quick Updates
  • Steering Committee Work plan


Collections Data Working Group Update: The kickoff meeting for the combined Advisory/Technology working group was held just before the steering committee meeting. The group will likely meet every two weeks – Michael and Chris are working on future agendas. It is likely that we will have more active work from museums with earlier deployments with occasional update meetings for the larger group. See notes at

Other Quick Updates: IMLS grant proposal for CollectionSpace deployments was submitted; we hear in September or October. A Mellon proposal for CollectionSpace 2.0 development is being prepared; submit in April and hear back in July. The long list of functions being considered for that proposal is at:

Collection Management Strategy: We are working on the summary document (decision, transition plan, collaboration, funding) and timeline of deployments, deciding to tie the Botanical Garden deployment as much as possible to the Herbaria deployment. Lindberg and Wills talked about Essig and UCMP relative timing and agreed it did not matter very much right now which went first. However, they should be tied together as deployments as much as possible. We might be able to use UCMP's collection of insects in amber as a way to test overlaps. The Collections Data Working Group might be able to help identify which of the two is a more straightforward deployment in CollectionSpace.

Brent is going to a USDA meeting about a US National Virtual Herbarium. Chris provided a couple slides about CollectionSpace that Brent can use in talking about what the BNHM-IST Partnership is trying to do.

Craig needs a similar set of slides but has not scheduled an Arctos Steering Committee yet. Chris to follow up about timing. Craig reported that VCRO has provided some seed funding for a Global Change Biology initiative; the team is still identifying IT components (likely to focus on field stations?). Fund raising is likely to be a significant component.

IT Bank/CTC submission

We are developing the schedule and plan for submission of the 2010-11 IT Bank request for the BNHM-IST Partnership. Notable dates:

  • February 26: CTC status updates
  • March 4: CTC presentation
  • March 15 or March 29: VCRO submission (to Anne Benker)
  • April 2: Deadline to campus

We will also try to set up some time with the VCR and CIO in the March timeframe. We need to be able to hone our pitch to show the benefit of our approach, referring to the goals of the campus Operation Excellence initiative. Question: Do we want to get support from outside BNHM, to show how this has broader campus impact? Generally, yes, we do, though we'll have to work out the details and be clear about what work we initiate out of this. David asked who signs off on the strategy agreement document we are writing. With the enlarged membership, the Steering Committee members are authorized to sign as leadership representatives of their respective museums.

Meeting Notes - January 21, 2010

BNHM-IST Steering Committee
January 21, 2010

Attending: Michael Black, Craig Moritz, Kip Wills, Brent Mishler, Paul Licht, David Lindberg, David Greenbaum, Patrick McGrath, Chris Hoffman


  • Review from last meeting
  • Review collections transition planning goals and process
  • Schedule follow-up actions needed to sign off the collections
    management strategy


See the ==> attached meeting slide deck <== for the primary meeting content.  

Craig: Will be talking with Arctos Steering Committee in February about BNHM-IST strategy. Proposal to VCR regarding global change biology well received so far; 2 year seed funds with some programmer time to build on platform and mobilize information already at the field stations. It will be good to see that proposal.

Brent reported on a funded partnership between Canadian natural history museums and UC and sent around more information after the meeting about mid-March meetings, a great opportunity!

Collections transition planning: In looking at the proposed transition plan, Steering Committee members agreed we should leverage efforts across similar collections as much as possible (e.g., by having more planned involvement from the Bot Garden during the Herbaria migration and joint work on UCMP and Essig as well). Also, they called for more explicit cross-consortium participation early on from the combined BNHM-IST Advisory/Technology Committee (with Michael suggesting that group begin meeting to talk about museum data, data cleansing, and CollectionSpace deployment procedures overall). Action Item: Patrick and Chris will update the Sample Deployment Plan accordingly. Michael and Chris will get the Advisory/Technology Committee together, hopefully meeting before the next Steering Committee meeting. UCMP and Essig leadership will discuss timing issues.

Patrick talked about some financial modeling being performed to identify the future costs and funding shortfalls for deployments and ongoing operations. We'll continue to develop this to help us understand what we need to come up with and present a stronger case to campus leadership. David G described the funding we are pursuing via Campus Technology Council and IMLS.

Funding opportunities and PIs: NSF grants usually due in July and January. In order to apply for something this summer, we'd need to start talking with PIs in about May, but Brent warns us that if we are proposing building capabilities on top of CollectionSpace, we would need to be able to point to something that looks done. Various funding possibilities were discussed: UCOP, NSF. Brent suggested we share language (e.g., so that BNHM PIs can paste in relevant CollectionSpace/sustainability text and IST can paste in BNHM goals).
We should plan on meeting with PIs in six to nine months to show progress.

There was some good discussion about emerging and future directions.  
Craig and others articulated the goal of having CollectionSpace have the full-featured capabilities that are needed (images, genomics, field notes, geospatial services, archives, temporal services and visualization). Kip described a vision for mapping and visualization, based on specimen data and climate/sensor data, with a temporal dimension to see species (occurrences and ranges) back in time (and in the future). David L reported that UCMP has pursued this with funders in the past but got no traction. Conversations with Google (and Microsoft and Yahoo) might be more fruitful now. David L described Project Tomorrow,, being followed closely by NSF right now.

How to get PI's to think about shared services and platforms in their proposals?  Taking in account BNHM/IST resources or dependencies.  Perhaps a PI workshop?

Action Items:

  • Update transition planning to incorporate Botanical Garden in
    Herbaria effort and UCMP/Essig, and build in Advisory/Technology group
  • Summarize collections management strategy into final document (IST
    by 1/29)
  • Engage new UCMP director and new PAHMA director
  • UCMP and Essig to discuss timing
  • Michael and Chris to schedule Advisory/Technology Committee
  • Review document, transition plan, sequencing, risk and mitigation
    plans at next Steering Meeting (all, by 2/12)
  • see
  • Directors Sign-off CMS document (all, by 2/19?)
  • Joint presentation to CIO and VCR (Mishler, Greenbaum, by 2/26)
  • Execute fundraising plan (IT Bank etc) (IST/all, by 4/2)

Meeting Notes - December 8, 2009

BNHM-IST Steering Committee
December 8, 2009

Attendees: Brent Mishler (Herbaria), Craig Moritz (MVZ), David Lindberg (UCMP), Paul Licht (Botanical Garden), Kip Will (Essig), Michael Black (PAHMA), David Greenbaum (IST), Patrick McGrath (IST), and Chris Hoffman (IST).

The BNHM-IST Steering Committee, enlarged on an interim basis to discuss and decide upon the long-term collections management strategy for BNHM-IST partnership, met on December 8, 2009.

See the ==> attached meeting slide deck <== for the primary meeting content.

From David's summary:

Dear Brent, Craig, David, Michael, Paul, and Kip,
Thanks for the very good discussion and important decision earlier this week.  Below I provide a high level summary of our meeting, our decision about CSpace as a platform for BNHM, and the next steps we will be taking to complete our decisions about the Collections Management Strategy for the BNHM-IST partnership.
I want to thank both the museum faculty and staff and the IST Informatics team for their extensive and in depth efforts the last six months to work together to determine what is the best approach for the consortium, the partnership, and each museum.  
I've also attached with this email a copy of the slide deck I presented at the meeting.
Please let me know if you have any other suggestions about what we should do next or this summary.
I look forward to our next Steering Committee discussion in January,


BNHM-IST Steering Committee Agreement - Tuesday, December 8, 2009
The BNHM-IST Steering Committee, enlarged on an interim basis to discuss and decide upon the long-term collections management strategy for BNHM-IST partnership, met on December 8, 2009.  Attendees included: Brent Mishler (Herbaria), Craig Moritz (MVZ), David Lindberg (UCMP), Paul Licht (Botanical Garden), Kip Will (Essig), Michael Black (PAHMA), David Greenbaum (IST), Patrick McGrath (IST), and Chris Hoffman (IST).

This was the first of 2-3 meetings to decide upon the long-term collections management strategy for BNHM-IST.  This strategy will include three major elements: (1) a decision about the collection management system platform for the consortium: (2) a transition plan covering transitions for the next one to five years for each museum and addressing concerns and risks;  and (3) a collaboration plan to connect and collaborate between important platforms and initiatives in collections informatics (e.g., Arctos and CollectionSpace).

In the December 8 meeting, the Steering Committee decided to adopt CollectionSpace as the strategic platform for collections management systems for the BNHM consortium.

There was substantive discussion about a strawman transition plan, the concerns identified by the Advisory/Technology group before CSpace can be implemented, the importance of ongoing collaboration with other initiatives and platforms, and the pressing need for a multi-year funding and sustainability strategy, including much better coordination of fund raising proposals.  At the next meeting, to be scheduled in January, the Steering Committee will discuss this set of issues.  We will focus in particular on deciding upon the transition plan and the conditions that would need to be in place to move ahead with CSpace transitions at each museum.  More detail and next steps about this meeting will be posted on the Partnership wiki <>  as they are developed.

This is an important moment for the Steering Committee to share this progress in moving to a common and coordinated collections informatics strategy with campus leadership (especially the Vice Chancellor for Research and Chief Information Officer) and argue for additional funding to support an enterprise-wide effort to move campus collections to a sustainable platform.  In addition, in the next meeting, the Steering Committee will talk about the appropriate ways to communicate this information and work to the broader BNHM-IST community.

Meeting Notes - September 28, 2009

Attending: Lindberg, Moritz, Greenbaum, Black, McGrath, Hoffman

Patrick: Aggregating content on a wiki site for the Partnership at:

On a monthly basis, the Steering Committee meetings will have a standard focus on 4 priority areas (collections, portfolio, communications, and fundraising)

Collection management system update

  • Chris reviewed where we are to date with the developmen of a system evaluation scorecard, the relative weights of the three areas (functional, business, and technology/architecture), weights for
  • detailed criteria within each major area. Chris has entered his initial scoring, using information gathered to date and applying principles of consistency and fairness.
  • Next steps: Work with Informatics Services team to confirm initial assessment (Chris with John Deck and Lam Voong). Then, based on Steering Committee feedback, we'll work with BNHM staff via Advisory/Technology group. Recommendation to Steering Committee later in October and review with BNHM Directors in November.
  • Patrick: We need to start engaging with Directors before November.
  • Craig: We want to capture variance and consensus across community. Directors' meetings are being scheduled, and they have a lot going on so we should plan these out now.
  • Data Services working on a variety of proposals related to CollectionSpace deployments and will be following up with several museums across campus.
  • Craig: Are you doing risk assessment on what happens if funding dries up? David: Yes and we are pursuing new funding aggresively.

CollectionSpace/PAHMA update

  • Michael: Effort is going quite well and is accelerating. We have successfully migrated data from TMS into CollectionSpace; working on data issues (character code sets, foreign language characters) as well as more complex multi-table data in order to build out the more detailed parts of the system.

Portfolio and Time Equity

  • Portfolio and analysis of where we are spending our time Patrick presented some charts drawn from resource forecasts (weekly assignments to staff) for all Informatics Services team commitments.
    Also, sources of funding across BNHM-IST Partnership were presented. Discussion about CalPhotos and Moorea-Biocode (whether they are BNHM-wide or benefit a specific set of museums): We need to get separate agreement from SC about the distribution of benefit for those systems.
  • Patrick will follow up. Then with that we can monthly publish the 3-month forecast of commitment and benefit (for transparency and equity). Total capacity of Informatics Services - about 66% is BNHM-IST Partnership.
  • Craig: Where is hiring of a new person? Shel Waggener will review next group of exception requests in November and take them to EVCP for hiring freeze exception. IST took 8 forward in last round. IST has eliminated 78 positions but has to hire some critical positions like this.
  • Action item: Do some staff planning for that position now so we're ready in November.
  • Craig: Re Lam, talking to Carla about Arctos project resource allocation
  • Patrick: What information do we need to put in front of Directors that will be useful?
  • Michael: Staff activity analysis, improved.
  • Patrick then stepped through a spreadsheet showing the Informatics Services portfolio (projects that are ideas, active, and on hold).
  • How do we drive decision-making around project requests and available resources? In the next few weeks, we'll ask for some feedback on project requests.
  • What is the approach to working with Drectors on this? Craig is working with John, Joyce and Moorea PIs about Biocode work. Some projects on the proposed list could be done under Biocode umbrella.
  • Chris: Review list with John and Joyce about what should be done. E.g., CalPhotos high-resolution proposal is a Moorea-driven project; John has suggested alternatives, including partnership with
    Media Vault.


  • Chris gave update on analysis to date. Need to present summary and talk further about the problems. Is there something lightweight we can do?
  • David L: Having 4 separate systems or approaches, none of which update the specimen records is a problem, and is begging for disaster. CollectionSpace moved loans up to a February time frame
    (needs to be confirmed).
  • Craig: Could Arctos be used in any way? Yes, there are some options. At next meeting we'll review options and recommendations.

Fundraising and Sustainability

  • Patrick: Will schedule a meeting to discuss specific actions around fundraising. Need to gear up for efforts around whole sustainability picture. Craig: VCR Fleming has been very supportive and sees museums as major resource for climate change research. He has asked BNHM to propose a campus task force and initiative around climate change.
  • Patrick: Catherine Candee UCOP effort to build "translation services" around climate change.
  • David L: NSF discussing its approach to climate change. USGS too.
  • Fundraising: What outstanding grant proposals are there? Could we get a page on wiki with list of those summarized.

Meeting Notes - September 9, 2009

Attended: David L, Brent M, Craig M, Michael B, David G, Patrick M, Chris H

Loans discussion
David L, re 2009-10 projects, he talked with Roy C about concerns with timeline and budgets. Really against wall on loans. Unless it can be done for GO model system, UCMP will migrate to Paleocat (Whirl-i-GIg) specimen management system and withdraw their partnership contribution.
Brent: Herbaria is frustrated with lack of loans and is looking at Specify, but Brent is trying to keep it in perspective.
David L: But we've been through this and have to move forward. David G: SC could discuss whether this needed work first, or UCMP could identify funds (though DL says they would use the $7K/ year).
Brent: Could this work be moving in the general direction? Maybe it wouldn't be such a compromise. Any compromises we make (in terms of side projects) should still be performed with the goal of shared services.

The next steps here are:
1) CRH and MTB: talk with CollectionSpace team about timing of loans service; if it's in sprint 5 now, could it move up so at least we get benefit of design/schema work
2) CRH: learn a little more about what UCMP needs in terms of loans and determine whether a simple solution (Excel, CalShare) would be sufficient
3) Steering: have steering committee review the long project list (50-60 items) and rank requests 1-3 so we can make sure this is where we'd spend our discretionary time.
4) CRH: evaluate whether CollectionSpace, Arctos, or Specify could be used as a basis for a loans module that ties to existing GO model UCMP system
5) Steering: by October steering committee meeting, come up with an approach to discuss

Collection management system evaluation

  • Patrick handed out a document. Page 1 of handout is timeline through October. Goal today is to talk about Principles and Must-Haves. SC to review and make decisions. Appropriate input from Advisory/Technology committee. Decision-making from Directors.
  • Collections general principles: We revisited the Function A/Function B conversation and Patrick M's revision to the last notes saying that if a research system will have to be supported in the future, then the ongoing support side needs input into the development to ensure handoff and ongoing support can happen.
  • Proposed weighting of Functional, Business, and Technology/ Architecture discussed.
  • Craig and Brent: Need to raise importance of functional criterion. Functionality not listed as a Must Have or Principle. DAG: Maybe a two-step process is needed. Functionality first, then Technology and Business. What does "meet functional needs" mean since we can't meet all the needs of each system? How would we word a principle? "Meets the major functional requirements of the museums" or "must meet the core collection management functions of a collection management system". Can we guarantee a level of functionality for each museum? If they don't meet a certain level of functionality now, can that be guaranteed down the road? Then second phase is to evaluate on the Business and Technology/Architecture issues.   Functionally, the solutions must meet critical needs, or guarantee to meet them within a reasonable timeframe.
  • Craig and Brent: Taxoomies are a major issue for Natural History, with some very specfic domain needs.  Need to look into this further. 
  • Patrick M will send a revised version including the Functional criteria to Steering Committee. Craig wants to discuss with some people. Note that IST needs to keep the campus perspective in mind because we don't have resources to develop on multiple platforms. That doesn't mean that IST won't work on functionality that is specific to BNHM. We talked about taxonomy and the SMaSCH/ CollectionSpace design analysis which is helping ensure that the kind of functions we need will be in CollectionSpace.

IT Bank update

  • We were asked to revise budget down 15%, better than others. Timeline: CTC to review and submit 9/15 to Chancellor, and decision by end of the month. We are OK given we can't hire the new AP4 position. Can we get an exception? Next review by Provost will be in November. Given layoffs, we might be able to hire from that pool and recruit. Let's discuss next month.

Next meeting:

  • Talk more about integrated fundraising, e.g., to VCR for campus collections. David L talking about major effort to analyze climate change using microfossils; and UCMP wants something in place to help facilitate fundraising around this project.

Other Actions:

  • Need an update on Lam's time.

Meeting Notes - August 3, 2009

Attending: Brent Mishler, David Lindberg, Michael Black, David Greenbaum, Patrick McGrath, Chris Hoffman


  • Brent had just come back from a BNHM meeting about the budget cuts and administrative consolidation across VCR. Let's just say that he was not smiling.
  • Patrick reported that he and Chris are working on the response to the CIO's letter asking us to adjust our budget to 85% of the request. We'll be able to accommodate that (using salary savings from not having hired the AP4 yet). The revised proposal will be submitted to the TPO this week (by Aug 28).
  • IST has submitted its plan for taking another $3M cut. Data Services plan includes moving an additional staff member to 50% temporary funding. IST will cover these costs for this year, however we will need to work together over the next 6 months to determine a funding strategy for the next fiscal year.


  • The current plan is to push our AP4 position along with other IST positions in a special set of positions that the CIO and Associate CIO will take forward for hiring freeze exceptions. The next window for submission to George Breslauer is now November this year.

Financial planning principles and decision-making criteria

  • We discussed the general distinction brought up by Brent in earlier meetings between Type A and Type B activities. Type A tasks are those that should be funded by campus (including committed Partnership funds - things like managing the web site, supporting the servers, supporting the collection management systems). Type B tasks are new activities, usually research-driven, that should be funded by the museums' grants.
  • David G introduced the additional dimensions of New vs. Existing and Benefitting Many vs. Benefitting One. From this we created a 2x2 grid with Individual/Common one the vertical axis and Existing/New on the horizontal axis. Common/Existing is our highest priority right now; Individual/New is lowest right now. We have to do Individual/Existing for now; we aspire to target Common/Existing and Common/New.
  • An example of this was the situation with the Archon archive application for the Herbaria. The web app is installed on an Herbaria machine, with the database stored on IST's Darwin system already. The Herbaria staff would like the application to be moved to a production environment. We estimate one time effort of 1-2 days and ongoing effort of a few hours a month for application monitoring, and potential fixes/updates. There are additional exposures for this application to other production systems running on the same machine (as with any application introduced into that environment, but the risk is probably low. Brent regarded this as a type B activity, however because there is one-time work (type A) and ongoing operational impact (type B) it really is both. Under the guidelines we set about benefit to a single museum, this falls outside the guidelines we established. While the impact seems small, the precedent is important. Brent said that if necessary, we could keep running it on the Herbaria machine. However, it makes sense to follow this is up in the near future since we'll see a lot of this type of need, including the creation of an additional prodction environment which can be used by the museums without impacting delivery of existing partnership-managed services.
  • Regardless, we are in very lean times and need to be very careful about what we do right now.
  • Patrick asked us to define 5 to 6 criteria we could use in selecting work to do, from the very long list of project requests that we've accumulated. What projects can we say NO to sooner? The request list as it stands will be posted shortly on a new BNHM partnership website. Patrick will work on additional ideas and post to a new website for further discussion.

Collection management systems

  • Patrick stated that the steering committee need to set some direction here and soon; he talked with Craig earlier about IST's concerns that neither Arctos nor Specify were viable long-term solutions for broader adoption. Brent reported on meetings where Specify was discussed and suggested broader adoption is happening. Harvard is being allowed to develop some botanical modules.
  • Brent asked for an update on the current evaluation process. Michael reported that little reaction had been received from the last communication on this, and said that the steering committee is tasked with agreeing on weighting for decision-making criteria using the 3 dimensions: functionality, technology/architecture, and sustainability/economic factors.
  • David: Patrick will distribute a proposed set of criteria for discussion at the next Steering committee meeting, with the objective that we agree upon what the decision weighting will look like across the criteria. From this we'll reconvene the advisory groups to review and come back with a formal recommendation.


  • We discussed the opportunities, options and needs around raising funds, especially for the ongoing Type A activities.
  • David G: Increase consortium and collaboration for collections management; consider membership and other models.
  • Brent and David L: Pursue development and fundraising externally. Focus on outreach and education, common customizable portals that pull data from various systems for new views and purposes (from teaching to ecological research), interoperability and common interfaces, and dissemination of content. You need to have a clearly defined product and vision for this kind of fundraising.
  • Michael: Broaden the community of collections on campus beyond BNHM, especially if you want to hire a development officer. They are expensive, and results are not usually seen in year 1.
  • David L: The development office who helped CalAcademy raise funds for their new building recently left their and went to the Law School. We should talk to her.
  • David L: the idea of having an uber-website allowing access to all collections would be very interesting to support outreach. Need to look into this further.
  • Chris asked about NSF grants that could help with system migrations as well as new development on top of existing systems. A subsequent email thread identified some possible NSF programs. Unfortunately most have deadlines that just passed. We should target them for next year.

Action items

  • IT Banks Request - Patrick and Chris to rework the current IT Bank proposal and resubmit (minus 15% funding). In progress.
  • Financial planning and decision-making: Patrick to present criteria to the steering committee before the next meeting, for discussion and weighting. In progress.
  • Fundraising - Brent we need to articulate a plan and coordinate additional activities around fundraising for additional projects (type B) and to support operational activities (type A). We could also benefit from additional communication and coordination around fundraising based on the complications of development and support handoff. Patrick to send additional thoughts to Steering committee members for discussion.
  • Patrick and Chris: Get resource forecasts and project lists posted on the web. In progress.
  • Patrick to schedule next meetings: In progress
  File Modified
PDF File bnhm-ist-steering-19Jan2010 v2.pdf BNHM Steering Slides Jan 19, 2010 Feb 02, 2010 by Patrick McGrath (ACCOUNT DISABLED)
PDF File bnhm-ist-steering-Dec 8, 2009.pdf BNHM Steering Decemner 8, 2009 Feb 02, 2010 by Patrick McGrath (ACCOUNT DISABLED)
PDF File bnhm-ist-steering-apr26-2010-v2.pdf Meeting Slides April 26, 2010 Apr 28, 2010 by Patrick McGrath (ACCOUNT DISABLED)
  • No labels