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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.

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