BNHM-IST Collections Strategy Document

Draft: April 23, 2010

Summary of Agreement

This document represents an agreement by the BNHM-IST Partnership to adopt CollectionSpace as the strategic platform for collections management systems for the BNHM consortium.  Included in this agreement are

  • Transition planning, including initial timelines, plus principles for deployments and managing our risks,
  • A plan for collaboration, and
  • A statement about our approach to financial sustainability

Background for the Agreement

Following a detailed evaluation, the BNHM-IST Steering Committee has decided to adopt CollectionSpace as the strategic platform for collections management systems for the BNHM consortium.  The evaluation is documented on the BNHM-IST Partnership Wiki (https://wikihub.berkeley.edu/display/istds/Collection Management System Strategy and Selection).

In spring 2009, the BNHM-IST Partnership hosted site visits and demonstrations from three project teams: CollectionSpace, Arctos and Specify.  Over the summer, the Partnership identified the functional, business, and technology/architecture criteria that were important, and the BNHM-IST Steering Committee set the priorities and principles that would be needed to make a decision.  In fall 2009, the project team scored the options using a scorecard developed from the functional, business, and technology/architecture criteria.  Discussions were held with various parts of the community to confirm the approach and discuss the findings.  In December, the Steering Committee discussed the evaluation and made the decision to adopt CollectionSpace as the strategic platform for collections management systems.

With this decision, the BNHM-IST Partnership is situated to make a major Operational Excellence contribution to the campus’s efforts to reduce overall costs, improve efficiencies, and preserve excellence.  Because CollectionSpace will be used to replace several other legacy collection management systems on campus, this selection places the campus in an excellent position to use a single software platform for an important area of campus research, one that is currently fragmented across many software platforms.  The strategy endorsed here therefore creates the foundation for a campus-wide collections management system strategy, and the BNHM-IST Partnership provides the model for broader collaboration on campus.

Based on this consortial decision, the BNHM-IST Steering Committee has developed a set of plans that together create a framework not only for successful migrations to CollectionSpace but also for the successful establishment of a sustainable platform for campus collections.  The remainder of this BNHM-IST Collections Strategy Document contains the following sections:

The transition plan describes plans for migrating each of the BNHM collections over the next one to five years.  The Steering Committee, communicating with the BNHM-IST community and museum directors, has selected the initial sequence of deployments.  Because CollectionSpace deployments will occur for non-BNHM museums as well, this plan also identifies likely timing for other campus collections.  This version of the transition plan is necessarily an early plan and is expected to be adjusted as new information comes to light.  Importantly, the transition plan needs to be matched to careful resource planning and will include a risk assessment and mitigation plan.

The collaboration plan describes efforts that will help connect and collaborate between important platforms and initiatives in collections informatics (e.g., between Arctos and CollectionSpace).

The financial plan identifies how the BNHM-IST Partnership will fund deployment projects as well as ongoing support for collection management systems.  The Steering Committee is especially eager to find ways to collaborate with BNHM principal investigators as they prepare grant proposals that involve biodiversity informatics work. Also, we will continue and expand efforts to justify campus investment for campus collections.  Importantly the financial plan recognizes that by selecting a strategic direction that is aligned with campus financial objectives (e.g., the Operational Excellence initiative), we are contributing to the goals of driving down costs and driving towards maximum efficiencies while also supporting excellence.  Success for this collections management strategy is contingent on successful execution of the plan for financial sustainability.

Information about work activities taking place following this important decision (including plans for transition and deployments, collaboration, and fund raising) will be documented on the BNHM-IST Partnership Wiki (https://wikihub.berkeley.edu/display/istds/Berkeley Natural History Museum and IST Partnership).

This plan and agreement will be reviewed annually and updated as needed.


The undersigned BNHM-IST Steering Committee members support this BNHM-IST Collections Strategy Document:

 

 

Signed

Date

Brent Mishler, for the

University and Jepson Herbaria

 

 

 

 

 

Craig Moritz, for the

Museum of Vertebrate Zoology

 

 

 

 

 

David Lindberg, for the

UC Museum of Paleontology

 

 

 

 

 

Kipling Wills, for the

Essig Museum of Entomology

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Licht, for the

UC Botanical Garden

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Black, for the

Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology

 

 

 

 

 

David Greenbaum, for

Information Services and Technology

 

 

 


Transition Plan

The transition plan describes plans for migrating BNHM collections over the next one to five years.  The Steering Committee, communicating with the BNHM-IST community and museum directors, has selected the initial sequence of deployments.  Because CollectionSpace deployments will occur for non-BNHM museums as well, this plan also identifies likely timing for other campus collections.  This version of the transition plan is necessarily an initial one, and it is expected that the Steering Committee will adjust the plan as new information comes to light. We believe that this initial schedule is conservative and based on available resources.  If we are able to obtain more resources, we should be able to accelerate the schedule of deployments.


Transition timeline

(February 22, 2010)

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

X = launch

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CollectionSpace

1.0

1.x

1.x

1.x

1.x

2.0

2.x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BNHM Working Group

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fit-gap and data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deployment monitor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hearst (PAHMA)

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Herbaria

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bot Garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

History of Art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

College Envi Design

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UCMP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essig

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pacific Film Archive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

Berkeley Language Ctr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MVZ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


This timeline does not include the work related to the formation of domain-based communities of practice as specified in the IMLS Communities of Practice proposal. 

A number of principles will drive the deployment projects. 

  • Aggressive, agile approach: We will adopt an approach to deployments that favors action and agility.  However, we will not try to solve all problems at once and will favor a timeline that gets basic functionality working in a supportable manner.
  • Careful resource planning: Deployment plans need to be matched to careful resource planning, a moving target given funding proposals being submitted to help perform the work.
  • Resource commitments: These activities require a commitment of staff time from the museum as well as from IST.  Because of this, project timelines will be adjusted depending on the ability of the Partnership to bring the appropriate resources to each deployment project.
  • Template-driven projects: We will develop deployment project templates that divide the work into realistic phases and activities, and we will adjust these as we gain experience.
  • Document-driven projects: We will document our experiences and share them with the community in order to help others with their deployments.
  • Accelerated deployments: As we get more experience, we will aim to make deployment projects to happen more quickly and with fewer resources.
  • Paired deployments: Where there is functional, data or legacy platform overlap, we will take advantage of similarities between two or more systems to leverage deployment work.

In the evaluation of open source collection management system options, the community identified a series of risks related to CollectionSpace.  These are mainly related to the current development status of CollectionSpace, though other risk areas were identified as well.  Therefore, the following risk mitigation activities are also being pursued:

  1. Monitor the CollectionSpace project in order to evaluate whether it is meeting its objectives in terms of several important areas:
  • Functionality
  • Customizability
  • Ability to support diverse natural science data sets and processes
  • Data volumes
  • Performance
  • Supportability
  • Financial sustainability
  1. Perform overall reviews of the CollectionSpace project every six months, starting in September 2010
  2. Review progress on museum transition plans yearly, adjusting plans as needed


Collaboration Plan

As part of the overall collection management system strategy, the BNHM-IST Partnership emphasizes that collaboration is a key component of long-term success.  Collaboration must thrive within the Partnership, with our other campus partners and stakeholders, and with a wide range of national and international partners, from individual scientists to other informatics initiatives and foundations.  The BNHM-IST Partnership must strengthen its existing collaborations and forge new partnerships with museums, researchers, and developers in order to build the most sustainable framework for collections management and research computing. 

In particular, the BNHM-IST Partnership recognizes the value and importance of the existing collaboration with the Arctos project. MVZ is a major member of the Arctos consortium, and IST has staff who currently provide support and development time to Arctos.  A series of engagements between BNHM-IST, CollectionSpace, and Arctos are being planned to so that we can define an appropriate transition strategy for BNHM-IST support for Arctos and for appropriate long-term collaboration.

In addition, the BNHM-IST Partnership recognizes the value and strengths of other biodiversity informatics projects, including Specify, and intends to continue having a positive dialogue about collaboration and common goals.


Financial Plan

Financial sustainability of the collections management system platform and other parts of the associated portfolio is crucially important for the BNHM Consortium, the BNHM-IST Partnership, and the campus as a whole.  The BNHM-IST partnership commits to work together to solicit funds needed for the following activities:

  • Deployments of CollectionSpace
  • Transitional support for the existing portfolio
  • The appropriate infrastructure for hosting systems
  • Ongoing costs for support of the portfolio
  • Ongoing development of the systems and portfolio

Without this commitment, we place the physical collections themselves as well as collections-based research at significant risk.

Significant work has already been performed to identify many of the costs related to these activities.  The Partnership will gather this information and estimate other costs in order to develop a better understanding of the total funding and resource needs.

Our goal is to achieve long-term sustainability for informatics computing, with collection management systems at the core.  The key elements of the financial strategy incorporate the following:

  • Seek external funding for deployments of CollectionSpace.
  • Seek external funding for ongoing development of CollectionSpace and for interoperability with other informatics solutions.
  • Develop a foundation/partnership model for software sustainability.
  • Develop campus strategy to ensure that campus leadership understands both the potential and the risk.
  • Collaboration and partnerships are a key part of the financial strategy.  The problems we face resonate with others both on campus and beyond.  By partnering with others, we build a stronger foundation for sustainability and excellence.
  • Engage more directly with principal investigators in BNHM and across campus to pursue funding opportunities jointly in order to build services and capabilities onto the strategic platform.