Date of this Version
2017 will be remembered as a significant year in the development of our community. We started the year as the Hydra Project with a governance structure largely defined in the founding Memorandum of Understanding, signed in 2012, and ended it as the Samvera Community with an improved governance structure under active discussion. On the technical side, we saw two major community software gems, Sufia and Curation Concerns, come together as Hyrax, and we saw some significant outputs from a number of our Working and Interest Groups. The community itself held a number of very productive meetings, not the least of which was our annual Connect conference, and it continues to thrive with three new Partners added to its ranks. In 2015, the Partners agreed that we should attempt to trademark the Hydra name and logo. As we explained in last year’s Annual Report, that proved not to be possible because of a prior claim to the name “Hydra”. Rather than see this as a setback, we decided to view it as an opportunity to rebrand ourselves and to rethink and reinvigorate our community. Our mailing lists and Slack channels became the focus of extensive activity to find a new name for ourselves and eventually “Samvera” was chosen. Samvera is an Icelandic word expressing the idea of being together, fellowship or company. The Partner meeting held at Stanford University in March discussed at length the rebranding and the potential re-envisioning process. It was decided that a Working Group should be formed to investigate a number of governance models which might improve the organization and sustainability of our shared work. Feedback on, and discussion of, this report resulted in the formation of a further Working Group to synthesize the report into a set of recommendations. At the end of 2017, that work is ongoing. On the technical front, 2017 saw the bringing together of two of our major software gems, Sufia and Curation Concerns, into a new gem called Hyrax which contains functionality from both. In addition, another new gem, Valkyrie, has been developed which opens up a number of options for combining different types of back-end storage under a Samvera repository. Our developers held a number of face-to-face events to help facilitate these developments. Our Interest and Working Groups are the incubators for many new features and improvements to our software and to the way we deal with content. These continue to thrive and the list of such groups grows steadily. Our community has always derived benefit from holding periodic face-to-face meetings and 2017 saw a number of these in addition to the uncounted internet-based conference calls held by our many and varied Groups. As well as two full Partner meetings, there were regional meetings on both coasts of the USA and also in Europe. Our Annual Connect meeting, this time jointly hosted by Northwestern University and the University of Michigan, was a great success. (So too was our second Virtual Connect - an on-line event that serves the dual purposes of an update to the community and providing a community-wide event for those who cannot make it to a Connect conference in person.) Throughout the year a number of training events were held in the USA and in Europe, including for the first time, a joint training week involving both Samvera and Fedora teams. 2018 looks set to be an equally busy year. We look forward to another two Partner meetings, to a virtual and to a face-to-face Connect (at the University of Utah), and to a number of regional and training meetings. In addition, our developers, Interest and Working Groups will be busy and the entire community will be involved in working towards a new governance structure. Many years ago we adopted the phrase, “if you want to go far, go together”. It still rings true!