Governance Case Study: Islandora
Author: Mark Jordan
Published: February 2018

Islandora’s governance model offers opportunities for institutions and individuals to participate in the community at a variety of levels. Institutions can join the Islandora Foundation at the Partner, Collaborator, or Member level. At each of these levels, an institution commits to paying a membership fee but also earns the privilege of appointing a representative to the Islandora Foundation Board of Directors, the Islandora Coordinating Committee, and the Islandora Technical Advisory Group (the fee and the committee depends
on the level of membership). Each of these bodies has a specific focus: the Board is primarily concerned with legal and financial aspects of the Islandora community, the Coordinating Committee acts as the operational governing committee for the Foundation’s activities, and the Technical Advisory Group provides recommendations regarding Islandora’s technical roadmap. Individuals participate in other ways. The most common, and easiest, is answering other users’ questions in the discussion groups. Other ways include testing bug fixes, joining the biweekly committers’ calls, volunteering at an Islandora Camp, and becoming involved in the semiannual software releases as documenters, auditors, or release managers.

We find that this two-part model works well. Institutions can participate by helping support the Islandora Foundation financially (and gain a direct voice in governance at the same time), while individuals can become involved in the more general Islandora community in ways that require a variety of levels of commitment.

Looking forward, the Islandora Foundation is working on refining its strategic goals for 2018 so that they articulate achievable ways to improve our software and to strengthen and broaden our community. The new goals will highlight even more ways for institutions and
individuals to participate in our community’s governance and sustainability.