ITAV Community Case Study: Samvera


The Samvera Community is an open source community creating best in class digital asset management solutions for Libraries, Archives, Museums and others. The community has used the ITAV framework and Guidebook to inform strategic planning for sustainability and found it to be very helpful when developing governance and community engagement strategies. When the ITAV pilot opportunity was offered, the Samvera Board applied and was invited to pilot the ITAV toolkit at the end of 2021. 

ITAV Analysis Planning and Kickoff

The Samvera Board held a kickoff meeting in April 2022 with an ITAV co-Director facilitating, and used the ITAV Analysis Kickoff Activity to identify facets of focus. Members discussed how the Community had spent several years focused on formalizing governance processes and community engagement. Within the model of ITAV, it was time for the community to shift to renewed focus on resources and technology.

Through kickoff activities the Board determined the community was in Technology Phase 3: Preparing for Change. The Samvera technologies are mature, and it is important to begin planning for change around features, integrations, and tools that are most important for community stakeholders. The Board selected technology as the primary facet for pilot activities, but also determined that a few activities from the resource facet would be useful for starting discussions with Samvera Partners at an upcoming meeting.

Facet Focus: Resources

At the May 2022 Samvera Partners Meeting, two activities were facilitated by a Samvera Board member volunteer: Diversifying Revenue Streams and Adjusting Existing Revenue Streams. These activities were selected because several Partner organizations had participated in the same activities as part of the Fedora community, and found them to be valuable for taking a fresh look at current revenue opportunities and thinking about future opportunities for diversification.

Both activities resulted in excellent discussion and new ideas about potential changes to revenue streams. However, the biggest takeaway was the realization that existing revenue streams, while long discussed, were only recently established as practice. It was difficult to discuss changing them when there was insufficient information about their sustainability. The Samvera Board decided to return to these activity results after a few resource cycles to provide more information about the strengths and weaknesses of that approach.

Facet Focus: Technology

At the 2022 June Samvera Board meeting, the technology activity selection work was started asynchronously, with members evaluating 10 possible Phase 3 technology facet activity options and voting via a survey. Doing this work ahead of the meeting allowed enough time for careful review and consideration of the options, and made it easier to discuss and select the final two activities and to discuss who should participate and when to schedule the activities.

In August 2022, community technology leaders including current and former Product Owners and Technical Leads were invited to participate in the activity “Technology Stakeholders: Does the Shoe Still Fit?” In this activity participants decided to prioritize three stakeholders, and developed 12+ potential goals related to better understanding these stakeholders, or addressing outstanding needs that have already been identified by those stakeholders. The Samvera Board then discussed and refined this list to select 9 goals to discuss with Samvera Partners, and finally developed three measurable, achievable goals for 2023 to ensure that the community understands and is responsive to the needs of our technology stakeholders.


In September 2022, an even broader group of active technology leaders and stakeholders were invited to participate in the “List of Dreams'' activity. Participants were able to brainstorm ideas for Samvera technologies that are unconstrained by current features, technology capabilities, funding, etc. This group selected four “dreams” for further investigation to determine the skills, technology, and other needs required to bring those technology ideas to fruition.


The ITAV analysis work was easy to implement and very valuable to the Samvera Community with concrete, actionable results. The process enabled community leadership to determine where we needed to focus our strategic planning, and made it possible to engage the right stakeholders in meaningful and productive virtual planning work. Being able to spread the work out across the year worked well; it ensured there was time for input and refinement across all of the community and that the end result was surfacing new, actionable ideas. The process was never overwhelming and the community entered into 2023 with actionable goals for advancing our technologies.