Atlanta, GA – February 28 – LYRASIS is proud to announce the release of a new Guidebook as the culmination of the “It Takes a Village: Open Source Software Sustainability” project. The Guidebook is designed to serve as a practical reference source to help open source software (OSS) programs serving cultural and scientific heritage organizations plan for long-term sustainability. This sustainability effort includes ensuring that commitment and resources will be available at levels sufficient for the software to remain viable and effective as long as needed. This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services – Grant LG-73-17-0005-17; LYRASIS appreciates their support.

The Guidebook can be accessed here.

It Takes a Village (ITAV) seeks to deepen the cultural and scientific heritage field’s understanding of sustainability and encourage OSS programs to share and learn from each other. The Guidebook was the primary output of the grant project, and was designed to help new and existing OSS initiatives strengthen planning, promotion, and assessment of sustainability. In addition to providing OSS stakeholders with a path to evaluate the health of their software, the project offers potential adopters of OSS applications with a structure within which to measure sustainability and risk, and identify opportunities for growth. This Guidebook represents the combined contributions of project advisors and participants, who shared their experiences and knowledge to help define a sustainability framework for the field as well as their own OSS programs.

The Guidebook is now available online, and all are invited to view and adopt its recommendations. It includes real-world case studies, gleaned from OSS communities that already have a legacy and history from which lessons can be learned. LYRASIS will also host two free webinars that are open to the public to learn more about the Guidebook. Access this webpage for more information.

Robert Miller, CEO of LYRASIS, says of the Guidebook, “We understand that open source programs are becoming a commonly adopted solution for the cultural heritage field, and these programs are critically important for the entire community. This project was a vital opportunity to bring together many of these OSS programs and create a resource to help them remain sustainable, useful and viable into the future. As the organizational home for two open source communities, ArchivesSpace and CollectionSpace, LYRASIS understands and is ready to take on the challenges of sustainability for OSS programs as well as the need to keep them healthy and available for their growing communities.”

Michele Kimpton, Director of Business Development and Senior Strategist for the Digital Public Library of America and a project advisor, said “This Guidebook is an excellent culmination of the collective knowledge and experience of over 50 professionals leading over 25 OSS programs in our community. My hope is this Guidebook, produced from their combined wisdom, will provide a roadmap for current and future leaders taking the charge on producing sustainable open source software, and equally important will become a living document for others to build on in years to come.”

The project co-directors, Laurie Gemmill Arp, LYRASIS Director of Collections Services and Community Supported Software, and Megan Forbes, CollectionSpace Program Manager, selected and invited representatives to participate in a national forum in October 2017, the results of which informed the content of the Guidebook. Participants also contributed information about their OSS programs, which is detailed in an appendix to the Guidebook.

A volunteer project advisory group provided advice in regard to which OSS initiatives to invite to the ITAV forum, the forum agenda, and content of this report. This group also served pivotal roles as discussion leaders and facilitators during the ITAV forum. Advisors were: Rob Cartolano, Associate Vice President for Technology and Preservation for Columbia University Libraries; Tom Cramer, Assistant University Librarian and Director of Digital Library Systems & Services at Stanford University; Michele Kimpton, Director of Business Development and Senior Strategist for the Digital Public Library of America; Katherine Skinner, Executive Director, Educopia Institute; and Ann Baird Whiteside, Librarian and Assistant Dean for Information Services, Harvard University Graduate School of Design.


LYRASIS, a nonprofit membership organization of more than 1000 libraries, museums, and archives supports enduring access to our shared academic, scientific and cultural heritage through leadership in open technologies, content services, digital solutions and collaboration with archives, libraries, museums and knowledge communities worldwide.

About IMLS

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s approximately 120,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.