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Creation of an Evergreen Advocate role
The Evergreen community has historically been composed largely of Evergreen developers (and other highly-technical people) and understandably led by those developers. As the software becomes used in libraries across the world, it's natural for the number of non-developers in the community to grow substantially. We're recommending the creation - either formally or informally - of an Evergreen Advocate role in the community. The objectives of Evergreen Advocates would be:
Creation of formal Evergreen Website Team
A community website platform that supports the needs of a diverse community and fosters the growth of that community is not something that can be built and then left to run on its own. We're recommending the formation of a formal Website Team, to be composed of self-selected community members, and reporting to the Governance Committee until a formal Evergreen organizational structure can be put in place. The twin primary goals of this Team would be to make short-term improvements to the website as well as plan long-term architecture improvement and maintenance operations. This Team would actively and regularly seek out feedback and suggestions for direction from Evergreen community constituencies, including the Communications Committee, the developer community, DIG, new users and potential users, etc. In addition, this team would be tasked with lowering any barriers to participation in the website and encouraging contributions from as many community members as possible.
Creation of Website Policies
Until the Evergreen Foundation is formalized and intellectual property concerns are subsequently addressed, it would be wise to institute website-related policies as semi-formal community guidelines or terms of service. Specifically, the Website Planning Committee has recognized the need for:
Active Publication of New Content
The new Website Team, working in conjunction with the Communications Committee and any interested Evergreen Advocates, should create and implement a schedule for regular publication of new Evergreen-related content on the website. For instance, once each week a blog entry about a specific Evergreen feature or case study could be published to the front page of the website.
In order to form an inclusive and diverse community welcoming all, we are recommending the creation of a formal Accessibility Advocate role, possibly as an adjunct to or within the Website Team. This role would strive to ensure that no groups of people are inadvertently barred from participating in the Evergreen community due to any reason such as visual, auditory, or motor skill impairment, language barriers, etc. We also recommend the creation of a similar role to actively participate in Evergreen software development features related to user experience.
The Web Team's primary technical recommendation is to replace the existing website with an integrated community website platform constructed using existing open source software and tools. An ideal community website platform would provide the following features:
1. Provide a content management system that encourages content contribution from the community while allowing strong editorial management
Many of the strategic goals and requirements defined during this process involve the need for a system allowing as many community members as possible to easily contribute content to the community: documentation, files, useful resources, discussion, etc. A modern community website platform would include easy-to-use, web-based content management tools for all community members to take advantage of.
At the same time, there is a need for the community website to be well-organized and for highly-relevant information to be curated to a prominent position. A well-designed website platform would provide powerful editorial capabilities for the Evergreen Website Team defined in the People & Process Recommendations.
2. Provide collaboration tools that allow community members to work together
3. Provide a foundation for data-driven community applications
4. Provide a foundation for integrating third-party data, software, and services
There are a variety of requirements that involve interacting with third-party data, software, and services. Many of these requirements are fairly straightforward, e.g.:
A community website platform can include many of these features "out of the box" or via relatively easy modular integration.
1. Define project management team membership, responsibilities, and decision-making authority in a process that recognizes the importance of community input. Pragmatically, this might take the form of the Governance Committee formally chartering the Evergreen Website Team to plan and implement the new platform with input from the community at regular intervals and defined community stakeholder representatives. Since virtually all of the strategic planning has already been conducted and documented as part of our planning process, the Website Team would be able to proceed directly with relatively straightforward technical planning.
2. Select a community website platform. The Website Team will need to evaluate several community website platforms for their suitability, ease of implementation and customization, availability of support from community members, and other factors the Team deems necessary.
3. Define and prepare website development and production environments
4. Develop community website platform
a. Develop information architecture b. Populate content as defined by information architecture, using existing website content where possible c. Implement custom community and collaboration functionality using existing tools where possible d. Implement a design theme that maximizes website user experience given the defined information architecture and functionality features e. Implement stakeholder and community review process of completed website platform
5. Launch community website platform
a. declare new content freeze and user account freeze on existing website b. ensure content is synchronized on existing and new websites c. launch new website, archiving existing website into a web-accessible archive indefinitely for future reference d. begin community outreach activities to encourage membership and participation in new online community platform
Benefits of centralization:
1. RSCEL (Resource Sharing Cooperative of Evergreen Libraries - rscel.evergreen-ils.org)
Much of the content and functionality of the RSCEL site is aligned with the strategic goals and requirements defined during this process. Wherever possible, we recommend that this content and functionality be integrated into the new website just as the existing website content will be.
2. Docs (Official documentation DocBook site maintained by DIG - docs.evergreen-ils.org; unofficial documentation maintained via wiki and other website pages)
Currently, documentation is contributed via the git software version control tool to enforce version control; this method is not accessible for many non-developers and represents a barrier to widespread contribution. There are many solutions for content management that provide version control in a more user-friendly manner. If DIG elects to preserve the current method for contributing official documentation, we can instead encourage widespread participation in and contribution to the unofficial documentation set.
3. Community News Aggregator (Maintained by community member - planet.evergreen-ils.org)
As the Evergreen ecosystem continues to grow, relevant content will increasingly be found off-site. By integrating the community news aggregator functionality into the community website platform, off-site and on-site content can be associated in searches and collections of resources.
One of the key functionality requirements for the website is the ability for users to browse and search for content specifically targeted at their specific role. To properly satisfy this requirement, the following steps are recommended:
One of the key functionality requirements for the website is the ability for users to browse and search for content based on a specific topic or keyword. To properly satisfy this requirement, the following steps are recommended: