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Looking back at the Infrastucture Series with collected resources recommended by participants and ahead to continuing the conversation

Wrapping up the 2020 Infrastructure Series

Last January’s ALA Midwinter conference was not only the last of that in-person meeting but also the last time I traveled to a conference.  It was there, meeting with Craig Van Dyck of CLOCKSS, that the FORCE11 Infrastructure Series kicked off in earnest. A few weeks later, Craig’s post on digital preservation started the series. Though the pandemic lockdown would begin shortly after, I had no at the time the strange, challenging year that would lie ahead.

A note of thanks

A series of monthly interviews on different infrastructure topics was the plan and I am amazed and grateful that it all went ahead as planned (well, mostly…). I must thank those that took the time and energy to organize, write, advise and publicize the series. The interviewees and interviewer Josh Brown were all enthusiastic about the project, generous with their time and expertise and met their deadlines. In 2020 no less! The FORCE11 communications committee and especially John Chodacki did a lot of the ‘behind the scenes’ work, very patiently and sometimes on short notice. It was a wonderfully collaborative project.

Themes that emerged

I was interested to see if or how the posts could be loosely threaded, since, after all, infrastructures are so often interdependent. As it turns out, the common themes were all about people, rather than technology. Several interviewees involved multiple colleagues to address the questions asked. Collaboration came up over and over again and the need for accessible resources on these issues seems clear. What stood out the most for me was the repeated calls for participation–broad, community participation, not just that of experts. I couldn’t agree with that sentiment more.

Keeping the conversations going

Interest and feedback was greater than I could have hoped! I also want to thank those in the community who got in touch with questions, suggestions and thanks. In fact, the year ended (finally) with a number of ideas for continuing the series in some form. If anyone wants to pick up the mantle, please get in touch.

Collected resources for keeping up with infrastructure and related news

Finally, to help encourage participation, I hope this collected list of resources from the series participants is useful for informing continued discussions on these topics, whenever and wherever the opportunities arise.


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