Information Maintainers

Purpose

Our purpose is to support the maintenance of information and those who manage, maintain, and preserve information systems.

Values

Access: As Information Maintainers, we strive to balance equitable access to information with potentially harmful reuses of that information. We are mindful that systems that create, curate and disseminate information—as well as information itself—can be tools of both oppression and liberation.

Embodiment: We seek to embody our values in information practices and structures. We further acknowledge that all information is embodied information, and that our information practices have an impact on real, vulnerable human bodies and natural and created environments.

Inter-generationality: Information maintenance, like other forms of maintenance, calls for long-term thinking beyond our lived cultural context. We value inter-generational knowledge sharing as it is practiced in communities and institutions.

Translation: As Information Maintainers, we often translate information into more usable forms. We are likewise committed to remaining open to new and diverse perspectives, voices, and sources of information, supporting acts of translation that enable transformation and exchange.

How We Work

  • We research issues that lie at the intersection of information and data governance, ethics, and workforce care.
  • We develop and endorse educational resources that build and support the ethics of care within the information management and data governance sectors.
  • We engage in professional and internal organizational advocacy, and support the labor of information maintainers by developing resources such as case studies, talking points, and toolkits.
  • We develop guidelines and frameworks to inform long-term, inter-generational thinking in community-based and institutional information maintenance.

How We Meet

Members of the Information Maintenance Community (MC) meet virtually with regular frequency, typically monthly, using a web conferencing platform (hosted by The Maintainers). Monthly meetings are used to plan and advance work underway; to complete capacity building activity that informs the work of the MC and the Central Office, and to build community.

Agendas are sent out a full week in advance of each monthly meeting by the facilitator to solicit additional agenda items from the members of the maintenance community. We value agenda and meeting minutes since they represent critical pieces of documentation about the MC: its growth and evolution over time, the activities and actions it undertakes; and its method of coordination.

To stay up to date about meetings and activities of the Maintainers Communities, interested parties can sign up for MC mailing lists on the Maintenance Communities homepage.

Leadership

All Members:

  • Act as an ambassador and spokesperson for the Maintenance Community in other professional communities
  • Adhere to and promote the Maintenance Community code of practice, and foster an inclusive and engaging in-person and virtual environment

Maintenance Community Meeting Co-Facilitators

Responsibilities:

  • Maintaining open lines of communication between members of the Information Maintenance community, and the broader Maintainers Community, keeping the scope and action plan of the working group up to date as the focus of the work shifts and/or is completed
  • Keeping the scoping statement and activities of the MC up to date as the focus of the work shifts and/or is completed
  • Coordinates with The Maintainers co-directors/staff on announcements of completed work, recruitment of members and other Maintainers-wide initiatives
  • Schedule, create/maintain agendas and help to facilitate community meetings
  • Send out reminders and agendas for community meetings at LEAST one week prior to each meeting and send out a follow-up with any action items or requests for follow-up no later than 2 days following each community meeting
  • Help to maintain and update the community’s documentation
  • Inform the members of the Maintenance Community and the Central Office in a timely manner if they are unable to continue as Co-Facilitator for their full term
  • Report out at each community meeting

Maintenance Community Communications Lead or Co-Leads

Responsibilities:

  • Create sample tweets, web copy and draft listserv text to share with MC members for the release of any major announcements
  • Update web copy about the MC
  • Tweet on regular basis updates from the MC – such as highlights from community meetings, related work, etc.
  • Act as an ambassador and spokesperson for the Maintenance Community in other professional communities
  • Inform the members of the Maintenance Community and the Central Office in a timely manner if they are unable to continue as Co-Facilitator for their full term
  • Adhere to and promote the Maintenance Community code of practice, and foster an inclusive and engaging in-person and virtual environment
  • Report out at each community meeting
  • Create sample tweets, web copy and draft listserv text to share with MC members for the release of any major announcements
  • Update web copy about the MC
  • Tweet on regular basis updates from the MC – such as highlights from community meetings, related work, etc.
  • Act as an ambassador and spokesperson for the Maintenance Community in other professional communities
  • Inform the members of the Maintenance Community and the Central Office in a timely manner if they are unable to continue as Co-Facilitator for their full term
  • Adhere to and promote the Maintenance Community code of practice, and foster an inclusive and engaging in-person and virtual environment
  • Report out at each community meeting

Maintenance Community Onboarding Co-Leads

Terms: 1 year

Responsibilities:

  • Weekly review of any new members (registered on the listserv) followed by outreach to those new members, serving as their initial point of contact and offering to answer questions, provide more information about the community, how it works, links to relevant information and upcoming events, and ways to get involved
  • Introduction of new members to the list – or explaining the introductory prompt for the list – who.what.why do you maintain
  • Act as an ambassador and spokesperson for the Maintenance Community in other professional communities;
  • Inform the members of the Maintenance Community and the Central Office in a timely manner if they are unable to continue as Co-Facilitator for their full term
  • Adhere to and promote the Maintenance Community code of practice, and foster an inclusive and engaging in-person and virtual environment
  • Report out at each community meeting

Maintenance Community Outreach Lead

Terms: 1 year

Responsibilities:

  • Working with other convener roles to identify areas/audiences/potential participants in the community
  • Identify opportunities to cross-pollinate the work of the maintenance community including presentations at other community meetings, conference opportunities, podcasts, and others
  • Act as an ambassador and spokesperson for the Maintenance Community in other professional communities
  • Inform the members of the Maintenance Community and the Central Office in a timely manner if they are unable to continue as Co-Facilitator for their full term
  • Adhere to and promote the Maintenance Community code of practice, and foster an inclusive and engaging in-person and virtual environment
  • Report out at each community meeting

Decision Making

This section has been copied, almost in its entirety, from Apache Rave’s “Lazy Consensus” (2012):

We operate by lazy consensus, under which “lack of objections is interpreted as a silent approval.”

he effectiveness of this approach, particularly for large, geographically distributed groups, is based on the assumption that it is easier for people to agree, by doing nothing, than it is to object, which requires an alternative to be proposed. This has two effects, firstly people are less likely to object for the sake of it and secondly it cuts down on the amount of unnecessary mail traffic and discussion.

Lazy consensus means we can avoid waiting for a community based decision before proceeding. However, it does require everyone who cares for the health of the project to watch what is happening, as it is happening. Objecting too far down the road will cause upset, but objecting (or asking for clarification of intent) early is likely to be greeted with relief that someone is watching and cares.

Stating Lazy Consensus

Sometimes a member of the community will believe a specific action is the correct one for the community and would like to get agreement from the rest of the group. In these circumstances, Lazy Consensus is the preferred process for gaining such approval.

This process is usually started when a community member makes a proposal and states that they will start implementing it in 5 working days hours unless someone objects. 5 working days is chosen as the minimum because it accounts for different timezones and non-maintenance community commitments.

In this approach a proposal does not require discussion, nor does the proposer request that the community explicitly supports their actions.

Silence is Consent

People may choose to indicate their support for the actions taken with a +1 email, which isquick and easy to read, and reassuring for the implementer. However, remember, in a lazy consensus world, silence is the equivalent to support. This can take some time to get used to.

Our Work

Information Maintenance as a Practice of Care: An Invitation to Reflect and Share

An invitation to participate in a broad ranging discussion that infuses information maintenance with practices, relationships, and ways of thinking and being that represent a coherent ethic of care.

Blog Posts

The Soup’s On Us: Introducing the Information Maintainers

This post is by Information Maintenance Community Member Monique Lassere Many of us are familiar with the term “maintenance,” and we may even have ready-made ideas of what maintenance looks like, whether as an occupation or what we just realized … More →

Events

The Information Maintainers is an open community dedicated to supporting the maintenance of information and those who manage, maintain, and preserve information systems. Once a month, we virtually convene to explore issues related to information maintenance. Our meetings include special guest speakers, round-table discussions, and strategic advocacy planning. While everyone is called to the table, in our internal discussions and exchanges with others, our discussions may be of particular interest to information maintenance practitioners (librarians, archivists, data managers, preservationists, etc), teachers and learners, and organizational leaders. Here are recordings of past meetings:

Information Maintainers April 2021 Meeting

We were joined by Lidia Ponce de la Vega, Hispanic Studies Ph.D. Candidate at McGill University. Her presentation focused on the case study of the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) and discussing the possibilities for decolonizing online archives by exploring topics of human and nonhuman representation, diversity and inclusion, and equitable archival practices.

Information Maintainers March 2021 Meeting

This month we continue to explore art and maintenance- we are joined by Lauren Callis, co-founder and executive director of Curiosity Studio, An Upcycled Closet , and art therapist. Her art practice is in painting and fiber arts. Lauren will be speaking with us about garment mending and the maintenance of this traditional skill set, made all the more important as more people seek to consume less and also connect more with their immediate personal worlds.

Information Maintainers February 2021 Meeting

Interdisciplinary artist Elisabeth Nicula discussed the maintenance of her artistic practice and archives. Elisabeth is from Norfolk, Virginia, and her artwork is in conversation with nature. She is interested in seeing and being seen by the non-human world; abstracted scales of space and time; and poetics and memory.

Information Maintainers November 2020 Meeting

This month’s conversation is about documentation, with special guest Kaitlin Newson! We’ll get into the actions, routines, and communities that are needed to support and maintain the documentation needs of information systems, from someone who’s a leader in making such work happen in decentralized, open-source environments.

Information Maintainers October 2020 Meeting

Our meeting focused on information maintenance frameworks for Indigenous data sovereignty and the preservation of Indigenous cultural knowledge. Our panel of speakers represented perspectives from across the continuum of information maintenance, from Public Health to Librarianship, to Indigenous data governance.

Information Maintainers September 2020 Meeting

The Information Maintainers is an open community dedicated to supporting the maintenance of information and those who manage, maintain, and preserve information systems. On September 25, we held our monthly meeting where we eschewed our usual guest-speaker structure to spend some time learning about information maintenance frameworks for Indigenous data sovereignty and the preservation of Indigenous cultural knowledge.

Information Maintainers August 2020 Meeting

The Information Maintainers is an open community dedicated to supporting the maintenance of information and those who manage, maintain, and preserve information systems. On August 21, 2020, we spent our monthly meeting exploring the intersection of digital preservation and open-source software. Our speaker was digital preservation domain expert, and full-stack developer, Ross Spencer.

Contribute to the Information Maintainers community

Start today by taking three steps:

  1. Review our community code of practice. (above)
  2. Subscribe to our community’s mailing list.
  3. Introduce yourself.

How to Send/Respond to Press Inquiries

All press inquiries should be sent to information-maintainers@themaintainers.org

This list is monitored by all maintenance community conveners and The Maintainers co-directors.

Upon receipt of a press inquiry, the Communication Lead or Co-Leads should draft a brief response within 24 hours that buys time for a lengthier response to be reviewed by the community and submitted to the press outlet after the lazy consensus period.