Kete Community at NDF 2013 – What is the project doing and why should you care?

A round of notable Kete people were in Wellington for the 2013 National Digital Forum.  It was great to connect.

  • Irma of Calyx in Australia, Leith Haarhoff of Palmerston City Libraries, Harley Couper of Tauranga Library were all in attendance
  • Penny Carnaby’s keynote referenced Kete as a point of success in NZ’s digital heritage
  • The Kete dinner gave us a moment to connect on the project
  • Discussion at the NDF AGM focused on Kete project including some statements of real support for Kete and its principles.

A theme of NDF was the acknowledgement of what Kete has achieved but also some concern from users who hear that the software is in a very vulnerable position and requires support to get to a point of sustainability. Joann Ransom raised a matter at the AGM to highlight the risks of the software project.  We want to recap the situation and keep dialogue happening.

Rabid remain committed to the technical upgrade and discussion has included possible options that would bring the technology through to sustainability.  Kete should be a strong candidate for financial commitment, as the current state of the application is unacceptable and installations are vulnerable as they run Ruby on Rails 2 and no longer receive security coverage.

We remain convinced that Kete has potential to grow in a new stage of community users and stakeholders beyond New Zealand.  The uses are diverse, compelling and there is strong value in sourcing, identifying and safeguarding digital records of our community heritage.

Need a refresher? Take a look at the development proposal here.

We have many organisations who might consider the digital community heritage elements of Kete in new sites through New Zealand and throughout Australia.   But new entrants have modern expectations of software and the existing Kete instances themselves suffer from poor usability that make it harder for everyday people to participate where they are installed.

We need to achieve a commercial balance/sustainability and activate the existing user groups to demonstrate that this project is worth supporting and can grow and help more communities.

Wondering what this means?   Here’s an overview of what needs to be put in place

  • a governance group mandating improvements to the project.  The fundamentals of this group are being set up during this first phase of redevelopment
  • installs of Kete to be participating in a support agreement that will include allowance for improvements to the core project on an ongoing basis
  • there may be a model where supported hosting for vanilla Kete installs would make the software more accessible to very small community organisations  (e.g. Pukekura Park) and provide assurance that data is archived, backed up and so on
  • a commercial partner with a commitment to the core software project for the medium term

In the longer-term, Kete should be developing out features for better telling stories in our communities, and linking content within items.  Rabid have many ideas about this and hope to see this discussion pull together a roadmap that we can engage in.

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