Post written by: Jessica Meyerson, FCoP Co-Investigator and Project Director

Where to connect with FCoP Cohort members?

A friendly reminder that you can find members of the FCoP cohort at IDCC in February facilitating the “Preparation and Process: Software Preservation and Emulation for Research Data” workshop (Tracy Popp @ University of Illinois; Monique Lassere @ University of Arizona; Lauren Work @ University of Virginia) as well as presenting a paper entitled “Sustaining Software Preservation Efforts Through Use and Communities of Practice” (authored by Fernando Rios and his University of Arizona colleagues Monique Lassere, Judd Ruggill, and Ken McAllister).

In March, you can find members of the cohort at Code4Lib presenting the “Cohort4Lib” panel (Wendy Hagenmaier, Amanda Pellerin, Maura Gerke @ Georgia Tech; Lauren Work and Elizabeth Wilkinson @ University of Virginia; Tracy Popp @ University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign).

Learning as Individuals and as Organizations

Outside of winter holidays, December and January were spent shifting focus away from active project activities towards a combination of reflection, synthesis, and refining resulting documentation. Not surprisingly, the FCoP cohort members have undergone change over the course of this project including reorganization, loss of original staff, new leadership, and shifting job responsibility. These types of changes are to be expected over the course of a multi-year project — individuals and organizations are not static. However, we felt that it is important to revisit one of the project’s primary goals in light of these changes: Building capacity for individuals and organizations to undertake software curation and emulation as part of their broader digital curation activities. Luckily, part of our overarching project design included reflections on the process throughout the duration project. Through a combination of blog posts and outreach activities, this reflect-as-we-go approach mitigated some of the risks posed by a prolonged, singular focus on project work followed by a hard shift toward reflection and synthesis at the very end of a project.

These changes also underscore the importance of thinking expansively about the impact of individuals as they move from one organization to another, taking with them the experiences and lessons learned in their previous work context – and translating those lessons to their new organizational context. In this sense, individual activities and contributions within the cohort are critical to capacity building within the field more broadly. At the same time, changes shine light on organizational processes for sharing/distributing knowledge between individuals and departments leading the organization to pose question such as “Do knowledge siloes prevent organizations from retaining/absorbing lessons and findings derived from individual staff members’ participation in external projects?” “What additional mechanisms could be put in place to support a reflect-as-we-go approach that would help to ensure that individual learning is translated to organizational learning?”

Over the course of the next few months, project staff and cohort participants will continue to paint a more holistic picture of project activities that aims to reflect the combined project contributions of organizations and individuals. The three pillars of FCoP project outcomes include: 1) a story of change in capacity over time; 2) tools and templates for immediate use by individual practitioners and cultural heritage organizations; and 3) a forward-looking action agenda highlighting areas where the field needs to focus additional attention.

Updates on Field Research

Dr. Amelia Acker, our Project Field Researcher, has completed an interim report synthesizing her experiences across all three field sites. This spring, we will update you on the development of her remaining project deliverables: case statement for software curation, software curation and emulation teaching module, and submission of three articles to peer-reviewed journals.