Working Groups

The SPN Working Groups reflect the five major activity areas of the Software Preservation Network – areas that SPN believes are critical to accomplishing our mission: metadata, law & policy, technological infrastructure, education & outreach, and research. Working groups are focused on advancing our understanding in these areas through information gathering, synthesis and product development such as use cases, workflows, crosswalks, state of the field reports and more. Working groups articulate measurable, incremental goals for their work in the form of an action plan. These action plans align the activities of the working groups with SPN’s mission, vision, and strategic goals.

Working Group Members

Responsibilities and Duties

Expected term: 1 year

Working Group Members bear responsibility for:

  • investigating and reporting on the broader landscape of activities in their topical area
  • determining what work products will best serve or fill gaps in practice as it is currently understood

Specifically, in order to fulfill these responsibilities, Working Group Members agree to:

  • stay current with the working group’s collective opinions and decisions;
  • work in good faith with the SPN community (including fellow working group members, staff, other working group and committee members) as partners toward the achievement of our strategic goals, including active participation in nominations, voting and other SPN-wide initiatives in addition to the particular issues and business of the working group;
  • act as SPN ambassadors in the other professional communities they are members of so that we can benefit from, build on and amplify the work of complementary initiatives;
  • give all meetings and other activities pertaining to the organization a high priority on their calendars and attend as many standing and ad hoc meetings as possible;
  • inform their Working Group Coordinator in a timely manner if they are unable to continue as a Member for their full term; and
  • adhere to and promote the SPN’s code of conduct.


There are no prerequisites. Anyone with an interest in the work can apply to join a SPN working group.

Working Group Coordinators

Responsibilities and Duties

Expected term: 1 year

Working Group Coordinators bear responsibility for:

  • maintaining open lines of communication between working group members and between the working group and the larger SPN 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
  • working closely with the SPN Community Coordinator to recruit new working group members, including new coordinators

Specifically, in order to fulfill these responsibilities, Working Group Coordinators agree to:

  • schedule, create/maintain agendas and facilitate working group meetings;
  • maintain an up-to-date list of their working group’s membership, their contact information (ie, the google-groups listserv for the working group), and the duration of their current term
  • facilitate extension of working group members’ terms and/or recruit new members and coordinators as needed;
  • collaborate with working group members to shape current and future work;
  • facilitate ways of sharing the workload in an equitable way;
  • propose policies and practices for the working group;
  • stay up-to-date with any new SPN policies and procedures that impact working groups, and communicate any changes to working group members;
  • report out to the SPN governance committees and wider membership on the working group’s activities;
  • ensure that working groups arrive at decisions and action plans in an orderly, timely and democratic manner;
  • maintain the working group’s documentation (see Templates and Documentation);
  • act as an ambassador and spokesperson for the SPN in other professional communities;
  • inform the SPN Community Coordinator in a timely manner if they are unable to continue as coordinator for their full term;
  • adhere to and promote the SPN code of conduct, and foster an inclusive and engaging virtual environment; and
  • perform other duties as the need arises.


If the working group has only one coordinator, the prerequisite to serve as a working group coordinator is 6 months or longer participation in the working group.

If the working group opts to elect two or more co-coordinators (recommended), there are no prerequisites for additional coordinators. Only one coordinator must have background experience in the group.

Regardless of working group tenure, all coordinators have equal responsibility to helping coordinate the working group.

Co-coordinators may serve multiple terms, but co-coordinator terms must remain staggered.

Transition Procedures

Each year during working group member recruitment, and as needed, existing Coordinators may roll off and new Coordinators take on the responsibility for facilitating each working group.

Each working group should strive to appoint two coordinators. For the initial selection of co-coordinators, one person should serve a 1-year term while another commits to 2 years. Each year proceeding this initial formation, the working group will recruit one new coordinator to serve along with a more experienced coordinator.

Steps/Phases of Transition for the outgoing coordinator:

  • Take stock: Reflect on your tenure as coordinator by completing the exit evaluation:
    • what worked;
    • what didn’t;
    • what types of activities seemed to retain the most energy;
    • what do you recommend as future strategic directions for the group;
    • what resources does the group need;
    • where might the group focus future recruitment efforts based on your knowledge of the perspectives represented
  • Contact/work with the SPN Community Coordinator on messaging and prepping materials for recruitment and transition
  • Discuss the transition with your working group members – let them know that you are going to cycle off and that you need a replacement. Recruit from within the group.
  • If you have interested members, work with the SPN Administrative Coordinator to schedule a time with the interested co-coordinators to discuss the role; review division of labor between co-coordinators and walk them through the available templates, procedures, documentation relevant to coordination
  • If more than two people are interested in coordination, ask all interested persons to write a brief statement of interest and include this in an anonymous voting form that will be sent to all working group members
  • Once the new coordinators are selected – the SPN Community Coordinator will be responsible for inviting them to the annual action planning workshop and facilitation training.
  • The coordinator meets one last time with the new coordinators to discuss their exit evaluation.

Templates and Documentation

Working Group Coordinators will work with the SPN Community Coordinator and governance groups to ensure that the working group documents and makes its proceedings available to the wider SPN community. SPN-provided templates and policies potentially relevant to all working groups will be updated and linked in this document for Working Group Coordinators to review and use as needed, but may include:

Preferred citation:

SPN Policies & Procedures Committee. (2020, September 17). SPN Working Groups Member and Coordinator Responsibilities. Software Preservation Network.