Here at the UK Web Archive, we're very fortunate to be able to work in the open, with almost all code on GitHub. Some of our work has been taken up and re-used by others, which is great. Weâ€™d like to encourage more collaboration, but we've had trouble dedicating time to open project management, and our overall management process and our future plans are unclear. For example, we've experimented with so many different technologies over the years that our list of repositories give little insight into where we're going next. There are also problems with how issues and pull-requests have been managed: often languishing unanswered, waiting for us to get around to looking at them. This also applies to the IIPC repositories and other projects we are involved in, as well as the projects we lead.
I wanted to block out some time to deal with these things promptly, but also to find a way of making it a bit more, well, fun. A bit more social. Some forum where we can chat about our process and plans without the formality of having to write things up.
Taking inspiration from Jason Scott live-streamed CD-ripping sessions, we came up with the idea of something like Office Hours for Open Source -- a kind open open video conference or live stream, where we'll share our process, discuss issues relating to open source projects and have a forum where anyone can ask questions about what weâ€™re up to.
Who is this for?
All welcome, from lurkers to those brimming with burning questions. Just remember that being *kind* beats being right.
Furthermore, if anyone else who manages open source projects like ours is also welcome to join and take the lead for a while! I can only cover the projects weâ€™re leading, but there are many more that would be interesting to hear from.
The plan is to launch the first Online Hours session on the 22nd of May, and then hold regular weekly slots every Tuesday from then on. We may not manage to run it every single week, but if itâ€™s regular and frequent that should mean we can cope more easily with missing the odd one or two.
On the 22nd, we will run two sessions - one in the morning (for the west-of-GMT time-zones) and one in the evening (for the eastern half). Following that, we intend to switch between the two slots, making each a.m. and p.m. slot a fortnightly occurrence.
The sessions will be webcast with a slack channel available for chat. See the IIPC Trello board for more information.
The IIPC (International Internet Preservation Consortium) have kindly agreed to help support this event and further Online Hours sessions. Running this initiative in a more open manner should raise the profile of our open source work both inside and outside of the IIPC, and encourage greater adoption of, and collaboration around, open source tools.
See you there!
By Andrew Jackson, Web Archive Technical Lead, The British Library