The BitCurator Consortium is navigating a deliberative transition

 In Summary: 

  • The BitCurator Consortium is responding to known and new variables in order to ensure its long-term sustainability, including the resourcing and maintenance of its software.
  • Based on a financial review at the end of 2023, and completion of in-depth, strategy-informed financial projections in Q1 of 2024, Educopia is implementing a 1 FtE criteria for all affiliated communities in January 2025.
  • The BCC and Educopia will identify a new fiscal host for the BCC and determine a timeline for the move (starting January 2025). The two organizations will also work together to identify a software maintenance partner for the BitCurator Environment.
  • The BCC is convening a Transition Team to bring together key stakeholder groups (members of the Executive Council, committees, BCC members, and Educopia staff) to determine the best fit for a new fiscal host, as well as the costs of working with a software maintenance partner. The Transition team is open to volunteers with previous involvement in the BCC. If you’re interested in joining the team, please apply via this form by May 31, 2024.

The BitCurator Consortium’s Context: Striving towards Sustainability  

The BitCurator Consortium and Educopia (its current fiscal host) have been on parallel journeys,  considering and implementing operational shifts that will result in greater effectiveness, sustainability, and impact for their organizations.

For the BCC, this work has been centered around ways to make the BitCurator Consortium and the BitCurator Environment sustainable. Efforts towards this goal included conducting two virtual town halls in August 2023, for members of the BCC, and for members of the broader community. The aim of these town halls was to gain key insights from BCC’s community, about the Consortium’s purpose, value proposition, financial sustainability, and the software itself. There were three main takeaways from the town halls: 

  • The software environment sets BCC apart from other online digital preservation groups, and has become a de facto standard for digital forensics work in LAM institutions. 
  • Administrations may be willing to pay for BCC membership if it meant they were paying for specific services or support (along the lines of other software models). There was interest in the possibility of the BCC offering individual memberships, as opposed to more expensive institutional ones. 
  • Members would appreciate more hard numbers from the BCC’s budget, including information about the cost of continuing to maintain the environment. 

In response to these findings, and with BCC’s Software Development Committee going on hiatus, the Executive Council took over the responsibility of developing a sustainability plan and finding support for the technical maintenance of the BitCurator Environment. However, this coincided with recent developments in Educopia’s strategic planning process.


Educopia’s Context: Data-informed Decision Making  

In March 2024, Educopia completed the first year of a 3-year operational funding investment from the Mellon Foundation. Educopia is now in the process of making data-informed changes to its business model, changes that will both contribute to greater financial sustainability and respond to the lived experience of staff members that have worked part time on one or more member communities at the same time.

Beginning January 2025, all member communities hosted by Educopia will have to support 1 Full-time Employee (rather than .5FTE). The impact of this new criteria is very different for each community—for BCC, this intersects with the Consortium’s financial sustainability considerations.

BCC approved an Operational Reserve (OR) Planning document on January 20, 2023. Given the changing variables outlined above, Educopia and BCC have been tracking the projected impact on BCC’s operational reserve over a four year period. Even if we make certain assumptions (projected shift to the membership fee structure, the new fiscal hosting criteria of 1 FTE, a very low fee-for-service to a software maintenance partner, and a jump in forum event revenue and sponsorships), the OR continues to fall year over year. This is beyond Educopia’s range of tolerance because a healthy operational reserve is critical for resourcing the following:

  • Administrative transition or sunsetting: Taking a due diligence approach to financial management, the OR needs to be based on a draft budget for sunsetting that includes both ongoing costs of operation as well as any one-time costs of transition that the organization can anticipate.
  • Meaningful, positive organizational change: Testing or piloting something new, attending to organizational deferred maintenance, or building capacity for growth requires understanding the situation based on data/evidence and developing strategies for change that likely need to be tested and iterated on. Razor thin margins year over year don’t leave a lot of room for piloting, experimentation and intentional change.

A Collective Way Forward

With support from Educopia, the Executive Council decided that it is in the best interests of all involved for BCC to separate from Educopia, rather than rushing to make changes. The goal is to work in partnership with Educopia to use 2024 for a calm, deliberative transition that serves the BCC and the BitCurator Environment. BCC Executive Council and Educopia will partner on two major goals through Q2/3 of 2024:

  1. Researching and identifying a software maintenance partner for the BitCurator software, and the real costs associated with the same (to be reflected in projections).
  2. Researching and identify a new fiscal host for the BCC and determining a timeline for the move that will start January 2025.

In order to work towards these goals, we will be establishing a new temporary committee dubbed the Transition Team. The Transition Team is tasked with determining the best fit for a new fiscal host and software maintenance partner. This team will be made up of the three Executive members who will be entering their second term (Elena Colón-Marrero, Shelly Black, and Emily Sommers), Educopia staff, and is open to anyone with previous involvement in the BCC who might want to volunteer to join. If you’re interested in joining the Transition team, please apply via this form by May 31, 2024. We are looking for folks who may have knowledge or a background in communications, financials, software development, historical knowledge of the BCC, and organization transitions.

We intend to navigate this transition with some of the same core values that anchor BCC—openness, transparency and inclusivity—and we welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions. You can reach the BCC Executive Council at, or you can fill out this anonymous form.


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