Note:  Having served the purpose of exploring a possible fee-based membership organization for the ARK community, the Sustainability Working Group was retired as of 2020-02-03.  Any remaining action or discussion items have reverted to the Advisory Group.  Thanks to everyone who participated over the past months; your considered opinions and guidance helped us to clarify our objectives and refine our future plans.


The Sustainability Working Group (WG) determines the most cost-effective way to deliver ARK services that provide value to the community while keeping the required contribution from the community affordable. It conducts an ongoing conversation in the ARKs-in-the-Open (AITO) community about costs and how they will shape the “minimum viable product” and any additional services. This WG is concerned with long-term organizational and financial stability for ARKs and ARK infrastructure, whatever that will end up meaning precisely, and its work will be cognizant of legal and tax frameworks (eg, non-profit organizations).


  1. Cost analysis. As a starting point, determine the cost categories and totals involved in keeping the current ARK infrastructure ( resolver included) running, monitored, patched, replicated, and updated with features that keep it interesting to the community. Determine which costs are essential and which costs could be reduced or eliminated if necessary in order to achieve sustainability.

  2. Revenue strategies. Determine ways to bring in income and/or in-kind resources necessary to sustain the service on an ongoing basis, as well as sufficient buffer to maintain it for a year even if the income stopped. Examples include one or more of subscriptions, fundraising events, contributed staff time, tiered memberships, etc. It will be useful to be able to state how these strategies are expected to avoid the problems experienced in 2018 by DPLA and DPN.


  • Kickoff: clarify objectives and assign roles for the objectives

  • Month 2: share draft cost analysis and revenue strategies with the AG for early feedback

  • Month 6: propose revenue strategy and implementation plan

  • Months 7-12: seed sustainability with early adopters from within the community

  • Month 12: updated WG objectives and deliverables for the coming year, with an accordingly updated overall AITO roadmap


Working Group Members

  • Sayeed Choudhury (AG Liaison), Johns Hopkins University

  • Kurt Ewoldsen (AG Liaison), CDL

  • Martin Kalfatovic, Smithsonian Institution
  • Brian McBride, University of Utah
  • Roger Schonfeld, Ithaka
  • Kate Wittenberg (AG Liaison), Portico

Meeting Times

Teleconferences are generally held twice a month, 16:00-17:00 New York time, on the first and third Mondays. Connection details included in calendar invitations.

Communication Channels, archived at!forum/aito-sustainability-wg

Agendas and Notes

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