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Arca Project Timeline

November 2017:

  • BC ELN and UBC's Irving K. Barber Learning Centre(IKBLC) announce the signing of a Letter of Understanding on facilitating the use of Arca by past & present recipients of BC History Digitization Program (BCHDP) grants. Under the terms of the agreement, IKBLC will provide $50,000 to BC ELN over 3 years to allow successful past and future BCHDP grant recipients the option of hosting their digitized material on Arca.
  • The Arca Advisory Committee approves in pricincipal the participation of NEOS consortium libraries, an Alberta consortium of post-secondary, government, and health libraries that has requested Arca participation primarily for its post-secondary members serving under 3,000 FTEs. 

October 2017:

  • Arca is successfully migrated from Amazon Web Services hosting to SFU cloud hosting.
  • The Okanagan Regional Historical Digitization Project joins Arca, bringing the number of Arca participants to 15. Digitised materials from Okanagan memory institutions such as the Historic O'Keefe Ranch, Summerland Museum & Archives, and Peachland Museum are made available at

August 2017:

  • Initial discussions take place with Okanagan Regional Historical Digitization Project and the Prince Rupert Public Library, organisations interested in pursuing participation in Arca. A virtual showcase of Arca infrastructure and functionality is provided for staff from both organisations to facilitate decision-making and answer questions.

July 2017:

  • Work begins on migrating the Arca platform from current Amazon Web Services hosting to SFU cloud hosting. The Arca Admin Centre facilitates communication between the platform service provider and SFU IT on setup of technical infrastructure. This move will ensure Arca is scalable and affordable, and will leverage existing relationships and administrative efficiencies with SFU as BC ELN's host institution.

June 2017:

  • The Arca Admin Centre issues the 2016 Arca Actions & Achievements annual report, shining a spotlight on several Arca participants, including Northwest Community College (now Coast Mountain College), Douglas College, and Camosun College. The report is shared with all BC ELN partner libraries, and with the wider national and international community via social media and the BC ELN website. It is available here:

May 2017:

  • The Arca shared service wins the inaugural BC Library Association Eureka Award, presented at the 2017 BC Library Conference. The award is given to an individual or organization that has created an innovative approach to address a barrier, solve a problem, provide a powerful new insight, or introduce an original idea in the library field. Anita Cocchia accepts the award on behalf of the Arca Advisory Committee and participants.

April 2017:

  • Arca is migrated to Amazon Web Serivces Canada servers with resulting improvements in performance and scalability.
  • Ontario College Library Services, a consortium of Ontario college libraries, requests assistance from the Arca Admin Centre with migrating their III Vital repository to Islandora. The experience helps to enhance the Admin Centre's technical expertise in several key areas, which will save time and resources during future migrations.

March 2017:

  • In order to increase the scalability and performance of Arca's server architecture, discoverygarden (DGI) proposes a partnership with other multi-site DGI clients to share the cost of developing a Drupal filter fix. A cost-sharing partnership approach is approved by the Arca Advisory Committee. The Washington Research Libraries Consortium and the University of Missouri step forward to share development costs with Arca.
  • The Arca Admin Centre supports UFV as they prepare to upload a major collection of digitised newspapers, a collection that will almost double the content currently accessible in Arca. With funding from the BC History Digitization program, UFV library has digitised apporximately 13,000 pages of the Abbotsford Sumas & Matsqui News, from 1922-1938.
  • A BC Islandora User Group meeting is held March 10, with in-person attendees from the Lower Mainland and elsewhere in the province via online conferencing representing post-secondary and public libraries. Participants shared demos and training on specific Islandora modules.  Nurturing the BC Islandora community is an important way to ensure Arca's sustainability and expand participation in the service. 

January 2017:

  • In partnership with the Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL), the Arca Advisory Committee issues an invitation for COPPUL members to join Arca. In return, Arca members will be invited to join the COPPUL Digital Preservation Network in Fall 2017, allowing Arca members to meet their digital preservation needs in a supported environment.
  • Langara College confirms they will join Arca as its 14th participating site as of February 1, 2017.

November 2016:

  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University joins Arca as its 13th participating site, migrating from its existing repository in the bePress platform.  Over 240 items in 23 collections are added to the Arca collections with the KORA migration. The programming work done to optimise the KORA migration from bePress into Islandora is contributed back to the Islandora community to help other sites performing similar migrations.

October 2016:

  • Northwest Community College (now Coast Mountain College) becomes the newest Arca participant. Arca Admin Centre work with NWCC library staff to set-up an instance of Arca, and prepare a photograph collection of First Nations artworks for ingesting into the repository.
  • Arca is presented to a national audience of library peers at the Access library technology conference October 6, 2016 in Fredericton, NB. Arca is unique in its multi-site set-up and collaborative approach to customisations, and is a compelling model for other collaborative repository projects. 
  • As part of building infrastructure for a partnership with the Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL), the Arca Advisory Committee approves External Post-secondary Partner Benefits & Responsibilities which outline the relationship COPPUL members will have with Arca. 

July 2016:

  • Arca hosts a sold-out 3 day Islandora Camp workshop on Arca's software platform Islandora, the second such workshop to be held in BC in 2 years. 17 of the 45 attendees are from Arca institutions, 13 are from other BC public and post-secondary libraries. The event is a remarkable cross-sector opportunity to strengthen expertise and forge supportive relationships.
  • Kick-off meet-up of the BC Islandora User Group is held at SFU Vancouver. Topics discussed include shared training opportunities, group action on software enhancements, and presence in the larger Islandora community.
  • A Letter of Intent (LOI) between the Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries (COPPUL) and Arca to offer complementary services to members is endorsed by the BC ELN Steering Committee. The LOI states that COPPUL will offer access to its digital preservation platform, and Arca will offer access to the Arca Islandora platform.
  • As part of the transition to a new BC ELN website, Arca's web presence is streamlined and consolidated. A new Arca Support Site for administrators is developed and launched, bringing all Arca documentation, training, and support materials into one Drupal content management system.

May 2016:

  • The Arca Administrative Centre releases the inaugural Arca Actions & Achievements 2015 annual report. The report is shared with all BC ELN partner libraries and with the wider national and international community.
  • The Arca Admin Centre is developing and providing regular Arca webinars. Recent topics include setting up Google Analytics, setting up self-submission workflows, and customising institutional interfaces.
  • Arca is presented to the provincial BC library community at the BC Library Conference on May 12. The session is well attended by the post-secondary and public library communities and generates lots of discussion and social media attention.

April 2016:

  • Cost avoidance achieved in 2015/16 is reported to ASDT. Cost avoidance is calculated for 10 sites, with the assumption that supported Islandora would have been chosen for the stand-alone sites as well.
  • Capilano University and Northwest Community College (NWCC) (now Coast Mountain College) confirm they will join Arca in 2016/17. Work begins on implementing the CapU site and work on NWCC will begin in the fall.
  • The Arca Advisory Committee develops Benefits & Responsibilities for BC ELN member sites, outlining the expectations of participating sites and the benefits of participating in Arca. A similar document will be developed for Discovery Layer participants and for non-BC ELN sites.
  • The Arca Discovery Layer Task Group solicits feedback from discoverygarden on the preliminary Discovery Layer functional requirements.

March 2016:

  • The Arca Administrative Centre begins delivering a series of weekly webinars called Arca Hours. Each webinar illuminates a particular functionality in the Islandora platform and provides participants with an opportunity to follow along in their own instances and ask questions. Each session is recorded and made available for later review.
  • The Admin Centre conducts a survey of participating sites to determine their ancitipated storage needs for 2016/17 and beyond. Responses indicate that the current pool of available storage is sufficient for 2016/17, but additional storage must be sought for 2017/18. The Admin Centre begins investigating sustainable storage options.
  • The Arca Discovery Layer Task Group develops a set of preliminary functional requirements for the cross-repository search tool, based on use cases and an environmental search.

February 2016:

  • The Arca Administrative Centre negotiates and renews the contract with discoverygarden for support and hosting of the Arca Islandora platform. Platform costs have remained stable and continue to represent good value for participants.
  • The Arca Advisory Committee continues efforts to recruit new sites. Capilano University confirms their participation, bringing the total number of Arca sites to 11. Repository coordinators from new Arca sites attend an online orientation.
  • The Arca Administrators group develops use cases for making metrics available on their Arca sites, and the Admin Centre implements some free and accessible options on the main Arca site such as Google Analytics and a Piwik real time usage map.

January 2016:

  • Implmentation of Arca commences at Camosun College, Selkirk College and Trinity Western University.
  • In anticipation of Arca participant training needs, BC ELN confirms it will host a multi-day Islandora training event called iCamp in July 2016. This will be an opportunity for new and existing Arca participants to enhance their understanding of the platform, strengthen the community of practise, and discuss possible Arca enhancements.

November 2015:

  • A 2014/15 cost savings and 2015/16 projected cost savings are developed, calculated for 7 participating sites. Areas of cost savings include staff time for software selection, establishing governance, license negotiations, implementation and development, software licensing costs, policy creation and training.
  • Critical support infrastructure is developed for Arca site administrators, including communications tools, shared documentation, collaboration space and regular online meetings.
  • The Arca Discovery Layer Task Group has its first two meetings. Agreement on a tentative timeline, infrastructure, and communications tools is achieved, and a Chair is elected. Two working groups are formed: one to move forward on an environmental scan and the other to begin building use cases for the discovery layer.
  • An invitation to join Arca was issued to other BC post-secondary institutions. Selkirk College, Trinity Western University and Camosun College indicate they are ready to join Arca.

October 2015:

  • After presentations from SFU, VIU, UBC and KPU about their submission agreements, the Arca Implementation Working Group (IWG) confirms a submission agreement template that can be adapted as needed by participating sites.
  • The Arca public interface is deployed. Options for individual site customisation are now available.
  • Early adopters begin uploading content to their IRs. The Admin Centre provides training and documentation to support this process. Early adopters collaborate on problem-solving and refining documentation.
  • The Advisory Committee issues a callout to all BC ELN partner libraries for membership on the Discovery Layer Task Group, which will be responsible for identifying functional requirements and recommending a solution for the cross-repository search layer. Nominees from 8 institutions are received.
  • Work is completed on the Arca beta site implementation, fulfilling the mandate of the IWG. The IWG is dissolved and the Advisory Committee expresses its thanks to the members for their focused work and dedication.
  • The Arca beta site is launched to the post-secondary library community for testing and feedback. Informed by feedback, changes are made to the public interface to streamline usability.
  • On October 28, the Arca beta site is launched to the wider BC post-secondary community, the BC public library community, and to the national library community. A communiqué is sent to all BC ELN partner libraries for distribution to their post-secondary institutions; it is also made available via the BC ELN Connect newsletter, website, and social media.

September 2015:

  • The Advisory Committee makes final decisions on a logo and tagline for Arca. This branding is announced to the post-secondary community, in advance of the call-out for the Discovery Layer Task Group. Branding will form the basis of a project communications plan.
  • The Implementation Working Group (IWG) makes final decisions on a theme for the IR website template. This template dictates the look and feel of the main Arca website, and will be replicated out to individual IR sites. Each IR website can then be individually customised by institutions.
  • The Implementation Working Group (IWG) develops finalised content ingest workflows and forms, and these are delivered to discoverygarden. They are replicated out to all 7 early adopter IRs (COTR, DC, ECUAD, JIBC, TRU, UFV, UNBC) in preparation for institutions to begin uploading content.
  • The Advisory Committee develops draft Terms of Reference for a task group that will investigate and recommend a solution for the Arca cross-repository discovery layer. A primary objective of the task group is to identify functional requirements and use cases for the discovery layer. The task group will be made up of representatives from Arca and non-Arca sites with a high level of technical expertise, as well as the Chair of the BC Digitization Coalition Task Group, who will bring the perspectives of other sectors.

July/August 2015:

  • The Advisory Committee decides on a colour scheme for arca branding, and continues to refine a logo and develop taglines.
  • Based on the available domains, the Advisory Committee chooses as the project domain name. This domain will form the basis of project URLs for the central Arca site and individual institution sites.
  • The Implementation Working Group (IWG) meets weekly to review and customise ingest workflows for the arca site template; individual institutions will be able to customise the template as needed. The IWG also identifies and scopes customised functionality for ingesting specific types of content i.e. Artworks and Student Capstone Papers.
  • Ministry of Advanced Education confirms $50,000 in funding for phase two of the BC Institutional Repository Network. The funding will support the second year of the project, which will include continued development of the institutional repositories, development of a discovery layer, and establishment of a plan for project sustainability.

June 2015:

  • The BC IR Network Advisory Committee decides on a project name: Arca. The Admin Centre moves forward with acquiring the domain name, and developing logo concepts and colours.
  • An action plan to structure the IWG's work is developed from the implementation checklist developed in consultation with discoverygarden.
  • The Implementation Working Group (IWG) meets to discuss terms of reference, communications infrastructure, and enjoy some team-building. Meetings will be held regularly throughout the summer.

May 2015:

  • A call-out is sent to BC ELN partner libraries for members of the Implementation Working Group; membership is endorsed by the BC IR Advisory Committee. Working Group membership includes representatives from the early adopter sites (COTR, DC, JIBC, ECUAD, TRU, UFV, UNBC) as well as representatives from sites with existing IRs (BCIT, SFU, VIU).

April 2015:

  • The BC IR Network Advisory Committee confirms the participant cost-sharing approach for Years 1, 2 &3, with acknowledgement that the approach will be revisited for Year 4 and going forward.
  • Early adopters are sent a Needs Assessment Questionnaire to assist with gathering user stories and determining collection priorities and needs.

March 2015:

  • Seven early adopters are announced: College of the Rockies, Douglas College, Emily University of Art + Design, Justice Institute of BC, Thompson Rivers University, University of the Fraser Valley and the University of Northern British Columbia.
  • Islandora, supported and hosted in Canada by PEI-based discoverygarden, is announced as the platform selected for the BC IR Network. A communique is sent out to governance bodies, post-secondary library partners and the wider BC community.
  • project implementation plan is developed with four phases planned:
  1. Software Selection Phase
  2. Pilot Implementation Phase
  3. Discovery Layer Phase
  4. Evaluation Phase
  • A call-out for early adopters is issued to all BC ELN partner libraries.

February 2015:

  • Scores from each SSC member are weighted and averaged to achieve Committee scores for each platform; committee members agree unanimously on a final platform recommendation. 
  • A recommendation document is developed and delivered to the BC IR Network Advisory Committee by Gilbert Bede, Chair of the SSC.
  • The Advisory Committee meets to discuss the SSC recommendation; it meets with unanimous support.
  • Debbie Schachter, Chair of the Advisory Committee, brings the platform recommendation to the BC ELN Steering Committee for final endorsement.
  • The BC ELN Steering Committee unanimously endorses the Advisory Committee's platform recommendation for the BC IR Network.

January 2015:

  • SSC develops evaluation tools to support the evaluation phase, including evaluation matrix, weighting schema and scoring criteria.
  • The SSC performs an initial evaluation of the responses and shortlists 4 platforms.
  • The Software Selection Committee (SSC) conducts community engagement sessions; representatives from 11 post-secondary institutions, the K-12 and museum communities attend 4 platform demos. 
  • Feedback from demo attendees is gathered by means of an electronic survey tool, and compiled for the SSC's review as part of their evaluation process.

November 2014:

  • Functional requirements finalized.
  • SSC issues RFQ to 8 longlisted candidates.
  • The BC ELN Office meets with partners from other sectors to discuss synergies with the IR Network, including the BC Digitization Coalition and the BC Libraries Co-op.

October 2014:

  • Callout is sent for Software Selection Committee (SSC) members.
  • The Software Selection Committee is announced.
  • SSC completes an environmental scan to create a platform longlist.
  • SSC meets to refine IR functional requirements.

September 2014:

July 2014:

  • The Ministry of Advanced Education and ASDT awards BC ELN with seed funding to coordinate a provincial IR network.
  • The IRCC meets to hear this news and to discuss how the project will be governed going forward.

June 2014:

  • The business case and funding request are presented to the ASDT group. Library directors are invited to contact their VPs Finance in advance of the meeting.

May-June 2014:

May 2014:

  • A verbal update to the BC ELN Steering Committee indicating that the IRCC is seeking CPSLD endorsement.

April 2014:

March 2014:

  • IRCC meets to hear about ASTD's request to submit a business case; action item to request a letter of endorsement from CPSLD.
  • An update is sent to all library directors, indicating that a Business Case had been requested by ASDT and that BC ELN is developing it for presentation at a June ASDT meeting.

February 2014:

  • A presentation is made to the Administrative Services Delivery Transformation (ASDT) Steering Committee about how potential funding could be leveraged to launch IRs at institutions around the province. They request that a business case for seed funding be submitted in June.

January 2014:

  • A proposal is sent to the Ministry of Advanced Education, investigating whether seed funding is available.

December 2013:

  • Functional requirements are identified to support the investigation of IR software solutions.
  • IRCC meets to approve the vision to be presented at the All-Partner Meeting.
  • At the All-Partner Meeting, library directors show strong support for the IR initiative.
  • At the Business Meeting, Ministry indicates that seed funding may be available.

October 2013:

February 2013:

December 2012:

  • BC ELN Connect article A Collaborative Institutional Repository for BC: needs analysis & a concept committee.

November 2012:

  • IR Concept Committee formed.

Summer 2012:

May 2012:

  • BC ELN Connect article Institutional Repositories in British Columbia covers existing institutional repositories in the province.

July 8, 2011:

  • BC ELN Steering Committee endorses the BC ELN Strategic Plan 2011/12 to 2015/16. The plan calls for BC ELN to "articulate and implement an appropriate role for BC ELN in managing open access archives (e.g. Institutional Repositories, Learning Object Repositories) and supporting adoption by BC ELN partners."