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Principles of Collaboration for Virginia Heritage
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Principles of Collaboration for Virginia Heritage [to be renamed]

**Please make comments about the Principles in the copy linked to here**

Mission Statement

The role of Virginia Heritage (VH) is to provide a single point of access to the rich description of the holdings of archives and manuscripts from cultural heritage organizations across Virginia and West Virginia. Virginia Heritage is an all-volunteer effort made up of archivists, librarians, museum, and other information professionals currently representing over 40 separate repositories. The goal of VH is to provide continuous access to collections from every cultural heritage entity in both states.


Virginia Heritage promotes a vision in which cultural heritage collections of every kind can be made more broadly discoverable. Collection descriptions and finding aids often serve as the initial discovery point for many of our archival collections. These descriptions can in turn be linked to digital collections. Organizations from all sectors and sizes can have access to VH’s collaborative networks (such as training, digitization, preservation, and access) in order to achieve our shared goal of making materials fundamental to our cultural heritage available to all users.


  1. Continue to seek ways to sustain and manage the necessary infrastructure to provide reliable access and management services.
  2. Investigate and engage in collaborative opportunities such as partnering with Digital Virginias, the DPLA Service Hub for Virginia and West Virginia.
  3. Maintain a transparent and flexible organizational structure that is responsive to the changing needs of our member institutions.
  4. Expand outreach efforts to bring on new members in a sustainable manner.

2019-2020 Strategic Roadmap

Approved Roadmap

Governance Structure: Roles and Expectations

Governance Team

This group is a volunteer-based leadership body composed of representatives across the region’s cultural heritage organizations. As the group expands to include additional states, the representation of what will become the next iteration of Virginia Heritage will need to be more structured and transparent as to how one can join the group. The Governance Team is responsible for creating and disbanding various Standing Teams and Working Groups as appropriate, as well as identifying leads for each of those groups from among the membership. Governance strives for representation that is as broad as possible, which could include representatives from higher education, public libraries, museums, historical societies, local government, and community archives, as well as other under-represented entities.  The Governance Team is responsible for organizing regular Town Meetings.


The Governance Chair is responsible for convening the governance group no less than on a monthly basis. The Chair should help create and drive the agenda by discussing and assigning action items to the appropriate resources. The Chair is also responsible for liaising with relevant statewide groups such as VIVA and any new entities introduced through membership growth. The Chair will also take the lead in strategic planning and outlining a strategic roadmap for the calendar year. The Chair will also conduct regular meetings with the various Standing Team and Working Group leads to ensure mission alignment. The Chair sends out an annual letter to the broader membership and the representative organizational leads (directors, deans, university librarians) as well as an annual report of the year’s activities. The Chair works with the host institution and Infrastructure Liaison to ensure streamlined access and sustainable technology infrastructure is in place. The Chair also works with the elected Vice Chair to ensure strategic continuity.

Vice Chair

The role of the Governance Vice Chair is to work with the Chair and Governance team to ensure a smooth transition of leadership. The Vice Chair will attend meetings of the Governance team as well as keep apprised of efforts in the various standing teams and working groups. The Vice Chair will help the Chair identify areas of opportunity and need and take on additional work as needed.

Standing Teams and Working Groups

As the name implies, these groups are organized around a specific set of goals and/or tasks. Standing Teams are traditionally ongoing and include Outreach, Social Media, Technology, and Training. Standing Teams will have a lead, chosen by Governance, who will participate in the regular Governance calls. Working Groups may be short-term and formed to meet a specific need or research question.  Working Groups may report to a particular Standing Team or to Governance, based on their task(s). Standing Teams and Working Groups are responsible for setting the scope of each group’s effort and communicating back to Governance. Standing Teams and Working Groups are also responsible for highlighting specific needs that may need the Governance’s attention and contribute to the overall strategic mission of the effort.

Host Institution

This needs to be provisioned and duties articulated

Infrastructure Liaison

This position will reside on the Governance Team and be responsible for liaising with the host institution. The Liaison’s responsibilities include working with infrastructure managers and developers to:

Elections and Terms


Prior to 2020, Governance Team members were chosen through an informal process by current members of the Team. With the growth of the aggregator to include a new state, the need for formal elections arose, and the first official election cycle will be conducted from September-December 2020. Elections take on two main components: election to the Governance Team and the election of the Governance Chair. New members for the Governance Team will be solicited from the membership on an annual basis, following the cycle of a September-October call to the membership for nominations (both self and other) that will then be voted on by the entire membership. Voting will take place in November with the new governance members being announced in December.

With respect to the Governance Chair, this role will be elected from within the Governance Team. The term will serve from 01 January to 31 December. Calls for a new chair will take place in October with the new chair being announced at the December meeting, following the pattern of the Governance elections.


Terms on the Governance Team will last for two (2) years. Members can serve continuous terms if no new volunteers for the Governance Team arise. However, calls for elections should continue to take place on an annual basis. Voting for the Chair should take place each year regardless of whether any new members have joined the Governance Team.