How We Work: The DPLA Technology Team Core Values

By Mark Matienzo, July 5, 2016.
Published under:

One of the most important aspects of the work of the DPLA Technology Team is ensuring that we maintain a common frame of reference for all of our efforts. This is situated in multiple aspects – in terms of our shared technical knowledge, the overall DPLA strategic plan, and more. Overall, however, the guiding principles for our work are best understood through the core values that inform how we work together within our team, as well as with our colleagues at DPLA and across the network of our stakeholders and collaborators. These values are not only designed to be aspirational; instead, they also inform practical aspects of our day to day work, allowing us to work together effectively through their articulation of cultural norms and expectations. In addition, our values encourage us to be intentional about our work, even when faced with challenges from deadlines, staff capacity, and other external pressures.

The DPLA Technology Team core values document delineates the following eight areas of focus and awareness for our efforts:

  • Maximal openness to DPLA technology and infrastructure, through use of minimally restrictive open source or reuse-friendly licenses for software, documentation, and related assets.
  • Diversity and inclusion, focusing on developing an inclusive environment and eliminating discrimination within our team, our organization, and our network.
  • Transparency for all our aspects of our operations, balanced with security and privacy concerns.
  • Reliability, accountability and shared responsibility for the systems and software we develop and maintain, through a culture of testing and free and open communication.
  • Empathy and mutual respect, as a reflection of DPLA’s commitment to the public good and as a rejection of a culture of blame or shame.
  • Appropriate use of resources, facilitated by pursuing cost savings of infrastructural costs, collaboration, and through management of a sustainable pace in our work.
  • Leadership and support of and for the cultural heritage sector, the DPLA network of Hubs and partners, and beyond.
  • Continued learning and growth, in terms of gaining new skills and familiarity with emerging methodologies, supported by a culture of sharing across the team and our network.

All of the members of DPLA Technology Team recognize that we are not only responsible for following values set out in the document, but for shaping them as well. We started developing the values document for the Technology Team two years ago, after our team grew over the period of six months from zero to three staff members. Once we added our fourth team member, we reviewed our early drafts and revised them into their something close to their current form, and used it to guide our work from October 2014 onwards. Just recently, the Technology Team took the opportunity to review the document again and identify areas in which we were meeting the delineated norms and areas we could improve or expand our work.

If you are interested in reading through our full values document, please do so – we have made them available for review and feedback. If you’re interested in actively helping to shape these values, please consider applying for our open Developer position, or contact us if you’re not looking for new opportunities with your ideas.