October 22, 2021

Both LYRASIS and DuraSpace Boards Approve “Intention to Merge” But Deal Not Final

UPDATED February 9, 2016 Intent to Merge FAQ and Letter From DuraSpace CEO

Here’s the Full Text of Today’s Joint Announcement. We’ve added emphasis to a few sections.

The Boards of LYRASIS and DuraSpace, two leading member-based non-profit organizations serving libraries, archives, museums, as well as the broader scholarly, cultural heritage and technology communities, have unanimously approved an “Intent to Merge”.

LYRASIS, which serves more than 4000 members and partner organizations by delivering e-resources, strategic licensing, training and digital technology resources, and DuraSpace, a leader in the development and deployment of open source technologies and services that promote durable access and discovery of digital data, will begin next steps to determine the feasibility of a combined organization. These next steps will include a deeper assessment of the individual organizations and how they might partner effectively, seeking community feedback on the proposal during a public phase of the due diligence investigation.

The respective Boards unanimously approved an “Intent to Merge”, which means the organizations, having done a careful initial investigation, will move into a public phase to consider an official plan and pathway for the potential coming together, including a full analysis of member benefits. The decision to eventually come together is not yet final. In this public phase of investigation, each organization seeks feedback from their members and will investigate carefully the value of all services, projects, membership models and organizational cultures to ensure a smooth transition for members of both organizations should a merger agreement occur. The missions of both organizations are deeply rooted in the needs of the research, library, archives and museum communities and a shared mission must serve a combined organization membership equally well.

The proposed new organization would continue to serve the LYRASIS and DuraSpace communities by sustaining and growing their combined open source platforms (Fedora, DSpace, VIVO, ArchivesSpace, CollectionSpace) and hosted services (ArchivesSpace, CollectionSpace, Islandora, DuraCloud, DSpaceDirect, ArchivesDirect). If finalized, the combined organization would expand its portfolio by offering new technologies and services that further their existing work in the management and preservation of digital scholarship. The new organization would focus on supporting current communities with no reduction in the delivery of services offered by LYRASIS and DuraSpace, while engaging a larger and more diverse group of stakeholders. LYRASIS would continue to support and advance all established commitments, programs and services including strategic licensing of e-resources, products and services, which will continue without interruption.

The planned, new organization would be led by an executive team consisting of Robert Miller (Chief Executive Officer) and Debra Hanken Kurtz (Chief Operating Officer).

The organizations are now seeking the input of members and the wider research, library, archives and museum communities. More detailed information is expected to be released in the coming weeks and months. Members of either organization are welcome to send comments, suggestions and questions to synergy@duraspace.org.

“Combining the teams and technologies of LYRASIS and DuraSpace will allow us to deliver better and more cost effective end-to-end digital solutions and services to the communities we serve,” explained Robert Miller, CEO of LYRASIS.

Debra Hanken Kurtz, CEO of DuraSpace, said, “By joining with LYRASIS, DuraSpace will be able to bring our services to a wider membership audience. We will also expand and support our services, and continue our commitment to steward the development of community-supported software. Our members and the archives, libraries and museums communities will all benefit.”

“The new organization has the potential to transform the larger landscape of libraries, archives and museums by providing multiple pathways for them to connect, collaborate and participate at a local, national and international level. If this merger is finalized, LYRASIS will be able to offer value to members that goes far beyond fairly priced e-resources. The merger will create a robust offering of technical solutions, enriched training and the creation of a unified platform that can meet its members’ diverse needs,” says Kathlin Ray, Dean of Libraries and Teaching & Learning Technologies at the University of Nevada, Reno and Chair of the LYRASIS Board of Trustees.

Paul Courant, former Provost and former Dean of Libraries at the University of Michigan, who is Chair of the DuraSpace Board, added that the combined organizations “have the opportunity to provide a full suite of services that will serve as a foundational platform for digital scholarship to manage research and cultural heritage materials for a broad range of institutions. We have the opportunity to become the home for community source software, providing cost effective solutions for research institutions, libraries, museums, archives and cultural heritage organizations to ensure that their collections are preserved and accessible for future generations.”

Key Points regarding the LYRASIS and DuraSpace “Intent to Merge”

The DuraSpace and LYRASIS Boards have voted and approved an intent to merge.

Coming together would unite each organization’s open-source technology programs under one roof, along with Licensing and Partnerships, training and other membership services.

The organizations have not yet come together, and are moving into a more public phase of investigation at this time.

The DuraSpace and LYRASIS Boards have conducted initial due diligence, and more will follow in the coming months to determine final feasibility of a coming together.

DuraSpace is home to community supported software (CSS) programs DSpace, Fedora and VIVO and hosted services ArchivesDirect, DSpaceDirect and DuraCloud.

LYRASIS is the organizational home for CSS services ArchivesSpace and CollectionSpace, and offers hosted services for ArchivesSpace, CollectionSpace and Islandora.

Bringing the organizations together would mean five CSS programs and six hosted services under one roof, with no changes to the delivery of other services currently offered by each organization.

Next steps will be determined by the respective Boards and we will share any new information as it arises.

No services currently offered by either organization will be interrupted by a potential merger.

Robert Miller would be CEO of the proposed joined organization, and Debra Hanken Kurtz, currently CEO of DuraSpace, would become the COO of the new organization.

Key Benefits of a Combined LYRASIS and DuraSpace Organization

Operating as a single entity, LYRASIS and DuraSpace can pool their resources and provide expertise to a broad array of problems the community is tackling.

Together they have strong technical expertise to solve problems, robust processes and systems in place to deliver customer and community solutions, and a full suite of services that could serve as the foundational platform for digital scholarship for a broad range of institutions managing scientific and cultural heritage materials.

LYRASIS and DuraSpace represent strong adjacencies for each other’s core missions, communities of service and suite of products/services.

Coming together would represent an opportunity to deliver end-to-end services for core members.

A combined LYRASIS and DuraSpace organization would pursue a broad mission, including the continued development of open technologies and services.

The organization would also reach out to new communities that manage, preserve, and provide access to digital content.

The new unified organization could provide significant economies of scale, synergies in developing open technologies and services, and a strong position for long-term sustainability.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.