The Access to Memory Foundation is a federally incorporated, community driven, soliciting non-profit body operating under Corporation Number 1075337-8. The Foundation was established in 2018 to oversee and support the development, sustainability and adoption of Access to Memory (AtoM) as a multilingual, multi-repository open source application for standards-based archival description and access.
A non-profit foundation is the best way to provide governance and promote community involvement in the development and maintenance of AtoM 3. AtoM is not just a software tool, it is an open-source project. Being open-source has profound implications for how software is developed, released, documented and made available to communities of users around the world. The Foundation wants to give organizations that use AtoM, or who are considering using AtoM, a stake in how the software evolves.
The greatest challenge facing the AtoM project is its dependence on a now deprecated and unsupported web development framework (Symfony 1). An aging codebase means the archival community needs to start planning for a successor version to the software – AtoM 3.
The Foundation has been established as a way to lead the development of AtoM 3 by soliciting funds from members and others to rewrite the software so that its sustainability is assured and its overall functionality enhanced while reflecting the descriptive needs of the archival community.
The Foundation also wants to support future migration from AtoM 2 to AtoM 3 to ensure users of the software can continue to rely on their current instances of AtoM while feeling confident that the development of a new version does not mean they will be left behind.
Artefactual Systems initiated the establishment of the Access to Memory Foundation by asking the current members of the Board to incorporate as a non-profit body and it has paid fees to become the first Founding Institutional Member.
Artefactual wants to encourage a community of developers to play an active role in AtoM 3’s development and maintenance. And since Artefactual’s business model is primarily based on designing client-driven functional improvements to the software, but supplying the source code for free, it is unable to fund the code rewrite for AtoM 3. If AtoM 3 is going to become a reality, it will require broader financial support from the archival community.
The Access to Memory (AtoM) Foundation will be responsible for identifying and approving the development roadmap for AtoM 3. Artefactual Systems may play a role in the development of part or all of the new software, but such work will be assigned through a transparent tendering process, opening up the development to any and all developers interested in the design of AtoM 3. The goal is to achieve a new version of the AtoM software while also fostering a healthy user and developer community that will ensure the ongoing success of the product.