Our institutions are grappling with the myriad of possibilities presented by knowledge access, use, and development in the digital realm. Digital scholarship involves approach (research methods), dissemination (contextualization, publication), and management (discovery, persistence, preservation). Supporting all of these facets can be challenging for a small Liberal Arts College, but doing so provides rich opportunities for significant undergraduate involvement within the research process, which has long been a hallmark of liberal education. These efforts require powerful and flexible tools to connect and manipulate information. How do we meet digital research and teaching needs, continue our missions to support access and preservation, and also promote the research and development efforts required to explore new possibilities? Five small liberal arts colleges (Grinnell, Hamilton, Lafayette, Vassar, & Williams) began considering these questions as a consortium in 2013. In 2016, the Islandora Collaboration Group grew to a consortium of nine institutions - Barnard,
We are working together to support and extend Islandora through code development, resource pooling, and advocacy. Our goal: we want to find ways in which smaller organizations can use *and develop* the open-source digital repository software, Islandora, effectively and successfully. Each of us is united in our commitment to open-source software and its community model, but we recognize that our (relatively) small sizes make it difficult to do this. So we have joined resources (currently informally, but we are working towards more formal agreements) to figure out ways in which we can develop code and working relationships that help meet our institution’s needs. In turn, we are interested in how we can all contribute to writing code and making our chosen software platform, Islandora, the best it can be by contributing that code to the community. Importantly, we have held one “hack/doc” event that brings us together as developers, testers, documenters, systems administrators, UI designers, and end users, broadening event participation and allowing all of us to learn from each other, no matter what organizational role we play. We also welcome anyone that would like to participate in our model and our hack/doc events so that we can help contribute to the larger Islandora community.