Why should I join the Board of Directors, you ask? A chat with the OPF Board Chair…

Why should I join the Board of Directors, you ask? A chat with the OPF Board Chair…

If you haven’t already caught our news item this week, the call for members to nominate themselves to join the board is now open. If you’re a member – or thinking about becoming one in the future – this is a great opportunity to represent your organisation’s priorities and be directly involved in shaping the future of the Foundation. We welcome a representative from our Gold institutions to apply, but our Silver institutions are welcome to apply also where there is availability. 

So, why should I join the Board of Directors, you ask?

When you become a member of the OPF, your priorities become our priorities. We put our members at the heart of what we do, and every decision we make is done so with their interests in mind. We aim to provide your organisation with the practical tools and resources you need, shine a light on your work, and provide access to an international and influential network. By joining the OPF Board of Directors, you get a better opportunity to further represent the Foundation’s direction and play a vital role in making strategic decisions and monitoring ongoing activities.

Currently, our Board Chair is Remco van Veenendaal – who is the Preservation Officer for the National Archives of the Netherlands (NAN) by day. He has more than 20 years of experience working on the intersections of language, data, archives and technology, and business, education, science and government. While his job allows for some brilliant collaborations, such as the brief cinematic masterpiece ‘De Bennies, Everlasting’, we are lucky that he shares this creativity and commitment with us, the OPF. 

He’s continued the tradition of NAN being a member of the OPF Board since the Open Preservation Foundation developed from Planets, and joined the position in 2018. While on the board he has continued to play a vital role in the Foundation’s outputs. His leadership of the Archives’ Interest Group from 2016-2021 resulted in a brilliant team effort ‘best poster’ win for their poster presentation of the work-in-progress at iPRES 2019, and a paper summarising the investigation at iPRES 2021. The collaborative efforts between NAN, the Dutch Digital Heritage Network, and the OPF have brought ViPER, the Virtual Preservation Environment for Research, which contains tools like Apache Tika, Droid, JHOVE, VeraPDF, MediaInfo and ffmpeg/Handbrake. 

A snippet (of two of our Board Directors) from the video by the KB National Library of the Netherlands (KB) and the National Archives of the Netherlands (NANeth)'s parody of Benny Benassi’s Satisfaction for World Digital Preservation Day 2023.
A snippet (of two of our Board Directors) from the video by the KB National Library of the Netherlands (KB) and the National Archives of the Netherlands (NANeth)’s parody of Benny Benassi’s Satisfaction for World Digital Preservation Day 2023.
Members of the Archives’ Interest Group accept their 'best poster' win in 2019.
Members of the Archives’ Interest Group accept their ‘best poster’ win in 2019.
Remco kindly made and gifted the OPF team an incredible replica of the Battlestar Galactica’s Colonial Vipers in honour of the aptly named VRE, ViPER.
Remco kindly made and gifted the OPF team an incredible replica of the Battlestar Galactica’s Colonial Vipers in honour of the aptly named VRE, ViPER.

 

Remco kindly gave us some of his time to answer some questions you may have about joining the Board of Directors. There are various perks and responsibilities that he has helped us articulate, and hopefully, this will help clear up the demands of the role for those interested. 

Strategic Influence

“The board members play a key role in shaping the strategic direction and priorities of the OPF”, Remco said. “We can contribute to the development of policies and initiatives that align with the Foundation’s ‘open digital preservation’ mission.” An example of this was our meeting in London only a few months ago in February. We discussed strategy in depth. This was a great opportunity as this meeting followed our OPF Advisory Group, a member-only initiative to update you on our work and give you a greater say on the development of our tools, special interest groups and knowledge-sharing initiatives, so our objectives were clearer. 

Networking opportunities

Serving on the board provides excellent networking opportunities. Board members interact with one other, other professionals, experts, and stakeholders in the digital preservation field which fosters valuable connections. Remco recalled that he was once invited to a DLM Forum meeting to explore with representatives from other international organisations “information management and digital preservation on a European level about future views, standardisation, tools and/or possible cooperation”.

Professional development

The board can be a learning experience; the role provides exposure to various aspects of organisational management. Remco stated that as Chair, “it allowed me to enhance my leadership and governance skills. It was very insightful to use OPF as a case study in a strategic management course I took”.

Visibility and recognition

“As board members, I think we enjoy increased visibility within the digital preservation and related communities. I received LinkedIn connection invitations because of my board membership and have been asked to join other boards since.” 

Access to resources

The Board members have access to resources and information that can be beneficial for their own projects or initiatives. This ranges from the latest insights in digital preservation to early access to people with project ideas. Remco said that “it helped us as Nationaal Archief to join the ongoing OPF Spreadsheet Validation project with the Danish and Estonian national archives”. 

Contributions to the field

Serving on the board allows its members to contribute to the advancement of digital preservation practices and standards. The commitment from members, board, staff and contributors as a collective has resulted in an OPF that is still “working to advance shared standards and solutions for the long-term preservation of digital content” after 13 years. We as the OPF are forever grateful for the time, efforts and knowledge our members and community provide us, and we aim to always reciprocate in kind. 

Advocacy opportunities

The Board members have the opportunity to advocate for the importance of digital preservation at a broader level. “The new Archival Law that is being prepared in the Netherlands has for example,” Remco said. “It’s – indirectly, but definitely – benefited from my OPF board membership experience.”

Fulfilment of (personal) mission and values

“As an individual passionate about digital preservation, serving on the board of the Open Preservation Foundation provides me with a chance to actively contribute to the preservation of digital cultural heritage. Not by going fast alone, but by going far together.”

 

Board membership also comes with responsibilities, such as attending meetings, participating in decision-making processes, and contributing to committees. The meetings are currently bi-monthly the fourth Tuesday of the month, and while there may be tasks for the Board to do between meetings these time demands are discussed before they’re asked. 

You can find more information about the formalities of being an OPF director in our articles of association – or, perhaps you want to become a co-opted additional director until the next annual general meeting. The Board are available to talk to you about being a board member. Please send all questions to [email protected] and we can forward your query. 

This year the nominations officially close on the 30th of April, but you can enquire at any time. 

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