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Virtual Tribunals group hosts first strategic planning session

On June 22, 2022, in the midst of a power outage on the historic campus, a core group of staff working on the Virtual Tribunals program met on the Redwood City Campus for a half-day long discussion regarding next steps on the project and in particular, the longer term vision and goals for the next 2-3 years. 

Attendees included from the Center for Human Rights and International Justice (CHRIJ), David Cohen, Lizzie Rough and Penelope Van Tuyl; from Stanford University Libraries (SUL), Tom Cramer, Hannah Frost, Dinah Handel, Mark Matienzo, Regina Roberts, and Lauren Sorensen. 

The day centered around three areas: 1) The current state of Virtual Tribunals, with presentations from the SUL DLSS side and CHRIJ side, along with a refresher on the vision from David Cohen. 2) Then, we took time in groups of 3-4 to brainstorm what categories this work falls under, and reflected on the work’s meaning and the “why’s” of what we’re undertaking. Types of categories included: metadata augmentation, data mining for name and subject terms, digitization, and workflow/processes. 3) Then, the group went on to reflect individually on this work and noted down potential tasks and bigger picture goals which would lead us down the road towards accomplishing the vision for the project, focusing particularly on the next 2-3 years. Writing on sticky notes, participants posted them below categories on a white board, these were then discussed and reflected upon during a large group discussion which wrapped up the day. 

Outcomes and goals included: 

  • Further analysis of the impressive user statistics we have been observing from our existing Virtual Tribunals Spotlight exhibition platform, where over the course of only one month (May 20-June 20, 2022), there were 1,105 visitors to the site, 735 unique visits, and 5,160 page views 
  • Concrete next steps for fulfilling our commitment to our partners at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and Taube Philanthropies through online presentation of the Taube Archive of the International Military Tribunal (IMT) at Nuremberg (1945-1946) and implementing Arclight platform for these materials by the end of 2022, starting with metadata analysis and design, and moving on soon to implementation via a development workcycle led by the DLSS Access and Discovery team starting September 2022
  • Setting up quarterly strategic planning check-ins between SUL and CHRIJ
  • Follow up meetings to discuss implementation of the longer-term (2-3 year) goals laid out, including digitization service level agreements, processes and workflow documentation, user research planning, and so on

These activities and associated goal-setting gave us direction on the future of the project, as well as helped identify gaps in workflows, and topics for future investigation and discussion. We are indebted to the people involved in the day for the their thoughtful participation, first and foremost, as well as Kris Kasianovitz and her help providing feedback prior to her last day at SUL, and past work by Mark Matienzo and Dinah Handel on utilizing Liberating Structures, which are specially designed exercises that work to creatively engage participants, where everyone on a team is included and invested in its progress through their creative and collaborative input. Mark and Dinah worked with this approach for the Lighting the Way project most recently, and it was most helpful to be able to follow this model for exercises in our retreat. 

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