Maintaining a
Kick A** Tech Team
& Organization

Bonnie Gordon, Patrick Galligan and Hillel Arnold

Digital Programs Team, Rockefeller Archive Center


Building a foundation


D-Team Values

framing value

Engage & empower users.

A healthy relationship with technology

Any tasks that require caring, whether for people or nature, any tasks that require immediate feedback and adjustment, are best done holistically. Such tasks cannot be planned, coordinated, and controlled the way prescriptive tasks must be.

Ursula Franklin
The Real World of Technology

A healthy relationship with other people

Lead with empathy

People before technology

I’m not here to watch you, to study you, to judge you, I am here to be with you, to thank you. (I understand later that this is the essence of this artwork: the artist as open presence.)

Mierle Laderman Ukeles
Looking Back from 2010


Build networks, not silos.

Practice positive, solution-centered communication.

Building networks



Diversity of thought

reaching out for help

recognizing value

Building investment

two heads > one

taking ownership

Improving UX

fresh perspectives

uncovering biases

Solution-centered communication

hear and understand

identify problems

move towards solutions

culture of learning

Invest in yourself and the profession.

Learn constantly by taking strategic risks.

Build community by building mutual knowledge

Develop & share expertise

blog posts

conversations with colleagues

We rely on the skills and knowledge of our communities

Fail effectively

iterative changes

version control

development environments

Model fearlessness around technology

ethical access

Support broad and equitable access to archival materials.

Respect researchers’ privacy.


mobile first




value labor

lower barriers to research


minimize collection of user data

create sensible retention policies

remove restrictions

Coping with change

All that you touch
You Change.
All that you Change
Changes you.
The only lasting truth
Is Change.

Octavia Butler
The Parable of the Sower

Start with values

Persistence and iteration

Talk to us!

Bonnie Gordon @sosinister

Patrick Galligan @p_galligan

Hillel Arnold @helrond