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1998 Meeting

Minutes of ACH Executive Council Meeting

Debrecen, Hungary, June 10, 1998

Present: Renear, McCarty, Neuman, Mylonas, Faulhaber, Gants, Ide, Lavagnino, Olsen, Sperberg-McQueen, Unsworth

As the ACH general meeting was held before the EC meeting this year, it was decided that reports given during the general meeting would not be repeated at the EC meeting. Only business related to the various report would be raised. This allowed us to have a 2 hour meeting, in which all old business was covered, and some new business raised. Summaries of the reports given at the general meeting are given at the end of the minutes.

President's report

Renear gave a very short president's report, laying out the workings of the EC meeting, and turning it over to the various reports.

Treasurer's report

Chuck Bush had sent in his report early, as he was not planning to come to Hungary. It is appended in its entirety.

Since I cannot attend the ALLC/ACH Conference in Debrecen this year, I hereby give my annual treasurer's report by e-mail: Checkbook balance: $12835.55 Anticipated expense: 500.00 NINCH membership Membership: 155 members of record for 1998 +2 or 3 in various intermediate stages (waiting for check, etc.) The bad news: There are 7 members of the ACH executive council that are NOT CURRENT with their membership. In past years I have listed zip codes or phone numbers as a hint, but this time neither is sufficiently unique for the purpose. So please check for your name on the web membership list http://humanities.byu.edu/HRC/ACH/memberList.html If you're name is not there, you're not current. Contact me if you have questions.

The point was raised that we need to do something about increasing membership, and that this will be discussed at the end of the meeting, with new business.

Last year's minutes

Last year's minutes had not been posted on the web because the Secretary's hard drive self destructed before the minutes could be copied off it. They were reconstructed with the help of Neuman's notes, and the memories of others. The minutes were presented to the EC, and were accepted.

There was a motion that EC minutes be posted on public part of ACHWeb. It was accepted.


Links with other learned societies

ACLA Neuman reported on the ACH application for membership in ACLS. In the fall of 1997, ACH was urged to apply for membership by Stan Katz, who this would be an appropriate application. Neuman and McCarty began to prepare materials for the application. However, Katz was replaced by John D'Arms, who is apparently not as interested in technology. The response we got to our request for application in spring '98 was less encouraging. The deadline for application is 9/98, and the criteria on which it is determined include size of membership, and quality and circulation of the journal. We haven't applied yet.

Faulhaber brought up a discussion he had had with John D'Arms in which D'Arms said that he is concerned with the definition of Humanities Computing as a discipline. Faulhaber suggests a second exploratory letter. McCarty would like to pursue it. He suggests using his essay on what HC really is as part of the application, or as a basis for part of the application. Neuman wants to add details from Bush or Mylonas on journal, membership etc. He also suggests that we run it by Stan Katz. The EC will need to read and comment. McCarty will send the URL to ACH EC list. This was agreed upon by general consent.

NINCH Neuman reported that we are currently members of NINCH at a lowball price, and that we really should be full members at the price of $500. We have worked with NINCH on fair use, copyright, other issues. ACH and ALLC members are participating in the planning of a database of humanities resources. Renear, Bush, Mylonas agreed, and made sure it was OK with respect to finances and general plans. Moved to pay $500. Neuman will follow through with Bush.

NINCH DB of Humanities Resources Unsworth reports. Unlike other resource lists, this is meant to be a tool for other researchers. The major problem is keeping information current. One motivation for creators of resources to keep their entries active is money/funding. If this is considered to be a database of work in progress, where one might look to see what else similar is happening, or what is the status of a funded project, there will be cause to keep it active. This might also be attractive enough to federal agencies that they might fund it, since they could keep track of their projects, use it for evaluating proposals. If it were to be a resource used by Federal funders, it might also provide motivation to its users. It would take .5 fte from Michigan and Rice, and would be a Dublin core based database served through the existing mechanism at UMich.


Unsworth reports. Virginia plans to do very thorough advertising in order to bring in new members, participants. They will use the normal email channels, as well as a direct mail campaign based on culling names from journals and other conferences of people who have written interesting or relevant papers. The 1999 conference will have the same deadlines as this year's. We must have everybody's' help to get people to submit and to come. We would also like to try and get funds to help Eastern Europeans and other international participants who can't afford to come. We need to talk to the Europeans, in order to try to get some EU funding. Sperberg-McQueen suggested international cooperation funds. Inasmuch as possible, keynotes will be announced ahead of time. Renear reported that Harold Short said earlier that we need to have the council meetings for both organizations early during the conference. Reasons for this are so that the program committee for the following year's conference can have a meeting right away, and so that the open meetings of the organizations can be told of decisions from the EC meetings. Unsworth: he will compress the conference a bit, and schedule both meetings earlier.

ALLC PC members: Lisa Lena Opas, Thomas Rommel, John Dawson, Elizabeth Burr. ACH members were chosen later in the meeting, they are Mylonas, Flanders, Seaman, Olsen and Unsworth as local organizer.

Renear reports a comment from Harold Short. There were complaints about unprofessional reviewing for this conference. For example, there were reports of harsh, unprofessional comments in reviews. After some general discussion, it was noted that the Program Chair and PC are responsible for making sure that paper comments sent to authors are professional and useful.

MLA sessions

Lavagnino reports on next year's sessions, since he reported on 1998 in the general meeting. Ray Siemens and Julia Flanders will be 1999 organizers. He went ahead and selected them without direction from the EC, since it needs to be done a great deal ahead of time. He asks, should he be continuing to organize the 2 ACH sessions at MLA in this fashion? EC, by general agreement, affirmed that he should continue to do so. Unsworth noted that he is co-organizing some technology sessions, and that he should also advertise on ACH-L. Lavagnino said that he keeps a list of all technology related sessions on ACHWeb, and would also include Unsworth's sessions. Unsworth pointed out that the Committee on Scholarly Editions is one group that is very interested in electronic text, and is doing work in this direction. We should explore involvement with them, as well as the Committee on Emerging Technologies. These are good candidates for direct mail about ACH/ALLC '99.


Ide reports. The TEI needs to find an institutional home, become a consortium. Several proposals have been received. Unsworth asks is this a formal RFP or bid process? Sperberg-McQueen responds that there has been an RFP, but not a public one, since it seemed better to approach institutions that seemed like good candidates. However, due to time constraints, he didn't approach all the ones he should have. Unsworth notes that he is interested in seeing the RFP. Renear reports that the ALLC asked Harold Short if he would meet with the editors and the ALLC reps on the TEI Steering committee in order to keep current on this process and to make sure that the ALLC committee and membership is kept informed. Short asked that Renear be instructed by the EC to do likewise. It was moved by Sperberg-McQueen and seconded by Faulhaber that the Executive Council ask Allen Renear in his ex officio role as President to collaborate with ACH representatives on the TEI Steering Committee [David Barnard and Nancy Ide] and with the Editors of the TEI as part of a process to develop a procedure to institutionalize the TEI. Renear promised a report to the Council in August in which he will report on progress and seek the advice of the Council regarding possible conflict of interest in the subsequent phase of the procedure.

Ide said that in the ALLC meeting, the question came up of what the role of the associations would be if we radically restructure the TEI. Do we still own it? Should we? Renear says we can't discuss it now, as we don't have enough time or information. However, we need to bear this situation in mind. Unsworth asks whether this shouldn't be made clear in the CFP? Faulhaber suggests that we use the relationship of Library of Congress and the Society of American Archivists as a model. Sperberg-McQueen added that this relationship is also not an easy one to define. Renear moves that we not discuss this now (see above). The motion was approved.


Nancy Ide reports: First, the editors of CHum would welcome input on direction of the journal. Second, the editors of CHum would like to either augment the commissioning editors, or replace some of them in order to increase participation by the editorial board. Third, the editors need to be in communication with McCarty about CHWP. Faulhaber asked if there is a statement of editorial policy for CHum. Ide responded that there is one in each issue of the journal. [Ide had reported on the new format at the general meeting] Sperberg-McQueen: Is the page count per year staying constant now that the page format is smaller? What will happen when there are 4 instead of 6 issues per year? Ide: There will be fewer pages now that there will be fewer issues, but not as few as 4/6ths. Sperberg-McQueen: does that mean that Kluwer will charge us less for the subscription? Ide being asked to ask Kluwer, but she pointed out that they didn't increase the subscription price when we went from 4 to 6 issues 5 years ago.

In the new Kluwer contract, there is a provision for an annual review of CHum by the ACH. There was a motion that president be ask to name a committee of 3 to review CHum. Faulhaber says ACH membership and purpose (subjects of an ongoing discussion by the EC) could have an effect on the directions of CHum. Lavagnino, Ide, and McCarty were asked to serve as CHum review committee.


McCarty reports: How can we make Humanist better represent what is going on in the Humanities computing community? One way to do this is to get individual(s?) to take charge of a particular topic/geographical area etc. and report on it at irregular but not infrequent intervals. There is lots of room for expansion. Surveys reports on computing in particular disciplines are also a good type of contribution. He would like Humanist not to be not just his creature. That way, it would be easier for someone else to take it over at some time.

With the departure of CETH and Greg Murphy, the Humanist membership database is orphaned at Princeton, Unsworth is willing to take it over.

Discussion followed about who might be a good candidate for contributing to Humanist on a regular basis. Mylonas: New people, specifically younger members, for whom this is an opportunity. Lavagnino: Give them a title (privilege) and fixed terms of appointment, so they can put it on their CV and so they can also be removed if they aren't contributing enough.


McCarty reports: There is an open issue of how CHWP relates to ACH and ALLC, and their journals. Renear: how can we help? McCarty: Needs to communicate with Ide about CHum and Marilyn Deegan for ALLC to figure out the relationship. Ide: CHWP is working papers, CHum is full-blown treatment. This ought to work out well.


Mylonas reports: ACHWeb is informative, mainly about ACH business. Not much more. One problem has been the ambiguity about giving it an editorial voice vs. reflecting the consensus of the organization. Lavagnino: ACHWeb should tell a newcomer what the ACH is, including a few paragraphs on different topics, so the newcomer can tell what ACH members do. Another suggestion is to link to McCarty's article, or the form of it that comes out after discussion with the EC. Unsworth: All on-line conference abstracts should be local on ACHWeb, searchable. General agreement that Mylonas can take a stronger editorial stance. No prior restraint.

ACH/ALLC'99 Program Committee

Program Chair-Mylonas; Continuing Member-Flanders; New Member-Seaman; PC-Olsen; Local Organizer-Unsworth.

Nominating Committee

Lavagnino (Chair), Gants, Sperberg-McQueen

New Business

McCarty raises:

  1. What can we do to help Eastern European colleagues whose salaries are very low, and their libraries don't have access to the necessary scholarly journals, to enable them to competitively do the work they want to do. We need to be proactive about this. One example is domain-restricted electronic access to journals. Renear: this shouldn't be restricted to Eastern European colleagues, but also to Central and South American ones as well. General agreement that this discussion be continued on-line. A committee was formed to look into this issue, and come up with ideas about how to further it: Birnbaum, McCarty, Unsworth, and Hunyadi
  2. www.stoa.org is a consortium of individuals formed to study what is going on in electronic publication and to form scholarly standards for it. It consists mainly of classicists, but its purpose and direction are not completely clear yet. Faulhaber: What is the purpose of scholarly communication? to share information? or to get published and promoted? Motion: Instruct McCarty to participate in www.stoa.org, and report back to the EC. Motion passed.

Sperberg-McQueen raises:

  1. We need to select the Busa award committee for 2001. it was decided that the committee should be: Sperberg-McQueen, McCarty, Wilhelm Ott. If Ott declines, then Randy Jones.
  2. ALLC proposes a codicil to the conference protocol that in Busa award years the Busa award recipient will be giver of the keynote speeches. This means that we need to define the cost-sharing between local organizers and host organization. This year, the local organizer provided conference registration and the banquet fee for Father Busa, and the host organization provided travel and subsistence. This is the proposed model. There were no objections to this model, but no decision was made about the ALLC proposal, pending further discussion.

    Faulhaber raises: One very important task and role that the ACH can play is to help make software available to scholars/humanists who want to participate in "computing in the humanities". One example is use of the TEI. There are examples of people who want to use TEI but don't know how to get started, as it is complicated to assemble everything by yourself. As an organization, we should have a list of software available, or at least a help document. This topic warrants more discussion.

    Concluding comments

    We managed to keep our meeting to 2 hours, and still have a very productive meeting. This means that we have to continue some of our discussion on-line, over the summer and the course of the year. Mylonas reminded all the members of the EC that last year, we decided that all communications on ACH-EC-L should be acknowledged within about 48 hours, even if only by a virtual grunt, and that of course, more substantive communication would be forthcoming soon after.

    Appendix: General Meeting held on June 9, in Debrecen, Hungary

    The general meeting began with a short introduction by the President of the ACH, Allen Renear, and by the Immediate Past President, Mike Neuman. The Secretary then introduced the Executive Council and the ACH officers.


    Report by John Unsworth: Unsworth extolled the virtues of Virginia and UVA, and invited everyone to next year's conference. He also took a vote by show of hands of how many members of ACH would like to go, as their excursion, tubing down a river in Virginia. A surprisingly large number seemed willing.


    Report by Ide: CHum is catching up with its delayed issues. By the end of the year, all of volume 31 and 32 will have appeared. The rejection rate for the journal is higher than it used to be, and several new features are appearing in it. CHum is already appearing in its new format, with a new cover and size. With volume 33, CHum will again become a quarterly, instead of appearing semimonthly. This will continue to contribute to its improvement in quality.


    Report by Ide: All is going well. The TEI10 conference was a great success and showed lots of interest in TEI. New printed Guidelines will be coming out soon, with corrections, as the Guidelines are currently out of print.


    Report by McCarty: Humanist is alive and well. Call for participation from the community. Some discussion about digest/layout of headers to make it easier to read.


    Report by Lavagnino: The MLA sessions for the past year were organized by Lavagnino and Sperberg-McQueen. The session on Computers and Theory organized by Lavagnino was well attended. The Sperberg-McQueen session on Spatial Text was less well attended, because it was on the afternoon of the last day. As usual, Lavagnino posted these sessions and all other sessions that touch on relevant technology on ACHWeb. These are popular and are used by attendees at the MLA.

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