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2014 Meeting

2014 Lausanne Minutes PDF

July 7, 2014, Lausanne, Switzerland

Present: Stéfan Sinclair (SS), Dot Porter (DP), Glen Worthey (GW), Julia Flanders (JF), Lisa Rhody (LR), Lisa Spiro (LS), Brian Croxall (BC), Kathleen Fitzpatrick (KF), Tanya Clement (TC), Roopika Risam (RR), Jeremy Boggs (JB), Jennifer Guiliano (JG), Mia Ridge (MR), Vika Zafrin (VZ), Geoffrey Rockwell (GR), Susan Brown (SB).

Present virtually and intermittently: Ernesto Priego (EP), Matt Gold (MG).

Regrets: Miriam Posner (MP).

Welcome and agenda-setting

SS opens. Exec expresses support for Bethany, who could not join us this year. Introductions.

Discussion was held regarding whether ACH should continue to have an in-person Executive Council meeting. Consensus was reached: even in the face of constrained travel budgets, an in- person meeting is quite productive and we should continue to have one every year. Plans were made to improve the structure of activities over the course of the year, in order to keep better track and alleviate anxiety in the face of an ever increasing to-do list.

The bylaws changes resulting from last fall’s vote shifted Exec terms to the end of the conference, starting with the current (2014) term. Newly elected Exec members are here to participate actively in discussions, but are not voting yet. Outgoing members are voting until the end of conference.

Approval of all minutes from the past year: BC moves, VZ seconds, unanimously approved.

Approval of 2014 agenda: JF moves, GR seconds, unanimously approved.

Another DH amicus brief

GW summarizes the second DH amicus brief: to do with one of the many Authors’ Guild lawsuits against Google and HathiTrust. Written in part by Matt Jockers and two legal scholars. Main arguments on behalf of all digital humanities scholars:

We endorsed a similar brief last time as an association. Non-US organizations did as well (CSDH/SCHN in particular). ACH has been the most activist/advocacy-oriented of the COs, so this aligns with our mission. Previous decision by judge extensively cited the previous brief we submitted.

Ultimately, this isn’t about Google, but about establishing the legal principle about copying for research purposes.

Concerns/questions about brief? None. GW moves to support, multiple seconds, approved unanimously.

Finances and existing commitments; LLC

Treasurer’s report, TC: she and outgoing treasurer Jarom McDonald are still working on it. In general, more or less the same as last year. There’s some money left with which we can do a bit of outreach and backstops.

SS: ADHO meeting yesterday — his sense is that financial situation didn’t change much for ACH in terms of revenue coming from ADHO in 2013. Membership models have changed a lot, including the possibility of having a subscription-less membership, something ACH pushed hard for and is pleased about. Many people are taking advantage of subscription-less membership, but the total number has risen substantially (800 individual ADHO members?), which means that, net, we are about the same as before. The number of subscribing members hasn’t really changed. Most importantly, ADHO’s subscription revenue comes overwhelmingly from institutional subscriptions, so our income won’t be hugely affected by individual subscriptions going up or down (which they have not, in any case).



GW reports that membership growth is quite healthy — and large: we currently have 577 members, a net gain of 199 in the last year. Most of the growth is in the joint individual membership category. The large increase is in part due to the newly instituted availability of a “membership-only” option, which does not include a subscription to LLC. As a reminder, this option was instituted in 2012 for students, and expanded in 2013 to all membership categories. Because of its obvious popularity, it seems clear that the apparent loss (-19) of “ACH-only” members was far more than compensated by the great gain in the ADHO community as a whole – which benefits ACH substantially.

Strategic directions



Membership Models

The basic outline for the issue of membership has been described. At the moment the OUP form is one awkward page, very long, allows you to be a member of only one or all of the COs. Pros and cons exist for each proposed model. One con for the all-associations membership is: who gets to vote in elections? Should Americans be voting for executive board members in Australasia? To some extent that has been self regulating—which might work.

Funding model has been changed: before, individual COs had received more funding based on solo memberships rather than an increasingly smaller piece of the pie based on joint memberships. This created competition with regard to solo memberships. Proposals were:

Discussion — ACH cares most about the following:

We have two perspectives here: one, bureaucratic — how we divide ADHO funds; the other — how constituencies come to organizations.

Primary affiliation makes sense on an effective level. Having CO-specific skins would address the issue. We don’t want primary membership in the sense of there being a hierarchy of membership types, though.

The rhetoric of the form should avoid primary/secondary affiliation.

ACH’s position statement: ACH supports an open and flexible model of membership where individuals express interest in active involvement in specific constituent organizations. ACH is a geographically diverse organization and is invested in the future of a healthy international digital humanities community.

ACH mission generally

The purpose of the Association shall be to encourage the use of computers and related technologies in the study of humanistic subjects. The Association shall further this goal by sponsoring regular conferences on computers and the humanities, and by otherwise facilitating contacts and discussion among individuals interested in the goal of the Association. The Association for Computers and the Humanities is formed exclusively for educational, research, and advocacy purposes. It is a founding, constituent member of the international umbrella organization, the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO).

-ACH Constitution

Below are results of a breakout session during which we talked about initiatives/directions/ mission. They include ACH priorities as we understand them, and possible directions for moving forward.

Models for leadership continuity

We need better guidelines for leadership positions: Should there be a prior Executive Council service requirement for officer posts (this would be a bylaws change)? Should there be a warmup period (vice president as president-elect)? Should there be an Executive Director?

One big challenge we’ve seen: difficulties in developing a slate of nominees with the requisite experience and availability for the P/VP positions (we need four candidates just for these). The slate development question is a perennial problem worth fixing. There’s also the problem of workload: if we need an ED because there’s too much work, doing away with the VP position doesn’t make sense. If the problem is that there are too many things a secretary could do, why not have two secretaries?

So the options, as we see them, are:


JG moves to vote on whether VP will be president elect. (Down sides: it really should be a bylaws change; it’s asking for a much longer commitment.) Passed unanimously; the bylaws change will be included in the winter Association-wide elections slate.

Motion for amendment to bylaws for multiple secretariat: GW, KF seconds, unanimously approved.

In-person meeting

We considered whether an in-person Exec meeting will be effective next year, given the location in Australia and ever-diminishing travel budgets. The constitution requires us to have an AGM in conjunction with the annual DH conference, but does not require an Exec meeting.


North American conference

Over the past year we attempted a collaboration with CSDH/SCHN on its annual conference (which occurs as part of the Canadian Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences). It went fine, though we didn’t quite communicate the conference presence to ACH members effectively.

We continued the discussion of pursuing this collaboration in a more formal way, expanding the CSDH/SCHN conference to a North American digital humanities conference.


Proposed: that we go through with a CSDH/SCHN collaboration and a possible HASTAC sponsorship, and consider our own conference with a bid process.

BC moves that we do a one-year collaboration with CSDH/SCHN, GW seconds: approved.

Finalizing committee appointments

ADHO standing committees (some continuing):

ACH committees (some continuing):

Motion to approve committees, GW moves, LS seconds, unanimously approved.

Budget allocations

Our current budgeted commitments are:

On the table are the following proposals and questions, which we have resolved to discuss further and prioritize in the coming months:

Motion to approve finances for next year (see agenda): JB moves, SB seconds, approved unanimously.


One comment on “2014 Meeting

  1. […] Committee. At the conference we once again held our day-long Executive Council meeting (minutes) and the Annual General Meeting (notes). Since DH 2014, we have been busy preparing for the coming […]

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