TEI-C Board of Directors teleconference, 13 Dec 2006
Chris Ruotolo

The teleconference began at 14:09 GMT, with the following Board members present: Syd Bauman (SB), Julia Flanders (JF), John Lavagnino (JL), Daniel O'Donnell (DO), Sebastian Rahtz (SR), Chris Ruotolo (CR), John Unsworth (JU), and Matt Zimmerman (MZ).

DO laid out the purpose of the call: to discuss how to proceed with medium-term planning for the future of the TEI. DO referred to the prior email discussion on this subject, which he had synthesized and grouped into three subheadings that were circulated before the meeting. He asked for feedback on these subheadings:
  1. Membership/Subscriptionship/Sponsorship
  2. External Promotion
  3. Organisation

DO proposed that we organize ourselves into small subcommittees to work through the issues in each category. JF suggested an action-oriented approach based on specific goals in each area (e.g. 3 initiatives to improve outreach or 2 strategies to increase membership).

SR noted that the three categories are interdependent and all relate to the larger question of what the TEI will do with itself after P5. He suggested a first level of discussion on the larger question to get us all on the same page, before we split up into groups. The Board agreed to ask itself some very basic questions: Why does the TEI exist? Should it still exist in five years' time? Why do we want members, and what do we expect from them? The TEI now performs many functions that could be separated or outsourced. If, for example, we were to spin off the maintenance of the standard to OASIS or ISO, and focus on an educational and promotional role, it would require a very different set of strategies.

At this point, JU provided some project updates:
  • The TEI Tight project is approaching completion. JU will circulate the results to the Board and eventually to the Council. The end product will be a minimal union set of the encoding guidelines and schemas used at Michigan, Virginia, and the California Digital Library, delivered as an ODD file. The next step is to negotiate with keyboarding vendors and ask them to offer a discount to smaller encoding projects that agree to use the spec. This could be an important member benefit for small projects. The TEI could serve as middleman between the projects and vendors -- the vendors might appreciate having a single point of contact, and it would make it easier to collect the membership fee from interested projects.
  • Chris Mackie at the Mellon Foundation is looking to award funding ($30K-$50K) for the development of tools that can be used to manipulate library collections in XML. There's a possible role for the TEI or its host members in providing the servers that host these tools. If we were interested, we'd need to write it into the grant proposal (draft due mid-January; final deadline March 15). JU will initiate further discussion over email.

The Board returned to the planning discussion. DO agreed to pose some fundamental questions in an email to the Board list: Should the TEI be around in 5 years, and if so, what should be its focus? (Should it be a standards maintenance organization? A user group for a standard that we hand off to someone else? A standards development organization that begins work on P6 once P5 is complete?) Board members can each write a couple of paragraphs in response. Not everyone needs to do it, but we need enough responses to generate a meaningful discussion. The deadline for responses is one month, with goal that by the next members' meeting, we should be looking at concrete proposals on these issues. Agreement to initiate discussion of the position papers by email, and see how it progresses, then schedule another conference call if needed.

SR suggested that the position papers include necessary steps toward the vision we propose. A recognition of cost and other necessary resources is implied. JF suggested that we justify our choices and the consequences of the vision we articulate in terms of benefits to the TEI community and the greater good. We should explicity state what our role in the world is.

Action 1: DO Dec. 18Formulate discussion question for the Board and circulate it to the email list. Poll the Board to see who is planning to write a response within the one month time limit. The Board will circulate the responses on the list and begin discussion, to be followed by another conference call if necessary.

The teleconference adjourned at 15:05 GMT.

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