TEI Board Meeting, 24 October 2014


  • Elena Pierazzo (Chair)
  • Lou Burnard
  • James Cummings
  • John Walsh
  • Glen Worthey (minutes)
  • Paul D O’Shea (for Social Media report)
  • Arianna Ciula (via Skype, first part of meeting)
  • Martin Mueller (second half of meeting)
  • Marjorie Burghart (via Skype, second half of meeting)

Meeting convenes at approximately 11:15 a.m.

Social Media: strategy for the future

Many thanks to Paul O’Shea - JW: “Best decision the Board made over the past year”

  • Ideas on how to expand for Lyon
  • link to other TEI-related social media accounts (e.g. Tapas on Twitter)
  • Does Paul need more (or less) guidance from the Board?
  • How to improve Tweet chat? -- advertise earlier; restrain topic (e.g. with open question, advertised in advance); participation is the main issue (e.g., Paul could use backup: to help spread the word, help keep the discussion going, etc.); include it in the greater Tweet chat community. Visualization and archiving have been useful, should be continued. LB asks how to make the discussion more substantive? PO: suggests that the conversation could perhaps be more substantive, but we can only learn how to do this by trying to do it.
  • JW: suggests that we have twitter advertising of the DayOfDH to encourage more people in TEI to do so.

Other outreach activities

  • THATCamp (as part of TEI MM in Lyon). Note somewhat mixed reactions (to be expected, perhaps), but general agreement that we should do it. Note of organisational administration needed, rooms, possibly catering. (PO would volunteer to help organize, but with help -- e.g., with SIG convenors). Input sought from Lyon organizers (sought when Marjorie joined later). MB reports that organization would likely be rather difficult logistically for Conference organizers themselves; recommendation to involve recent THATCamp Lyon organizers to take on this organization, which she will do.
  • MOOC: EP and MB are planning a TEI MOOC in French. In spite of some healthy skepticism, the general feeling that this particular MOOC proposal (e.g. for Francophone community, given MB’s and EP’s involvement and previous work, etc.) can be very beneficial. TEI support and endorsement for this MOOC agreed.
  • TEI training in general: LB notes that there is a lot of training material, but that it’s not all up-to-date, not all easily findable (e.g. on the TEI-C site) JC has blog posts for a reading course of the TEI Guidelines http://blogs.it.ox.ac.uk/jamesc/category/selfstudy/ but these aren’t full training materials in themselves. JC: notes that most Oxford materials are available, but of course are only so useful without the talks and explanations given.
  • Hackathon: Results of last year’s Hackathon are known, and seen to be positive. Is the DH meeting the best place to do this? LB notes that one of our motivations was to remind the DH community of TEI: general agreement that it did, in fact. So proposal to resubmit for Sydney (by 17 Feb 2015 deadline). EP and JC will be the ones to propose (based on proposal for last year).
  • DIscussion of “free membership” benefit for participants in TEI-sponsored workshops. Note that some questions remain, that possibility for abuse exists (but seems unlikely). Feeling is that we should continue and fix this benefit - e.g., JC suggests making it “opt-in” rather than automatic, e.g. they get an email saying they need to do something (email, fill in a form, whatever) in order to get it. That way only ppl actually interested get it.
  • Do we need more outreach activities? General feeling that we’re open to other ideas, but also that we should continue doing better what we’re already doing (e.g., Social media coordinator position).

How to get things done: procedure for TEI Board activities

  • Selection of new chair - decision to wait until the new Board is installed before selection but might follow similar process as the TEI Technical Council: http://wiki.tei-c.org/index.php/TEI-Council-FAQ#How_is_the_TEI_Technical_Council_Chair_elected.3F
  • Confirming that, of the four (Marjorie Burghart, Michelle Dalmau, Martin Mueller, and Pip Willcox) newly-elected Board members, Pip Wilcox is elected for 1-year term.
  • Regular (every six weeks) conference call schedule: this has worked, but only partially. How to improve? With a Google calendar? LB and JC recommend Trello (or similar). We may need to improve transparency, public accountability. Calendar could be public and task lists public, but sensitive information private. JC offers to give Trello tutorial to Board if desired and will discuss if Council wishes to do something similar.
  • LB: Board work is probably somewhat ill-defined by nature; do we need to define it better?
  • EP: we need to fix minutes procedures for conf. calls. The Board always miss our commitment to produce publicly available minutes. Proposes to stop requiring minutes to be presented in TEI: e.g., Google doc, or whatever the new CMS for the website. LB: argues that one should drink one’s own poison and so use TEI. Need for consistent document types (for historical and management purposes). GW: Convinced by LB’s argument. JW: also convinced, thinks delays are usually to do with other problems of being busy, not with TEI requirement per se. JW would like to see all of these activities (meeting, minute-publication, etc.) should simply be process-managed. JC notes other barriers, e.g., posting minutes on the website requires intervention because of OpenCMS plugin problems.


  • every 6 weeks conf call (next call: Mon. 24 November, 4 p.m. London time)
  • calendar
  • Consider use of Trello
  • better minutes management
  • revise these procedures in 6 months, to see whether they’ve been successful

Chair of the Programme for MM 2015
Not able to name a Chair today, probably. NB: The Chair should be different from the local organiser.

TEI Conference 2016: Joint conference with JADH ?

  • EP: Proposes the idea of joint conference with JADH, partly as outreach to far east TEI users.
  • JW: Supportive, as long as returns to N.A.
  • EP: Potentially in conjunction with JADH conference in September 2016 in Tokyo.
  • MM: Ask the membership in some way. Figure out how much more expensive it is (for the general membership)
  • JC: Consider EU / NA / Other-Place cycle?
  • EP: Possibly.
  • Local organisers would likely be Kiyonori Nagasaki and Chuck Muller (Tokyo U.)
  • Member meeting procedures documentation: http://www.tei-c.org/Board/bw09.xml


  • Finance for the Conference: discussions of how to improve
  • Investments: JU’s proposal to invest 100K (or 50K, to be cautious) in Vanguard funds. MM suggests that we ought not to expect 10% per year, although is generally in favor of the idea. JC is in favor of idea generally, with caveat that we may want to be cautious about ethical types of investment. General agreement that we ought to take this in consideration. EP points out that we haven’t lost money for many years (basically since JU took over as Treasurer). Resolved: To take the current $37K CD, add to it for a balance of $100K, to invest as JU recommends.
  • Projects:
    • TAPAS support: See Julia Flanders’s report. Requesting $15-20K this year (to support .5 FTE research assistant). EP proposes continuing current level of $10K support for one more year, filling our tentative commitment of last year on the one hand, and the still-early stage of work on the other. Notes that the TAPAS workshop at current conference was the first to sell out, adding to other anecdotal evidence (cited by several) that this service is useful and desired by the community. Question remains as to what sorts of benchmarks we may want to request from TAPAS. These are to be determined jointly (by Board and by TAPAS), but to be conveyed by TEI rep on TAPAS Adivsory Board (currently JC). MM would like to ask for “measurable progress” at the very least. Resolved: to keep level of support for 2015 the same as for current year, while asking for such “measurable progress” benchmarks for next year.
    • Journal: JW requests same $2K for copy editing as in previous years (in spite of additional work coming from the conference issue of Rome meeting). Approved unanimously.
    • Community: A number of SIGs have requested funding to meet. EP reminds us that activities shouldn’t automatically get funding, but rather they should make funding proposals. JC notes that some groups (e.g., Object Description WG) are actually Working Groups set up by the Council, and thus more clearly deserving of funding.
  • Other? Attempting to get a non-Oxford supported replacement for Roma. Council created a draft feature specification for such a thing -- but amounts vary widely. JW recommends avoiding the “grad student research assistant” approach, and focusing on private contractors (or JC recommends community members with a vested long-term interest in such development). EP wants a more realistic and concrete scope and estimate. JC will have Council tidy up the current scoping document and submit to Board for consideration. EP’s larger question: what’s the maximum amount of money can we comfortably commit to spending on community-proposed (SIG and other) efforts? Very tentative figures discussed (and all dismissed as somewhat unknown and highly dependent on unknowns). Final “ceiling” amount unresolved.


  • David Sewell has asked EP to find a webmaster the soonest possible. How does this transition relate (or does it relate) to the migration of the website?
  • General agreement that it would be good for the next CMS to be identified before securing a replacement for David, but this seems unlikely.
  • JC: at least 3 aspects in this: setting up a new server, design of new site, migration of current site. JW suggests that we put this out as a call for bids (including circulating among TEI community).
  • EP notes that we made this same decision last year, but never implemented it (i.e., never wrote the specification). LB volunteers to work on that (with David’s input -- which, he had already given previously; notes are someplace). LB agrees to take lead of this effort, gather a team, work on the specification.
  • JC notes that Kevin Hawkins is current assistant webmaster; can we ask him to step into David’s role? Agreed that this is the preferred approach -- and to ask Kevin whether we can offer compensation for this work. EP will contact Kevin with this request. DONE. KH has accepted. And will get support to go to Lyon as compensation.

Council meetings

  • JC noted that there had been some developments on the suggestion of having a Technical Council meeting in Estonia;
  • Also EP has approached Manuel Portela to host a future Council Meeting; he has agreed to consider. JC will approach Portela to discuss.
  • JC notes that Council supports general model of having meetings in some place where there is some TEI experience (even if limited), and then co-locating a workshop or small conference.
  • Estonian contacts are already well established, and it does seem that there may be a small existing TEI community there. Regardless it has outreach benefits. JC: No current need to have an open call for Council hosting venues (since locations have been chosen by consensus for most recent years); if ever there is not a clear candidate, then a call could be issued.

Future line of development for membership

  • EP notes that one role of the Board is to expand membership. We should consider all current categories, and decide which are most fruitful avenues for expansion.
    • individual. The approach of funding membership to attendees of TEI-sponsored workshops seems to have been successful, and should be continued -- BUT the practice needs to be clarified. Do we give free membership for Conference attendees? Consensus that this is *not* the case, but rather free membership goes only to first-time trainees (where event is advertised via members website). EP will ask JU to send announcement to membership, and to put this clarification on the website).
    • institutional. Brainstorming: Do we seek particular institutions to be part of the TEI? Free memberships for a year? What categories? Strategies? etc. Free membership for testing TEI-Simple. Main purpose is to expand membership base (not necessarily generate more income). JW suggests that TAPAS could be a real membership benefit for e.g. small and mid-range libraries / faculty departments without technical means to host TEI. Clarification that TAPAS is available to all individuals at a member institution; JW suggests membership drive touting TAPAS members. categories (libraries, research institutions)
    • countries/areas: East Europe, Asia, South America
  • Discussion: what should be the focus of a “membership drive”? Underserved communities? Linguistic and geographic diversity? Focus on the community where a Members’ Meeting was held? General agreement that personal approaches (through known community members) are preferable.
  • We have a role of Membership Secretary on the Board (currently Arianna Ciula); when new Board is installed, a new Membership Secretary will be named, and should be charged with this sort of membership drive.


  • JC presents question on behalf of Council:
    • Should we continue to support so many languages (esp. in element, attr, class, etc. descriptions)? --. In past, these have been “languages of convenience” (e.g., depending on who was available to do translation) - but should we be more strategic in choice of language? Note that some translations are vastly out of date. (Translation dates are tracked at the element level, so this freshness is visible.)
    • Should we prioritize translation into other “less obvious” (but more populous) languages
      • eg Arabic, Hindi, Hebrew?
    • How can the Board best support the community of translators?
  • Clarification by LB that the process is already reasonably well-automated (by the Council), but is not well-managed. Not a good use of the Council’s time to be nagging translators; but JC notes that main question from Council is how high a priority is it, how much time should Council be spending on it?
  • EP: Should we approach language bureaus (charged with promoting the use of their language), after the open call has been made?
  • JW suggests that volunteer translators from the language communities that will benefit from such translations. GW notes possibility of Global Outlook :: Digital Humanities, which makes just such an assumption; MB suggests seeking a translation coordinator.
  • General agreement that a social infrastructure (in addition to marketing and acknowledgment of work) is what’s most needed. EP suggests, e.g., that we can engage PO to highlight translators or coordinators in social media.
  • Consensus that we don’t necessarily need a coordinator at the moment; best approach is to set up workflow and procedures, then publicize it and see how it goes. If Council decides that the process does need a “translation czar”, then we can revisit. (EP recalls that earliest translation efforts were supported financially by ALLC, and did make use of a coordinator, a role filled by Sebastian at the time.)

EP thanks the Board for long service.

Meeting adjourns at 5:10 p.m.