TEI Board of Directors conference call: 2015-04-15


TEI Board of Directors conference call

In attendance:

  • Elena Pierazzo (EP)
  • Kevin Hawkins (KH)
  • Hugh Cayless (HC)
  • Marjorie Burghart (MB)
  • Pip Willcox (PW)
  • Martin Mueller (MM)
  • John Unsworth (JU)

Apologies: Michelle Dalmau (MD)

The meeting was called to order at 16:03 GMT.

Agenda

  1. Minutes and their approval
  2. Updates from Lyon and from the programme committee chair
  3. Contacts with possible hosts for 2016 & 2017
  4. Assistant webmaster
  5. Elections 2015 and elections in future
  6. What's the value of TEI membership?
  7. TEI MOOC

Minutes and their approval

EP reported that MD proposed that we not use the rule of silent consent for minutes; instead, she would like people to at least respond to say that they approve the minutes. EP noted that the Board had moved away from requiring this because it was taking so long to get a quorum on approving minutes.

MB suggested we discipline ourselves to respond within a few days. PW asked if we would allow someone to abstain if they were out of email contact, perhaps because they were traveling.

EP asked whether we need a majority or everyone to approve the minutes. JU said that a majority is sufficient. EP asked if this can include the person who wrote the minutes. MB suggested we exclude this person, but PW said that it could include the person who reviews the minutes. EP summarized, noting that we would need the approval of the person reviewing the minutes plus 2 more [elected] members.

KH asked who would check today's minutes. EP noted that we generally decide at the end but that we could decide now. PW agreed to do so.

EP asked if there were objections to this new policy on approving minutes. Hearing none, it was adopted.

Updates from Lyon and from the programme committee chair

PW reported that the local organising committee has decided on an accounting system to be used. There will be three separate "interfaces" for data about the conference:
  • an accounting system (required by French law)
  • the conference website (for which we already have a landing page)
  • the ConfTool site (for submissions and peer review)

She noted that a graphic designer is working on two poster designs to provide to the programme committee, and she reported that she received a grant to be used toward the costs of the conference.

As for the programme committee, PW reported that two calls for participation were circulated at the end of last month. The deadlines for proposals have not passed. The email reflector for the committee is now configured, and they've received some inquiries already. She said that the ConfTool site should be available soon. She summarized the committee's discussion of how to handle multilingualism in conference submissions, and she reported that they are currently discussing possible keynote speakers.

EP suggested that if papers are presented in English or French, we might require the presenter to show slides in the other language. MB said that she felt that a paper presented in French with slides in English is fine, but said it would be counterproductive to require a non-French speaker to create slides in French to accompany a paper in English. PW noted that the programme committee was divided in how to approach multilingualism but offered that we might find a way to help people create their slides in French. EP said that if the committee and the Board didn't agree with her, she'd withdraw her proposal.

EP asked whether we would require presenters to present in English. MB noted that there's a law in France that a French scholar can't be prohibited from presenting in French at a conference held in France. MM said we should just let people present in whichever language they like but encourage them to use the other language in their slides when they can. JU and EP agreed.

MB said she still didn't like urging non-French speakers to make slides in French and felt urging people to do so was a bad signal to send since the conference is not meant to be truly bilingual. EP replied that doing this allow us to test out an approach to multilingualism in the TEI community.

Contacts with possible hosts for 2016 & 2017

EP reported on contact that various members of the Board have had with prospective hosts.

The Board discussed whether we could hold a conference in the same location as a previous conference. PW said that we should allow it if enough time has passed. KH added that it will have to happen some day; it's just a question of how soon.

Assistant webmaster

EP said that we left off in our discussion during the last conference call and by email since then on the question of whether to provide some sort of compensation for an assistant webmaster and, if so, what kind.

PW felt we should offer travel expenses for the annual conference [as for all elected and appointed Board members, including the webmaster]. She noted that people end up doing work for the TEI on their own time, and this rewards them for doing so. JU agreed.

MB said that compensating an individual is fine, but she was concerned that there might be a well-qualified person, such as an IT manager, who is willing but wouldn't care to attend a TEI conference. She suggested we offer compensation to an institution if it devotes a staff member's time to this job.

EP suggested that the job ad for the assistant webmaster say that the Board is open to some sort of compensation to be determined. Everyone agreed with this.

EP asked KH to draft the job ad. He agreed to do so.

Elections 2015 and elections in future

EP said that though we've been having a discussion on the Board list about whether to change the elections timetable (which would require a revision to the Bylaws), we don't have time to revise by Bylaws before the next election as mandated in the Bylaws. Therefore, we need to start soon.

She said the first thing to do is form the Nominating Committee. She said that since she isn't running, she's willing to serve and even chair the committee. MB said that she's also not running and therefore willing to help.

EP asked HC to get 2 more people from the Technical Council. HC agreed to do so.

EP reminded us that MM had proposed by email that we adjust the Board election schedule in the future so that elections would take place before the conference and newly elected members would attend the Board meeting held at the conference. MM added that the other reason to do this is that it would end the "false theater" of announcing election results at the members' meeting. JU clarified that the idea is that newly elected Board members would know whether their expenses were paid [and whether to set aside the time to attend the Board meeting].

EP asked whether the proposal is to begin Board elections in May in the future so that they will be concluded before people make travel plans to attend the conference. MM responded there are two separate issues:
  1. whether to close elections before the members' meeting and announce the results in advance (his main interest)
  2. whether new Board members should assume their position at the face-to-face meeting at the conference or on the 1st of the year, after a "lame duck" period (which is not so important to him)

HC agreed that there are two separate issues and said he has no objection to the first. But he noted that the Technical Council has found the "lame duck" period to be quite useful: outgoing members have time to wrap up their assignments and to train new members, who join informally during an overlap period. MH agreed that the "lame duck" period might be more useful for the Technical Council.

JU suggested that we would want to conclude and announce the results of the Board elections at least 1 month before the conference so that people had time to make travel plans but that Board members would assume their position at the face-to-face meeting at the conference.

EP said she doesn't see any problem of "false theater". She noted that since the TEI moved to electronic voting, electors have grown used to voting at the last minute, even after arriving at the conference and during the beginning of the members' meeting.

JU noted that tracking down people who haven't voted is one of the possible back-office functions that the TEI-C could pay for, as in the late-breaking agenda item he submitted this morning, along with a proposal. He noted that the main advantage to switching to using an outside firm for such functions is _____.

MB asked whether Board members' terms would start just before the following conference [and accompanying face-to-face Board meeting]. EP replied that this is to be determined.

MB then asked whether paying for a Board member to attend the first conference following their election would mean that the TEI-C would end up paying for one extra conference per [newly elected] Board member. JU replied that we might pay for the newly elected Board members' expenses but not those of the outgoing members, so it would come out even. MB said this could pose a problem too since the unfunded outgoing members might not attend, thereby keeping us from having a period overlap between old and new members. EP added that in the past we never expected newly elected Board members to attend the face-to-face meeting following their election but that Evanston was an exception due to the high turnover in Board membership caused by the transition to the latest revision to the Bylaws.

MM said it would be good if newly elected Board members could at least meet in person once before they begin participating in conference calls. PW added that as someone new to official involvement in the TEI, she completely agrees. Doing this would encourage new people to get involved.

EP said we need to draft changes to the Bylaws but wanted to get comments from the Technical Council before the Board considers it. MM volunteered to draft those changes.

new agenda item: financial services for the TEI

Per the document circulated to the Board list this morning, JU explained that he'd like to find a new service provider for the TEI's accounting services. He reported that we currently spend $250 per month to cover an accountant filing the TEI-C's income tax forms "and more" but that currently he ends up doing the "and more" part as treasurer: sending membership invoices, following up with those who haven't paid, diagnosing problems with the credit-card processing system, and creating financial reports for the Board. He said he has found an organization in Boston that sounds promising. It costs less and would do more. It would also give the TEI-C a legal address and hold of the bank account that isn't tied to him personally.

EP looked at the proposal but said that the figure that JU quoted as an annual fee was stated as a monthly fee. JU said that didn't match his understanding from his phone conversation, so he'd have to check with the service provider again.

JU continued that other reasons to switch to a new service provide would be to get better rates on wire fees and better financial reports. Such a service provide could even do marketing for us and keep our records.

EP said she agrees in principle that we should have these things but said we need exact costs before we can vote on it.

MM said that the TEI should account for our total cost in these activites now, including in in-kind contributions by people like JU. KH noted that we all want these things, but can we afford them. JU agreed with MM that we should do this, especially to account for what services the Board wants that he is not providing.

What's the value of TEI membership?

EP asked how we should respond to Paul Schaffner's inquiry. KH suggested we build on the admittedly misnamed "TEI in Libraries manifesto" that he reminded everyone of in reply. MB and PW agreed, and PW added that MM has made the case eloquently before; our work, after all, doesn't happen without funding.

MB reminded everyone that MD offered to look for a document that makes the case for TEI membership and said we should use this if she finds it.

EP asked for a volunteer to lead a revision of the manifesto, incorporating MD's document. PW said she could if MD doesn't want to. [MD later agreed to do so.]

TEI MOOC

EP noted that we were out of time, so we should discuss the MOOC by email.

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 16:58 GMT.


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