TEI Members Meeting 2016: Business Meeting Minutes

TEI Members Meeting 2016: Business Meeting Minutes

Welcome and Opening of the Business Meeting (Michelle Dalmau, 5 mins)

Michelle Dalmau (hereafter MD) opened the meeting with a warm welcome, offering a brief overview of the agenda for the day.

MD introduced the opportunity for informal discussion of Thursday’s plenary, noting that after three full days of conference and much discussion of the TEI in a technical sense, and inviting suggestions and discussion from those present so that we might hear broader input about the organization as a whole, especially from newcomers.

Huw Jones introduced himself as new to the TEI conference, and having used TEI markup for some time for cataloguing library manuscript collections. Patrick McAllister works on Sanskrit and introduced himself as someone who stumbled into the TEI and is also here for the first time. Both said they were happy to have attended the conference and having had many interesting discussions, finding commonalities as well as new areas of interest.

MD asked about news that there has been discussion of a SIG devoted to Indic languages and spoke to the opportunity that SIGs offer to participate in the TEI.

Elisa Beshero-Bondar (hereafter EB) spoke to discussion of East Asian SIG over the past year; wondered whether the challenges of encoding in a particular language or language group calls for a specific SIG, as well as the possibility that the interests of a language group SIG, for example, crossover with the Manuscripts SIG. MD spoke to the opportunities to hear about high-level issues within SIGs that might be posted to the TEI-L on a quarterly basis. Yasmin Faghihi (hereafter YF) spoke from the perspective of the Manuscripts SIG and wondered about how one might go about forming SIGs. MD pointed to “Rules and Regulations.” Syd Bauman (hereafter SB) noted that these rules sound more formal than the process actually is; they exist to avoid having people working on the same issues in two different places and not knowing about each other. There is the one limitation—SIGs cannot seek funding without checking in with the Board and Council. Hugh Cayless (hereafter HC) noted that in practice, if you ask for a SIG, the answer is yes.

MD asked whether people teach the TEI. An attendee asked about adding examples from TEI projects as useful for teaching. HC noted that there has been some discussion of including examples away from the elements—large bits of text where one can see things working together. YF would like pointers to examples.

Lou Bernard (hereafter LB) pointed to the Projects page, saying it needs to be actively maintained, and to include ODDs posted there. SB echoed the point and said that the TEI Wiki has a place for ODDS, suggested adding a place to the wiki for ODDs, mentioned TEI by Example. LB noted that the latter is out of date.

Emmanuelle Morlock (hereafter EM) suggested that best practices should be easy to find in the website. Another attendee mentioned the TEI-L as a place to ask questions, suggesting a kind of semi-formal vetting space, noting that it would require some work from “master practitioners” that would not leave newbies feeling presumptuous. EB spoke to being welcoming; noted “illusion” of gap between “master practitioners” and “the rest of us”; suggested encouraging discussion on the list; said she hoped Kevin Hawkins was taking notes for website. HC suggested getting some newbies to post to the list, demonstrate that they don’t get burned to a crisp; he mentioned the snowball effect. EM noted cultural differences can mean folks need still more encouragement. PW noted that there is a difference between being a newbie to the TEI and being a newbie to the list, suggested that needing to ask question is less about ignorance overall than about encountering something new to one’s own area of expertise. MD noted she has had similar hesitations about the list, but that the list is friendly and is meant to be friendly, encouraged participation, suggested that we all keep in mind cultural differences.

LB spoke to last week’s discussion about morphemes/graphemes—opportunity to learn something about a rather specialized field in linguistics and an example of why the list works.

James Cummings (hereafter JC) on demystification and reminder that one can look at GitHub and TEI-Council list is open for all to view; you can see how the Council works and perhaps think about standing for Council. PW mentioned the question of how to find things on the website and use of user personas as technique for developing websites; once new backend is complete, we will come to community and ask for volunteers to test utility of website for different kinds of users. Look for that request on the list, especially if you feel like you’re unsure how to navigate the current site. JC mentioned FAQ for Council.

MD noted that Board list is not open; this is first time that the Board has taken our work to the wiki in an effort to be more transparent. Action Items, summary-oriented items.

Introduce the Rahtz Prize (Hugh Cayless & Michelle Dalmau, 5 mins)

MD introduced the Board; PW, HC, Kathryn Tomasek (KT), KH, as well as those unable to attend, John Unsworth (JU), Martin Mueller (MM), Marjorie Burghardt (MB).

MD introduced the Rahtz Prize for TEI Ingenuity, which is described in detail under the “Activities” section of the website. There will be a nominations process, beginning in April, with presentation at the annual meeting and a prize of $1,000.

PW mentioned the Oxford memorial for Sebastian on Tuesday, where the audience greatly appreciated members’ of the Council joining remotely. JC and LB spoke about Sebastian’s many and significant contributions to the TEI. HC announced the prize, and the response was enthusiastic, with the audience feeling this was a lovely and appropriate way to honor Sebastian.

MD said she would send a message to the TEI-L list with further information.

Report from the Council (Hugh Cayless, 10 mins)

See report presented to 2016 TEI-C Business Meeting for more information.

HC showed some statistics from Council activities. Council is getting back on top of tickets, moving past some of the more difficult things that have happened over the past couple of years.

Highlights and work proceeding apace. Council gets a lot done! HC described the previous release, 3.0.0. LB’s Pure ODD means TEI now defined almost entirely in TEI. This has implications for moving forward as it frees us up from dependence on an external standard. The new Processing Model was one of the outputs of the TEI Simple project and provides documentation of expected outputs as part of the ODD.

Challenges. Stylesheets without Sebastian. Working to build expertise around Council, coordinated by SB. Roma is rather obsolete and hard to develop further—Raff Viglianti is working on a replacement. Council needs to make decisions about patching Roma or simply replace. Sebastian Rahtz used to release Debian packages. HC calls for volunteers.

What’s next? 3.1.0 release upcoming in December, including the TEI Simple customization and cleaning out the rest of Relax NG for Even Purer ODD.

And finally HC called for participation—tell us when something’s wrong, when you have a good idea for something that “TEI can’t do,” If you don’t want to open an issue on GitHub, go to the list.

Any Council Qs? JC—OXGarage is a place to go for conversions; what is maintenance plan? HC response is “you tell me.” Oxford’s IT Services is not interested in supporting it further. (This was another project that SR led; our debt to SR is incalculable.)

Report from the SIGs (Hugh Cayless, 10 mins)

See report (linked above) presented to 2016 TEI-C Business Meeting for more information.

The Libraries SIG has been active in updating the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries. It hasn’t been updated since 2011.

The CMC SIG has had a series of meetings; Lyon 2015, 9/26/2016, next will be working on feature requests. Lots of ongoing work.

HC mentioned that feature requests often arise out of SIGs—which include experts on a specific topic. These people uncover bugs or propose ways to improve the Guidelines.

The East Asian/Japanese SIG had a meeting in August. The SIG's initial focus is on Japanese texts, but the conveners intend to broaden it by reaching out to projects in Korea, Vietnam, and Taiwan.

The Linguistics SIG held a workshop early this week. The SIG envisions a series of hands-on meetings that will result in proposals to Council.

No report from Manuscripts SIG because they had an impromptu meeting this week! Minutes from this meeting were posted on the TEI-MS-SIG list: https://listserv.brown.edu/archives/cgi-bin/wa?A2=TEI-MS-SIG;f83648c7.1610.

The Text and Images SIG met and provided a report on TEI-L: https://listserv.brown.edu/archives/cgi-bin/wa?A2=TEI-L;5fb3bb40.1610.

EM asked HC to name other SIGs, and he pulled up the list from website: http://www.tei-c.org/Activities/SIG/.

Reports from the supported projects (25 mins)

TEI Simple (Hugh Cayless, 8 mins)

This matter was covered in the report from Council; see link above. TEI Simple to be released in December.

TEI Journal (Anne Baillot, 8 mins)

See report and slides presented to 2016 TEI-C Business Meeting for more information.

Anne Baillot (AB), managing editor, recently took over from Martin Holmes, who helpfully guided her through first month.

There have been workflow changes, the 2014 conference papers are being published, and Issue 10, which will include the 2015 conference papers, is going to copyediting. There is an extremely long publication loop—a problem of many DH and academic publishing venues—and the editors are looking for ways to improve workflow without an impact on publication quality.

The journal currently includes both issues composed of papers from conferences as well as issues with open topics and themed issues (see slide). In an effort to resolve some of the problems with the long publication loop, AB is trying to keep stricter deadlines regarding resubmission/revision deadlines, while at the same time continuing to allow resubmission. She is also sending more frequent reminders to reviewers, and it’s working. The journal also includes both short paper and long paper sections to distinguish between project reports and research reports.

It has been the practice at the journal to wait for sufficient content to publish an issue; new practice is to publish in preview area as articles are complete and later to bundle them into an issue with introduction, with no change to URI. Approval of this new model to be submitted to journal’s advisory board. Also plan is to encourage authors to publish their data in institutional repositories.

AB does not want to cut back on the very valuable process of peer review, and she offered her thanks to reviewers; the Journal would not work without them. AB encouraged those who are not reviewers to become reviewers. Start by reviewing projects. Be honest with the Managing Editor about when you can do things.

Questions and comments:

  • EM—comment—workshop on editorial process; open archive of papers, work of reviewers much lighter; helps authors send more refined texts to journal; perhaps offer priority to papers that were openly reviewed first.
  • EB a reviewer’s question about whether they are willing to review again once the manuscript is resubmitted; and possibly of setting willingness to yes as default, opt out—AB, Yes, will look into it
  • And EM asks about possibility of publishing data papers—AB will look into it.

MD notes ours is a very serious peer review process, and it is a compliment to have colleagues give this level of attention to your work.

TAPAS (Michelle Dalmau for Julia Flanders, 8 mins)

See report and slides presented to 2016 TEI-C Business Meeting for more information.

MD on behalf of JF who sent in notes as well as slides.

  • 8 new accounts in the past month
  • 80 new accounts in past 6 months
  • 300 total accounts, 27 by TEI-C members
  • 39 projects, with approximately 75 collections
  • 8 new projects in past 6 months
  • Approximately 3 projects and 30 accounts that are student/course related (in some cases a single login may serve for an entire class)
  • 19 public-facing projects
  • More than 700 TEI records
  • Roughly 320 new TEI records in past 6 months
  • 188 institutions represented overall

TAPAS Classroom funded by a $75,000 NEH Digital Humanities Startup grant; support pedagogy

Submitting NEH proposal for ODD/TEI processing.

Survey was requested by Board (look for that soon). It’s important to give Board a good idea of how to integrate TAPAS into TEI-C more tightly, offer as benefit of membership.

Questions and comments:

LB usage outside U.S.; MD speculates that this data is available based on institutional affiliation and that she would ask the TAPAS team for clarification.

Report from the Treasurer (Michelle Dalmau for Unsworth, 10 mins)

See slides presented to 2016 TEI-C Business Meeting for more information.

Two kinds of memberships for individuals; other levels are institutional membership

JU notes that this year has begun tracking free memberships; many do not renew

Slide showing breakdown of membership numbers; individual memberships affected by bundling options for institutional memberships; only 4 sustaining partners, bundling effect is addition of 3 more;

Tracking institutional memberships and individual ones…. Paid members as well as those who received free workshop memberships—lapses, renewals, overdue…. The software…

Cash—compared to 2014; expenses, but ADHO didn’t bill us for web hosting so balance isn’t quite right

JU summarizes what we’re spending on; insurance, accounting, for Board—The TEI-C is a not-for-profit organization incorporated in the state of Virginia in the US—up to date with IRS, corporation paperwork in VA

LB asked about matching funds for Simple—can we expect some of the amount to come back?

JC funds were kept in separate pots.

LB asked about $10,000 support to TAPAS; MD notes 2nd year; Board has tabled until October meeting discussion of support to Simple and TAPAS;

LB comment about proportions spend on Council v. on TAPAS and Simple—perhaps Board should reconsider spending priorities

Slide about balances over time—Don’t believe the prophets of doom; austerity would be the wrong course

JU thinks spending reflect appropriate prioritization

And JU’s points from slide

And the slide in which JU announces his resignation; and his recommendation that we move to a professional association management company; legal rationale; MD points to wiki document soliciting quotes; importance of having a way to handle memberships/taxes; possibilities of partnering with e.g. ADHO, DARIAH….

LB suggest vote of thanks to JU, applause.

Question from Eugene Lyman: financial statements should be present at the business meeting. MD responds that as long as she has been on the Board, financial statements have not circulated. LB notes that at some of the very first members’ meetings at the start of the consortium very detailed reports were presented by the treasurer.

Question from Lyman about why the balance is over $200,000 need the information to understand this

MD responds memory of having liquidated some certificates of deposit.

PW, admitting that she is working from memory and has no accountancy training, believed that JU had reported the previous year that we needed to spend more to maintain our non-profit status.

LB, speaking from his time on Board, JU on accumulating endowment; shares concern about Board’s lack of transparency about finances. MD agrees.

Election results (Michelle Dalmau, 5 mins)

See slides presented to 2016 TEI-C Business Meeting for more information.


TAPAS—5 spots, 8 stood

Council—same, announces winners

And Board—3 spots, 3 stood, wanted more competition

Need to improve voter turnout!

Turnout and oddness of Wild Apricot numbers; especially for institutional members

Repeated encouragement from Board to make sure that voting information went to appropriate person on campus

No questions

Congratulations to all and thanks to those on the way out; MM and MB on Board; LB and SM on Council.

Special thanks to LB—standing ovation.

TEI-C Conference and Members' Meetings (10 mins)

Call for Hosts for 2018 and 2019 (Michelle Dalmau, 1 min)

MD will do call for two years in early 2017; working on documentation.

2017 at University of Victoria, BC (Syd Bauman on behalf of Janelle Jenstad and Martin Holmes, 9 min)

See slides presented to 2016 TEI-C Business Meeting for more information.

Future Directions, Thank Yous, and Closing the Business Meeting (Michelle Dalmau, 10 mins)

(except from closing remarks follow)

The following are goals and action items the Board as identified and hopes to explore in the next year or two (again these are not exhaustive):

  • understanding our community because we anecdotally we know that it’s active and it’s global, and that the demographic is changing rapidly especially with around-the-year training of the TEI through the various international summer schools like Oxford, Leipzig, University of Victoria and others. (work on a joint study with researchers who publish on organizational cultures)
  • engaging our community… we are especially eager to facilitate this engagement through, perhaps slightly more structured channels …
    • through teaching — mention the work presented by Elena González-Blanco and Antonio Robles Gómez on the TEI Scribe that builds on the TEI Processing Model led by Sebastian Rahtz and completed by close colleagues. There are so many examples like these and as we consider affordable and meaningful approaches to teaching. We learned earlier that TAPAS is also working on this.
    • Through low-barrier entry whether that’s TEI Simple, the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries, TAPAS, an ODD made by you, or a better designed web site for the TEI-C
    • Through technical intervention such as ways to:
      • extend and enhance the work of the Council (riff on the “think tank” idea from the plenary & ways to more strongly support and integrate the SIGS)
      • support but also connect communities of TEI tool creators (Peter Andorfer/Dario Kampkaspar — How to Build a Digital Edition) but also figuring out ways to consider the whole ecosystems of tools — TEI Boilerplate, Ed. Jekyll Theme for Digital Editions, etc.) — Rahtz Prize
    • Through activities and initiatives spearheaded by the Board (mention working groups)
    • Through grant partnerships or other funding opportunities
  • crossing over to other communities / learning from / avoiding insularity
    • act as “double agents” (plenary) but network across various groups (standards bodies, discipline-specific scholarly societies, etc)
    • identify ways we can partner with other organizations — ADHO, DARIAH, CLIR — to extend the reach of the TEI and in turn remain informed … we also need to go to where critical digital editions are being created … Society of Textual Scholarship, European Society for Textual Scholarship, Modern Language Bibliography, DiXit
  • (recall Tara’s keynote) Validate our hybrid selves as important contributors to scholarly, meaningful work
    • understand the needs of early scholars for educational funding, promotion, tenure, etc.
    • consider framing the work of the council in a way that can be used for professional advancement

And more … the discussion for moving ahead is far from over, but we should move on so you can enjoy glorious Vienna!

I would like to deeply thank this year’s host of our TEI Conference and Members’ Meeting: the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Austrian Center for Digital Humanities. The setting was inspiring, the hospitality was exceptional, and no A/V issues!

Thank you, Director Charly Mörth and Senior Researcher and Lecturer, Claudia Resch, chair of the Local Organizing Committee, and the other members of the local organizing committee (Vanessa, Sandra, Daniel, Andrea, Tanya). If you are here, please stand so we can give you a big round of applause.

Finally, I would like to thank our sponsors. Their financial support represents more than free wine – it is supporting the TEI community to make connections, and evolve our work and scholarship.

Thank you, Syncro Soft (the makers of the Oxygen XML editor) who are great supporters of the TEI community, the Austrian Academy of Sciences, eXist solutions, appSoft Technologies, the maker of Xeditor, and the City of Vienna.