TEI: Minutes of the TEI-C Board Meeting, College Park, Maryland, USA, 4 November 2007

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November 14, 2007 First draft

TEI-C Board of Directors meeting, 4 Nov 2007Meeting held at the McKeldin Library, University of MarylandChris Ruotolo

  • The meeting was certified at 10:15 EST, with the following members present: Syd Bauman (SB), Lou Burnard (LB), Julia Flanders (JF), Bertrand Gaiffe (BG), John Lavagnino (JL), Daniel O’Donnell (DO), Daniel Pitti (DP), Sebastian Rahtz (SR), Chris Ruotolo (CR), Susan Schreibman (SS), Ray Siemens (RS), and John Unsworth (JU).

  • The meeting agenda was approved.

  • The minutes from the last conference call were approved.

  • Daniel O’Donnell was reappointed as Chair. Julia Flanders was reappointed as Vice-Chair. Chris Ruotolo was reappointed as Secretary. Daniel Pitti was reappointed as Treasurer.

  • DP walked the Board through the spreadsheets he had provided. He noted that the I18N grant monies came in 2006 for work this year, but there’s a possibility that the work will carry over into 2008. SR will check in with the ALLC to give a progress report on the I18N work, and see if funds can carry over to next year.

    The TEI’s year-end balances have been getting smaller every year, but we’re doing well in collecting membership dues and are slightly up from last year. SS reported about $2,200 in subscriber fees from the Members Meeting, in addition to the $709.87 already collected. The MM will come in under budget, in part because we did well in generating meeting sponsorship this year. Maryland will return the surplus to the TEI coffers, as UVic did last year. SS will provide the Board with a final accounting for the event when it’s available; this should be useful to future MM organizers.

  • The host reports for 2007 have all been received. With Lethbridge proposed as a host, we need to look at in-kind host contributions and see if they’re appropriate. Brown’s main contribution is Syd’s editorial time. Nancy contributes administrative services, such as keeping track of membership. Oxford contributes the time that Sebastian puts in on infrastructure work. Virginia contributes website maintenance and hardware.

  • BG reported that we have 83 current members. 33 institutions were purged from the roster between 2006-07 for various reasons, including non-payment. This seems like a substantial turnover of membership, although the 33 purged members represent a few years’ worth of attrition. The Board asked VL to send complete membership data to the email list. A fair number of memberships are paid by grant monies, which is a good thing. The Board agreed that it’s worth looking at membership issues at more regular intervals. JL volunteered to work with VL and BG on this. We need to communicate regularly with members about dues, electors, and so on.

  • RS reported that last year’s committee ran very smoothly. A number of people who have served on Council cited excess workload as a reason they weren’t willing to run again. We should encourage all nominees to talk to the Council chair about workload and expectations. The Council workload was especially heavy during the past year’s push toward P5. DO suggested writing formal letters of recognition to the Council members’ employers, mentioning the specific work they did, and making this a standard practice.

    The slate of nominees for Board and Council should be sent to TEI-L, not just the list of TEI members, and it should be posted at least sixty days before the election. The SOP document should be amended accordingly.

    Separate mailing lists for working groups like the nomination committee could be helpful. Suggestions for addresses should be sent to DP and JL.

  • JU spoke to several keyboarding vendors who are interested in TEI Tite but want to know what kind of throughput they can expect. This implies the need for a survey of potential Tite users. JU put in an informal inquiry at Mellon to see if they would support a small grant for the survey work. We can also survey the ACLS ebook folks and others about which keyboard vendors they’ve worked with and which they would recommend. The two surveys can proceed in parallel. DLF does have some funding, and might be willing to fund the surveys. JU would like to keep Perry Trolard involved. DO asked JU and SS to work on this, keeping Michele Dalmau in the loop. The goal is to deliver the survey in the near future, and to find the vendors.

  • Nomination committee: SS and RS, with other members to be selected. It’s a good idea for the past year’s nominations chair to carry over to the next committee, when possible, for continuity. The committee will establish the procedures document discussed earlier.

    2008 MM committee: Paul Spence and Arianna Ciula are the CCH local organizers for the 2008 MM. SS volunteered to chair the MM planning committee and assemble the other members. In the past, the Board chair has sent out the call for bids. It might be worthwhile for a couple of Board members to actively solicit good hosting bids. It is very important that the bidding process be open. The call for bids should go out earlier, to allow time for the Board to contact those bidders and work with them. A committee on meeting host recruitment was formed, with JF (chair), RS, and JL volunteering. The committee will write up guidelines for hosting a TEI meeting, and will make an effort to recruit non-Anglophone hosts.

    Web services committee: CR, JF, and LB. Immediate next steps are to migrate the remaining materials on the UK site to the new site, and to enhance the content aimed at TEI beginners. The committee will determine roles and responsibilities for website maintenance, and will consider what web services are needed in support of e.g. the SIGs. DP will register tei-c.org for as many years as possible.

    Finances and grants committee: Should this committee exist? The idea of building awareness of funding opportunities, programs, deadlines, etc. is a good one, but the committee hasn’t worked well in the past. JF suggested that it’s still worth having a group to maintain a core database of recurring grant programs, and combine this with the grant assistance program. SR recommended that the group focus on identifying things we want to accomplish, rather than just getting money. We should ask a group of 2-3 people to work on improving our ability to get grants, and report back in the next quarter. This group will need to have a clear sense of the medium term goals for the TEI.

  • Lethbridge has offered to become the fifth TEI host institution. Its in-kind contribution would include the TEI accounting responsibilities. The account would be held at the Bank of Montreal in USD. DP and DO are still investigating the legal implications of Lethbridge taking over the accounting. They will talk to the accounting firm that we work with, as well as a lawyer who handles non-profit organization status. It would be nice if we could accept funds directly in other currencies.

    The Board voted to accept Lethbridge as a host, pending final negotiations. DO, DP, and RS will oversee these negotiations, identifying any problems and making sure the Board’s interests are represented. A final contract will be presented to the Board for a vote. Initially, Lethbridge will not have a host representative on the Board, as DO’s Board term runs for another 2 years. We may want to reconsider this in the future.

  • The Kazan organizers have offered the TEI $1,000 per person to bring two people to the conference. We could send LB and one other person, perhaps Kevin Hawkins, Tatiana Timcenko, or Matthew Driscoll. The travel sum will easily cover travel expenses from Europe, but from North America, the cost would be closer to $1,400. DO will inform the organizers that we will be able to send two people (LB and another person TBD), and will ask them if we can divide the money between the travellers as we wish.

    LB has been invited to participate in two workshops at the LREC 2008 conference in Marrakesh. LREC is an important conference; TEI has been closely involved in the past, but less so in recent years. This would be a good opportunity to reconnect with this community, and should be a high priority. The conference is expensive and will cost at least $1,000, maybe more. The Board authorized $1,000 for LB to attend LREC.

    The Board agreed to set up a fund for subvention of recruiting trips like these. The initial fund will be $2,000. The Board will decide what the travel priorities should be, and how to maximize the value of the money. Travelers can apply to the Board for money; if funded, they would be expected to submit a trip report back to the Board.

  • Both Editors’ terms have expired, and the Council Chair is gone, making this an opportune time for organizational change. DO proposed a new editorial structure for the TEI, based on the following positions:

    • A Council Chair, who would sit on the Board as an officer, similar to the Treasurer, and be responsible for thinking strategically about the technical development of the TEI. This position would be voluntary.
    • A Technical Secretary, who would report to the Chair and be responsible for carrying out the technical development, rather than strategizing. This position would be reimbursed.
    • A SIG Secretary or Advisor, who would provide technical and logistical support to the TEI user community and would be analogous to the Technical Secretary. This person would help the user community execute things like training and customization. This position would be reimbursed.

    DO suggested SR as the Technical Secretary and SB as the SIG Secretary. LB would remain on the Board as the Oxford host representative. This arrangement would potentially save money; instead of $30K for editors and $5K for technical infrastructure work, we might offer $20K as reimbursement for the Technical Secretary and $10K for the SIG Secretary. Council might get a pot of the extra money that they could propose uses for to the Board.

    These changes would involve amendments to the bylaws, which could be approved by unanimous written consent of the Board. The Board asked DO to write up this proposed reorganization and send it to the Board list. SR and SB are interested in principle in the roles for which they have been nominated, although unwilling to commit at this time. Once official, the Technical Secretary and SIG Secretary can figure out how to divide up the editorial support funds and propose this to the Board.

    Several names were proposed for the position of Technical Council Chair. DO will contact the outgoing Council members for additional suggestions for this position, and the Board will ultimately make the decision.

  • DO has discussed printing the Guidelines with OmniPress. David Sewell has also proposed the University of Virginia Press as a possible publisher. There is no money currently budgeted for printing, so we’ll have to figure out how to pay for it. OmniPress had proposed a number of different payment options. DO and JU will work on this issue. It will be discussed at next Board conference call.

  • RS proposed that we look at other communities that resemble ours, to see if they have outreach strategies that could suit the TEI. RS cited the Harley Davidson community as an example: they have a loyal and dedicated user base that contributes back into product development, and groups that get together to meet and talk; we could look at what they do integrate and mobilize their user community. Other possible models include Apache and other open source communities. The TEI needs a new brochure; DO suggested that the Lethbridge PR department might be able to work on this. A membership and recruitment committee could pull this work together and focus on maximizing value for members and subscribers. Maybe we should survey the user community to see what they’d like from us. RS (chair), SS, DO, LB, BG volunteered for the membership and recruitment committee, and will report back to the Board in the first quarter of 2008.

    CR will compile a list of Board committees and who’s on them, and add it to the Board web pages.

  • The current voting system is fragile, and needs to be strengthened. The ballot should be included in the MM registration packets. We should contact the electors via email in advance of the MM, to remind them of the need to vote. Electronic voting, in advance of the MM, with results to be reported at the business meeting, would be ideal. CR will investigate online voting systems, looking at ACH and similar organizations to see how they do it. The TEI needs an election coordinator. This will become a role of the Executive Director, with assistance from the Secretary. We may need to revise the language about voting and meetings in the bylaws.

    The business meeting could be conducted over lunch; this would free up more time for SIG meetings and might encourage more members to attend. LB and VL will work together to rethink the structure of the business meeting.

  • The meeting adjourned at 15:30 EST. The Board thanked SS for hosting the meeting.