The meeting was certified at ~16:00 UTC, with the following members present: John Unsworth (JU), Marjorie Burghart (MB), Lou Burnard (LB), James Cummings (JC), Sophie David (SD), Elena Pierazzo (EP), Martin Mueller (MM), David Sewell (DS), John Walsh (JW), Sarah Wells (SW), and Martin Wynne (MW). Laura Mandell (LM) joined the call ten minutes late, to allow full discussion of the host proposals.
Marin Dacos, Arianna Ciula, and Wayne Graham were unable to attend.
There were expressions of interest from Peter Robinson at Saskatchewan and LM at Texas A&M. LM prefers 2012 and Peter would accept 2014 (maintaining the pattern of alternate years in North America and Europe). This seems reasonable, although it means putting out a CFP for a 2013 European host (but not yet for 2015). LM’s proposal for hosting the 2012 Members’ Meeting was accepted, and she will submit a list of possible dates for the event to the Board (being sure to avoid hometown A&M football games).
There was discussion at the last Board meeting (in Wuerzburg) about the current financial arrangements with meeting hosts. TEI guarantees up to $5200 in meeting costs and asks the hosts to turn over any net profit once all bills have been paid. This has worked to date, and no conference has lost money. However, it seems unfair to ask hosts to take all the financial risk and invest the organizational effort of putting on a conference with no chance of any profit.
JU suggested that organizers should keep any profit. SW noted that there are two categories of income from conferences: registrations and sponsors. One possibility would be to split these out, so that the host received and kept registration payments and TEI received and kept the sponsor payments. In the current set-up, registrations are primarily paid with credit cards, so hosts would need to find a reliable and affordable way to receive credit card payments. This can be a time-consuming and complicated task, depending on the resources available at the host institution.
LB noted that further that it would benefit both parties if organizers are provided with guidelines and expectations for meals, equipment, etc. This would ensure consistency from one meeting to the next, both for the organizers and for attendees.
JU will contact the hosts for the Wuerzburg meeting and the upcoming Texas meeting to discuss these financing questions and will return a proposal for conference funding to the Board.
JC provided estimates of costs for holding two Council meetings this year, in Ann Arbor, MI, and in Oxford. The estimates are $9,060 for Ann Arbor and $12,540 for Oxford, for a total of $22,190. These two locations were chosen as requiring the least total amount of travel. The Board supports two face-to-face Council meetings and felt that the proposed locations and budgets were reasonable.
JC also brought up the question of the $18,000 which has previously been allocated to Oxford to handle editorial duties. There had been discussion of who should decide to spend it and how it should be disbursed. Since the Council handles editorial tasks, the Board agreed that the Council should disburse the funds but had asked JC to provide a draft budget. There was discussion of whether or not the Council should be required to submit a budget for that money or if the Board should allocate the money for the Council to spend it as it sees fit. JC liked that solution, since it give the Council much more flexibility. MM suggested a block grant, for specified purposes, to the Council. LB and SW suggested asking the Council to propose how it will spend the money. JU suggested giving the Council a budget of $38,000 to cover travel costs for the two meetings, and ask the Council the create a budget for the remaining amount. There were no objections to this idea.
A candidate to take over as Treasurer from SW has been contacted, but is on research leave for a few more days. JU will follow up to find out if this person wishes to take over, and SW will continue covering Treasurer duties for the time being.
SW brought up the need for a 2012 budget. JU noted that it is too large a topic for a single meeting, and suggested that instead the Board should consider the priorities for funding (as opposed to revising last year’s budget). MM suggested asking for feedback from the institutional members, particularly those members who have not renewed their membership. What is the benefit of membership (or not) to the institutions who provide a sizeable chunk of TEI income? He also suggested revisiting how the Board and Council candidates responded to the question of how we can best use limited resources (see http://www.tei-c.org/Membership/Meetings/2011/mm54.xml).
LM discussed how Romantic Circles (she is technical editor) may be requiring the use of TEI encoding in submissions and how it can make TEI accessible to inexperienced users (e.g., providing instructions for using Word to create TEI). Maybe it would be helpful to ask MLA to require it in some contexts, or find some other way to make it a lingua franca. But we can’t expect everyone to be able or willing to attend a Brown workshop to learn TEI. Furthermore, users need to know more than just TEI: they need some familiarity with XSLT, at a minimum. E.g., LM’s Advanced Research Consortium (a new DH center at Texas A&M) is setting up a barter system where users are given XSLT training in exchange for other services. The goal is to make the users see the pay-off of learning to use the necessary tools.
JU noted that this involves the development and support of 3rd party tools, and the Board might want to prioritize ways to help individual users to adopt and use TEI. The Council has made development of P6 a priority, and MM mentioned that rather than developing the standard, technology transfer might be a better priority. There would be some mileage in putting together tools that operate on TEI and tools that both work on non-TEI documents and turn them into TEI.
JU noted that this involves the development of 3rd party tools, and the Board might want to prioritize ways to help individual users to adopt and use TEI. The Council has made development of P6 a priority, and MM mentioned that rather than developing the standard, technology transfer might be a better priority. There would be some mileage in putting together tools that operate on TEI and tools that both work on non-TEI documents and turn them into TEI.
LB mentioned OxGarage and pointed out that TEI should be supporting holistic tools. LM felt that one-size-fits-all architectures tend to be too difficult for scholars who are working independently. EP said that it is important to remember individual users who may be working on focused specific tasks, and that we should be able to target smaller projects as well as larger. JU agreed that tools for institutions and for individuals should be supported. SW noted that TEI should also be working on brand management, to make people recognize the name and want to use it.
JC said that he and Sebastian Ratz have been talking to Google about injecting TEI source into Google Books. LM has been talking to Ranjith Unnikrishnan about exporting Google books into TEI.
Two unresolved questions that need to be handled are whether to continue charging membership fees and whether or not to make the Board archive public. These questions will be resolved by the end of January.
JU asked about the quality of the phone conferencing service used for this call, and the Board was pleased. JU will use this service to schedule phone conferences quarterly.