TEI: TEI Board Meeting: In-Person Meeting 2016-09-27


  • Marjoie Burghart (MB) via Google Hangout
  • Hugh Cayless (HC)
  • Michelle Dalmau (MD)
  • Kevin Hawkins (KH)
  • Kathryn Tomasek (KT)

Apologies: Martin Mueller, John Unsworth, Pip Willcox


  1. Call for TEI-C Conference Host for 2018 and 2019
    1. Consolidating Documentation for Prospective Hosts (comments from the Board)
    2. Revisit Timeline
    3. Identify Action Items for Call for Host
  2. Assessing TEI-C Membership and the TEI-C Community
    1. Survey the TEI-C Community
      1. Extend the TAPAS survey (to be shared)
      2. Extend the 2007/2008 research conducted by Lynne Siemens: “Understanding the TEI-C Community’ Study” (see also “The Apex of Hipster XML GeekDOM”)
    2. Reconsider Membership Levels and Pricing
    3. Identify other Membership Models
    4. Outreach
      1. Target disciplines, research centers, governments. How?
    5. Identify Action Items for Assessing TEI-C Membership and the TEI-C Community
  3. Issues with Governance
    1. Those Elected to Board (or Council) to Reflect the Community of Users
    2. Ways to Productively Connect with Council
    3. Revisit Institutional Partnerships (e.g., ADHO, DARIAH, etc.)
    4. Identify Action Items for Governance
  4. Strategic Directions for the Board
    1. Consider Ways to Gather Community-wide Input
    2. Identify Action Items for Strategic Directions

Call for TEI-C Conference Host for 2018 and 2019

  • Send the call at least 18 months ahead of time (assuming conference in September-November)
    • February/March/April in the year before the conference
      • Board should start recruiting prospective hosts at least 2 years before the conference
      • January: Board appoints a Meeting committee?
        • A group to solicit bids … something like the Nominating committee
        • Or could be the whole Board
      • Feb: Call disseminated with 6 week deadline? Or allow for only 4 weeks but announce in the previous autumn that there will be a call coming in February.
      • Mid-April: Applications Due
      • June: Board Reviews and Decides
      • July 1: Board contacts selected host
    • This gives the host 1 year to prepare. Would hosts need more time?
      • Board will assume a full year is a reasonable amount of time
    • Eager to send out the call for 2018/2019 soon. Not sure if issuing a call in November with the December holidays in the middle, is a good idea.
      • Issue call in mid-January / early February 2017
  • Consolidating documentation for Host
    • Call for Host: In progress
    • Info for Host
      • On the Google Sites, much of that documentation is geared toward the Host, once a Host is selected.
        • MM is of the opinion to not over-document this and let the hosts take the lead
        • But, hosts have basic questions and may benefit from this info
      • Create more of an FAQ?

Assessing TEI-C Membership and the TEI-C Community

Surveying the TEI Community

  • Tapas Survey in the TEI-C Google Drive (draft, password protected)
  • Institutions with a focus on teaching the TEI
    • Florida State University
    • Pennsylvania State University (DH and English)
    • Princeton University, Library (associated Blue Mountain Project)
    • *Simon Fraser University
    • Swarthmore College, Friends Historical Society
    • Texas A&M
    • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    • University of Nebraska-Lincoln
    • *University of New Haven
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    • University of Oxford, Bodleian Libraries
    • University of Toronto
    • University of Victoria
    • University of Virginia
    • Washington and Lee University
  • Siemens study was based on web logs
  • Surveys can have such low response rates
  • What do we want to know about our community
    • Affiliation
    • Role
    • Number of TEI Projects
    • Member of the TEI-C (either institution or individual)
    • How long have they been “doing TEI”?
    • Do individual users of the TEI have particular needs?
    • General fishing expedition…

Reconsider Membership Levels and Prices

  • With these memberships, multiple affiliates from same institution can be included so these numbers are slightly inflated.
    • Free (Workshop Participant): 74
    • Individual: $50: 212
    • Supporter: $250: 34
    • Contributor: $500: 63
    • Friend: $1500: 17
    • Patron: $2500: 9
    • Sustaining Partner: $5000: 4
  • Offer student level: $15?
  • Practitioners: What do they gain?
  • Survey findings may help us re-think our membership levels and concrete benefits as a result?
  • How many individuals renew?
  • How many members who join initially when attending a workshop actually renew?
  • Levels for individual memberships like we do for institutions. YES!
    • Stickers!
    • Newsletter for the community with updates on the Council and Board work (annually? quarterly?): Chair Board / Chair Council

Possibilities for sustaining the back office

  • In-kind contributions
    • DARIAH Europe
    • CLIR
    • ADHO?
    • Staff time instead of membership fees?
  • Paying an organization to run the back office
    • Outsource to a firm (as John Unsworth suggests)
    • Give DARIAH-EU or another organization a sustaining membership in place of fees
    • CLIR
    • Educopia

Reconsider Other Membership Models

  • Currently, the model we use for the TEI-C is in keeping with models sponsored by academic (mostly US) libraries
  • For Libraries, MD thinks that TAPAS is key (and possibly TEI Simple): Repository, Publishing
  • For Martin’s essay: “Libraries will not respond to direct lobbying by the TEI. They will over time respond if they hear from enough faculty and students. So the work of persuasion has to be directed at the academic disciplines. Such persuasion is very much the work of the TEI Community and will occur as a conversation here and a conversation there. But there are also ways in which the Consortium can help.”
  • Note from KH: This quote from Martin was about choosing whether to use TEI in a library, not whether to join as an institutional member. My sense is that libraries make their own decisions about which organizations to join, only indirectly based on things like what they hear from faculty. More specifically, the people deciding on memberships are unlikely to be those who are working most directly with faculty.
  • Dovetail with surveying the community (along with the TAPAS survey) to identify “critical mass” per institution


  • Go beyond usual institutional support (universities and libraries) and reach out to governments/government agencies, research centers, departments, scholarly societies, etc.
  • How to collect membership data to help us understand our current institutional members (only seen in the contact details in WIld Apricot: e.g., CNRS UMS 3598 TGIR HUMA-NUM)

Issues with Governance

  • Big challenges of documenting procedures
  • Current issues with the Board:
    • Volunteer-based — how to compel Board members to consistently contribute and for individual Board members to lead initiatives
    • Insulated — how to engage more fully with the TEI Community at-large?
      • Create Working Groups made up of members of the TEI Community, convened by a Board member. Make recommendations for final approval by the Board? Yes!
      • Recurring tasks we need documentation: Call for Host, Elections, etc.
    • Inability to track decisions and enforce them…
    • Expectations about the Board
      • Is the purpose to look to the future of the TEI?
      • Is the Board a glorified secretarial pool?
    • Composition of the Board
      • Membership of Board does not necessarily reflect the community (an intuition), but we don’t really know how to describe the community (see discussion on Surveying the TEI-C Community)
      • Joint Council/Board governance
        • As Martin stated: ““I conclude from this that there is a fundamental flaw in the governance structure of the TEI. There is no mechanism that encourages or enforces a continuing dialogue about the relationship of the technology to its end users. To put it crudely, there is a sandbox for the techies, and there is a Board that is supposed to pay the bills but otherwise keep quiet. This is not a good environment for strategic planning. If the TEI looks today like a somewhat rudderless organization, its peculiar governance structure may have something to do with it.”
        • “TEI would do better with a Board of Directors that brings technical staff and end users together in a single body responsible for thinking about the TEI schema and its uses.”
        • Not as big a gap as represented in Martin’s essay
        • Place of work on Council in such things as cases for tenure and promotion: Service for some, Intellectual work on standards and framing for promotion and tenure
    • Consider aligning with other institutions:
      • See: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1XA9CxWTUTLKoNa1JHya36Z3sF7-UyejpfTftYwMXQmw
      • MD thinks if we go this route it has to be a global/international group like ADHO
      • JU has expressed problems with this though it’s been discussed many times before (problems are more about ADHO’s own organizational capacity)
      • MD Gather the bids — have JU gives us contacts so the Board can solicit quotes…
      • Potential partners / providers
        • Kevin is willing to contribute… Working Group…
        • Have conversations with various groups
        • Consultation with the TEI-Community; make bid public ..
        • Open Comment period… on a set of specific options
        • This is the organization that JU mentioned in last year’s document: http://www.virtualmgmt.com

Strategic Directions for the Board

  • Covered as part of other agenda items
  • The Board needs to avail itself from some or most of administrative overhead so that they can focus on being more forward-looking in partnership with the Council and TEI Community
  • In the meantime, the Board is working on improving documentation for its policies and practices, which up until 2015, were either non-existent or incomplete.