TEI: TEI Board Minutes: Conference Call 2015-06-25

Published on TEI-C website, July 2015


In attendance:

  • Marjorie Burghart (MB)
  • Michelle Dalmau (MD)
  • Martin Mueller (MM)
  • Elena Pierazzo (EP)
  • Pip Willcox (PW)

Apologies: Hugh Cayless (HC), Kevin Hawkins (KH), and John Unsworth (JU)

Action Items

  • PW will review the minutes taken on 25 June 2015
  • ALL will provide input within 48 hours, proposing ideas for improving the effectiveness of the Board
  • EP will schedule a conference call in September
  • MM will draft proposal for review by TEI-C members for holding earlier elections and funding incoming board members to attend the annual Members’ Meeting
  • MB to oversee the adding of content to the 2015 Members’ Meeting conference web site by end of June
  • EP to follow up with the Austrian Academy of Science and University of Victoria for formal application to serve as hosts for the 2016 and 2017, respectively, Members’ Meeting and permission to announce the conference locations for 2016 and 2017 at the 2015 Members’ Meeting
  • EP to follow-up with Julia Flanders re: DARIAH/TAPAS
  • EP with JU will explore alternative organizational structures and solutions for supporting back-office work in preparation for the Board’s in-person meeting at the 2015 Members’ Meeting

  • Meeting Procedures and Other Announcements
  • TEI Assistant Web Master
  • Elections: TAPAS and Call for Nominations
  • TEI-C General Elections
  • Members’ Meeting 2015
  • Members’ Meeting 2016
  • Back-office Services
  • Report from the Council

Meeting Procedures and Other Announcements

PW volunteered to review the minutes.

MM proposed ways to be more effective about decision-making and improve the way we work. Since we are running out of time, EP asked each of us to post an email with suggestions for improvement within 48 hours of the call, by Saturday 27 June 2015.

EP also pointed out that the Board is undergoing an adjustment. All current members from the Board are new except EP, who was the only one present for the upcoming year’s agenda-setting for the Board at the 2014 Members’ Meeting.

EP: We need to plan another conference call in September. In the meantime, we need to handle business, especially business concerning the 2015 Members’ Meeting over email.

TEI Assistant Web Master

EP welcomed our new Assistant Web Master, Nick Homenda from Indiana University.

EP reported that she had discussed with Nick the form of compensation for his service to the TEI-C, which the Board purposely left open. EP explored compensation options with Nick. Nick’s institution is already a TEI-C member. EP reported that he chose support to attend the Members’ Meeting.

Elections: TAPAS and Call for Nominations

Nomination committee has been composed but no calls have been issued since we have not yet resolved whether we will hold elections earlier in the year.

TAPAS has proposed to run their advisory board election in conjunction with the TEI elections since TAPAS is offered to TEI members as a benefit.

EP proposes we run these two elections together. MD approves.

PW is also supportive, but commented it set a precedent, raising the question of how we would handle similar requests for other partnerships or child projects. The Board agreed that this is something to consider, but since there are no other requests at the moment, we would proceed with TAPAS request.

MB approves and reiterated that we will need to keep in mind the implications.

TEI-C General Elections

MD summarised email exchanges discussing how elections should be handled. Options include straw-polling TEI-C members and/or proceeding with only Council’s input.

EP questioned the sense members would make of a straw poll. The work to provide sufficient context to straw poll members may be unnecessary.

MM suggested that we present members with a proposal to review for revisions to our election process. Since these changes would require changes to the By-laws, the amendments would have to be ratified via vote.

EP is opposed to modifying our election to have it much earlier in the year.

MD, MM, and PW are in favor of moving elections earlier. MB abstains.

Holding elections earlier to enable overlapping terms could impact the TEI-C financially with outgoing and incoming Board members potentially calling on resources to attend the Members’ Meeting. EP summarized the three options:

  • only incoming elected Board members will be financed to attend the Members’ Meeting
  • both the old and new Board members are supported by the TEI to attend the Members’ Meeting
  • only outgoing Board members should receive support to attend the Members’ Meeting

MM proposed a transitional solution: fund incoming and outgoing members, and revisit the decision in light of the budgetary situation next year.

MD expressed that the point of holding elections earlier is to encourage overlap for knowledge transfer.

If presented as vote right now, PW would oppose option #3. PW feels option #2 is the best idea. If it turns out this is not affordable, after a transition period, then the incoming board members should be the ones supported to attend.

EP explained that the Board was recently downsized from 8 to 5 for financial reasons and because 5 elected Board members are sufficient for our work. EP feels that if we were to present option #2 to TEI-C members that they would think it contradictory to By-law changes more recently made to downsize the Board.

EP does not think the TEI-C should pay for both incoming and outgoing Board members.

PW pointed out that if we pursued option #3, we actually would have overlap this coming year since we can’t change the length of the term for people elected this year.

MD pointed out that because of staggering terms, we would never have more than 8 Board members to fund every two years.

EP sums up the current consensus which is the TEI-C will only support incoming Board members and notes that we can’t change the length of the term for the people elected this year. There will be overlap of outgoing and incoming members for this year.

MM has agreed to draft the proposal for circulation to TEI-C members.

EP summarizes another election issue concerning the Council as raised by HC — the pros and cons of democratically electing members as opposed to appointing members as is customary for most standards bodies. HC expressed in an email that there wasn’t sufficient time to discuss this issue at the most recent face-to-face Council meeting and would like explore this issue some more.

MM agrees that this issue needs more discussion and proposes using the shared board/council list to continue the conversation.

EP will ask HC his thoughts about how to proceed and move forward from there.

Members’ Meeting 2015

PW sent an email update to members of the Board on behalf of the Programme Committee and Local Organizers on 25 June 2015:

Keynote speakers

The local hosts have selected their keynote speaker (see below). The programme committee are down to a final four, with a final decision to be made tomorrow, when the invitation will be sent. The decisions include a “ranking order” for the 4 suggested speakers, so if the first person is not available, we know who to invite next.

We are endeavouring to ensure there is a balance in geography, interests, gender between the two keynotes.

Reviewing of submissions

All submissions have been double-reviewed, and triple-reviewed where there was a high discrepancy between the first two reviews.

Submissions were of a high standard—the scientific programme will be very good.

Invitations to present panels, papers, and posters will be emailed today.

We have accepted:

  • 1 panel
  • 34 papers
  • 11 posters

Workshop invitations will be sent by tomorrow, following a call between me and the local hosts this afternoon.

Next CFP

We anticipate a “late-breaking research” call to go out in the final week of June. This is deliberately timed around academic terms, after marking duties are over and before people disappear for the summer.

The programme committee agrees that we will call particularly for early career/postgraduate submissions (following the example of the Shakespeare Association of America, which had a “Next Gen Plen” plenary session of doctoral students).

We have space for 11 more papers before the conference is full.

Programme Subcommittee

A smaller group has volunteered to craft the details of the programme:

  • Anne Baillot
  • Susanne Haaf
  • Martin de la Iglesia
  • Martin Mueller
  • Judith Siefring
  • Pip Willcox

Local hosts’ report

The funding of the conference seems good from our point of view. We are happy with the institutional funding and sponsorships we have secured so far, we might even have more support from the university in the future.

Room reservations are secured.

We have struck a deal with the Lyon city library to be able to offer private visits of their patrimonial funds (lots of very nice manuscripts and rare books); there won’t be room for everyone, but we have a deal for 4 groups of 15 people max each. We will enroll people in those groups on a first subscribed, first served basis.

At the moment, our main issue is the planning of the work on printed material (programmes, conference posters, books of abstracts, etc.) and goodies (conference bags, etc.), since we’ll have to wait relatively last minute for that, because a) the programme won’t be definitive really soon, and b) we need to be sure of the final list of sponsors logos to include on this material.

The local host’s keynote has accepted the invitation: Milad Doueihi. Emmanuelle Morlock describes: “he has an international profile and will give an opening to the conference as he is not techno centered but reflects on the society impacts of technology. He also knows very well the library domain (he worked a lot with the Bibliotheque nationale de France).”

EP stated that the website needs to provide more information.

PW agreed that it is a concern for the Programme Committee as well. Emmanuelle Morlock is working hard on the web site.

MB reported that they are waiting for information to make a more complete web site, namely the program.

EP states that the web site can provide more information with a final program in place — we can post an skeleton programme/schedule, information about the venues, information about the keynote speakers, list of sponsors, the tours to the city library, etc. PW supports this.

MB agreed and felt this could be complete by end of June.

PW had nothing more to add to the email report (see above) except that the programme committee has decided on seven workshops in the 2.5 days before the conference starts.

Members’ Meeting 2016

EP reported that she communicated with Austrian Academy of Science in Vienna to produce a full-fledged application a couple of weeks ago. They confirmed they would have a full proposal by end of June and have proposed dates for Members’ Meeting 2016: 26-30 September 2016.

For 2017, Victoria University has expressed interest. EP will ask them to submit a formal proposal and for permission to announce that they are hosting the Members’ Meeting in 2017 as part of the 2015 Meeting. Austrian Academy of Science in Vienna will also be announced as the 2016 hosts during the 2015 Members’ Meeting.

EP also raised the possibility of the 2018 Members’ Meeting in Berlin since interest was expressed. EP is reluctant to pursue a formal application since we did not mention we would be accepting bids for 2018 in the open call.

MB would like to wait for a bit rather than pack the schedule. This will give others an opportunity to consider hosting. We should abide by our calls and make sure we issue calls consistently.

PW reminded us that part of building excitement is the bidding process. Putting out a call annually will encourage interest.

EP acknowledged that MM’s concerns about institutions preferring as much lead time for planning is important. Despite bookings for the larger lecture theatres at PW’s institution’s needing to be made more than 2 years ahead she feels that two years in advance is a sensible approach.

MB raised a concern about holding conferences only 2 years apart in two German-speaking countries.

EP reminds us that we often don’t have options. We usually only get 1 bid per year.

MB asked about the status for Oslo. EP mentioned that they withdrew their bid and that EP could follow-up.


Julia Flanders has asked the Board for input regarding how to provide TAPAS services to DARIAH. Will DARIAH members join TEI-C or TAPAS work directly with DARIAH?

EP would like to know more than what’s stated in the email.

MB is not sure whether the TEI-C should have a position on this. DARIAH would be a good outlet for TAPAS to build an audience, but not sure what DARIAH gets out of it. DARIAH is not base-funded; mostly funded by in-kind resources (i.e., people). MB would be delighted if it could work. We are not clear how DARIAH manages their own membership component.

EP recaps for the benefit of new board members that the last two years TEI-C have funded TAPAS $10,000/year. TAPAS services are offered to TEI-C members exclusively.

PW agrees that it’s a good idea for TAPAS to expand their reach as a way to sustain their endeavors.

EP summarized the issue: Should the institutions who are connected to DARIAH benefit from TAPAS without being members of the TEI-C or should we encourage DARIAH members who are not already members of the TEI-C to become members to receive the benefits of TAPAS?

The board would like to know more about the relationship between TAPAS and DARIAH, but we would recommend the DARIAH members join the TEI-C and benefit from TAPAS as a result.

EP will respond to Julia’s email, ask for more information, and relay the Board’s recommendation.

Back-office Services

JU sent an email update to members of the Board on 22 June 2015:

Hi folks,

I will be in California during our next Board call, arriving at a “summit” on print retention projects being hosted at Berkeley, when our next conference call begins. I have an item on the agenda (“back-office services”) and a proposal related to that, so I think I should actually recuse myself from the phone call, and send the Board this update and request instead. You can discuss it more freely in my absence.

I have not been able to get in touch with the treasurer of the apache foundation, who works with Virtual Inc., and from whom I hope to get a client reference and perspective. I have actually recommended the company to the Boston Library Consortium (http://www.blc.org/) which I presided over this past year and which currently has two full-time employees.

I do ask that the Board consider approving the expense of taking these folks on, which would probably be $1500 a month or so. This sounds like a lot, next to paying nothing, but I there’s a lot this organization could do for the TEI that neither I nor any other volunteer is doing. I am particularly aware of relatively lax customer service on membership dues and service to the Board, in terms of budgeting and reporting. I am doing neither very well. I err on spending more time getting membership issues sorted out. I am also not great these days at getting people reimbursed, or at helping current or prospective conference hosts. All of these are things that I think Virtual could help us with more effectively than volunteers, and more cheaply than a full-time employee. I am happy to continue as treasurer with such help, and I think TEI would be better served than it is now. We can make a limited-term agreement and keep our bank account where it is, with me as the signatory, in case this doesn’t work out. A two- or three-year experiment wouldn’t break us, financially, and I suspect we might find a lot of things worked better for those who, like me, are volunteering effort out of very busy schedules.

I’m not complaining: I have been happy to give this effort to the TEI. But I also think I can claim to have the business interests of the TEI at heart, having led its original incorporation as a non-profit. I think this acquiring some more professional back-office services would be in the interest of community members, paying members, council members, and board members.


EP summarizes JU’s update above and expressed concern about $1,500/month fee, which would use 20-25% of our revenue.

MM relayed that it depends on the services they offer and this kind of work is essential and not one that is easily done by volunteers.

MD also expressed reservation about the cost.

MM mentions the former UVa arrangement for managing these operations (Sarah Wells as a CEO of sorts) and the true cost of that work likely equates to 15-20K/year. MM would prefer to work with someone known to us rather than third-party services.

MB is not in favor of spending 25% of income toward management costs especially since we have been working toward becoming leaner as an organization. MB suggests placing emphasis on the job as Treasurer as a special office that people would expressly run for.

EP explains a potential problem with MB’s suggestion. The position of treasurer and the person who occupies that position are “hard-wired” into the paperwork — the treasurer has to be US-based for legal reasons, and to take over as Treasurer has to be present in person to sign the handover papers. The Treasurer’s residence is the legal residence of the TEI-C.

MM would want to investigate the legal situation and the current role of Treasurer.

MD expressed concern about the weightiness and legal implications of the role of Treasurer and would support outsourcing back-office responsibilities as a result.

EP suggests that we add back-office services as the main agenda item for our in-person Board meeting at the 2015 Members’ Meeting. EP will work with JU to explore alternative organizational structures and solutions.

This plan was generally supported. We will continue to discuss back-office issues by email until we meet in October/November.

Report from the Council

HC sent an email update to members of the Board on 22 June 2015:

Dear Board Members,

I will be away at a meeting on the 25th, I’m afraid, so here is my report from the Council. This is my first one, so please let me know if I’m missing any details you need. We held our most recent face-to-face meeting in Ann Arbor at the end of May. The minutes of the meeting are available at http://www.tei-c.org/Activities/Council/Meetings/tcm69.xml. We discussed several high-level issues, including a proposal for a new set of elements to contain standoff annotations, progress on TEI Simple and Pure ODD, and changes to the Critical Apparatus module. We reviewed and worked on 37 Feature Requests, of which 8 are now closed, and 28 bugs, 12 of which are now closed. We hope to hold the next face-to-face meeting in conjunction with the Annual Meeting in Lyon. Details are still being worked out.

Probably the item of most immediate concern to the Board was our discussion of the proposed election reforms. Council’s position is that we’re happy with earlier elections if the Board decides on them, but we feel the overlap period is very valuable, and so would prefer that Council terms continue to begin on January 1.

All the best, Hugh

Next board meeting: At 2015 Members’ Meeting.