Publications Committee Minutes - 2016 Annual

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ACRL WESS PUBLICATIONS COMMITTEE
ALA Annual Meeting 2016, Orlando
Saturday 25 June 2016
10:30-11:30 AM
Hyatt Regency Orlando
Bayhill 29 (Lobby level)

Attendance

Current committee members:

Sean P. Knowlton, Rebecca R. Malek-Wiley (chair), Deb Raftus (WESS secretary)
absent: Jeannine Berroteran, Jen Bonnet (WESS Newsletter editor), Dick Hacken (WESSWeb editor), Anna Shparberg, Rebecca Stuhr

Incoming committee members:

Mara Egherman (incoming Committee chair), Sharon Clayton

Guests:

Katie Gibson (WESS chair-elect and acting chair)


MINUTES

I. Welcome and introductions

Six people participated in the meeting: three current committee members, two incoming committee members whose terms would begin after the ALA conference, and one guest, WESS acting chair Katie Gibson, who participated in part of the meeting. It was held as part of the WESS Joint Committees Meeting.

II. WESSWeb

Committee chair Rebecca Malek-Wiley gave a summary of a report that WESS Webmaster Dick Hacken had provided, with updates on multiple projects involving WESSWeb. The meeting participants discussed each section of the report.
A. WESSWeb hosting and account executions.
Dick was continuing to grapple with the ongoing problem of bots and spiders that were driving up the number of account executions without contributing to valid WESSWeb activity. He was blocking sources that would not limit WESS outreach too much but continued to allow access by major search engines, which in effect provide a channel of communication for WESS. Having looked into the possibility of upgrading our licensing terms with SiteGround, our website host, yet again, he considered the cost -- $1000 per year -- too high for the section to support.
Discussion: LibGuides: Katie and Publications Committee members agreed that a further upgrade with SiteGround would be too expensive. Katie suggested that the guides to resources (general, regional, etc.) currently residing on WESSWeb might be converted into LibGuides, which were now available to WESS through the ACRL LibGuides account. The meeting participants saw several advantages to using LibGuides:
• The shift would reduce the number of WESSWeb account executions and could help to keep it below SiteGround’s limit.
• To many WESS members, LibGuides are more familiar than wikis and easier to create and edit; for example, boxes in local LibGuides can be re-used.
• LibGuides provide accessibility benefits.
Having said all that, we also acknowledged challenges:
• A transfer to LibGuides would be a big project requiring a real investment of time.
• It would be best to wait until the impact of the anticipated (though not yet official) WESS-SEES merger on WESSWeb becomes clearer and the situation has become more stable before planning a major redesign of the section’s web presence.
We agreed to pass the idea along to a future Publications Committee for consideration.
B. Updating and maintaining WESSWeb pages
In his report, Dick identified a list of types of WESSWeb pages in order of priority:
1. WESS business: He urged that information and records relating to current Section business be kept up to date. This category includes committee rosters, agendas, and minutes; the WESS Secretary is responsible for updating the general page listing WESS officers and committees (2015/2016 example), but incoming committee chairs should update the information on the individual committee pages.
2. Guides to resources: He suggested that page editors do regular scans for broken links.
3. Historical section pages (past conferences, newsletter issues, etc.): The lowest category, particularly as many links are likely to be dead by now.
Dick was asking for a volunteer to be a second wiki coordinator, to help him out with general oversight of WESSWeb, particularly the resource guides.
Discussion: Sharon Clayton, as editor of the WESS Newsletter’s “Personal & Institutional News” column, suggested that newsletter editors might build in regular checking of the links in their columns in issues of the past few years. Everyone agreed that issues and web pages more than five years old could be left alone. Deb Raftus expressed interest in helping Dick as a wiki coordinator after she completed her duties as WESS secretary.
C. Notable collections on European studies
Rebecca provided an update on the project of developing and organizing the page Notable European Studies Holdings in North America. It had first been discussed at the Committee’s Midwinter 2016 virtual meeting, then tabled for e-mail discussion, which had taken place in March and April among the full Publications Committee. Dick and Rebecca had then discussed her suggested approach to organizing the page, which Dick supported.
At this meeting, Rebecca shared the proposed outline: (1) The main list of collections will continue to be alphabetical by institution. Two supplementary lists, (2) by country or region and (3) by language, can simply contain the collection names, linked back to the descriptions in the institutional section, thus serving as indexes by place and language. Rebecca said that she had volunteered to help with the page arrangement and indexing once she had submitted the minutes from this meeting.
The meeting participants agreed on this working plan for arranging the page. We all agreed, as well, that Publications will not set specific guidelines on the level of detail of description content; it should be up to each contributor to decide.

III. WESS-L hosting

Background: For the benefit of meeting participants not on the current Committee (and for the record), Rebecca provided a summary of developments since January: At ALA Midwinter 2016 in Boston, the WESS Executive Committee had approved the switch of the main WESS-L to ALA hosting. It had also recommended that the WESS secretary be the backup list administrator (but had not communicated decisions about the main list administrator).
In March and April, Rebecca and Katie had contacted the list administrators of two ALA-hosted discussion lists, Colin McCaffrey (CMR-L) and David Lincove (RUSA HS), about their work. Based on information from them as well as from ACRL liaison Megan Griffin, Rebecca had compiled a draft call for volunteers to serve as WESS-L list administrator, which she had run by the Publications Committee in early May. With two slight revisions, Executive Committee members had then also approved the text. It had been sent out over WESS-L on 24 May [please see Appendix A below], and we had received a volunteer the same day: Joanneke Elliott.
The list administrator’s WESS committee affiliation -- Membership, Publications, or none -- was the one unresolved matter. Megan had informed Katie that to make the list administrator an officially appointed position, that position would have to be added to a committee.
Discussion: Katie stated that the Executive Committee would decide on the committee assignment at its meeting on Monday (27 June). Her recommendation was that the list administrator be an ex-officio member of the Membership Committee, and she confirmed that the Membership Committee supported the idea. Rebecca noted that functionally the position could be related to both Membership and Publications; one reason for preferring Membership was that Publications, with eight members, is already considerably larger than the other WESS committees.
Everyone in this meeting agreed that whatever the committee assignment, it would be useful for the WESS-L administrator to be included in relevant communications from the other committee.
[Update: In its 27 June meeting, the Executive Committee approved making the WESS-L list administrator an ex-officio member of the Membership Committee, so as of 10 July the process of switching WESS-L is underway.]

IV. WESS discussion-group lists: switching over to ALA hosting

Background: Rebecca reported that the possibility of switching all WESS discussion-group (DG) lists over to ALA hosting had been brought up at the San Francisco ALA Annual Conference in June 2015. It would impact five lists -- German-E, NORD-LIB, WESS-CML, WESSROM, and WESS-SSH (CMR-L is already ALA-hosted.) In August 2015, the subject had been tabled by WESS chair Jeff Staiger, past chair Sarah Sussman, and Rebecca until the main WESS-L switch was resolved. In the Executive Committee meeting at Midwinter 2016 in Boston, the question had been raised again, so during February 2016 Publications had discussed the switching of WESS DG lists and had submitted the recommendation that all such lists be switched. The Committee’s only question was whether all DG chairs had been involved in the Boston discussion.
In May, Katie had asked DG chairs to discuss the subject at their meetings here in Orlando, and Katie and Rebecca had discussed possible planning steps for each discussion group to follow.
Discussion: At this meeting, Rebecca suggested that Publications should be kept in the loop about the progress of each switch and the name of the list administrator for each DG list. Meeting participants agreed with her expectation that Publication’s role in connection with DG lists will be fairly indirect.
[Update: In the WESS General Membership meeting on Monday 27 June, those present supported an additional suggestion by Brian Vetruba that DGs consider retiring relatively inactive lists, using WESS-L instead.]

V. WESS Newsletter

WESS Newsletter editor Jen Bonnet had sent in a report [please see Appendix B below], which Rebecca shared with those attending the meeting, giving a general summary of the Spring 2016 issue and plans for the upcoming Fall 2016 issue. Discussion then ensued about ways to encourage more contributions to the “What am I reading?” column; the following ideas emerged:
• The low number of entries may simply have been a one-time matter, perhaps resulting from circumstances of timing this spring.
• Reminders (multiple, if necessary) may help to stimulate additional contributions.
• If the number of contributions continues to be low, the editor could consider letting them accumulate and making the column an annual feature rather than including it twice a year.
• As for posting items on social media, it would be very good to do so in addition to the newsletter contributions, not necessarily in place of them.
Rebecca congratulated the editors and thanked all of them for their work on the Spring issue.

VI. Publications Committee meeting for Midwinter 2017

In a brief discussion about the venue for the Midwinter 2017 Publications Committee meeting, it was noted that a previously suggested “blended” (in-person plus online) meeting here in Orlando was not practical due to the lack of free wireless connectivity in the hotel meeting rooms. Mara Egherman pointed out an alternative example of scheduling a virtual meeting about two weeks prior to the ALA conference, then holding an additional face-to-face meeting at the conference. While this approach would resolve the dilemma of whether to choose a virtual or in-person meeting and overcome the challenges of organizing a blended meeting, we noted caveats -- not only the additional work for the chair required in planning two meetings and posting two sets of minutes, but also the technical question as to which meeting would count as the official one for the record.
The incoming Publications Committee will decide the format of the meeting or meetings for Midwinter 2017.


Rebecca thanked everyone for all of their contributions and support. The meeting ended at approximately 11:40 AM.


Respectfully submitted,

Rebecca R. Malek-Wiley (Tulane University)

WESS Publications Committee chair, 2015/2016


Appendix A: Call for volunteers as WESS-L list administrator (sent out on WESS-L 24 May 2016)


The WESS Executive Committee has decided that the section’s discussion list, WESS-L, should become an ALA-hosted list, switching over from its current hosting at Brown University. ALA uses the Sympa e-mail service for its listserv support.

Wanted: A list administrator for the new ALA-hosted WESS-L discussion list, which will use Sympa e-mail software. This administrator will serve for two years, with the possibility of reappointment.

Responsibilities:

• Monitor the list of subscribers, with the assistance of Sympa tools
o Send greeting message to each new subscriber
o Periodically check list of bounced messages; update or delete obsolete e-mail addresses
• Post occasional messages on behalf of non-WESS-L subscribers, as judged appropriate
Since the great majority of WESS-L posts have been provided by our active group of subscribers, this task probably will not be frequent.
• Promote the use of WESS-L by WESS leaders and other members
• Just as a one-time project: Help with the transition from our “old” WESS-L list to the new ALA-hosted list, working with ACRL Program Officer Megan Griffin

Megan will send information to our new list administrator with more detailed instructions about the work.

Requirements:

• Commitment to WESS, including ongoing efforts to keep abreast of WESS events and projects
• Willingness to keep up with the periodic housekeeping duties outlined above

Technical expertise is not necessary.

This position provides an excellent opportunity for involvement with WESS and support of its activities.

If you are interested in serving as WESS-L administrator, please reply to me (not to the list):

malek@tulane.edu


Many thanks, in advance,

Rebecca

Rebecca R. Malek-Wiley
WESS Publications Committee chair (and Executive Committee member), 2015/2016
Principal Cataloguer and bibliographer for Classical Studies
Cataloging Department
Howard-Tilton Memorial Library
Tulane University
New Orleans, Louisiana 70118
USA
e-mail: malek@tulane.edu
phone: +1 (504) 247-1812 or (504) 865-5696


Appendix B: WESS Newsletter report


Spring 2016

We had a successful round of articles and columns for the spring issue. Noticeably, few people submitted to "What am I reading?" Do committee members have ideas for drumming up more contributions? Or, perhaps this is of less use/interest than it might once have been, given the various ways people stay apprised of relevant reading material?

Fall 2016

Liladhar Pendse will be writing an article for the fall issue on open access in the Czech Republic. Marcus Richter might contribute an article on his visit to the Leipzig book fair (not confirmed). Sarah Sussman mentioned that she would be reaching out to Patricia Figueroa regarding a potential article related to the WESS-DeGruyter travel award research that she is carrying out this summer. It's also possible that Katharine Chandler, the previous recipient of the award, will contribute an article this fall. I've reached out to her and will check back in to see if this is of interest/feasible.

Any ideas/suggestions for soliciting articles are welcome.


Submitted by Jen Bonnet, WESS Newsletter editor

May 30, 2016

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