STS Publications Committee

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Minutes of STS Publications Committee Virtual Meeting

Conference Call:   December 12, 2005 , 3:00 -- 4:30 p.m. EST

Attendees:   Members Steve Adams, Barbara Blummer, Andrea Duda, Linda Eells, Ron Gilmour, Caroline Gilson, Barbara MacAlpine, Jennifer McKinnell, Carol Robinson, Peter Spyers-Duran, and Paul St-Pierre; Guests Deb Huerta and Beth Roberts

Chair:   Barbara MacAlpine

Meeting held virtually in lieu of scheduled meeting at ALA Midwinter in San Antonio in January 2006.

1.   Welcome and meeting format

All attendees introduced themselves; guests described their interest in the committee.   Format and “rules” for the meeting were explained by Barbara MacAlpine.   Most reports had been circulated ahead of time, so less information needed to be presented during the meeting.

2.   Reports from:

A.   STS-L (Peter Spyers-Duran)

  • Peter reported that STS-L now has 1026 subscribers.   Although this is a decrease since we moved to ALA servers last July, some of those drops were out-of-date subscriptions that hadn't been removed by the UTK servers.   Discussions on increasing subscribers followed [under New Business. A.] .   Peter also noted that improvements to message appearances were not possible using the ALA software.
  • At the request of an STS-L subscriber, Peter tried to delete a message from the STS-L archives and discovered that they are still on the server at UTK in addition to being available from the ALA server.  
  • ACTION:   Ron Gilmour (at UTK) will speak with the appropriate people to get the archives removed.  

B.   STS-C (Caroline Gilson and/or Carol Robinson)

  • STS-C responsibilities have shifted from Caroline Gilson to Carol Robinson.   Everything appears to be going smoothly.   There are 54 subscribed  members on the listserv.

C.   Signal (Barbara MacAlpine and Caroline Gilson)

  • Barbara MacAlpine edited her last Signal with the Fall 2005 issue.   Caroline Gilson will produce the Spring 2006 issue, and next fall new co-editor Jennifer McKinnell will tale over.   Discussions on changes to Signal followed [under New Business. B.].

D.   ISTL (Andrea Duda)

  • The ISTL subscription list now numbers 4,071.
    • Themes and deadlines for upcoming issues are:
    • Winter 2006:       Outreach and marketing--January 15
    • Spring 2006:       Assessment--April 15
    • Summer 2006:    All topics--July 15
    • Fall 2006:           E-Resources--October 15
  • Andrea asked that people be encouraged to write for ISTL.  

E.   STS Website (Paul St Pierre)

  • Jennie Duvernay filled in as webmaster during fall '05 while Paul St Pierre was unable to get to a computer in New Orleans .   He is now back in business and has posted the STS schedule for ALA Midwinter in San Antonio .
  • Paul recommended that two Publications Committee members be trained to manage the site at all times, with offset terms to ensure continuity and competence.   One member would be the senior editor, the primary contact for STS Council members, responding to requests for changes and additions.   The junior member could spend his/her first year as an understudy to the senior editor, mastering the system and working on less time-sensitive projects.
  • ACTION :   Paul St Pierre will draft a handbook of web editor duties, based largely on documents prepared by Jennie Duvernay.   It will also contain recommendations for ensuring uninterrupted management of the site.
  • ACTION :   Ron Gilmour will receive training with content management software at ALA Annual 2006.   Paul will continue to maintain the site through June 2007, when his appointment to the committee ends.  

3.   New business:

A.   Increasing subscribers to STS-L (Peter Spyers-Duran)

  • STS has 1,571 members.   They are not all subscribers to STS-L.
  • Not all STS-L subscribers (1,026) are STS members, nor is this required.   Publishers and other interested parties also participate.
  • Subscribing information may not currently be sent to new STS members automatically.   Instructions (outdated) are included in the section recruitment brochure.   An informal survey of new committee members indicated that they did not receive the STS brochure upon joining the section.  
  • ACTION :   Barbara MacAlpine will discuss the matter with the Membership Committee at Midwinter.   She will find out if it is appropriate to mail STS members directly, and, if so, obtain a mailing list for Peter.
  • ACTION :   Peter will email STS members, alerting them to the joys of STS-L membership.   Caroline Gilson will assist.
  • ACTION :   Peter will promote STS-L on other listservs .   Andrea Duda will provide him with a list of lists.
  • IDEAS :   Make mention of communications options (STS-L, Signal, ISTL) in Signal/ISTL.   This could be a good topic for the upcoming ISTL issue about marketing and outreach.
  • Peter also recommended that members encourage their colleagues to join the list, and he volunteered to post a message to current subscribers to encourage this.

B.   Changes to Signal (Barbara MacAlpine and Caroline Gilson)

  • Barbara MacAlpine indicated she has been editing Signal for four years and in 2003 surveyed the members about the publication. She has made some changes, such as increasing the size of the font, adding more white space and occasional graphics, limiting the length of committee reports (200-250 words), and creating a member news section and an opinion column.
  • The new “On the Soapbox” column was well received by the committee members.   ISTL has a similar Viewpoints column, and there was some discussion of how to maximize the effectiveness of each without overlapping.   It was suggested that we have a theme for this column.
  • ACTION :    How to solicit materials for Soapbox/Viewpoints/Letters to the Editor?   Barbara MacAlpine will raise the question at Council meeting, and/or via STS-C.   Andrea will assist in promoting the column.
  • To everyone's knowledge, Signal is not indexed anywhere.

C.   Schedule changes for STS meetings at ALA Midwinter and Annual (Barbara MacAlpine)

  • STS business meetings will take place concurrently for all committees at Midwinter.   Few people are on more than one STS committee, so there should be few conflicts.   It is hoped that the format will permit members to attend more non-STS meetings.
  • There will now be a limit of 2 STS discussion group programs per conference.
  • These changes will be evaluated after each conference.
  • Barbara MacAlpine suggested that Publications committee members in attendance at Midwinter meet informally.   ACTION :   Barbara M. will email members.

D.   Publications Committee feedback

Barbara MacAlpine asked members if they felt sufficiently involved with the committee and if anyone was unclear about what we do.   New members expressed some difficulty in understanding relationships within the STS organization (committees and Council), as well as the section's relationship to ACRL.   The ALA Handbook of Organization may help somewhat.   Barbara M. provided a brief summary of the structure.   Committee members were also encouraged to attend STS Council meetings at ALA conferences, as this is where all committee chairs come together to discuss the section's business, both at the start and end of conferences. Those meetings are typically held on Friday and Monday; times are indicated in the meeting schedule published in Signal .   It was generally agreed that it takes several years to gain a proper sense of all the relationships.

E.   New career brochure for sci/tech librarianship

  • Julia Gelfand (STS Chair) has encouraged us to develop a career brochure.   There was general agreement by the committee that we should do this.
  • ACRL has a brochure promoting academic librarianship that could be used as a model.   It is available at:
  • ACTION :   Barbara MacAlpine will discuss the matter with Council, in order to gain the necessary permission.
  • ACTION :   Steve Adams, Linda Eells, and Ron Gilmour volunteered to take on the project.   Jennifer McKinnell will assist in distributing the brochure, especially in Canada .

F.   ACRL Strategic Plan

  • Barbara MacAlpine reminded members that we need to consider how the work of our committee fits into the new ACRL Strategic Plan.   Linda Eells and Caroline Gilson have submitted responses, which were shared with the group in an earlier email.
  • ACTION :   Members should read the plan and send comments to the group.   Barbara MacAlpine will report back to STS Council

G.   ACRL Conferencing Software

  • It was agreed that the Publications Committee is willing to be early testers of the new software that ACRL has purchased for virtual meetings.  
  • ACTION :   Barbara MacAlpine will relate this to Council.

4.   Old business--none

5.   Assessment of virtual meeting:

  • Having reports distributed beforehand was very useful.   This practice should be continued.
  • Moderation was good.
  • The voice connection was appreciated.   Typing in chat mode is very clunky, and provides very poor human interaction.   It would be nice to know if the ACRL conferencing software includes voice options.   (Microphone technologies for computers are now much more affordable , as low as $25-100.)
  • The members were quite satisfied with this meeting.   No complaints were voiced.

6.   Adjourn

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Last updated: February 2, 2006