Executive Committee Minutes

Midwinter 2002 - New Orleans
Jan. 19 and 22, 2002

19 January 2002


Jim Niessen, Chair, Curt Witcher, Past Chair, David Langenberg, Agnes Widder, Secretary, Marilyn Carbonnell, Nancy Godleski, Vice-Chair/Chair Elect, Ruth Carr, Cindy Kaag, RUSA Vice-President/President Elect (observer), Ann Reinert, Janice Schultz (guest), Nancy Huling, Carla Rickerson


It was determined that we need not begin the Tuesday meeting at 7 a.m. to accommodate the need for early departures to the airport.

Approval of the minutes of the previous meeting was postponed until Tuesday at which time copies will be provided.

We went through the agenda and people present gave reports of the Section and RUSA activities which were known at this point. These included whether we need appoint a representative to the RUSA Publications Committee. We discussed the need for an official section webmaster, as Theresa Mudrock does not wish to continue this work. Another H-HISTBIBL editor should be recruited. We were to think about these things and there would be more discussion on Tuesday.

The AHA has asked us to provide input about library training for history graduate students.

Committee Announcements

  • The Historical Events Committee has revised its charge, which will be discussed Tuesday. They are about to launch their web page on upcoming historical events. This page needs a permanent home.
  • The Instruction and Research Services Committee, chaired by David Lincove, will have its initial meeting on Sunday.
  • History Librarians' Discussion Group will meet Monday, chaired by Nancy Godleski.
  • There will be more discussion of the RUSA retreat on Tuesday.
  • RUSA Access to Information Committee is having a forum on privacy issues and libraries Saturday morning.
  • RUSA Conference Program Committee. Carla Rickerson is our representative and in charge of our next conference program, which is being planned by the B and I committee and will be on evaluating web resources in history. There will be a genealogy pre-conference at Toronto ALA.
  • RUSA Nominating Committee. Lou Vyhnanek says we have candidates.
  • RUSA Organization Committee. Ruth Carr needs to report on our new I and RS Committee. It has 7 members and Nancy has volunteer acceptance forms from people who would like to be on it. There is no limit on number of members it could have. We are being asked, again, about our virtual members. How is a virtual member defined? Genealogy Committee has appointed two consultants.
  • RUSA Publications Committee. Nancy Huling talked about the ending of the publication of RUSA Update. She has been editor of our Section's contributions to this for 12 years. She needs information by Jan. 29, 2002, from Committee chairs. The last issue was to have come out already, but has not; it will come out after this conference. We will have, henceforth, 1 page in each of the quarterly issues of RUSQ for our Section's news. Appropriate information includes announcing pre-conferences, "think" pieces, reports of ongoing Section work, pointing out ways to become involved in the Section, and indicating links to our web page. The timing of release of RUSQ issues won't necessarily be such that it will be a good place to announce upcoming conference meetings. Dissemination of our news and work via the web and this publication needs clear thought. We will have discussion on Tuesday. Also, Nancy will keep doing the work at this time, but would like us to be looking for a new editor.
  • RUSA Standards and Guidelines. David reports that two of our guidelines, the one for collecting local history, and the one on preservation, need to be revised or they will be sunsetted. People in the Local History Committee volunteered to do the work, which should include revising the bibliographies, adding info about the web, and about digital preservation.

Other Announcements

  • The program at the Atlanta Conference in 2002 will be put on by the B and I committee and will be on teaching students to evaluate web sites. It is well in hand.
  • The program for the Toronto Conference in 2003 is to be put on by the Local History Committee. Will the I and RS committee also take a turn, in rotation, to plan the Section's program? It was hoped and thought so once they are underway. We need to do a better job of follow up on and promotion of our programs. We had discussion about this. How might we capture speakers' powerpoint presentations? LC grants ISSNs to web publications. We could get an ISSN for a web publication upon which information from our programs could be mounted. Then maybe people would be more willing for their powerpoints to be given to us, as they would get credit for a "publication," albeit a virtual one.
  • The Section dinner was announced. It will be Sunday evening at Olde Nawlins Cookery, 729 Conti St., in the French Quarter, at 6 p.m.
Adjourned at 9:05 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Agnes Haigh Widder, secretary

22 January 2002


Carla Rickerson, Ed Oetting, Agnes Widder (Secretary), Jim Niessen (Chair), Phoebe Janes, Nancy Godleski (Vic-Chair/Chair Elect), David Langenberg, Ruth Carr, Ann Reinert, Curt Witcher (Past Chair), Sam Boldrick, Tom Kemp

Minutes from the meeting of last June ALA conference were distributed and approved.

Committee reports

  • Bibliography and Indexes Committee. Ed Oetting said they met for 3.5 hours Saturday and chose 12 recently published history bibliographies to be reviewed jointly in RUSQ, as the best bibliographies in history for the year. This committee is responsible for the Section's program at the upcoming ALA annual conference in Atlanta. The topic is evaluating web resources. The following speakers have been lined up: Joel Kitchens, a librarian at Texas A and M University, who will speak on instruction and the web, and David R. Chesnutt, editor of the Henry Laurens Papers and an editor of mark up language for web versions of personal papers. A third speaker from the project Documenting the American South is being sought.
  • Genealogical Publishing Company Award. Sam Boldrick says a winner has been selected for this year and they have two nominations for next year.
  • Historical Events Committee. David Langenberg said they are putting the finishing touches on their web site on upcoming historical events and plan an official launch on March 15th. They would like more committee members. The web site is a calendar of upcoming anniversaries in 2002-2006 which libraries might wish to commemorate. 2007 is to be incorporated.
  • History Librarians' Discussion Group. Two people from ACLS came and answered questions about the History E Book project. 29 people attended. Jim asked Nancy Godleski to give him a summary of the discussion for the H-HistBibl e list.
  • Genealogy Committee Tom Kemp summarized from a report he distributed to the Executive Committee. Pre-conference planning is going well. It is being planned by those who spoke at the pre-conference last year. The program is worked out for Atlanta and they are working on the program for the pre-conference for ALA in Toronto also. Tom would like more speakers. There was discussion about the guidelines for doing workshops for genealogy and the points which should be covered. There was discussion on the genealogy web course from ALA RUSA. Genealogy committees are being established in the Public Library Association in many states.
  • Genealogy and Local History Discussion Group. Tom Kemp reported that Jean Kiesel spoke to the discussion group and the Genealogy Committee together about the Bayou State Periodical Index. 25 people attended. There were reports on people's activities.
  • Instruction and Research Services Committee. Nancy reported on the Committee's meeting. They had a major brainstorming session. The charge is purposely vague. They want a project orientation. Possible things they envision doing: a toolkit like map librarians have on a website, create guidelines for evaluating primary source websites in history for students to use. Joe Toth will do a literature search to assist. Celestina Wroth will send an e mail to assess how libraries work with history departments. Are there required courses with library components? What should the size of this committee be? 13-14 people came to the meeting of whom 7 or 8 are presently actually appointed to the committee. Where does this committee fit in taking its turn to plan the Section's annual conference program? Next time they will brainstorm what should go in a toolkit. Evaluating web sites is the first goal. This committee should have a meeting in Atlanta but nothing is scheduled now and needs to be. A sheet about this committee needs to be developed for the RUSA Handbook. Ruth could copy what is there and send it to Jim and Nancy for them to use as a model for drafting a page for it.
  • Local History Committee. Ed Frank was not present, but had written a letter to Jim, which he read to us. The committee has 2 official members, but the interest in membership is large. There were appointment snafus. They had good attendance at the meeting and the people who attended need to be made members. Ed has the list. Curt Witcher thought people had filled out membership volunteer sheets but nothing had been done about them. Mary Mannix will be the chair, or is willing to be. Ed needs to send the attendance list to Nancy. The volunteer form is on the web. They seem to go down a well when sent to the RUSA office. Jim will look into it and Tom offered to help. Members need to be appointed before Atlanta for 2001-2 as well as next year. The Local History Committee is in charge of doing the program for the Section at the Toronto conference. The form needs to be submitted in mid-May. The volunteers at the meeting did planning yesterday. "All history is Local: the Canadian Example" is to be the title. They will seek speakers from the Canadian National Archives. They need 5 or more members.
  • Nominating Committee. Mary Mannix is at work and others are helping her.
  • RUSA Access to Information Committee. Ann Reinert reported that the forum on Saturday, "Reference Privacy Issues and Solutions," was good. It covered such things as retention of e mail records and whether they are really deleted when you delete, vendor cookies and searching on vendor web sites. Proquest says they won't use your search. Video surveillance. Checking out books automatically. Proxy forms' and servers' accounts. Privacy of staff members. Discussing reference questions with colleagues. Issue of referring questions and privacy. 9/11 re a person in Florida realizing a terrorist had used his/her library, told her director, who called police, who called the FBI. A person from LC said you should figure out your legal status. Reference is a public area, but not all areas of the library are. 27 attended. Intellectual Freedom Committee has a syllabus on the web for what is taught on this subject in library schools. Banned book resource guide is coming out in 2003. 6th ed. of the Intellectual Freedom Handbook is out.
  • RUSA Conference Program Coordinating Committee. Carla Rickerson says there will be 6 pre-conferences, including genealogy, two in CODES, one in BRASS, one in MOUSS. For 2002 program proposals are due to RUSA office in May. She will contact Ed to be sure our form gets filled out and sent in. The SAA (Society of American Archivists)/ALA Joint committee, which Carla attended wishes to have a program at ALA Atlanta on primary sources in the classroom. We would be wise to co-sponsor this; we could lend our name, but have no money to assist with. There was concern that it would be the same as the program that the B and I committee is planning to have, but the differences were pointed out and people were reassured. SAA/ALA Joint Committee wants to do a program on privacy and security at the next conference.
  • RUSA Membership Committee. Phoebe Janes reported that 6 people attended. There was a lot of discussion about the web site and its usefulness in recruiting members. How do people get involved in ALA? Cost of dues is a problem. People don't want to pay to belong to more than one section. They want to belong to the Section that is about the kind of work they do. Should there be free divisional membership or discounts to new members? It would help if open committee slots could be listed on our web page and have it linked to the volunteer form to fill out. Have a booth at the annual conference. Recruit people in library school. RUSA membership is up 4%, without doing anything! Ed suggested that we need to recommend RUSA as a place to become involved to our colleagues. There is no specific place for reference librarians in ACRL. We could also have the sign up sheets at our discussion groups and committee meetings ask whether attendees are RUSA or HS members. Then, after the conference, someone would follow up by contacting these people. Job lists should be on the RUSA web site. And, it could be that you'd have to belong in order to see them!
  • Nominating Committee. Lou Vyhnanek was not present, but the work has been done. Nancy Huling is running for RUSA president, so we must all be sure to vote. Ed is our rep to the 2003 nominating committee. Some History Section names are going forward.
  • Organization Committee. Ruth Carr reported that from the Retreat results they will see if there are things that the RUSA staff could do rather than us. She also stated that people will need passports to fly to the 2003 conference in Toronto. Please remind your colleagues of this. MARS is establishing an new discussion group in MARS on digital reference. Our experiences with virtual committee members will be reported on.
  • Planning and Finance Committee. Nancy Godleski reports that RUSA is in debt. She gave the figure. Money can still be transferred from the endowment. The debt is because of low attendance at the institute in Baltimore. Also no new publications came out last year and no web courses were offered. The debt is debatable as there are reserves to draw on. No one seemed worried. $50,000 is to be transferred from the endowment. Subscription price of RUSQ is going up from $50 to $57 per year for US subscribers. RUSA has not been prevented from doing anything yet from lack of funds. RUSQ subscriptions are down by 10%. 5 pre-conferences are planned and they hope to get an excess of $3500 in revenues from these. Postage costs are down owing to use of e mail instead. They prioritized things in order to see how to save money. Is the tracking system worth it? We could have metadata from the programs on the web instead. They will phase out the Past President's breakfast. It was recommended that the directory of peer consultants could be done away with also.
  • RUSA Publications Committee. Jim will investigate the appointment of an HS representative. Ruth thought this committee might be going to be eliminated. Nancy needs a list of our RUSA representatives to other committees with their appointment dates and terms. The ALA Handbook of Organization has this information.
  • RUSA Standards and Guidelines Committee. David Langenberg reported that two of our guidelines, for local history collecting and for restoration of materials will be sunsetted unless we update them soon. Ed Frank informed Jim that members of the Local History Committee have volunteered either to update or recommend sunsetting them. When Jim reported this to the RUSA Board, it set the Annual Meeting in Atlanta as the deadline for the updating or expiration of the two LH guidelines. Genealogy Committee has a new guideline they are working on, on continuing education for genealogy reference service in libraries. Something about help sheets on the web that are standards/guidelines by another name needs looking into.

RUSA Board of Directors Report

Jim said that a hot topics in front line reference discussion group has been created and will have representatives from MARS and MOUSS. [the ACRL/ULS has one like this.] RUSA is to explore the sunsetting of MOUSS and MARS to see about creating a Reference Section within RUSA. "Reference Interview" will be the President's Program. This will include the future of reference initiative, breakout sessions, and white papers re this topic which will be online, the future of the reference desk, and whether readers' advisory service needed more now than ever. Ideas for speakers for the Atlanta conference for this are being solicited. When we say RUSA to people we should say what it means. Mentoring. Some RUSA sections do this more than we do (but Executive Committee members remarked that we did this too). There is interest in certification to strengthen pay for librarians. There is talk about creating a 501(c)6 organization which could work on the certification question. Divisions could choose to be 501(c)3, which is the IRS code for tax-exempt organizations, which can't lobby, r 501(c)6, which can. The Reference Album Ad-Hoc Committee has finished. The page has gone public and people were thanked. This is a place to see examples of types of reference web pages. Emily of the D.C. ALA office says there are two education things online with their support: a free e mail tutorial on licencing and a $185 distance education course on fair use. GODORT and the D.C. ALA office are working on "take down issues" re Sept. 11 (gov. docs. that the gov. wishes not to have available).

Other discussion

  • 2002 History Section program. Already reported on.
  • History Section Preconference. Planning is coming along. Info given previously in this document the Genealogy Committee.
  • History Section Webmaster and H-HistBibl Editor. We began a discussion about this topic. Three other RUSA sections have publication committees within them. They have ex-officio people on them that do web stuff, do newsletter editor work, etc. With the reduction of section news that will occur as we migrate from the print RUSA Update to the one page we will be allowed for news in the quarterly RUSQ, we need more coordination and dissemination of our news and activities to the members in other ways, such as e mail and the web. What should be put on the web? RUSA will e mail notices to members of the various sections. History Section has 888 members. Do we need a Section newsletter online? Should the web editor be a formal position? We voted at the meeting to create a HS position to be responsible for the HS web site. The holder of this position will be entitled Web Manager, be appointed by the vice chair for a two-year renewable term, and participate in the Executive Committee as a non-voting member. And now we need to find a person to do this. Send suggestions to Jim and Nancy, please. We hope Theresa will stay in place until a new person is found. Nancy, who has been our editor for our pages of RUSA Update wishes to step down from this, after 10 years. And so volunteers for this are sought also. The coordination between the news editor for our pages in RUSQ, the Section webmaster, and editor(s) for H-Histbibl and the Genealib lists will be critical and we need to be thinking about all this. Do we need a publications committee to coordinate all these things? Curt suggested that the RUSA endowment monies could be used to hire a webmaster to do web work for all the RUSA sections, that we would feed what we want done to this person. Other ALA divisions have staff who do this type of thing. Jim will raise this idea with the RUSA Board. It was also suggested that this could be a job for the HS member at large. For now though, we are seeking a web master for our Section from within our membership, and also someone to do the newsletter editing type work that Nancy has done, only for our RUSQ contributions.
  • Feedback for RUSA Board on the RUSA Board Retreat Outcomes. RUSA should be represented at the state library association meetings; state library associations tend to have reference sections with which RUSA could easily liaise. A booth would be free; if nothing else, we could send materials for someone to display. We should get out the word about RUSA to the most people possible. Tom Kemp reports that people are honored to be invited to join the Genealogy Committee and willingly join RUSA to do so; experience with the new I and RS Committee seems to confirm this too. RUSA staff could contact the state library associations and find a liaison. It is disturbing that RUSA has not been represented at PLA (it is at ACRL). Curt recommended that RUSA hire a special individual as RUSA webmaster who would help raise the visibility of RUSA and aid membership recruitment.

The meeting adjourned at 10:56 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Agnes Haigh Widder, Secretary