History Section Executive Committee Minutes, Annual 2006

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Mary Mannix (Chair), Mary Celeste, Hui Hua Chua, Michele McNabb, Theresa Mudrock, Eric Novotny (Recorder), Ann Reinert, Lisa Scharnhorst, Janice Schultz, Becky Snyder, Paul Wartenberg, Curt Witcher, Lou Vyhnanek, Stephen Young

1. Introductions and Welcome

In addition to the general introductions, Mary Mannix announced that Agnes Widder will be the incoming Chair of the History Section.

Approval of the minutes was delayed until the Tuesday meeting.

2. Program Updates

Lisa Scharnhorst reported on final preparations for the Bibliographies & Indexes Committee program “The Fate of History Bibliographies in an Online Environment.”

Mary Celeste has requested 1:30-3:30 Sunday for next year’s History Section program, although the section does not always get our first choice of time slots.

GODORT has asked the History Section to co-sponsor a program during ALA Annual in Washington D.C. Mary Mannix will check to ensure that their program time does not conflict with any History Section programs. The Executive Committee agreed in principle to co-sponsor the GODORT program provided it does not prevent a conflict.

Agnes Widder discussed program time slot conflicts with Diana Shonrock who indicated that some conflicts are inevitable. Agnes requested that the section have the option to indicate other programs we do NOT want to conflict with. Agnes is working on next year’s program planning (with Mary Celeste). Lisa Scharnhorst volunteered to write a “lessons learned” tips sheet from her experiences planning this year’s program.

A reception in honor of Nancy Huling, recipient of the Genealogical Publishing Company Award, was announced and everyone was encouraged to attend. It will be on Monday, June 26, 2006.

3. Appointments

Paul Wartenberg is serving as the History Section representative to the RUSA Membership Committee. He was unable to staff the History section booth due to a change in our assigned time. Paul will talk to the Membership Committee about returning to our regular assigned time for future conferences.

Many appointments remain unfilled, including Access to Information, and the ABC-CLIO Award committee. Tom Kemp may be stepping down as Webmaster. Mary Mannix encouraged members to contribute their time. Names of candidates should be sent to Agnes Widder (including self-nominations).

Re-appointments are due to Mary Mannix by July. Those who wish to remain on a committee should complete the online form.

4. Announcements

A proposed Online Genealogy course will hopefully be sent to Professional Development. We may need another volunteer to work on the project. This is a project of interest to RUSA. Delays may cost RUSA a money-making opportunity as other institutions develop and market similar resources.

ALA is hosting a series of online communities. We could set up something for the History Section. This would archive our communications, but would require a log-in to access. Those in attendance felt the current listserv serves the Executive Committee’s needs at present.

Stephen Young asked about an ALA Resolution for Carol Callard. Curt Witcher and Sam Boldrick were asked to work on a draft to present to ALA at the next conference.

Stephen Young was approached by the IFLA Genealogy and History Section. They want to know if we will join their section as an institutional member ($48/year to do so). They are interested in increasing their membership as IFLA is consolidating sections. Attendees were not certain if this is allowed by ALA, or if we have a continuing budget to support such a membership. Mary Mannix will check with the RUSA Board. Stephen and Mary will investigate further and report back.

Standards and Guidelines – Mary Celeste reported that the Guidelines for Establishing Local History Collections has been recently revised, and approved. http://www.ala.org/ala/rusa/rusaprotools/referenceguide/guidelinesestabl...

The Guidelines for Preservation, Conservation, and Restoration of Local History and Local Genealogical Materials were reviewed last year. The Committee had questions about the need for a RUSA standard on this topic, given similar documents produced by other agencies. The Board expressed provisional sentiment in favor of dropping this guideline pending further discussion with members of the Local History committee. If we do sunset the guideline it will need to be removed from the website. http://www.ala.org/ala/rusa/rusaprotools/referenceguide/guidelinespreser...

It was suggested that an alternative project for the Local History Committee would be to create link to standards created by other agencies.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Mary Mannix (Chair), Mary Celeste, Hui Hua Chua, Chris Higgins, Cindy Krolikowski, Michele McNabb, Theresa Mudrock, Eric Novotny (Recorder), Jeanette Pierce, Ann Reinert, Lisa Scharnhorst, Janice Schultz, Agnes Widder, Curt Witcher, Lou Vyhnanek, Paul Wartenberg, Curt Witcher, Stephen Young

1. Introductions and Welcome

2. Review of Saturday’s RUSA Board meeting

Mary Mannix reported that Tom Kemp’s appointment has been submitted to the RUSA Board. Mary will be contacting Drew Smith for an update on the online genealogy course of interest to RUSA. The RUSA Board discussed the possible organizational membership with a section of IFLA (discussed in Saturday’s History Section Executive Committee meeting).

3. Reports from Section Committees, Discussion Groups, and RUSA Representatives

  • ABC-CLIO Online History Award Committee—Jim Niessen
    Report submitted via e-mail. The ABC-CLIO Online History Award will hold its biannual competition in Fall 2006. The committee had some discussion of possibly tweaking the award announcement before it goes out in September, but has not scheduled a physical meeting for New Orleans as company rep Denver Compton is unable to attend.

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  • Bibliography and Indexes Committee—Lisa Gay Scharnhorst
    Jean Kiesel visited and discussed a panel on local indexes as a possible topic for a future program.
    The Committee is reviewing its future and charge in light of the decline in published history bibliographies. They are considering broadening the scope to include other formats, which may require renaming the committee and/or updating the charge. Mary Mannix will investigate the procedures for this.
    Lisa reported on the Committee’s program “The Fate of History Bibliographies in an Online Environment.” There were 65-70 attendees. The presentation Powerpoints and other materials will be available on the Committee’s Website: http://www.ala.org/ala/rusa/rusaourassoc/rusasections/historysection/his....

  • Genealogical Publishing Company Award Committee
    Mary Mannix announced that Nancy Huling received the annual award. She encouraged everyone to attend the reception on Monday to congratulate Nancy and to support the Section’s activities.

  • Genealogy and Local History Discussion Group—Curt Witcher
    The group’s meeting at Annual featured a lively discussion on online reference. Talking with genealogy publishers was mentioned as a possible future discussion topic.
    Curt reported that he has written the ALA Resolution for Carol Callard and sent to Cathleen Bourdon. A draft copy was distributed. Mary Mannix thanks Curt for his work.

  • Genealogy Committee—Stephen Young
    The Committee is discussing ways to continue a dialogue with genealogy publishers, and considering an award for the best genealogy resource/publication.
    The Committee discussed the online genealogy course, possible partnerships, and potential authors. There was some discussion of virtual membership, an option not many committee members have pursued previously.
    The Standards and Guidelines Sub-Committee needs a chair. They are working on guidelines for a core genealogy collection. Discussed the Guidelines for Editors of Historical and Genealogical Bulletins and Family Newsletters (http://www.ala.org/ala/rusa/rusaprotools/referenceguide/guidelineseditor...).
    Editors of genealogical publications have not widely adopted these. They were written 30 years ago and it is not clear who, if anyone, is working on them now. The committee is seeking more information and will determine if these are still needed. May look into a co-sponsor to raise visibility/credibility.
    The Committee is sponsoring the Section’s conference program in 2008. They welcome suggestions. “Working with Younger Users,” “Using Genealogy to Teach History,” “The Non-Traditional Family Tree,” and “Technology” were suggested.

  • Genealogy Preconference Planning Committee—Janice Schultz
    There were 31 attendees this year. Planning continued for future pre-conferences. Need to recruit more paid attendees to recover costs. Looking at ways to better advertise the event. The higher fees charged to non-RUSA members also discourages attendance. Pricing is set by RUSA. The committee would like to explore lowering the price to encourage attendance.

  • Instruction and Research Services Committee—Hui Hua Chua
    The Committee continues work on guidelines for Information Literacy in History. They are also exploring a “Government Documents for History” Web site and used the conference meetings to brainstorm other ideas for Web pages.

  • Local History Committee—Mary Celeste
    The Committee received nine requests for new appointments, and welcomed four guests to this year’s meeting, an indication of interest in the Committee. Mary plans to return as chair.
    The Guidelines for Preservation, Conservation, and Restoration of Local History and Local Genealogical Materials [http://www.ala.org/ala/rusa/rusaprotools/referenceguide/guidelinespreser... have not been revised since 1992. The Committee discussed sunsetting these, as the topic is too broad for the standards and guidelines formats. Documents produced by other preservation agencies cover this topic adequately. The committee will explore compiling a list of links to existing resources.
    The Committee is sponsoring the History Section program at Annual 2007. The Committee has identified a set of speakers on the topic “Local History in a Digital World” and is exploring co-sponsors to help with publicity
    . The Committee feels the Guidelines for Establishing Local History Collections are “buried” on the organization’s Website, and may not reach non-RUSA members. Will pursue presenting the guidelines at local and state organizations and at PLA venues. It was suggested that the committee contact genealogy publishers and ask for assistance distributing the guidelines to their customers.

  • RUSA Access to Information Committee—Phoebe Janes
    No report.

  • RUSA Conference Program Coordinating Committee—Agnes Widder
    The Coordinating Committee received our Preconference proposal and approved the date and time we requested. Full funding approval is pending.
    Endowments. The History Section does not have access to the money generated by our pre-conferences. This goes into the RUSA Endowment and is used to fund programs across RUSA. The Executive Committee expressed a desire that more of this money find its way back to the section. Mary Mannix asked if there are any restrictions on using RUSA funds for programs. Agnes responded that it was her sense that the History Section’s aspirations are not high enough. We could probably get approval to spend more on our programs if we requested it. Other groups often ask for $2,000-$3,000. We could justify this as partial “reimbursement” of the revenues the section generates from pre-conferences.
    Agnes reminded those seeking co-sponsors for programs or other activities to inform the Coordinating Committee. This will help them avoid scheduling conflicts. RUSA is working on a guide to completing the online program form.

  • RUSA Membership Committee—Paul Wartenberg
    Discussed recruitment booths. They were not in a high-traffic area at this conference.
    The History Section has had trouble with representation on this group in the past, caused by high turnover. Paul indicated his willingness to continue to serve as the History Section representative.
    The RUSA Board is drafting a document on membership recruitment and retention. The Membership committee is concerned they have not seen this, or had an opportunity for input. Mary Mannix indicated that the document is still a very rough working draft. It will be distributed to the appropriate groups. Mary agreed to inform the RUSA Board of the Membership Committee’s concerns.

  • RUSA Nominating Committee—Ann Reinert
    Nominations are due by the end of April. Ann is approaching members and encourages self-nominations. Open positions include Member-at-Large, Secretary, and Vice-President/President Elect.

  • RUSA Organization Committee
    Evaluating two committees, including Professional Development. Also discussed the upcoming MARS section review.

  • RUSA Planning and Finance Committee—Ann Reinert
    For FY 2005 RUSA reported $450,000 in revenue and $380,000 in expenses, with $15,000 committed to the endowment, and the rest held in reserve. Bottom line: the section has money to spend. We should consider how the History Section could apply for, and use, these funds to support our priorities. Some suggestions included: a scholarship to help people attend ALA, offering members a rebate on the recently increased dues, making the Genealogy pre-conference free for RUSA members. Using the money to increase the RUSA endowment was also proposed.
    RUSA is allocating $2,000 to support the “Emerging Leaders” program.

  • RUSA Professional Development Committee—Mary Mannix
    Suzanne Malbin will be the new representative to this committee. RUSA is looking to create additional Online Education modules. Current or forthcoming modules are “Basic Business Reference” and “Reference Interviewing.” RUSA is looking at developing a certification program for support staff. They have hired a consultant and are planning a workshop in October to discuss ideas.

  • RUSA Publications Committee—Joe Straw
    Report submitted via e-mail. Diane Zabel the new RUSQ editor and Connie Van Fleet the outgoing editor reported on the state of the journal and the transition to the new editor. Diane reported that “New Technology” and “Management” would be new columns in RUSQ. Donavan reported plans to create an online archive of reference and product reviews in RUSQ going back to 1997. The group talked about the name of the RUSQ publication and whether efforts should be made to change the title. Despite quirks of the acronym, the group decided not to make a proposal for a change at this time. Joseph Straw’s term as chair is ending. Eric Novotny and Cindy Levine (not present) will be the new co-chairs of the Committee.

  • RUSA Standards and Guidelines—Cindy Krolikowski
    Recommended re-naming the Guidelines for Developing Beginning Genealogical Collections and Services to include the word “Core.” A revised document will be re-submitted in 2007. (http://www.ala.org/ala/rusa/rusaprotools/referenceguide/guidelinesdevelo...)
    The “Guidelines for Editors of Historical and Genealogical Bulletins and Family Newsletters” remain under review. See the report of the Genealogy Committee above.
    The “Guidelines for a Unit or Course of Instruction in Genealogical Research at Schools of Library and Information Science” needed only minor revisions. These have been made and an updated version sent to Cathleen Bourdon. They will be presented to the RUSA Board for final approval. (http://www.ala.org/ala/rusa/rusaprotools/referenceguide/guidelinesunit.htm)
    The Committee decided to sunset the “Guidelines for Preservation, Conservation, and Restoration of Local History and Local Genealogical Materials.” See the Saturday, June 24, 2006 meeting minutes for additional discussion of the guidelines.

  • RUSA Board of Directors—Mary Mannix
    Mary discussed the Emerging Leaders and Aging@ Your Library initiatives. ALA may lose money on this conference. Attendance about 10% lower than Orlando.

4. New Business

Agnes Widder suggested that an ad-hoc group be formed to take the lead on the proposed genealogy course. Mary responded that there was one previously. They developed a course outline and concept that was approved by RUSA Professional Development. These efforts should help whomever takes over the project.