2005 Midwinter Meeting – Boston, MA Saturday and Tuesday

RUSA History Section Executive Committee

Saturday, January 15, 2005, 8:00-9:00 am, Sheraton Beacon B

Lou Vyhnanek (Chair), Carol Callard, Nancy Godleski, Susan Malbin, Mary Mannix (Recorder), Theresa Mudrock, Jim Niessen, Carla Rickerson, Ann Reinert, Janice Schultz, Drew Smith,

Announcements: The Genealogy Dinner will be tonight at 6:00 pm at Joe’s American Bar and Grill on Dartmouth Street. The Section Dinner will be Sunday night at Legal Sea Foods, Copley Place, 6:00–8:00 pm.

Executive Committee members will be reviewing the Section’s Standing Committees, preparing a 1-2 page report based on the distributed questions. Carla will be reviewing the Executive Committee. The final report will be due a month before Annual; the deadline for the reports to Carla will be April 15. Carla discussed the three parts of the review.

Carla “reviewed” the Executive Committee. Five questions pertaining to the Section as a whole were addressed:

1) “Describe the Section’s procedures for creating and updating written goals?” There is no formal process for establishing goals; goals and objectives are reviewed as needed. Objectives are listed in the bylaws, which includes a process for amendments, but no formal review process. Ann recalls many years back, in the 80s that the Section worked on goals and objectives but they seem to have gone by the wayside. She does have a copy. The Executive Committee will be reviewing goals in the future.

2) “In what ways have Section activities, of the past five years, fulfilled the Section’s stated goals and objectives?” The Section is actively revising its various guidelines. In addition, to fulfill its objectives, two new committees have been formed -- Genealogy Preconference Planning Committee and Instruction and Research Services Committee, along with the new ABC\CLIO Award Committee, which selects the winner of this new award. One committee was disbanded – the Historical Events Committee; it was no longer relevant to any Section objective. The Section also fulfills its goals and objectives through its popular preconferences and the annual programs, which are rotated between Standing Committees. There are also two active discussion groups – Genealogy and Local History and History Librarians – which the Section also uses to fulfill its objectives.

3) “How has the work of the Section contributed to priority areas of RUSA?” The Section has contributed to the cultural heritage and stewardship of historical materials of American society. We have contributed to professional development through the preconferences, conference programs, and the Primary Source webpage, “Using Primary Sources on the Web”, designed by the Instruction and Research Services Committee. Through the Primary Source webpage, we also support the social studies and humanities curriculum standards from K-12. Conference programs are attracting people to RUSA and the section has worked on cosponsoring programs with a variety of other groups, including those outside of RUSA, such as REFORMA, ALLIC, and the Society of American Archivists. We have a strong relationship with Genealib, the major listserv for librarians who work with genealogists, increasing the awareness of RUSA. We have assisted the information disenfranchised through our Primary Source webpage, through our work with Reforma, and our adoption seekers program at Toronto. Through promoting instruction in history related databases (for example the Genealogy Committee regularly has vendors give database instruction) we are assisting non-history professionals in branch libraries who work in isolation and who service patrons who would not be able to travel to large collections. The ABC/CLIO award promotes the innovative use of technology.

4) “What is the interest level in the Section as evidenced by attendance and participation by members and observers?” There is obvious interest in the History Section displayed by the need to form three new committees, the popularity of the preconferences, and the strong attendance at our programs. We now have two dinners, showing the increase in sense of comradeship and the realized importance of networking amongst Section members.

5) “What changes should take place in the Section’s organization, activities, or goals?” Changes that are felt to be beneficial to the History Section include creating a program committee at the Section level (to handle logistics, not informational content), increasing the Section’s web presence, supplying more resources for librarians and end users. The popularity of the Primary Source page clearly shows that there is need and a demand. We would also like an ALA Section webpage that is easier to locate. It would also be benefecial to use technology to assist communication between members of the section, implementing a tool such as a message board, which would also serve as a means to help preserve the memory of Section exchanges. Finally, have the things that we do accessible to other ALA members and outside groups. Increase a greater visibility among all of ALA of what the History Section can provide, such as finding aids, pathfinders, etc. We also hope to look at our goals at the upcoming Annual meeting; this may bring about changes that the Section will address.

There are also questions for the Committee members: “Do you feel that this Committee is serving a useful purpose within the History Section?” Yes, the purpose of the Executive Committee is to conduct the main business of the Section, it is also a vehicle to find out about other committees. It is an effective communication forum. “Do you believe the work of your committee overlaps with the work of other RUSA or ALA committees unnecessarily?” No.


Nominating Committee has a full slate of candidates. The ABC/CLIO award had 14 nominees; the Committee will be meeting Saturday afternoon. There will definitely be a winner and perhaps honorable mentions. The ABC\CLIO award will probably be presented at annual, maybe at the RUSA awards reception, maybe at the company’s reception. There is a company rep on the committee.

Janice will be going before the RUSA Standards and Guidelines Committee on Sunday.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005, 8:00 – 11:00 am, Hilton, Washington Room

Lou Vyhnanek (Chair), Mary Mannix (Secretary), Susan Malbin, Drew Smith, Theresa Mudrock, Phoebe Janes, Joe Straw, Diane Zabel, Janice Schultz, Cindy Krolikowski, Jennalyn Tellman, Jim Niessen, Carla Rickerson, Ann Reinert, Agnes Widder

The Executive Committee approved the minutes from Orlando Conference, with some grammatical changes from Lou.


The Committee met on Saturday afternoon. Brass is publishing an occasional paper; a draft was approved, and it will be going to RUSA staff in the spring. The RUSQ editor reported there is still concern about review stream. There are plans to place the journal online, but they are unsure of the format. The RUSQ Board will be writing a proposal for a plan on how the online version will look, what will be the access protocols, etc. They do remain committed to the paper edition. The committee was updated on the search for an editor for the RUSQ Update. They may be looking at the possibility of a committee member taking a temporary appointment – maybe Priscilla Finley. RUSQ editors are changing after Annual ’06; profiles of good characteristics of an editor will be created. Web Policy Committee’s document is now in its second version and is close to a final draft. Joe chairs this committee.


Drew’s guidelines, Guidelines for a Unit or Course of Instruction in Genealogical Research at Schools of Library and Information Science, need to be presented to RUSA board. They have been already been approved by the History Section Executive Committee. Janice Schultz will be presenting the new draft of Guidelines for Establishing Local History Collections at the Chicago Annual. Meanwhile, it will be posted on Genealib. Tom Eduland is working on Guidelines for Editors of Historical and Genealogical Bulletins and Family Newsletters. He is waiting for feedback from the Genealogy Committee, but was not able to present them to the Genealogy Committee at this Midwinter. In addition, a Local History subcommittee is working on Guidelines for Preservation, Conservation, and Restoration of Local History and Local Genealogical Material online. Guidelines for Developing a Core Genealogy Collection and Providing Basic Genealogy Services, formerly Guidelines for Developing Beginning Genealogical Collections, is being worked on by the Genealogy Committee.


They met on Saturday and were able to get all their work done. There was some discussion regarding their manual, which is old. They would like to be allowed to review websites. They would also like to add their selections to the ALA presentation of awards. They would like to develop a liaison relationship with CODES and the subcommittee that compiles the Best Reference Sources list. A requirement of the committee must be that they are able to attend Midwinter; more members are needed. The Committee should be able to change their criteria on their own, without approval of Executive Committee; that addition will not be changing their charge. The Committee should contact ALA about the award recognition. Perhaps they could start with placing their winners on the B&I webpage and also contact RUSA’s webpage editor, Donovan Vicha, to get the information posted on the RUSA page. Rebecca would be the contact for the History Section page.

GENEALOGICAL PUBLISHING COMPANY AWARD: MARY MANNIX The Committee met at Midwinter and are still deliberating. This is the first year using the new form, developed to create consistency in the information presented on each candidate. There were three excellent candidates.


A written report was submitted, Curt was not present at meeting:

“The Genealogy and Local History Discussion Group met at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel on Saturday, 15 January 2005. Approximately thirty-seven people (some did not sign in) participated in a discussion on making genealogy and local history collections more accessible on our respective institutions’ websites.

Carole Callard of the Library of Michigan and Curt Witcher presented three discussion starters though handouts and oral presentation. These discussion starters highlighted successful access programs at the Garret Public Library (Garrett, Indiana), the Library of Michigan and the Allen County Public Library (Fort Wayne, Indiana). The majority of time was spent in discussion of what libraries around the country represented at the meeting were doing to make indices and guides to their family and local history collections, and sometimes the actual collections themselves, available online. Success stories as well as shared challenges gave the participants many new ideas and fresh perspectives. The discussion lasted several minutes beyond the end of the scheduled time.

An evaluation sheet was distributed asking both for an evaluation of this list discussion group meeting as well as ideas for further discussion groups.”


A basic program is being developed for 2006. While the Committee’s next rotation for the History Section Program is in 2008, they were asked to put together a basic program. Genealogy will be continuing the newly revived tradition of a genealogy dinner at Chicago. Drew, who is presently section vice chair, will be looking for someone to serve as genealogy committee chair next year, there have been interest expressed. The committee is working on revising two standards and guidelines -- Guidelines for Editors of Historical and Genealogical Bulletins and Family Newsletters and Guidelines for Developing a Core Genealogy Collection and Providing Basic Genealogy Services. The Committee is beginning to work on a third guideline, a new guideline, one that deals with measurements and standards for data collection. RSS presented an excellent guideline relating to reference stats. The Genealogy statistical guidelines would be particularly interested in tracking the use, and remote use, of databases. Anyone on the genealogy committee interested in developing an online course with the Professional Development Committee should present his or her name to Mary. Paul Smart reported on the IFLA meeting in Buenos Aires; the emphasis of the program was immigration and he will be going to the next meeting in Oslo. Still under development is the list of the Best of Genealogy; criteria is being drafted. There will be a number of categories—national, local, special topics, children, computer technology, along with best library website and best not library website.. Is the Committee authorized to do this work? It would not necessarily start out as “an award”, but simply a list. ICAPGen, which credentials professional genealogists, approached the committee regarding the credentialing of genealogy librarians. There are many questions, such as would this benefit librarians in any way. Drew will go back to ICAPGen with these questions. A prior group had approached genealogy previously, but it had been done in a very rude manner. The Committee is very dubious but feels it should gather more information.


They have an awardee and decided not to issue any honorable mentions. There were 14 nominees. There is a web form to be filled out with the winner’s information within two to three weeks. They will be contacting the awardee quickly. The award will be given out at RUSA’s award ceremony, the awards are given out in alphabetical order. There was some discussion if there would be a lunch, similar to the GPC Award. Jim will explore the possibility of ABC\CLIO sponsoring a lunch, although it adds extra work for the committee chair. Ann reports that the GPC lunch developed as a “personal arrangement”, there was a close relationship with the company’s representative and the winners.


There are two candidates for every position; they are in the process of nagging them to fill out their candidate information online. Janice stated that Jim was an excellent chair.


Janice reported for Carole. Final plans have been made for Chicago. Michael Mulholland and Jack Simpson have served as the local contacts. They have begun work on the San Antonio Preconference, cosponsored by the Texas Library Association and they will make all the local arrangements.


Carla has found out that the discussion groups need to be reviewed. She will speak with Curt about Genealogy and Local History. The History Librarians group is still in limbo, at this time. It is unlikely that at the time of the review there will be any further action of the History Librarians Discussion Group. The group did not meet this Midwinter and could not have been reviewed at this meeting. The new deadline for the reviewers to get their reports to Carla is April 1.


They will be taking their three speakers to dinner in Chicago on Saturday and they will split the cost. Since the speakers do not know each other, it will give them an opportunity to be acquainted. The program will be Sunday, 10:30 – 12:00, and the title is Primary Sources in the Electronic Age: Challenges and Opportunities for Historical Research. A short description was published but it will be tweaked. They are dividing their duties for the Chicago program. They began brain storming at the meeting about future plans. They thought of a session on Information Literacy for History. The primary source webpage is still heavily used. The speakers will be paid an honorarium and for their photocopying. The speakers all spend time in Chicago, thus they have not had to pay any travel expenses. They have nominal equipment needs.


The committee was reviewed by Drew. In Chicago, they are planning to have an offsite meeting; they are favoring the Newberry Library, it is close and there is good access. There was discussion of having a handout in Chicago with directions to local libraries committee members would be interested in seeing. They would like to extend their meeting to two hours. Following attendance at the RUSA Standards committee, a few changes will be made to the Guidelines for Establishing Local History Collections and they will then be distributed to Genealib and H-Local for review. It was decided not to post to the Archives list. Guidelines for Preservation, Conservation, and Restoration of Local History and Local Genealogical Material is still being revised. They were last revised in 1992 and there have been many changes in preservation since that time. The majority of work will be done online. They shared institutional news at the committee meeting.


Written report submitted:

“It was discussed and decided that the AIC would form a cooperative arrangement with the Intellectual Freedom Committees of ACRL and PLA. The arrangement will include a joint meeting of the 3 committees at each conference, and collaborating on joint conference programs. The committee unanimously supported this idea and the RUSA Board approved it. The committee agreed to support the ACRL IFC program at 2006 Annual meeting, rather than mount a competing program.

The AIC was reviewed by a member of the RUSA Organization Committee during the meeting; questions were distributed for responses at ALA-Orlando. (Written responses to the questions were provided.)

A number of resolutions were analyzed, discussed, and consensus was reached on all, even the ones that were delivered at conference. Problems continue for the committee related to the number of pending council resolutions and ALA documents that relate to intellectual freedom that are not distributed, and sometimes not even proposed until during the conference. It is always a challenge to acquire, distribute, read and analyze the resolutions before having to decide the correct action to advise the RUSA Board on the Tuesday Board meetings.”


Agnes reports that there is not much to do at Midwinter. For the 2006 meeting, there is a form online that must be filled out by May 15; especially important is the part relating to ordering equipment. This is to be used for any program planned for the conference. Please also give a copy to Agnes. When submitted through the ALA site the form goes to the RUSA conference program committee chair. One preconference proposal, from RSS, was studied -- “Library Services to the Elderly: Bridging the Ages”. The sort of information that must be submitted includes what format, the media to be used, the target audiences, the track it should be advertised to, the qualifications of the speakers, the timeliness of the program, what ALA sections were considered for cosponsoring, etc. The Committee looks at all programs and the desired times and arranges them to limit competition. With the addition of the new section, STARS, there is some concern that RUSA will have too many sessions. Two RUSA Midwinter preconferences were cancelled. The Genealogy Preconference was the only one that made it. Only two library schools teach a genealogy course, Drew and Carole’s classes, there may also be a third, therefore many, many librarians must learn genealogy to function in their day-to-day lives. B&I is responsible for the 2006 program; they must have a proposal by May 15. A recommendation was made to post the rotation on the website, along with the location of the conference. Agnes recommends that Jen, to begin the development of the session, look at the questions online.


Ann reported that they are working on the 2006 nominations and hope to have a slate in mid-September.

RUSA PLANNING AND FINANCE COMMITTEE: ANN REINERT RUSQ has been reduced to 88 pages. RUSA did get the Walgreen Grant, receiving $11,750. The increasing use of email has reduced costs for photocopying and postage. The reference interview on-line class brought in $7,500 of income. Update is now online. RUSQ advertising has been shrinking from 25 pages to 10-12 pages. There is a potential of a dues increase being considered. There are 3,500 personal members. It is anticipated that 300 will be dropping, especially those with double memberships with ACRL. Amount of increase of $5-10 would be good, $15.00 ideal. They are looking at members only benefits, such as access to the archives of RUSQ. $212,000 has been added to the endowment since 1996. Ann once again questions the placement of the endowment interest in the budget and concern over how much the endowment is making. Drew, who also attended the meeting, pointed out that there was some discussion of an incremental dues increase. Drew pointed out that there must be lots of pr about the increase and the member benefits. Jim asked why there are not divisional life memberships.


The reference online course was very successful and they will be hosting that course again soon. The genealogy online course is moving forward. There was discussion of setting up courses that can be taught by a variety of people, in person, throughout the country. These courses could be offered to state agencies, library systems, etc. For example, there would be a list of people who could teach a particular course within a certain locale.


The future of the History Librarians Discussion Group was discussed. Jim presented a brief history of the group. Jim was not the first chair; it had been in existence for approximately five years prior to Jim. The previous chair was Charles Getchell. The discussion group originally met at both annual and midwinter; annual was then dropped and they met only at midwinter. Jim adapted a particular format that worked well. A specific topic was chosen and discussants were recruited to help lead the discussions. A call for interested individuals could be placed on H-HistBibl. Maybe the chair needs to be rotated, to relieve some of the stress placed on the chair. No member of the Committee thought the discussion group should be disbanded. Susan has agreed to be the chair, to handle the administrative details, to be the coordinator, the “forms lady”. Lou will send out a call to search for a moderator and a subject for the focus of the discussion. The moderator will be responsible for content.


The ALA strategic plan, for 2010, was discussed. They broke into small groups. We have until January 31 to voice concerns. The RUSA President’s program at Annual will be titled “Googling the Better Mousetrap”. There was a discussion of RUSQ and its role in the Section. A manuscript backlog exists of more than a year and a half until publication. The acceptance rate is 50%. A RUSA dues increase was discussed.


There was a brainstorming section to assist B&I in developing potential subjects for their program. Topics recommended include the fate of bibliographies as print sources, the history of e-books, Google’s digitization project, Project Gutenberg, the digitization of brittle books, and Open Worldcat.

Submitted by Mary K. Mannix, Secretary