History Section Executive Committee Minutes, Midwinter 2007

RUSA History Section Executive Committee


Seattle, WA


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Mary Mannix (Chair), Ruth Carr, David Lincove, Susan Malbin, Michele McNabb, Janalyn Moss, Eric Novotny (Recorder), Jeannette Pierce, Ann Reinert, Carla Rickerson, John Russell, Lisa Scharnhorst, Janice Schultz, Agnes Widder, Lou Vyhnanek, Stephen Young

1. State of the Section.

After introductions, Mary Mannix reminded attendees that at Tuesday’s meetings verbal reports will be limited to five minutes, unless more time is needed for pressing business. Hopefully this will allow for extended discussion of matters requiring Executive Committee action.

Lisa Scharnhorst, our new Section Webmaster, reminded everyone to review their Webpages. Changes and updates can be sent to Lisa.

The minutes from our meetings in ALA New Orleans were distributed late (due to Secretary error). Since not everyone had a chance to read them prior to the conference, approval of the minutes was postponed. All were asked to review the minutes over the next few weeks, and send any comments/corrections to the section listserv. We will discuss and approve the amended minutes using the listserv.

Janice Schultz reported for the Pre-Conference Planning Committee. They estimate this year’s Pre-Conference earned around $1,700-$2,000. There were 39 paid registrations. The Pre-Conference in Washington, DC will take place at the National Archives.

Mary reviewed current discussions concerning the RUSA endowment. At our last meeting we discussed how to better tap into these funds, especially in light of how much revenue our activities generate for RUSA. Mary will bring to the Board a proposal to offer a free History Section pre-conference to RUSA members. Ann Reinert reminded everyone that the Programs Committee has funds available, we just need to ask for them. It’s possible we could request funding for an all-day program event, and use the money to subsidize the attendance of RUSA members. It is not clear if the Programs Committee would approve this approach. Also, if we offer something as a part of the conference program it may not be open to the public.

Mary reported that we are near agreement with an instructor for an online genealogy course. She is hopeful that this will be finalized in time for the next brochure promoting RUSA’s online courses. RUSA is interested in offering more of these and encourages new proposals. Authors do not need to be RUSA members. Content and format are largely up to the creators. RUSA has a form and criteria online: http://www.ala.org/ala/rusa/rusaourassoc/appendixrusaform/rusaforms.htm. Those who enroll in the online courses receive an acknowledgement certificate. This may meet state standards for continuing education credits, depending on the requirements of the state.

Susan Malbin asked about preferences for the History Section dinner. She will explore pricing for the two venues discussed. The location and time for this year’s dinner at Ivar’s Acres of Clam swas announced.

2. Committee Reports and Announcements

  • Instruction and Research—John Russell

    The Committee discussed redesigning their Website. They are exploring linking to related groups among other things. Once completed, they will send the new version to our Webmaster.

    They are debating how to disseminate a newly created document on Research Competencies. It’s a collection of practical tips. The group was urged to consider submitting for publication in
    RUSQ, as well as posting on the Web.

    Cindy Levine has suggested a project to promote the use of government documents by history majors. She is thinking of a set of pathfinders to help history librarians who may not have a background in this area. Maps were also mentioned as a format of interest to many. The committee was encouraged to think of these as possible topics when they sponsor the History Section program in 2009.

    Additional details on these activities sent via e-mail after the conference to the Executive Committee listserv.

3. Other Business

The upcoming schedule for History Section programs was reviewed. Genealogy is slotted for 2008 and 2012, both in Anaheim. They would like to switch years so they can reach a different audience each time.

The History Section Discussion Group is seeking additional topic idea for future meetings. Send suggestions to Susan Malbin.

Agnes Widder will be making a large number of appointments during her term to replace outgoing members. She will be contacting all committee chairs to determine the number of new people needed Appointments officially begin after ALA Annual, but we are encouraged to attend sessions informally prior to this, if we are able. Mary reminded everyone to review the committee rosters on the web and ensure they reflect current membership.

Meeting adjourned.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Mary Mannix (Chair), Ruth Carr, Mary Celeste, Susan Malbin, Janalyn Moss, Eric Novotny (Recorder), Tom Kemp, Jeannette Pierce, Ann Reinert, Carla Rickerson, Janice Schultz, Agnes Widder, Lou Vyhnanek

1. Visit of Dave Tyckoson

Mary Mannix introduced Dave Tyckoson, the RUSA President-Elect. He is visiting every RUSA Section to introduce himself and learn about our issues. Mary asked about the Section’s proposal to offer a free Genealogy Pre-Conference (perhaps limited to RUSA members as an incentive to join RUSA). Dave responded that per ALA/RUSA regulations all pre-conference must be self-supporting. He suggested we consider calling our event something other than a “pre-conference,”—such as “Forum,” “Workshop,” or “Continuing Education.” ALA is looking at offering more “program-like” activities at Midwinter, and this may be an opportunity for us. Dave encouraged the section to submit a written proposal to the RUSA Board outlining what we want to do. Agnes Widder announced that the RUSA Planning and Finances Committee has approved using some endowment funds for activities other than programs.

The Committee further discussed the logistics of sponsoring a free activity, including preferred times (perhaps expanding a regular committee meeting to 4 hours), speaker fees (RUSA has a budget for this. Outside funding/sponsors would also be desirable), and who to submit a proposal to (Dave suggested sending to Eileen Hardy in the RUSA Office by March 1). Another thing to consider is that if the event is held during the ALA conference it technically would be restricted to those registering for the Conference.

Dave Tyckoson introduced the new RUSA Blog (http://www.rusablog.org/) and urged all to contribute to the online discussions. To help achieve a critical mass of content he is asking all sections to contribute substantive content to the blog. He sees this as a way to recruit new members and make them aware of the activities and issues of our sections. The Executive Committee briefly brainstormed topics. The section’s Discussion Groups were encouraged to post issues arising from their meetings.

Dave mentioned that he is making RUSA level committee appointments and would welcome recommendations from the sections. He will send a list of RUSA committees with open slots to Mary.

After Dave left the meeting, the discussion centered on the feasibility of offering a free continuing education event at Midwinter 2008 (Philadelphia). The Saturday morning meeting of the Local History Discussion Group was offered as a possible time. Mary will contact Curt Witcher to see if his group is amenable to this.

2. Approval of Minutes from New Orleans Meetings

Given the full agenda and late distribution of the meeting minutes (due to Secretary error) it was decided that corrections/comments would be sent to the History Section listserv after the conference. The minutes will be approved electronically.

3. Conference Updates

Carla Rickerson reported that the RUSA Professional Development Committee expressed concern at their meeting about the pace of development of an online genealogy course. Mary indicated that Jack Simpson has agreed to take on this project.

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

  • ABC-CLIO Online History Award Committee—David Lincove

    The group received many nominations for the award. They have selected a site for the award and an additional set of Honorable Mentions. Lisa Scharnhorst will explore linking to these from the History Section’s Website. The Award Committee is considering adding members given the large number of nominated sites.

  • Bibliography and Indexes Committee—Janalyn Moss

    The group met twice. At the first meeting they reviewed titles for the annual “Best Bibliographies in History.” The committee’s selections will appear in a forthcoming
    RUSQ. At the second meeting the group discussed the future of the committee given the decline in published print bibliographies. A new charge was drafted and submitted to the History Section for approval. After discussion the new charge was approved. The new name of the committee will be “Access to Historical Information.” The new charge is to promote and recognize achievements in improving access to historical materials in all formats. Mary asked the committee to send this information for inclusion in
    RUSA Update.

  • Genealogical Publishing Company Award Committee—Ruth Carr

    The group selected an award winner and will announce the decision in various venues. While discussing promotional techniques, the Executive Committee considered the desirability of a listserv open to all members of the History Section. The current HS listserv is primarily comprised of the Executive Committee and committee chairs. Mary will pursue this idea with Eileen Hardy and RUSA.

  • Genealogy Committee—Stephen Young

    Discussed the online genealogy course and possible programs for ALA in Anaheim. Recommended sunsetting the Guidelines for Editors of Historical and Genealogical Bulletins and Family Newsletters. [http://www.ala.org/ala/rusa/rusaprotools/referenceguide/guidelinesedito…].

  • Genealogy Preconference Planning Committee – Janice Schultz

    The pre-conferences are set for Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. The group is planning a pre-conference for Anaheim.

  • History Librarians Discussion Group—Susan Malbin

    Good attendance at this year”s meeting (36 people). Susan will explore posting the topic to the RUSA Blog to continue the conversation. The topic for next time: Best Digital Databases for History. They are also considering asking people to bring their favorite reference resources.

  • History Section Nominating Committee—Ann Reinert The Committee is working on preparing a slate of candidates for the next election


  • Local History Committee—Mary Celeste

    The Committee received the funding they requested for their program “All History is Local in a Digital World” (tentative title).

    The group plans to sunset the RUSA Preservation guidelines. They will add links to the ALCTS guidelines to the History Section pages.

  • RUSA Membership—Ann Reinert

    Eileen Hardy discussed a survey of new ALA members. About 1/3 do not join any division. Around 7.7% join RUSA. A list of ideas to increase membership was distributed. (e.g. establish an Ambassador program to library schools, more virtual memberships, etc…) The History Section discussed promoting our section at state association meetings.

    RUSA is looking at changes in the recruiting booths for future conferences, including providing some training for those who volunteer to staff the booths.

  • RUSA Organization Committee—Carla Rickerson

    Approved the evaluation of the Professional Development Committee. Considered changes to the schedule for the Section Reviews. These may be lengthened to give sections more time to complete the process.

  • RUSA Planning and Finance—Agnes Widder

    Discussed how to spend interest from the endowment. They want to fund more “workshops” at Midwinter. The goal is to attract more attendees/exhibitors by giving them something to do at Midwinter other than committee meetings. It was proposed that the sections continue to spend 50% of the interest on endowments for programming and to allow up to 50% of the other half of the interest to be spent for programming also.

    The Web Continuing Education courses are generating revenue for the section. Incoming chair Tyckoson would like an advanced reference online class developed.

    Decided on membership dues for support staff. Tthese will be set at about half the regular dues.

    Asked to consider support the ALA Cultural Communities Fund [http://www.ala.org/ala/ppo/culturalcommunities.htm]. RUSA is providing about $10,000 towards this initiative.

    Discussed the recent ALA dues increase. PLA and ALTA membership numbers went down; membership in all other divisions went up. Some ALA members who did not belong to divisions dropped their membership, possibly as result of dues increase. The number of library science student members is up by 100. Typically membership takes a few years to return to normal levels after a dues increase. There will be a reduced dues rate for support staff members, to start in September, 2007. Support staff who join ALA will get a price break on continuing education offerings. The dues will be 50% of those of the regular membership. Support staff who are also library science students can pay either the student or support staff rate.

  • RUSA Publications Committee—Eric Novotny

    The Committee discussed the new “look and feel” of
    RUSQ with the new editor Diane Zabel. The new RUSA Blog was also discussed. A sub-committee has been formed to review the blog and recommend policies and procedures.

  • RUSA Standards and Guidelines—Susan Malbin

    Reviewed the Guidelines for Developing Beginning Genealogical Collections and Services (now renamed to include the word “Core”). S&G made some editorial comments/suggestions to the Genealogy committee concerning this document [http://www.ala.org/ala/rusa/rusaprotools/referenceguide/guidelinesdevel…].

  • RUSA Board of Directors—Mary Mannix

    The “Guidelines for a Unit or Course of Instruction in Genealogical Research at Schools of Library and Information Science” [http://www.ala.org/ala/rusa/rusaprotools/referenceguide/guidelinesunit…] were approved with minor changes by the RUSA Board.

  • Webmaster Update—Lisa Scharnhorst

    At some point ALA web space will convert to a new Content Management System. Lisa will receive training in this new system.

  • 5. Upcoming Programs

    • 2007 – Local History
    • 2008 - Genealogy
    • 2009 – Instruction and Research

    6. New Business

    The Genealogy Committee reiterated their concern that they are sponsoring programs for 2008 and 2012, both in Anaheim. They would like to switch years so they can reach a different audience each time. Janalyn (Bibliographies and Indexes) expressed a willingness to switch, but she will need to check with the Committee.

    A question was raised about interest in hosting a History Section event, perhaps a trip to a historical site. Some noted that this has been done informally in the past. The key is to avoid conflicting with Section other activities such as the Genealogy pre-conference.

    It was noted that the membership brochure will need to be updated (including the renamed Bibliographies and Indexes committee). Mary suggested this as a task for the Members-at-Large in consultation with the Membership Committee.

    Meeting adjourned.