AIC 2012 Notes: Book and Paper Group Business Meeting

The Book and Paper Group held its annual business meeting on Thursday, May 10th. I estimated about 60 people were in attendance (a very, very small number of the membership…this will be important later).

AIC Annual Meeting 2013

Next year we will be in Indianapolis, IN*. The theme of the conference is “The Contemporary in Conservation.” To me that means plastics, modern adhesives, maybe trends in conservation either at the bench or in our programs. What does it mean to you? I’d like to explore education (both for conservators and for our target audience) and advocacy (for conservation, conservation education, etc). Get your paper ideas in!

BPG Budget

As usual we gnashed our teeth about the budget and the fact that since we have spent down our reserves as we were told, we now have little in our wallet should we need it. Our esteemed secretary asked us to consider ways we can raise funds.

The issue of the cost of the Annual came up and whether it is time to move to an electronic version to save money. The BPG Annual takes a very large portion of our available funds each year. We discussed (again) moving to an electronic version of the Annual with a print on demand option. The erroneous argument that printers want 1K orders before printing came up, as did the persistence of digital data (at least that part did at our table). These are both valid arguments, but not insurmountable problems if we do a little homework.

Print On Demand The argument that printers require at least a thousand print orders for the publication before working with you is incorrect. I talked with a friend who works at a large commercial bindery that also offers POD services. If you want more than 1,000 issues is is cheaper to print your publication traditionally, but if you need less than that number POD becomes a viable option even for very small orders. He said they would print one copy of that is all you wanted, although a hundred or two or three would be more affordable per piece.

Print As Archival Record The internet is not an archive, I think we can agree on that. With no print back-up we risk losing the work of our membership to the vagaries of the internet if we go e-only. That said, JAIC is deposited in JSTOR, which is a trusted repository for electronic publications. Does the BPG Annual meet the criteria of JSTOR? I’m not sure, but we should find out because depositing it with JSTOR and allowing POD for print is a great idea and would save us a lot of money.

My Proposed Solution Let’s investigate the following hybrid solution:

  • Move the Annual to an e-publication with the option for POD for those members who want print.
  • BPG should print (pick a number) Annuals for deposit in traditional repositories that will commit to their preservation.
  • AIC/BPG should deposit the Annual to JSTOR so that the preservation of the electronic publication will be assured.

A couple of caveats:

  • A hybrid approach (e-preferred publication in JSTOR with POD option) only works if JSTOR will take our publication. We need someone to investigate that (heck, all AIC interest group publications should be there).
  • If JSTOR will not take our publication, we could still offer an e-preferred/POD option if we deposit enough paper copies in trusted libraries/archives that will commit to their long-term preservation and access.
  • POD publications should be easy to order if you want one now or in the future.
  • BPG should foot the bill for POD requests since the Annual is a benefit of our membership. If BPG feels members should pay for their own POD copy as was suggested at the meeting, they should reduce our dues accordingly. Hey, maybe with less expensive dues we could gain membership. Win-win!

Discussion Groups

This is where things get interesting…voting on implementing changes when less than ten percent of your membership is at the meeting seems shaky and is a constant problem (7:30 a.m. meetings could have something to do with it).

New discussion group guidelines were proposed that laid out how much time should be devoted to speakers vs. discussion, and some other things I neglected to write down (sorry…if you were there, please fill us in). The guidelines were proposed because the discussion groups in the recent past have done more programming with less time devoted to discussion and are becoming indistinguishable from the regular program.

Much discussion ensued since “guidelines” are often interpreted as “rules” and the point of the discussion groups is to be more free-form and flexible in their programming. As someone who has done a lot of discussion group planning I see it as a failure of the co-chairs if enough time is not allotted for discussion. There are many ways to put a discussion program together, but you cannot have a discussion if you are left with little or no time to actually talk to each other. I don’t think we need rules  from above on how to plan our discussion group meetings but I was in the minority and the guidelines were approved.

The majority of the members present approved a new discussion group, the Art on Paper Discussion Group (APDG). This presents a conundrum as we now have three DG’s and our agendas are already pretty full. BPG offered two programming scenarios for vote (only two, really? I could think of at least one more scenario that wasn’t mentioned): Given that BPG will maintain 1-1/2 days of regular programming (therein lies the rub) we could have 1 of the 3 DG’s present each year, which means your group only meets every three years; or we could have 2 of the 3 DG’s meet each year with one having the year off. This one (2/year with one taking the year off) is the one that won the vote.

So, I guess I’ll attend 2 out of every three AIC conferences since LCCDG is the primary reason I go to AIC any more. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate all the hard work that goes into planning discussions, and programming is difficult. I’ve been there and done that and it is often a thankless job. But we will never be free of conflicting interests at a large conference, so using the straw-man argument that we want to reduce conflicting schedules and therefor relegate one interest group to oblivion every third year further marginalizes library and archives conservators in my opinion. I could go on, but I won’t. It is done, and now it remains to be seen what happens from here. Go forth and discuss.

*Home of Shapiro’s, the best damned corned beef sandwich EVER!

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11 Responses

  1. Beth,
    Thank you for this, much appreciated by one who could not travel this year.

    On the subject of the Annual, I think going “e” with a POD option would be great. In terms of JSTOR, including the Annual should work, but I think that we could work with AIC and/or perhaps one of the academic libraries to also set up a discipline-based respository along the lines of the disciplinary ones established for other fields. This need not be just for BPG, but any AIC e-publications. These repositories take into account the long-term preservation of the digital and all that goes with it. Another long-term option would be to have the Annual included as part of LOCKSS. Heck, do both. I’d more than happy to help with this. There are options for preserving “e,” increasing numbers of them. While we’re at it, we might also want to discuss going Open Access, getting listed in DOAJ and really broadening our readership and influence in the field writ large.

    p.

    • Thanks Peter, all great suggestions and I’ll make sure to pass them along. We need to solve this issue of the costs of printing the annual.

      I’ll be rolling out more notes as I can…lots to share. I spent much of my time not at BPG since one of my conservators was there. So my notes may be more interdisciplinary than usual. But, AIC said they had bloggers for every session that should be posting over on Conservators Converse, so be sure to check in with them every now and then over the next couple of weeks.

      • Hi Peter and Beth,
        *Putting on my AIC board director, Communications hat*
        With regard to next year’s meeting, the topic “The Contemporary in Conservation” is being envisioned broadly, to include how our profession is changing and how our work is affected by various trends in our work places as well as contemporary materials, and conservation techniques. AIC/FAIC board Vice President Pam Hatchfield is looking for people to serve on the program committee, so if you’re interested, please let her know.

        *Adding on my AIC Publications Committee chair hat*
        I want to share some very recent developments with regard to how AIC is moving towards publications delivery. This year the Electronic Media Group (EMG) produced its first biannual post print edition. They felt strongly that they wanted their members to have a printed copy of the book with something more durable than a glued binding. Working with the AIC office to explore a number of scenarios and vendors, the EMG publications committee chose to produce a short run of Smyth sewn bound volumes to send to their membership. Once that short run inventory is exhausted, the same vendor will produce POD volumes (ordered copy by copy) for sale through the AIC online store. The trade-off is that these POD editions will have glued bindings – we’re limited to that due to the production process. As I understand it, they will also be making their post prints available online.

        I did receive a copy of the Smyth sewn bound EMG post print and am happy with its quality, and feedback from others I’ve spoken to has been similarly positive. I have not yet had the chance to evaluate the quality of the book produced through POD, but hope to soon. The office has been happy with the service they’ve received from this vendor thus far.

        There may be some benefit (economies of scale, for one) if more SGs move their post prints to this printer. BPG does have a representative on the PubComm who has been active in these conversations, but perhaps he wasn’t at the Annual Meeting. I will send our committee report to all SG publications committees to ensure everybody knows that this option is on the table.

        As to a digital repository for the field, CoOL is poised to be just that. BPGA is already there. I would very much like to look further into LOCKSS (and CLOCKSS) as preservation options for the various periodicals on CoOL. Peter, I’ll give you a call soon.

        For what its worth, BPGA (and all other periodicals on CoOL, as far as I can tell) are currently included in JURN.org, a search engine that indexes more than 4,000 freely available online academic journals in the arts and humanities. JURN.org also includes the journals in DOAJ.

        Apologies for the long comment.

      • Thanks for all the info Nancie!

  2. Nancie,
    First off, I was very impressed with the first issue of the EMG edition – GREAT range of articles with really useful information. Hadn’t checked to see whether it was glued or sewn, but hearing you mention it being sewn made me chuckle and wonder whether it this is the best use of resources and perhaps a bit precious. At the end of the day, shouldn’t a group like EMG in particular be on the leading edge of making use of online publishing, and demonstrate an understanding and embrace of repositories and digital preservation. I mean really, if not EMG (within AIC) then who? So in the final tally, great issue but rather disappointing publication production approach. It this had been RBMS (ACRL/ALA) I could have understood.

    In terms of POD… I personally am in favor of online publication of the issues in PDF format with a POD option. Overall, as may be obvious by now, I would urge an “open access” approach to publication without embargo periods to hold back the content from non-members… This is something that would only increase the impact of the publications (and AIC) in the conservation fields writ large. Yes, it’s a benefit of membership, but as has been expressed in other discussions (my experience with CIPP) we also “suffer” when we can’t get access to information that could help us. I wrote about that with selected links in a post on Jeff Peachey’s blog at . Jurn.org is good for finding articles, but does nothing to actually deliver and serve the actual content, DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals @ does that too, but has begun to ingest the journals that are listed in order to preserve the content of those. Ultimately, I feel that the real benefits of membership in an organization like AIC are in the conferences, workshops, and face-to-face interactions. The research should be shared freely.

    I am very interested in the ongoing nature of this discussion and will continue to contribute to it. Can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to attend physically, but happy to exploit all other venues…

    Peter

  3. With URLS showing this time…

    Nancie,
    First off, I was very impressed with the first issue of the EMG edition – GREAT range of articles with really useful information. Hadn’t checked to see whether it was glued or sewn, but hearing you mention it being sewn made me chuckle and wonder whether it this is the best use of resources and perhaps a bit precious. At the end of the day, shouldn’t a group like EMG in particular be on the leading edge of making use of online publishing, and demonstrate an understanding and embrace of repositories and digital preservation. I mean really, if not EMG (within AIC) then who? So in the final tally, great issue but rather disappointing publication production approach. It this had been RBMS (ACRL/ALA) I could have understood.

    In terms of POD… I personally am in favor of online publication of the issues in PDF format with a POD option. Overall, as may be obvious by now, I would urge an “open access” approach to publication without embargo periods to hold back the content from non-members… This is something that would only increase the impact of the publications (and AIC) in the conservation fields writ large. Yes, it’s a benefit of membership, but as has been expressed in other discussions (my experience with CIPP) we also “suffer” when we can’t get access to information that could help us. I wrote about that with selected links in a post on Jeff Peachey’s blog at http://jeffpeachey.wordpress.com/tag/peter-verheyen/. Jurn.org at http://jurnsearch.wordpress.com is good for finding articles, but does nothing to actually deliver and serve the actual content, DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals @ http://www.doaj.orgdoes that too, but has begun to ingest the journals that are listed in order to preserve the content of those. Ultimately, I feel that the real benefits of membership in an organization like AIC are in the conferences, workshops, and face-to-face interactions. The research should be shared freely.

    I am very interested in the ongoing nature of this discussion and will continue to contribute to it. Can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to attend physically, but happy to exploit all other venues…

    Peter

    • Peter, I agree with the Zero embargo period. There already effectively is one with the print edition. While we are getting closer to getting the rest of the backlog of BPG Annuals online, there is still a delay in getting the print and the electronic versions online. I don’t think any further waiting should be had on behalf of the membership for the papers. If we have any hope to actually share and use the information from the conferences in a timely manner, we need the print and/or e-version as soon as possible.

    • Peter,

      As a former EMG Board and out-going Publications Committee member, I can tell you that there was an extended discussion of the value of print copies vs. all-electronic versions (with a POD option available). In the end, it was a bit of a prestige issue, getting print copies into people’s hands, on their intellectual radar, and most importantly onto their shelves. Print editions still convey a seriousness and commitment (because of their costs) that we hoped would lay a foundation for future editions, draw in more contributors, and serve as an enticement to grow the EMG membership rolls.

      And I second Nancie’s suggestion of considering CoOL as a portal to digitally archiving AIC publications.

      -Fletcher

  4. Peter – you rather oddly claim here that… “Jurn.org is good for finding articles, but does nothing to actually deliver and serve the actual content”. Did you try clicking the links in the search results? That will get you the full-text articles.

    • My point was not about _access_ to articles but more about _preservation_ of the articles issues in a secure repository for the long term. As an OA journal publisher providing access directly via DOAJ, andJURN, (thank you btw) was crucial to developing a wide audience. Having the content in the Internet Archive, and to me more importantly LOCKSS is what will assure the content persists. DOAJ is working towards building a repository of the content as well.

      While related, access and preservation are two different beasts even if at times inter-related.

      No slight intended and hope this clarifies.

  5. […] very odd comment on JURN by Peter D. Verheyen (of The Book Arts Web), 19th May… “Jurn.org is good for […]

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