- TCP Board Meeting
Board Members: Mark Sandler (Acting Chair, Committee on Institutional Cooperation), Betty Bengston (University of Washington), Mark Dimunation (Library of Congress, for Deanna Marcum), Richard Foley (Gale), Marianne Gaunt (Rutgers University), Michelle Harper (Readex, for Remmel Nunn), Ronald Milne (Oxford University), Sarah Michalak (University of North Carolina), William Miller (Florida Atlantic University), Mary Sauer-Games (ProQuest), David Stam (Syracuse University), William Walker (University of Miami), John Wilkin (University of Michigan)
TCP Staff and Guests: Laura Ambrose (University of Michigan), Kenston Baumann (University of Michigan), Maria Bonn (University of Michigan), Patricia Fumerton (University of California, Santa Barbara) Shawn Martin (University of Michigan), Paul Schaffner (University of Michigan), Michael Schoenfeldt (University of Michigan), Perry Willett (University of Michigan)
- Unable to attend:
David Ferriero (New York Public Library), Carole Moore (University of Toronto), Susan Perry (CLIR)
- I. Welcome and Introductions
- Mark Sandler, acting chair of the Board, welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced Michelle Harper, representing Remmel Nunn for Readex. He then went over the agenda. The first part of the meeting would be dedicated to looking at the accomplishments of the project over the past six years, and at lunch we would begin discussions of the future of the project and what ways it could be shaped to meet future challenges. The last hour would be dedicated to discussion with scholars and graduate students about use of EEBO, Evans, ECCO, and the TCP in research and in the classroom.
- II. TCP: A Retrospective
TCP Past Accomplishments and Current updates
Maria Bonn, Shawn Martin, and Paul Schaffner gave a brief presentation to the Board about the accomplishments of the project since its inception. Maria discussed how scholars and graduate students have used it, how TCP has created a model that has created thousands of texts, and is helping to advance scholarship in a variety of different areas. Shawn gave the board updates of the project over the past year, and added that TCP is becoming a center of an active community of researchers, many of whom were represented at the TCP conference. Paul went on to discuss many of the issues associated with keying of text, particularly how TCP reviewers have to grapple with issues of illegibility and difficult works, like books of music and Biblical commentaries.
Mary Sauer-Games reported that EEBO continues to sell well. They are noticing particular growth in small undergraduate institutions. Mary also noted ProQuest’s support of the Virtual Modernization project at Northwestern University which is working to map modern spellings to their early modern variations.
Michelle Harper also said that there is great interest among small colleges in the Readex product as well as more recently in American Studies programs at universities in the U.K. and Australia. One of the major focuses of Readex currently is to look at how faculty are using the Evans product in the curriculum.
Rich Foley reported that ECCO is one of the biggest products at Gale with eighty to ninety ARLs subscribing as well as small institutions. He also said that a focus at Gale was to work on more tools to facilitate undergraduate teaching of their products.
Members of the Board noted that all three publishers seemed to say that undergraduate teaching was a part of their focus and many believed that this is an important focus of many library organizations as well.
- III. Budget
Mark Sandler reported that the TCP budget shows mostly positive balances through 2007. The exception to that is ECCO but because it is still so early in the project, it seems likely that TCP will overcome those problems within the next few months. Nonetheless, the TCP project in EEBO, Evans, and ECCO face potential budget deficits in fiscal year 2008. Mark, Maria, and Shawn, noted that they were working on getting more detailed projections to the Board. There are many unknowns in projecting revenues and many possible budget scenarios, so, it was difficult to put all of that into a comprehensive document for the Board meeting. It was suggested that a more comprehensive plan be presented to the finance committee of the Board in November. In that report will be more specific information about numbers of text and cost per text. After the finance committee has reviewed these reports and the possible budget scenarios for fiscal year 2008 and beyond it will report to the full Board.
Mark also reported on one item from the previous Board meeting, salary reviews. Maria and Shawn investigated the possibilities of raising salaries for TCP reviewers within the University of Michigan, and compared salaries at Michigan and Oxford. It was found that the salaries of the reviewers were comparable with expectations. Paul also reported that the reviewers who left had reasons other than salary (family issues, better opportunities within their field of study, etc.). Therefore, it was decided not to raise all reviewers salaries at once, but to continue doing merit increases that the University of Michigan does every year.
The Board was then asked to consider generally how TCP should work to find ways of resolving the potential shortfalls in fiscal year 2008 and beyond. Before beginning a possible second round of funding, the Board suggested that two things be done.
First, there should be a thorough analysis of the TCP collection and the people who use it. This could include a breakdown of subjects included in TCP, a more thorough explanation of benefits of different search capacities (like OCR, bibliographic searches, and full text searches), or a study of how TCP users, particularly scholars, use these databases in their research and teaching. Board members noted that faculty support was essential to continuing these efforts, and a thorough “market survey” could help provide a tool that TCP could use when approaching libraries for money. Some members suggested that there may be funding bodies interested in this kind of research, Mellon, the Arts and Humanities Research Council (in the UK), and others could be approached with some initial proposals. Board members suggested that the TCP begin conversations soon with granting agencies, particularly Mellon, and bring specific evidence of how the TCP project supports scholarship. TCP should also involve members of the Board in any grants it intends to write.
Second, the Board suggested that TCP look again at its outreach strategies. In particular, TCP and publishing partners need to think about co-promoting resources more effectively, and think about how it is spending its current money for marketing the TCP in Evans and ECCO, especially in light of the more acute problems that TCP faces when trying to sell text in databases that already have OCR.
- IV. Broadening the Project to Take Opportunities in a Changing Environment
Members of the Board then discussed whether TCP should take on a broader role within the community to other smaller projects creating text in other areas. There was some support among Board members that TCP become a kind of “outsourcer” for other institutions that do not have the money or expertise to create large amounts of texts. Other Board members expressed concern that this was too large a role for both TCP and the University of Michigan to take on in light of current budget restraints.
- V. Board Ideas/Recommendations
Future Financial Security
Shawn then summarized for the Board some strategies that it had suggested in past meetings to ensure financial security for the TCP project. The Board considered many strategies and in the end suggested that in addition to conducting a market survey of some kind and getting more concrete data to the finance committee, the TCP should set a date to close the partnership (likely around 2010 given current commitments), and attempt to get money from some institutions earlier, particularly at the end of fiscal years. It was suggested that such an attempt be targeted only to specific institutions and that TCP utilize Board members to send letters to those institutions. Such an effort would help to alleviate some of the cash flow problems the TCP is facing, particularly in fiscal year 2008.
Future Board Leadership
The Board was asked to reconsider its charge in light of the fact that the University of Michigan would be getting a new University Librarian (formerly Bill Gosling, also the TCP Board Chair from the inception of the project), a new Assistant University Librarian for Scholarly Communication and Collection Development (formerly Mark Sandler’s position), and that many Board members had served over five years. The Board suggested several possible improvements, such as frequent updates to the Board throughout the year, more meetings in a convenient location like Washington, DC or at ALA meetings, more directors from non-ARL institutions, more scholars, and staggered terms. It was suggested that members of the Board form a committee to look at the charge and suggest new members for the Board. William Miller and Marianne Gaunt volunteered to form this group. TCP staff will discuss possibilities with this committee and get back to the full Board.
VI. Board Meeting with Scholars
The last hour of the meeting was dedicated to a discussion between members of the Board and working scholars including Patricia Fumerton (Professor of English and Director of the Early Modern Center, University of California – Santa Barbara), Michael Schoenfeldt (Associate Dean, College of Literature, Science and the Arts and Professor of English, University of Michigan), and two graduate students, Laura Ambrose, and Kenston Baumann, both from the University of Michigan. They suggested several ways TCP should raise its visibility among academics, like a higher profile on the EEBO website, talking to deans about transforming the undergraduate experience, integrating EEBO, Evans, ECCO, and TCP into courses, talking more to graduate students, promoting the essay contest more widely (and potentially creating one for graduate students), sending out updates to faculty in humanities departments, and facilitating workshops, possibly with graduate students, at partner institutions.
VII. Planning for next meeting
There will be continued follow up with the Board on several points raised at the meeting
- A strategy for dealing with the budget in fiscal year 2008
- Further suggestions on winding down the project in 2010 or beyond
- Prepare statements to the finance committee for presentation to the full Board
- Start work on a market survey for TCP, EEBO, Evans, and ECCO
- Talk to granting agencies about funding such a study
- Review the charge of the Board, and think about new potential members for the Board
- Prepare recommendations to the membership committee for presentation to the full Board