Submitted by Paula Hardin, Chair
Paula Hardin will not be continuing as Chair because she was elected to represent the South Region on the Board. Judy Dyki will be taking over as Chair.
Current membership includes:
Carol Goldsmith (Executive Board Liaison)
Roger Lawson, Ex-officio NINCH liaison
New membership will be:
Judy Dyki (Chair)
Paula Hardin (Executive Board Liaison)
The successful presentation of two excellent sessions at the ARLIS 2000 conference was the biggest accomplishment of the Technology Committee in the last year. The sessions seemed to be well received. Interest was very high in the subjects covered. About 200 people were expected and appeared to attend the search engine panel session. There also was a pretty strong interest in the visual resources filing schemes issues, discussed in an AskARLIS session, with an encouraging possibility that people were really interested in developing more shared filing schemes in the near future. There were quite a few follow-up requests for the material from both of these sessions to be posted on the Web and I was able to do that for a short period of time, as is discussed further below.
In other matters, it was an uneven year for the activities of the Technology Committee. Much of what we had hoped to accomplish depended on getting a web site going and actually keeping it going (the really hard part!). Paula had some success in getting an ARLIS Technology Committee web site going briefly early in 2000, only to have technological issues out of her control disrupt the service. Then too, Paula's acceptance of a new job and relocation to another state made the continuity difficult. She had hoped to re-implement the services in her new position, but has not been able to do so at the time of this report, partly due to the fact that she no longer has her own web server. In addition to posting the Technology Committee conference session information, Paula used the site to post a survey on numbering practices of visual resources people, in part related to a discussion session held at the subsequent VRA conference. About 20 people participated in the web survey in the short time it was up even though it had minimal promotion. This indicates that if such mechanisms were available routinely, a grass roots sort of database on any number of topics of interest could be developed. Specifically it could be a major source of information on technical issues and other questions that otherwise arise repeatedly on the ARLIS listserv.
One other web-related function, an art library Web Ring was begun and also stalled due to the technical problems with the server. The purpose of a Web Ring, you may recall from last year's report, is to make links between web sites based on common themes, in our case art libraries' web sites. It is, essentially, a different type of search mechanism. Further review would be needed at this point to determine if it is worth pursuing or if an alternative would be better. One possible alternative is a program that Paula picked up during a class last fall and applied ARLIS membership information to it. The program displays a listing of members by a variety of options, such as region, and then a listing of these members also appears along with the URL to their institution or library home page. She will continue to investigate what is needed to make this more than simply a demonstration version.
At the 2000 Technology Committee meeting, it was planned that we would seek to establish more relationships with other technology groups as appropriate. We also planned to gather information in technology areas for the web site. In an effort to act on this, I assigned some tasks for committee members to pursue to develop this information and some information was developed by members. However, more thought as to how to structure this data will require some discussion. Similarly, it was suggested at the business meeting that we could contribute by doing a guest edit for an issue of Art Documentation but no follow up took place to make this happen. Another proposed action item was to develop an XML workshop for the upcoming conference. This ended up going nowhere too, partly because the topic was so large, but also the desire to have a workshop was driven by the Committee members' lack of knowledge of the topic and these are not the conditions conducive to developing such a thing from scratch. As Chair, Paula felt that she should have done things differently to have had a more successful post-conference year. Perhaps, for example, more advance work on the business meeting agenda might have helped. Worthwhile activities could have been discussed via group emails in advance so that specific tasks could have been developed at the business meeting. Committee members would have had some time to think about what they were interested in this way and, at the meeting they might have been more able to make a commitment to specific tasks with associated deadlines that they felt were feasible. The focus of Paula's time in advance of the 2000 conference was, however, really overwhelmingly occupied by the work necessary to develop the two conference sessions including the preparation of her presentation.
Issues for the Executive Board
Perhaps there needs to be a review of the mission of the Technology Committee and the associated strategic goals to fulfill that mission. The extreme breadth of scope of keeping members informed about non-specific technology in today's Internet minute-paced changes is perhaps an impossibly general and futile goal. What can the Technology Committee do that someone on the Web hasn't already done, e.g. product reviews? What type of relationship would be productive and useful to have amongst other related organizations' technology committees and related groups? What would the purpose of these relationships be? What kind of collective actions could we then take that would benefit ARLIS members? The technological infrastructure of ARLIS may be a better use of Committee members' knowledge and opinions rather than present external membership at large focus.
Plans for Future Activities
Since I will not be continuing as Chair, I do not have a specific list of future activities prepared. Since I will be liaison with the Committee as a Board member, I look forward to the opportunity to working with the Technology Committee in developing new approaches to how the Committee can best serve the needs of the membership.