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Executive Committee Meeting Minutes - August 18, 2010

Submitted 23 September, 2010

Present: Paul Courant, Paul Kaufman, Laine Farley, Brad Wheeler, John Wilkin

1.    Finances

  • The current budget was reviewed.  New expenses were modest and largely offset by a credit.  HathiTrust continues to generate a modest surplus after costs and funds needed for replacement.  The surplus continues to be earmarked for a reserve goal.
  • The Executive Committee reviewed all of the feedback gathered since publication of the new cost model.   Feedback has helped to identify elements that should be clarified (e.g., formulas).  Many other questions received related to uncertainty about post-2012 costs.  Preliminary analysis suggests no significant change for founding partners; moreover, more certainty will only be possible through execution of the plan (e.g., gathering holdings data).  After the current document is revised, an FAQ will be created to help address many of the questions that have been submitted.

2.    Repository

  • Outages:  HathiTrust recently suffered several brief outages as a result of aggressive crawling or agent activity.  Systems were adapted to prevent these types of outages in the future.  As in previous cases, these outages were not to the repository itself but for end-user access.
  • Ingest:  We are again seeing more robust ingest, and in the coming months will see the addition of new partner content and more materials from Internet Archive (e.g., from Columbia and UIUC).

3.    Other technology

  • A preliminary/final CRL TRAC audit report is expected in September.
  • Shibboleth deployment continues with the addition of more partner institutions.  In collaboration with a CIC Center for Library Initiatives committee, the partnership will be exploring the use of Shibboleth for services for users with print disabilities.
  • Work on locally-digitized book/journal files continues, based on samples from Iowa, UIUC and Northwestern.  We hope soon to produce draft documentation and proposed policies for these materials.
  • In light of the recent crawler-related outages and questions about restrictions on some files, a message on security was drafted and will be shared with primary representatives from partner institutions.
  • The Executive Committee had the first of two planned discussions on a proposal for the establishment of a HathiTrust Research Center.  The proposal will constitute a significant part of the September 23/24 agenda.

4.    Organizational issues

  • The Executive Committee discussed the addition of Nebraska to the CIC (July, 2011).  The matter of Nebraska membership in and costs for HathiTrust will be discussed by the CIC Library Directors.
  • Strategic Advisory Board update:  Van Gemert and Wilkin met to discuss the criteria and process for the scheduled 3-year review (managed by the Strategic Advisory Board).  Van Gemert provided Executive Committee members a preliminary list of criteria and questions for the review, along with some thoughts about potential reviewers.  He also proposed that the timetable decided earlier be shifted so that drafting of the review would take place between March and May 2011, that drafts would be distributed internally during June and July, and that a final report would be sent to the membership in late July in preparation for the October, 2011 Constitutional Convention.  The Executive Committee approved the new timeline.  In response to the SAB proposal to include a discussion on the review and Constitutional Convention with Executive Committee members, several members of the Executive Committee will be joining the SAB discussion on September 24th.
  • New members:  Wilkin provided an update on contract negotiations.  The agreement with Yale was completed, and a final version of the “sustaining partner” agreement was drafted with three interested institutions.  Currently, contracts are in various stages of completion with approximately twelve US and non-US institutions.

5.    Miscellaneous

  • Wilkin discussed the growing trend of organizations and individuals contacting HathiTrust to grant permission to open access to materials.  A number of organizations, primarily universities and non-profits, have granted permission to open access to in-copyright materials digitized from partner collections.  Additionally, some scholars whose works were digitized and to whom rights have reverted have granted HathiTrust permission to provide broader access.  One of the most exciting examples has been the Open Folklore project, which has independently undertaken the work to promote and coordinate securing permissions for materials in HathiTrust. These have all been unsolicited, and typically the individual or group has found the permissions form on the HathiTrust website without our assistance.  The Executive Committee will continue to discuss this and ways that we might make a broader appeal.
  • Working Group activities
    • Usability Working Group:  The HathiTrust Usability Working Group met on July 29. Wilkin joined the call to discuss how the group will fit into the context of the larger committee structure and answer questions. The group discussed the scope of the committee, types of task forces that might be convened, and current and potential projects. Starting August 23rd, the group will have a series of weekly meetings to explore all facets of the current interface and establish priorities. The group will then convene one or more task forces and move to bi-monthly meetings.
    • Communications Working Group:  The Communications Working Group has now met several times and is actively engaged in a number of activities: articulating goals and target audiences for the October website redesign, work on a communications and marketing plan, and drafting press releases on major efforts (pending review by the Executive Committee).  The group also plans to create a "what is HathiTrust" piece for the web site, aimed at a broad audience.  A number of group members expressed a need to get up to speed quickly on HathiTrust, and the outcome was a recommendation from the group for a "HathiTrust 101" presentation open to new working group members.  The first of these webinars was conducted by Heather Christenson and John Wilkin on August 5, and was well-received.  This will be followed by two more sessions, open to working group members as well as library directors, to be held on August 27th and September 9th.  The Communications Working Group also discussed the scope of their operational work.  Questions have focused on the extent to which group members are empowered to speak on behalf of the HathiTrust in various forums--official press releases, comments on blogs, etc.  In light of the distributed collaboration that defines HathiTrust’s organization, Wilkin expressed his desire to see the Communications Working Group assume a formal communications role, particularly about partners (both new membership and activities) and content.  He expressed an interest in continuing to work with the Communications Working Group to achieve greater clarity on their work.