MARS Executive Committee meeting
Monday Jan. 17, 2000
Radisson Hotel, San Antonio
Minutes

Executive Committee members present: Nancy Buchanan, MARS
vice-chair/chair-elect; Andrea Copeland, MARS Member-at-large; Lise M.
Dyckman, MARS past-chair; Linda Friend, MARS Chair; Bill McHugh, MARS
Member-at-large; Nicholas Rosselli, MARS Member-at-large.

MARS members present: Denise Bennett, Planning Committee (& liaison to
RUSA Organization Committee);  Nancy Colborn, User Access to Services
Committee;  Leilani Freund, MARS Best of the Web Task Force; Naomi
Lederer, Outreach Task Force / Committee; Natalie McDonough, Education,
Training & Support Committee; Carolyn Mealey, MARS Program 2001; Carole
Richter, Hot Topics Discussion Group; Pat Riesenmann, MARS Historian; Ann
E. Robinson, Local Systems & Services Committee; Colleen Seale, Management
of Electronic Reference Services Committee; Alan Stewart, Public Libraries
Committee; Melissa Trevvett, Products & Services Committee; Amy Tracy
Wells, Nominations.

Visitor: Carrie Hill.

Linda Friend brought the meeting to order at 9:35am by prioritizing
reports according to presenters' need to leave soonest.

1.  MARS Program 2001 Committee (Carolyn Mealey) Announced the members of
this committee (Alesia McManus, Jose Aquinagua, and Natalie McDonough,
with herself as chair). Their extremely tentative working title for this
program is "What makes communications between librarians and vendors work?
How we learned the hard way", and is intended to focus on a pragmatic
approach, ideally giving the audience specific techniques or suggestions
to take back to their workplaces. They hope to include (either as
panelists or among the viewpoints presented) : a) someone who trains
librarians - or other professionals - in negotiation skills, b) viewpoint
of librarian(s) involved in negotiations, ideally with a consortium
(negotiating in both directions); c) vendors' perspectives. There was much
discussion of this topic. In general ExCom members heartily approved, but
also suggested that we not focus on vendor/librarian negotiations over
licensing alone but widen this to include negotiating with other
non-library entities (e.g., campus-wide IT staff) and/or to communicating
our desires for product improvements, with the desired end result of a
better product for our patrons.

2.  Public Libraries Committee (Alan Stewart) Reported that they met twice
at MidWinter, and that they are working on two projects. One is to finish
editing their annotated webliography / bibliography on Internet training
for and by public library staff and to prepare it for publication. They
intend to submit this to the MARS Publications Committee for review in the
near future, hopefully to arrange for publication by next Annual
Conference. The second project is to put on a discussion forum/program at
Annual 2000 on information literacy and computer literacy. Their working
title is "Who draws the line? Staff competencies and public expectations
for computer assistance in the public library", and it's planned to be a
moderated discussion on coping with the demands on library staff to assist
/teach patrons to use word processing, email applications, etc.

At this point ExCom discussed setting times for discussions/programs at
the next Annual conference to avoid conflicts with other MARS events. It
was decided that Public Libraries would meet on Saturday 11:30 am - 12:30
PM, Hot Topics Discussion Group would meet at 4:30 - 5:30pm on Saturday,
and Managers in MARS Discussion Group would meet at 4:30 - 5:30pm on
Sunday.

Also discussed the proposal to follow up lively activity at a Discussion
Group with a listserv to continue the discussion electronically. Hot
Topics tried this, and found that there was a lot of interest but little
traffic on the list. It was mentioned that groups can use MARS-L for this
purpose (don't have to set up a separate listserv). Also recommended more
communication between the standing MARS committees and the discussion
groups (e.g., a really hot Hot Topic would be passed along to the
appropriate committee, possibly with a recommendation from ExCom that the
committee consider it among their activities). Some expressed interest in
ALA sponsoring a bulletin board feature via the ALA website.

3.  Products & Services (Melissa Trevvett) Reported that their discussion
forum at this conference was very successful, with about 80 people
attending. The committee intends to add links to the speakers' written
versions of their presentations from the committee's website. They are
brainstorming ideas for a discussion forum to be presented at Midwinter
2001, perhaps with input (formal or informal) from ALCTS and/or LITA.

It was clarified that, while we strongly encourage collaboration with
other MARS groups and other RUSA groups and other ALA groups,
co-sponsorship of any event or publication needs to be formally approved
by the MARS ExCom.

There was also discussion about adding links to other ALA websites from a
MARS Committee web page -- consensus was that this would be 'all in the
family' and therefore not needing any further approval other than
permission from that website's manager.

Another set of questions came up over determining when a committee needs
to request MARS Publications Committee approval for content on the
committee's web page. It seemed helpful to distinguish between a committee
resource page (e.g., resources useful for that committee to work on its
current projects) and something intended for a broader audience. The
latter should be treated as a MARS publication, and should go through our
publications process.

4.  Hot Topics (Carole Richter)  Another popular Discussion Group at this
conference, with about 75 people attending. It was the second of two
discussions on gateways, this time on integrating gateways with online
catalogs. Possible plans for the Hot Topics Discussion Group at Annual
2000 include talking about projects to collect data on e-journals
available from various aggregators and to make this data available to
libraries for their catalogs, etc. (e.g., Yale's JAKE software project).

ExCom also recommended that other MARS committees use this Discussion
Group as a place to 'try out' possible topic ideas, and/or Hot Topics
suggest successful topics to the appropriate standing committee in MARS
for further exploration.

5.  User Access to Services (Nancy Colborn)  Reported on annotated
webliography of user studies, and shared with ExCom the Publications
Committee's review and comments on this project. They have decided to stop
collecting items this year, and are seeking to publish it in print as well
as on their website (the option to enter information on research in
progress will continue on their website). They hope to do a discussion
forum at Annual 2001 with authors whose work appears frequently in their
bibliography, to talk about user studies in the new millennium. They, too,
are interested in finding co-sponsors for this event.

At this point there was a more general discussion to clarify Discussion
Groups, discussion forums, presentations and programs. Program, in the
sense that ALA means it, is reserved for the MARS Annual Program.
Committees may host discussion forums or presentations, with speakers and
with general discussion that involves the audience (but, in theory,
without funding from RUSA). Discussion Groups are charged with hosting
open discussions. These may be moderated, but they should be primarily
audience participation, not presentations. Committees have $50 per ALA
fiscal year to spend on their expenses, intended mainly for photocopying,
postage, reimbursing phone calls, etc. but not meant for honoraria. These
funds do not accumulate year-to-year.

6.  Education, Training & Support (Natalie McDonough) Reported on their
plans for a presentation at Annual 2001, on barriers to staff training on
using web resources. They hope to bring in three presenters, on
identifying barriers, getting past these barriers, and on implementing
training. ExCom suggest the scope include public libraries as well as
academic libraries of all sizes, and perhaps doing some sort of tie-in the
Public Library Committee's webliography. It was also suggested to look at
training student workers, as well as library staff.

7.  Outreach / MARS Birthday Party Task Force (Naomi Lederer) Reported on
plans for the MARS Birthday Party, for Mary Strife. It was decided to
include some 'kick-off' activities at the Meet MARS Happy Hour at Annual
2000 (a cake, napkins printed with 'save the date' messages and the MARS
website URL). The Birthday Party itself will be at the same time slot as
the Meet MARS Happy Hour, at Annual 2001. We are considering pursuing
financial support for this event, and investigating the possibility of
getting a banquet-type room at one of the conference hotels. Invitation
letters to all past and present Martians will be sent out closer to the
date.

8.  Planning Committee (Denise Bennett)  Denise presented the MARS goals
for 2000-2001, which are: 1) with the Outreach Committee, to focus on and
celebrate MARS past and present activities, in this anniversary year; 2)
with the MARS Annual program for 2001, to address two of the Goals /
Strategies listed in the MARS Handbook:
     A7 ("Work with vendors and information providers in a pro-active
manner to encourage the availability, affordability, and standardization
of quality information in electronic format.") and
     C3 ("Disseminate information on the needs of users and potential
users of electronic products to libraries, electronic information
producers and providers."); 3) Continue development of the MARS website
(corresponding to Goal / Strategies E as listed in the MARS Handbook); 4)
Continue revision of the MARS Handbook (ditto). MARS Handbook revisions
and MARS Web - Denise Bennett also reported on various items relating to
this and to MARS procedures. RUSA has resolved the question of how to
select the chairs of Discussion Groups by eliminating the requirement to
elect them at Discussion Group meetings, and the MARS Handbook will be
changed to reflect that decision. There are, however, some discrepancies
between the MARS By-Laws as listed in our Handbook and as listed by RUSA,
and Planning Committee will work to resolve. Also, the Handbook now
includes language for each standing committee that they may include
members, up to one intern, and up to one consultant, the latter not
defined specifically (since RUSA does not require that). We intend this to
be a way to officially include someone who has already served the allotted
number of years for consecutive committee terms but whom the committee
wishes to include in their work (e.g., a continuing project). The
Archiving Subcommittee for Planning (Pat Riesenmann and Bill McHugh) have
written a new archiving policy for MARS documents, which has been approved
by Planning and is ready to go to ExCom for their approval, via email,
soon after this conference. Although this doesn't deal directly with
archiving materials in electronic format (ALA is not yet ready to deal
with that form), it does stipulate that before any substantive change is
made to a MARS webpage, a copy of the old version be printed out and sent
to the Archives as a paper record of this change. It also asks the MARS
Secretary to oversee that records of MARS Committees are sent to the
Archives on a regular basis. Lastly, she described plans to include on the
MARS page several informational items that are not appropriate for the
MARS Handbook per se, to be called "Martian to Martian transmissions [tips
from one MARS committee to another]". This will include: the idea tickler
file, program / event planning advice, publicity channels, and advice for
Discussion Group leaders.

9.  MARS Best of the Web - Linda Friend gave an update on conversations
with the CODES Committee about possible collaboration with them on
evaluating web resources. The latter decided that they want to continue
evaluating print resources only, and are happy with MARS continuing the
Best of the Web project. This leaves fee-based web resources in limbo;
Linda suggested collecting thoughts from both committees and coming up
with a plan to address these.

Other Business:

Linda Friend reported that we will need to fill three positions, to start
right after next Annual: a replacement MARS Schedule Coordinator, a
replacement MARS-L Coordinator, and a liaison to RUSA's new Task Force on
Core Competencies.

We also began discussions of memorials for Bernie Pasqualini. Amy Tracy
Wells brought a motion to ExCom for a memorial Resolution to ALA Council,
as proposed by Pam Sieving and Becki Whitaker. ExCom approved this
unanimously, and it will be brought to RUSA Board and thence to ALA

Council later at this conference.

Linda Friend asked for suggestions of how current MARS activities support
elements of RUSA's strategic plan in practical ways; brainstorming brought
up several existing projects.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:40am.


Transcribed by Lise Dyckman