MARS Executive Committee 


Monday January 15, 2001 

Wyndham Washington, Vista B

PRESENT:  Executive Committee members: Nancy Buchanan, William McHugh, Doris Ann
Sweet, Linda Friend, Pat Riesenman, Carole Richter. Committee Chairs, including
incoming Chairs: Carolyn Meanley, Naomi Lederer, John Hinchcliffe, Lori Morse,
Rosemary Meszaros, Linda Keiter, George Porter, Amy Tracy Wells, Denise Bennett,
Sally Jacobs, Marcella Stark, Kathleen Kern, Nicholas Rosselli, Marianna
Fitzgerald, Arlie Sims, Andrea Copeland, Anne Haynes, David Hovde. Guest:
Natalie McDonough.

Nancy Buchanan presided.

A. Orientation. Agenda will include reports from committee chairs and
information about the RUSA discussion of members-only portion of website.

B. News and Announcements *Marcella Stark will send out Vice Chair Bill
McHugh's goals for the upcoming year.

C. Committee and Task Force Reports

1. MARS-L (Ann Haynes) There are over 500 subscribers to MARS-L. The deadline
for Midwinter reports is about four weeks from now.

2. MARS Birthday Party (Nancy Buchanan) MARS 25th year birthday celebration will
take place at the regularly Meet Martians time (Friday 5:30-7:30), but will
include invitations and food. Anne Haynes will contribute a boxed announcement
for the RUSA Update. Invitations will be sent to past chairs and others.

3. Program Planning 2001 (Carolyn Meanley) Program for Annual 2001 will be
"Ships Passing in the Night Negotiating with Vendors." Hope to have speakers in
place over the next two weeks.

4. Education, Training & Support (Arlie Sims, co-chair) Committee is planning a
program for Annual 2002, topic will be training and support for virtual
reference staff, with focus on staff support instead of technology. Management
of Electronic Reference Services may co-sponsor. There was discussion about
whether a DG (such as Managers in MARS) can co-sponsor a program or forum and
retain DG status.

a. ET&S will need to get approval from MARS Executive Committee at Annual 2001,
then from RUSA Conference Program Planning Committee. It is helpful to share
these plans with MARS ExecComm before the conference.

b. MARS is only guaranteed two program slots, with the possibility of an
additional slot.

5. Planning Committee 2000-2001 (Marcella Stark reporting) MARS website
improvements, especially the Martian-to-Martian Transmissions section. Expanded
content includes (or will include) information about publicity for activities,
hints for speaker introductions, a tickler file of potential topics, and program
evaluation forms. Planning will ask to be on Executive Committee Agenda at
Annual 2001 to develop new 'tickler file.'

a. MARS Handbook. Usability improvements are needed. Committee will advertise to
find new person to deconstruct and work with Web version of Handbook.

b. Scheduling Coordinator. Propose that the position be appointed by Vice-Chair
for an indefinite period: two year term with reappointment, with six months
resignation notice to be accompanied by intern overlap.

c. Archivist/Historian/. New title (Historian) and appointment proposed:
appointment by vice-chair for indefinite term, with six months notice of
intention to resign. This period to have intern appointment overlapping. Pat
Riesenman and Jian Liu currently in resignee/intern mode, but this mode can go
on indefinitely.

d. Achievement Recognition (Denise Bennett) Proposal to revise selection
announcement for My Favorite Martian award given at the MARS Annual President's
Program. Propose that selection be announced in advance of Annual Conference
through press release to RUSA headquarters, RUSA Update, Web Coordinator and
MARS-L at about the time of Spring election results. Committee would like this
to be approved by MARS Exec Comm in the Spring before Annual, and included in
the Handbook. This change will allow recipients friends and colleagues to be
able to attend the award program itself.

e. Draft of Section Goals & Objectives, Bill McHugh (see Appendix A)

Comments: Andrea Copeland suggested that we investigate ways to make MARS
committee pages more publicly visible, for example better use of tagging,
registration with popular search engines.

6. RUSA Organization Report (Denise Bennett)

a. MARS will come up for review by RUSA at upcoming Midwinter conference. There
will be forms to determine the viability of existing committee and discussion
group structure to support section goals

b. A full Division Review for RUSA will take place this year. Some issues:

* How to reach/attract more reference librarians?

* Cost is major inhibiting factor, especially for librarians not attending

* RUSA/MARS needs to be more proactive in involvement in reference-oriented
national programs (eg. LC Virtual Reference, CDRS)

* Is there a place in RUSA for front-line reference librarian 'generalist?'
MOUSS? Should there be a new DG instead of section? Could it be in MARS?

7. User Access to Services (Sally Jacobs) An occasional paper on User Behavior
bibliography will be prepared by early fall if possible. Committee will work
with RUSA and MARS publication chairs to get this published. Bill McHugh wrote a
strong introduction to tie the publication together. Nancy Buchanan
congratulated Sally for getting the RUSQ bibliographic article publication in
place (Spring issue).

- Comments: Andrea Copeland noted the need for some kind of regularly published
official article reflecting MARS Section focus and accomplishments, eg. possibly
an overview after Annual published in RUSQ. Bill McHugh and Nanacy Buchanan
suggested this is a good idea for MARS Publication Committee to investigate.

9. Outreach Committee (Naomi Lederer) Met to work on arrangements for 25th
Birthday Party. Food is central! $5,000.00 commitment to defray expenses so far
(hoping to double this amount). Costs include invitations, timeline display of
MARS history, food. Asking for resolution from ALA Council to compliment MARS;
Nancy Buchanan will review and forward to Julia Rholes.

a. Mary has a list of vendors to ask for donations.

b. A Cognotes representative will be invited.

c. Nancy Buchanan is the official hostess and will make welcoming remarks.

d. Party intended to be recruitment tool as well; please attend and bring people

e. Mary Strife is the primary planner for party arrangements.

f. Mary would appreciate contributions assistance. Committee chairs can
contribute unused annual $50 to the party project. They will need to sign a form
to do this.

10. Local Systems & Services (Kathleen Kern)

a. LSS was asked to co-sponsor an Annual 2001 program with the LITA Open Source
committee. Topic is "Open Source, Then and Now." Three program speakers are
identified. The planned Sunday am time may be in conflict with the MARS Chair's
program however. Kathleen will verify time and conflict before agreeing to

* Bill McHugh moved we accept the co-sponsorship with LITA, provided that the
program not conflict with any MARS program. Linda Friend seconded the motion
which carried.

b. LSS plans to sponsor a program for Annual 2002 on Usability Testing. Focus:
how can librarians use test results in interface design

* If program is approved, will look for co-sponsor with a LITA committee. All
forms need to be completed before Annual conference, so first Executive
Committee meeting can approve

* Nancy Buchanan: We are now in a position of requesting three programs, and
only two are guaranteed.

11. Hot Topics Forum (Linda Keiter)- reported successful forum on live reference
with about 175 attendees. Accepting suggestions for incoming vice-chair.

12.  Nominating Committee 2002 (Linda Friend)

a. MARS Committee is working on slate

b. RUSA Nominating Committee didn't meet, but will meet virtually this Spring.

13. Products & Services (Rosemary Meszaros) - reported well attended forum on
economics of online full text. Will meet at annual to plan Midwinter 2002 forum.

14. RUSA Access to Information Services (Lori Morse)- Committee is doing survey
for RUSA- L; Lori will forward to MARS-L.

15. Achievement Recognition (Andrea Copeland)- will report back with update in

16. RUSA Planning & Finance (Bill McHugh)

a. RUSA anticipates $40,000 deficit this year; adequate funds are in reserve.
Reasons for deficit include increase in FTE staff time, Continuing education
development costs which may generate additional revenue in the long run
(Genealogy and Digital Reference conferences are being developed as Web CE
courses), RUSQ loss of advertising revenue, and failure of RUSA Institute to
generate expected income. An MCI grant is an addition to balance. Also, funds
will be transferred from Reserve to Endowment. Some lean years are expected, but
there is expectation that finances will even out.

b.  The planned RUSA Institute two-year cycle is being reviewed. Is this a
realistic time frame?

17. Programs 2002 (Nancy Buchanan) - Response to Stumpers-L request that MARS
co-sponsor a program for 2002: MARS program slots are already committed, so MARS
can agree to co- sponsor in name only. If Stumpers-L is willing to forego full
program status, a possible collaboration with Managers in Mars or Public
Libraries for a DG Forum was suggested.

18. RUSA (Nancy Buchanan)

a. RUSA is very anxious to attract publications for RUSQ

b. Pre-conference ideas are wanted.

c. Recommendations for RUSA update editor have been received; selection will be
announced soon.

d. New structure for accrediting library schools is under review:

* Curriculum in library schools reflect greater differences in career options
than before

* Most academic/professional accrediting bodies are independent, not society
* RUSA proposes a separate accreditation body, independent of ALA. Would include
representatives from ALA and other relevant organizations. Possible funding plan
in which governing board representation is based on % contributed to annual
operating budget.

* This proposal is at a draft stage; outcome depends on willingness of other
organizations to participate.
* Free email tutorials on copyright and UCITA are available from ALA. The ALA
Washington Office copyright specialist is Carrie Russell
( The coordinator for state activities for UCITA is
Carol Ashworth. A handout for state status is available (so far law passed in VA
and MD). UCITA enables licensing terms to be changed by publisher/vendor at any

Minutes transcribed by Carole Richter, MARS Secretary 3/10/2001

Appendix A: Section Goals & Objectives, Bill McHugh

1.  Conduct the MARS Section review scheduled for 2001-2002.
2.  Focus on critical areas of change in machine-assisted reference, such as:

a. Examining methods, standards, and effectiveness of the delivery of live
reference over the Internet.  (Priority Area F)

b. Helping to ensure that technology is implemented in a user-centered way, in
such areas as the negotiation of licenses and the development of interfaces.  
(Priority Areas C, A)

c. Supporting the role of public services librarians as advocates for the user
both within their organizations and in relations with vendors.  (Priority Areas
G, C)
d. Examining issues of the continuing access to and preservation of electronic
materials as they affect users today and in the future.  (Priority Area A)
e. Looking at the competencies, skills and knowledge needed by public-services
librarians in the emerging library, and examining methods for helping librarians
to attain these skills.  (Priority Area B)

f. Exploring the relationship of services offered by libraries with those of the
various commercial services increasingly perceived as alternatives to the
library.  (Priority Area G).

3.  Improve communication between the Executive Committee and the committee
chairs by establishing of a listserv for this purpose.  (Priority Area F)
4. Build on the work of the "MARSBest" Selection Task Force by:

a. Considering the establishment of a permanent committee to compile an annual
list of the best free Web reference resources.

b. Investigating the creation of a comparable task force for fee-based Web
reference resources. Both groups will make extensive use of virtual members.  
(Priority Area A)

5.  Continue to enhance the MARS Web site.  (Priority Area F)

6.  Continue to enhance the MARS Handbook, and continue to update the MARS
Bylaws.  (Priority Area F).