MARS Executive Committee


Tuesday January 16, 2001 WCC Rooms 14/15

PRESENT:  Executive Committee members: Nancy Buchanan, William McHugh, Doris Ann
Sweet, Linda Friend, Pat Riesenman, Carole Richter. Committee Chairs, including
incoming Chairs: Lori Morse, Andrea Copeland, Michael Ciccone, Toby Lyles,
Leilani Freund.

Nancy Buchanan presided.

A. Committee and Task Force Reports

1. Managers in MARS DG (Michael Ciccone).  The group’s discussion, “Questia-ning
the Future,” drew about 25 participants.  Many seemed to come for information
rather than discussion, since only about ten were active participants.  Worries
were expressed about the limited content of systems such as Questia and ebrary,
with concerns that students would be satisfied with what they found there and
not be aware that there was more outside these services.  Some thought that the
library would continue to function as a social center.  There were concerns that
smaller academic libraries would have trouble competing against the advantages
the commercials systems had in attracting venture capital and content from
publishers.  The discussion group had tried a middling level of advertisement to
attract enough participants to hold a good discussion, but not so many that
discussion was difficult, and was happy with the turnout.  They may try to get
more publicity out for annual, however,!
 there will be more competition from programs.

2. Publications (Toby Lyles)

a. Publications Committee will check on progress of the planned publication by
the Management of Electronic Reference Services Committee, a checklist for
planning and designing reference Web pages.

b. Publications plans to bring in an intern for the Web Coordinator position;
will form a search committee and define procedures for selection.

c. Publications will publish a Web document, Twenty-Five Years of MARS
Publications. They may publish a print version of Thirty Years of MARS

d. RUSA Update Options to be presented to the Board (formats): * E-mail hot
topics to members and print RUSQ insert (half the size of the current print
version) * Could RUSQ adjust deadlines if necessary?  Would it be practical? *
E-mail hot topics to members and print * E-mail and RUSQ insert and web

Comment: Nancy Buchanan reported the January 15 Executive Board suggestion to
encourage members presenting programs and forums to publish summaries in the
'From the Committees...' section of RUSQ. There is great publicity value in
having activity summaries indexed and accessible to librarians. These summaries
don't need to be as elaborate as articles, but provide an alternative publishing
opportunity. Nancy suggested that Toby propose that RUSQ publish "25 Years of
MARS Publications" in print. Leilani Frend intends to develop an occasional
paper, "Bibliography of User Studies." Some revenue is anticipated from this.

3. Program 2001. Discussion about Stumpers-L proposal for their 10th Anniversary
program in 2001. While MARS is not interested in this topic for its program, it
might co-sponsor such a program, or it could be the topic of a discussion group
or discussion forum.  Michael and Andrea were not interested in the topic for
Managers in MARS Discussion Group; the potential was seen for Public Libraries
or MOUSS. A poster session for Stumpers-L was also suggested.

4. Program 2002 Committee (Bill McHugh) Theme will involve interface development
and usability issues. Related theme may deal with cross-interface searching
mechanisms and linking technologies. Committee hopes to position Local Systems
and Services Program at a similar time because themes are related. Discussion
about intense user testing typically done by commercial sites such as Amazon;
testing reveals unexpected feedback.

5. MARS Best Task Force (Lori Morse)

a. Goal to determine long term future of MARS Best. The project is too big for
an existing standing committee to take on; intensive involvement is required at
times. Leilani asked whether this project will continue to serve a purpose or
whether it has been played out. Is it duplicating anyone else's efforts? Andrea
suggested it may need a more organized method of using official review sources
as basis (eg C&RL News, Choice Web Reviews). Nancy Buchanan emphasized retaining
value of exploration/discovery as an important part of the process. Question: is
transition to formal committee status appropriate? Is committee size a

b. Options for appointments: could be made during regular appointment cycle with
rotating terms; this committee might benefit from more flexible term definition.
RUSA bylaws state that in no case shall a person serve on a committee for more
than four consecutive years. Book Review committee members are appointed and
take office immediately following Midwinter; this might be a good model to copy.

c. Action: the Executive Board agreed that a standing committee should be
formed. The next step is for Bill McHugh to follow up with the Planning
Committee to formalize the process.

6. Secretary (Carole Richter) asked that committee chair reports be sent to her
as well as to the MARS chair.

7. RUSA Board Liaison (Nancy Buchanan)

a. 'Members Only' area of Web site. There was discussion about appropriate
content for such an area; the general consensus was that most content should be
publicly available. Appropriate 'closed' content could include membership
rosters, working/draft papers, true value-added services for members (things
RUSA pays to create for personal members, such as RUSQ publication). Even these
items might have publicly available 'teasers,' eg. parts of RUSQ, possibly RUSA
developed Continuing Education courses. Section decision-making autonomy was

b. RUSA Strategic Plan has been through several versions. There is general
agreement on Objectives, 2001-2004: 1.Provide leadership in professional
development for reference and user services professionals. 2.Advocate for the
information disenfranchised. 3.Seek ways to improve participation in RUSA by
reference and user services professionals. 4.Ensure the effectiveness of RUSA in
meeting its and ALA’s mission. 5.Increase the visibility of RUSA in the
profession and society at large. 6.Take a leadership role in developing the
vision for the future of reference and user services. 7.Advocate state and
national information policies that maintain open access to information for all.

Minutes transcribed by Carole Richter, MARS Secretary