Mars Executive Committee
Monday January 21, 2002
Inter-Continental, Pelican II

Members Present:  
Executive Committee members: William McHugh (Chair), 
LeiLani Freund, Carole Richter, Pat Riesenman, Doris Ann Sweet, 
Naomi Lederer, Nicholas Rosselli, Daisy Benson. 

Committee and Task Force Chairs/Representatives, including incoming chairs: 
Lori Morse, Carolyn Larson, Kathleen Kern, Lesley Bell, 
Denise Bennett, Cindy Kaag (RUSA President-Elect), 
Jose Aguinaga, Rosemary Meszaros, John Glace, 
Mary Mintz, George Porter, Paige Weston, Nancy
Portnow, Marcella Stark, Pam Sieving, Lisa Horowitz (guest).

William McHugh brought the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m.
A. Orientation 
Committee members and chairs were introduced.

B. Announcements
1. Paige Weston reported that concerns were passed on to RUSA
about Internet Cafe Webmail information that is sometimes 
retained on computers.

2. Bill McHugh asked Paige about ExComm role in Section
Review. Paige said that if committee chairs have opinions
to express about the Executive Committee they should be
referred to the Section Review Task Force. Otherwise ExComm
has no responsibility.

C. Committees, Task Forces, Liaison representatives, and
Coordinator Reports

1. Nominating Committee: Linda Friend (chair) reported the
nominations for 2002: Vice-Chair, Chair-Elect:Donna Hogan,
George Porter; Secretary: Linda Keiter, Mary Popp (2 year
appointment), Member at large: Alesia McManus, Arlie Sims
(3 year appointment). Ballots will be sent in April.

2. Management of Electronic Reference Services (MERS):
Lesley Bell reported on the Discussion Forum co-sponsored
with Education, Training and Support (Naomi Lederer). The
Forum was held Sunday afternoon on the topic 'Training and
Support of Chat Reference Staff'.

3. RUSA/MARS Preconference on Digital Reference, Annual
2002: Denise Bennett reported that co-chairs are Denise,
Amy Tracy Wells and Linda Friend; thanks to crash planning
the main plan is already in place. The early bird
registration deadline will be February 22; May 10 is the
preregistration deadline. A link to the registration form is 
at the top of the MARS page. The Preconference will dedicate 
a full day to Virtual Reference planning; product
demonstrations will be available. Contact committee members
with ideas about speakers or products. The committee has
already distributed a survey of interest; the committee is
looking for practical, hands-on experience. Bill McHugh
encouraged committees in the area of Virtual Reference to
forward their experience to the Preconference committee.

Cindy Kaag (RUSA President-Elect) expressed appreciation
for the quick Preconference planning by the committee. The
Program Planning Committee Chair's Program in Toronto 
will be titled Frontline Reference, and one aspect will be 
Digital Reference. RUSA is very interested in the generalist,
frontline reference focus.

Preconference followup potential: The committee will talk
about this with Publications; Denise Bennett thinks print
may not be the ideal outcome for this topic compared to a
Web site. The question was raised about repeating the
Preconference for 2003 (a more usual timeframe for
conference planning!). A motion was made and approved by
the Executive Committee to sponsor a repeat of the
Preconference in 2003. 

A time conflict was noted between the Preconference and
the scheduled Friday afternoon ExComm meeting. The
suggestion to move ExComm to 8 am Saturday morning was
discussed, but thought to be problematic due a conflict with
a RUSA orientation breakfast. In the end, it was decided to use
the 8:00 am time for a one hour ExComm/Chairs/Planning meeting.

4. Program Planning 2003: Rosemary Meszaros reported the
committee will meet today.

5. Program Planning 2002: Pam Sieving reported that the
topic is integrated searching technology. The
committee is in the process of identifying speakers. A
bibliographic handout by the committee is anticipated,
along with Web site followup. The proposed title is
"Bringing Resources Together: the Digital Library meets

It was noted that the MOUSS DG topic for this conference
is integrated searching from several ILS vendors. A Library
Hi-Tech article "The common user interface in academic
libraries: myth or reality?" by Wendy Arendt (Volume 19
Number 1 2001 pp. 63-76) was mentioned. Cindy Kaag
suggested a Program Pre-Bibliography for the conference

6. Products and Services: Jose Aguinaga reported on
Sunday's Forum. Panelists talked about their experiences
with virtual reference products. Attendance was quite good,
about 75; clearly there is much interest in virtual
reference services. Jose said there will be a few committee
slots open.

7. Public Libraries: John Glace reported on Saturday's
Discussion Forum "I'm addicted to Google and I feel guilty
about it!" Informal presenters spoke to the technology
behind the Google search engine, and about a Kent State
class project comparing search engines. General discussion
The Public Libraries business meeting completed the
committee Section Review. New co-chair recommendations
are Mary Stansbury or Jennifer Wright; appointments must be 
approved by MARS Vice-Chair.
John said the Annual Discussion Topic, Public
libraries serving academic library patrons, may lead to a
program for Toronto. Bill McHugh pointed out that we would have
to revise the schedule now to have the program at a different
time slot in Toronto; currently the only two-hour time slots available
are in the afternoons. ExComm approved the Public Libraries' Annual DG 
time slot for 9:30 am on Saturday.

8. MARS Historian/Archivist: Pat Riesenman reminded people
to forward handouts and other committee documentation to

9. Publications: Nancy Portnow reported the proposal that
a RUSA Standards and Guidelines member should be an ex-
officio member of Publications. Publication Guidelines will
be available on the Web within two months. 

Publications agreed to work closely with MARS Best to
address the maintenance of old and current versions of the
MARS Best Lists. Name changes and URL currency are of concern.

The handoff fo Web coordinator work to Daisy Benson will
begin now, but the official transition will take place
following Annual.

Anne Haynes has posted broader information content on MARS-L
to stimulate interest. There have been no objections to

RUSQ 2001 Spring issue accepted the "User Access to
Services" Bibliography. Publications committee is working
on a plan to help upgrade the bibliography to an occasional

Publications is considering more outreach and liaison
attendance at committees in order to spark more publication
effort. MARS last published an Occasional Paper in 1995.

10. MARS Web Coordinator: Daisy Benson reported that the
MARS roster has been updated; new commitee pages have been
added for Education & Training. MERS, Managers in Mars,
President's Program and Outreach still don't have committee
Web pages. 

A site map is being revised. Conversion of the Handbook to
a pdf version is being proofed now and should be added
soon. A search engine will also added to the site.

Executive Committee minutes are still under approval;
Midwinter 2000 have been approved, and Annual 2001 can be
added as draft minutes. 

Ways to archive MARS documents are being considered.
Archiving of documents on the ALA server is being
planned. File organization and naming conventions are under
review. A freeze printout of section Web site appearance
should be done before major site changes are made.

Bill McHugh suggested adding the MARS timeline, prepared
for the birthday party celebration, to the MARS Web site. 
Ann Mitchell prepared the timeline. 

11. RUSA Publications: Nancy Portnow reported that RUSA
Publications committee is also concerned about content
guidelines for print RUSA Update.
 The Update is intended to be a timely area that will go
to press later than the rest of the issue. Mary Popp
asked that User Access to Services Committee get the
Occasional Paper planning pushed forward. Is it possible to
get an 'expedited' review by RUSA Publications?

12. Hot Topics: George Porter reported on the DG forum on
portals and personalized web sites ("Pitfalls, Pratfalls
and Positive Potential of Personalizable Library Websites."
The location for the forum was unfortunate. Walt Crawford,
one of the speakers, will follow up with a column in his
"Cites & Insights" column in Library Journal.

13. Digital Reference Guidelines Task Force: George Porter
reported that substantial progress is anticipated by
Annual.  Completion was rescheduled with an eye toward the
Virtual Reference Desk Conference this fall.

14. LITA Liaison: George Porter reported that LITA is
discussing possible content for a members-only section of
their Web site. Co-sponsorship of Atlanta program by LITA
Open Source and MARS Local Systems & Services has been approved.
15. Planning Committee: Marcella Stark introduced the
topic of MARS program scheduling. Time slots
are a concern because of lack of flexibility. Marcella
recommended that we go through Atlanta before 
making an alternative request. Bill McHugh pointed out
that we would have to enter a request now in order to change
the time slot for Toronto; currently programs are going
head to head with everyone having two hour
afternoon time slots.

Denise Bennett said that if time slots aren't filling our
needs we should make that case to RUSA now. Rosemary
Meszaros, as representative to RUSA Conference Planning,
could express
concerns about the 1.5 hour morning time slot.

16. Local Systems & Services: Kathleen Kern reported on
the status of the committee's program planning for Atlanta. 
The title is "Usability Testing: Doing it right, cheap,
yourself." Speakers from three sizes of academic
libraries have tentatively accepted. Local Systems &
Services have been asked to consider co-sponsoring a 2003 
Annual program with LITA Open Source.

17. RUSA Access to Information: Lori Morse reported that a
Digital Forum was held Saturday on the topic of privacy in 
the electronic reference environment.

D. Section Business
1. Bill McHugh announced that the petition to create a 
RUSA/MARS Virtual Reference Discussion Group received enough 
signatures. Lisa Horowitz talked about her effort to have such 
a group created within MARS. Marcella Stark anticipates 4:30-5:30 
Saturday afternoon spots beginning Midwinter 2003. Hot
Topics can have Virtual Reference as a topic for the Annual
Conference if they choose. Creation of the Discussion Group was 
approved by ExComm.

2. Section Review: Paige Weston
a. Members at Large are working with their committees to
review progress and status. MARS is an
extremely productive section in terms of activity level.
No major problems are emerging at this point.
b. ExComm Review: Questions

(1) Is the committee aware of its purpose as described in
the Handbook? Yes.
(2) Current Activities: known
(3) Unusual or New activities: Virtual Reference Discussion
Group; two ad-hoc groups just created since Annual.
Revival of Pre-Conference on fast track for Atlanta
conference; approved changes to Handbook approving
conduct of official business by e-mail; new logo; Birthday
Party and outreach in general (Happy Hours).

c. Recommendation from MERS (Management of Electronic
Reference Services)for Section Review: Education, Training
& Support, Products & Services and MERS should be merged but
keep same total number of members. Is it time to collapse some
committee structures?

d. ExComm agreed that the Section Review should articulate
the distinct electronic focus of MARS.

3. "Future of Reference" Initiative White Papers:
Bill McHugh had asked for topic suggestions before Midwinter.
George Porter suggested that the 'Sex, Lies & Reference
Statistics' Discussion Forum (RUSA/MOUSS Committee on Evaluation of 
Reference and User Services) had a big turnout because people are 
concerned about the future of Reference services. Tickler topic 
ideas related to this concern might be 'Death of Reference',
'What's in a name...reference or ?' 
Paige Weston suggested several ideas. 
a. How can University and Library Web page portals  be
better coordinated so that the university includes library
Web options. Diane Graves (Library Director at Trinity University
was suggested as a possible author.
b. Many users/patrons have PDAs but libraries aren't
playing to this access; librarians need to work with
vendors to encourage interfaces for the PDA environment.
c. Bill McHugh will suggest these possibilities to RUSA
Board. They will publish five White Papers. One option may
be to collect them into a single Occasional Paper.

Transcribed by Carole Richter
MARS Secretary
Carole Richter Pilkinton
Electronic Resources Librarian
University of Notre Dame Libraries
(574) 631-8405