Mars Executive Committee
Monday June 17, 2002
Westin, Atlanta
 
Minutes

Members Present:  Executive Committee members: William McHugh, Chair;
LeiLani S. Freund, Vice-Chair/Chair Elect, Naomi Lederer, Alesia
McManus, Daisy Benson, Carole Pilkinton.

Committee and Task Force Chairs or representatives: Mary Mintz, Debbie
Bezanson, Rosemary Meszaros, Jose Aguinaga, John Glace, Vicki Mills,
Julie Borden, Nancy Portnow, Lori Morse, Carolyn Larson, Denise
Bennett, Pam Sieving, Becki Whitaker, Kathleen Kern, Marcella Stark,
Lesley Bell, Linda Friend.

William McHugh brought the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m.

A. Orientation. 

Committee members and chairs were introduced, followed by a review of
the meeting agenda. A current roster was distributed and LeiLani
reminded chairs to send in corrections.

B. News and Announcements
	Election results were announced by Chair Bill McHugh during
the Business Meeting at the Chair's Program. Incoming Vice-Chair/
Chair Elect is George Porter, Secretary is Mary Popp, and incoming
Member-at-large is Alesia McManus.
	
C. Forms and Deadlines
	Minutes for Annual 2001 were approved as corrected by e-mail.
The motion was made and seconded to approve Midwinter 2002 minutes as
corrected.
 
D. MARS Business
	1. MARS Programs for 2003
	
	a. Toronto Chair's Program: (Rosemary Meszaros reported,
distributing a proposal. TOPIC: The New Age of Reference-Are we still
managing service with a smile? The traditional Sunday morning time
slot poses conflicts with other similar programs (for example MOUSS,
Marketing Virtual Reference). The 2002 Program Committee had asked for
10:30 a.m. to avoid conflict with the Notable Books breakfast. It was
decided to keep the time slot to avoid disrupting the MARS meeting
schedule. The proposal was approved by ExComm.
	So far only ten RUSA programs, including the RUSA Chair's
Program, have been proposed for Toronto; there still is room for
additional ideas. Programs should be approved at the preceding ALA
Annual Meeting, but it is possible for RUSA to facilitate program
approval after the fact if openings are available.

	b. Public Libraries (John Glace)-The Discussion Forum meeting
time was left out of the final program, even though entered correctly
in the preliminary copy.
	The proposed topic for a Toronto Program is "The Fading Line
Between Academic and Public Libraries." The impact of electronic
access to resources is primarily responsible for this blurring. The
committee will do a survey, spearheaded by Mary Stansbury, before the
program. Speakers from different libraries are planned. The committee
had asked for 10:30 Sunday but will move time request to Saturday to
avoid conflict with the Chair's Program. There was some discussion
about the focus of the proposed program. John emphasized the trend
toward public library electronic collections of value to the academic
community. Remote access, including remote reference, is available to
many students; public libraries are also doing more research
instruction.

The program proposal was approved by ExComm, and will be sent on to
the RUSA coordinating committee and board for final approval.

Committee Report. The committee developed the program proposal, and
recommended a pre-program survey to support the program premise.
Survey questions were developed, and will be finalized by incoming
chair Mary Stansbury. The committee would like to hold a Midwinter
Discussion Forum on this topic to prepare the way and gather input.
The usual time would be 9:30 Saturday morning.

E. Reports

	1. Publications (Nancy Portnow)

		(a) Anne Haynes was unable to attend the Publications
Committee Meeting, but sent the important deadline information.
Deadline for RUSA Update copy to be sent to Anne is July 16.
Subsequent deadlines are September 16 for the December 6 publication
date, and January 29 for Midwinter deadline. This will be a tight
schedule.

		(b) The User Access to Services Committee's annotated
bibliography of user behavior appeared in Spring 2001 RUSQ, and will
reappear as an Occasional Paper. The committee hopes to bring this to
closure by Midwinter.

		(c) MARS Timeline - Publications is considering how to
add this feature to the Web site.

		(d) Publications will appoint a liaison to each MARS
subcommittee.

		(e) The committee has held discussions with the 'MARS
Best' Chair about ways to handle the dead link problems. The decision
was made to update links as problems are reported. How long should the
MARS Best list be maintained on the MARS site? The proposed plan to
retain for five years, then archive met general approval from ExComm.
MARS Best raised the idea of a new list to be called 'Still the Best,'
which could collect the best continuing resources from the earlier
Best lists. This would fall out of the scope of the MARS Best charge
and would require amending the charge. Bill McHugh mentioned that a
formal subcommittee does allow for addition of extra members to pursue
a committee project.

		(f) The publication 'Twenty Five Years of MARS in
Print' is completed, and will soon be moved to the Web.

	2. Web Coordinator (Alesia McManus)- Alesia handed out a
summary of Web site statistics. MARS Best 2001 list shows dramatically
high use. The transition of coordinator responsibility to Daisy Benson
has been smooth since Midwinter. Footers are now added to all Web
pages. The Publications subgroup has created a site map, which Alesia
will markup as her last project. ALA has contracted out for Web site
redesign, which may trickle down to require section redesign. Bill
McHugh read a statement of recognition and appreciation for Alesia's
four years of service to MARS. The statement was written by
Publications, and approved by ExComm.

	Daisy Benson announced that a survey would be sent to MARS
members after Annual to get feedback for a planned update of the MARS
Web site.

	3. MERS: Management of Electronic Reference Services (Lesley
Bell) -
		(a) Lesley reported an audience of almost 300
attendees at the jointly sponsored (with ETS) program "Care and
Feeding of the Virtual Librarian.

		(b) The ALCTS Serials Section, Policy, Research &
Publications Committee has proposed that MERS co-sponsor a program at
Toronto. Program title is "Serials Pig in the Aggregator Poke, Part
3." Chick Hammacher will be the discussion leader. If this is
co-sponsorship in name only, RUSA approval isn't necessary; if this
entails true planning co-sponsorship then it has to go through the
process of approval. A suggested time is Saturday, 11-12:30. That
would not conflict with Chair's Program, but it would conflict with
Hot Topics. The proposal to co-sponsor was approved by ExComm,
depending on lack of conflict with Chair's Program. The Virtual
Reference Discussion Group will be scheduled Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at
Annual.
		(c) MERS would like to hold a Discussion Forum at
Midwinter on the topic "standards and assessment for electronic
reference services" including chat reference. They would prefer to
propose a program for Annual, but it may be too late. MERS could
consider exploring a program proposal if openings exist--such a
proposal should be submitted electronically by September. Midwinter
might allow a larger draw if a Discussion Forum could be quickly
pulled together. LeiLani Freund and Bill McHugh suggested considering
joint Forum with Virtual Reference DG at Midwinter. Mary Mintz raised
the issue of Virtual Reference overlap of topics by other MARS
committees. Bill recommended that Lesley take these ideas back to
committee to explore the potential for collaboration as a Discussion
Forum or program at Annual, and then come back to LeiLani with a plan.

Bill commented that all details of a program don't have to be in place
when approval is sought.

	4. Products & Services (Jose Aguinaga)- Proposed a program on
One Stop Searching: Effect on Information Literacy. Possible speakers
might be someone from the ARL portal project and California Digital
Library. They are considering a preliminary survey via lists such as
LIBREF to elicit feedback about the experience with broadcast
searching. The proposal was approved by ExComm for 9:30 Sunday. Becki
Whitacker suggested that the program keep a vendor emphasis.

	5. Local Systems & Services (Kathleen Kern) -Reported on a
successful program on Usability Studies for Reference Librarians.

The LSS committee discussed the Reference Album Project, and concluded
in response to the MARS/RUSA query that they are not able to take on
this project. They made the suggestion that it might be appropriate
for a one-year task force to assess the development potential. Bill
McHugh suggested it might be possible to tweak categories slightly and
automate input from libraries. Publicity might encourage libraries to
add their own information to the database. A process for reviewing and
updating data would be needed also. The purpose of the Reference Album
was to provide a searchable database to identify libraries with
special reference Web pages and resources. MARS is being asked to do
publicity to get the database populated and to propose a review
process. Bill McHugh suggested a subcommittee of LSS might be able to
find a way to populate the database as a trial project. Questions
about the viability and future of the project were again raised.

	6. Hot Topics (Mary Mintz) The Discussion Forum met at 4:30 pm
Saturday, which will become the Virtual Reference DG time slot. Lisa
Horowitz was introduced as one of the co-chairs of the new group. Hot
Topics forum had a speaker from Duke talk about their implementation
of Virtual Reference. Appreciation was expressed for encouragement
from Doris Sweet, the MARS ExComm Liaison.

Hot Topics is interested in following up on some aspect of this year's
Chair's Program for Midwinter. Perhaps users experience with one-stop
searching if this isn't redundant with plans by Products and Services.

	7. RUSA Organizational Structure Task Force. Denise Bennett
reported as both Chair and MARS liaison.
		(a). Virtual members -The role and logistics of
virtual membership were discussed. The 'ex-officio' label for virtual
members should be removed in general section committees that don't
vote or set policy.
		(b). Request that ALA look into definition of 'active
member.' The two meetings of non-excused absence rule could be changed
depending on contribution. It was suggested that the label 'virtual
member' has pejorative overtones, and could better be changed to
'distance member' or e-member.'

		(c). MOUSS and MARS Section Reviews are timely
considering the issue of possible restructure of the Reference role in
MARS. Natalie McDonough and Nancy Portnow are representatives to the
Organizational Structure Task Force. Section reviews themselves won't
provide an answer to the best way to focus the Reference service
aspect of MARS. The intersection of user needs and technology was
confirmed as a good focus for MARS in general. The Managers in MARS DG
is amenable to the idea of a name change, possibly dropping 'managers'
while keeping the technology and reference emphasis. There is also a
proposal to create a 'shared resources' section within RUSA.

		(d) Another assignment is to look at organizational
overlap. For example some outreach efforts within Sections could be
done at higher levels. Some committees have redundant functions or
focus in more than one section; perhaps these should be flattened or
integrated in some cases.


	8. Section Review Draft Report - Bill McHugh described the
draft report which was distributed electronically to ExComm. The main
body of the report describes activities of the last five years that
fulfill MARS mission. The intention is to summarize achievements that
contribute to MARS overall mission. Alesia McManus suggested that MARS
publications could be highlighted and receive more prominence in the
report. Denise Bennett responded that these seem to be deemphasized
because of a structural problem posed by the division between
activities that support MARS and those that support RUSA. There is
some redundancy of information, and programs perhaps were entered in
more places than publications. Denise suggested that ideas about
highlighting certain activities differently be forwarded to Paige
Weston. Denise mentioned that an emerging issue is whether RUSA's
re-formed goals need to be 're-mirrored' by MARS in the near future.

	9. Pre-conference Report - Linda Friend reported on planning
for this event. A very high level of time commitment was required--all
three co-chairs invested huge amounts of time in planning and at the
conference itself. Several considerations emerge:
 	(a) More work should be done in advance with the RUSA office
to plan enough food and other support. The RUSA office needs to be
able to respond to larger numbers of participants for a program with
this kind of appeal.
	(b) Multiple co-chairs with experience working together is a
pre-requisite for success; the co-chairs really needed to work
together seamlessly to pull this project together.
	(c) More breakout or small group interactivity would have been
possible had the pre-conference been limited to a smaller group (eg.
about sixty participants).

LeiLani said that RUSA Finance and Planning Committee was extremely
pleased with the pre-conference outcome.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:30 p.m.

Transcribed by Carole Pilkinton
MARS Secretary
10/14/2002
 
Carole Richter Pilkinton
Electronic Resources Librarian
University of Notre Dame Libraries
(574) 631-8405
pilkinton.10@nd.edu