David Bearman and Jennifer Trant
Archives & Museum Informatics
During November, David Bearman and Jennifer Trant
devoted a total 31 days to AMICO. We prepared budgets, schedules, and
analytical reports which could serve as the basis for AMICO funding
proposals, met with senior officials of the Mellon Foundation to present
the case for AMICO, continued negotiations with the Research Libraries
Group to serve as an AMICO distributor and with the Getty Information
Institute to be an enhancer of AMICO data, and opened discussions with
OCLC and the UK JISC as potential future distributors, and with OCLC
Research and Development and Macmillan Publishing Ltd. as potential
enhancers. In addition, we fielded inquiries from and expressions of
interest in the university testbed project from universities, consortia,
states and nations. To maintain momentum of the AMICO committees, we
drafted a license from members to AMICO, a data dictionary and preliminary
image specifications, compiled a profile of the Library for the Testbed
Year, briefed teams at two museums and kept up a regular stream of communications
with staff of other member institutions. To enhance communication between
the AMICO members, we redesigned the web site, which is hosted by the
Art Gallery of Ontario.
In preparation for meeting with the Mellon Foundation
on November 10, we prepared budgets, schedules, and analytical reports
that we expect will serve as the basis for various AMICO funding proposals
over the next year. They also present the most complete and up to date
projections we have of the development of AMICO, so we have provided them
to the Executive Committee and presume they will be made available to
the board. On November 10, Mimi Gaudieri, Jennifer Trant and David Bearman
met with Richard Ekman (Secretary to the Board) and Richard Quandt (Treasurer)
of the Mellon Foundation and made an informal presentation of AMICO and
its financial requirements. We had a very exciting talk with them and
hope for encouragement to submit a formal proposal when they get back
to us, as promised, in mid-December.
of the outcome, AMICO will require additional funding and we have continued
to monitor other opportunities. We presume the executive committee will
address the question of what other foundations to approach; Lila Wallace
has been suggested. As government funding opportunities arise, we will
advise on which ones to pursue and will make applications as instructed.
members have now provided the background documentation they have been
requested to provide for such grant packages.
During November we continued negotiations with the
Research Libraries Group to serve as the AMICO distributor in the testbed
year 1998-99 and as a distributor in future years. We are close to agreement
with them on the terms of a three year contract (1998-2001) in which they
The AMICO Library during the testbed year with as much functionality
The AMICO Library to higher education in 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 with
the functionality required by our distributor specifications
as the source of The AMICO Library for other distributors and the
holder of the backup copy of the library
RLG is making an investment of over $250,000 in the
development of software and distribution capabilities for AMICO. They
have agreed to charge universities no more for subscriptions (access)
to The AMICO Library than we charge in license fees and have agreed to
give all AMICO members (to whom we are giving free licenses) free subscriptions
to The AMICO Library.
present the draft agreement to the executive committee early in December
and hope to have a contract drawn up for signature early in January.
met with OCLC, the largest distributor of digital data to public libraries
in the world (23,000 public library systems) about distributing The AMICO Library to that sector in 1999-2000 - the first year of public
availability of the library. They expressed interest and a willingness
to present such a plan to their public library advisory committee in
March 1998 and to work with AMICO thereafter to draft the appropriate
licenses and contract terms. Over the next few months we will begin
to formalize this relationship.
we met in London with representatives of the Joint Information Systems
Committee (JISC) of the Higher Education Funding Councils of the UK
which is responsible for maintaining networks and acquiring digital
content for all UK higher education. They expressed interest in participating
in the testbed and in licensing for all of UK higher education in one
contract in future years. We will not take that discussion forward much
further before proposing to the Executive Committee economic models
for national licenses outside North America.
After meeting with the Getty Information Institute
in October, we were awaiting their response to our proposal for them to
engage in a collaboration to enhance AMICO data and augment their vocabulary
resources. We were disappointed that their response did not offer to undertake
any data matching or data processing as part of that enhancement or commit
to the updating of the vocabularies to incorporate AMICO terminology in
a timely manner. We have, however, accepted their offer of free use of
the GII databases and are in the process of negotiating a license. We
will explore alternatives for doing this basic data enhancement.
the GII proposal leaves us without a means of processing the AMICO member
contributions and matching them against other references resources,
we've begun discussions with OCLC Research and Development both to engage
in some such preprocessing of the AMICO data and to further enhance
it by formatting AMICO data as "Dublin Core" conformant metadata in
the new RDF format. OCLC R&D has been in the forefront of developing
standards for metadata and would like to use The AMICO Library as a
pilot demonstration of the power of metadata to assist users in finding
resources on the Internet. Since we are very interested in achieving
a high profile for The AMICO Library on the Web, this is, of course,
of great interest to us as well. These negotiations will be pursued
further in December with the aim of reaching a letter of agreement before
preliminary discussions are underway with KE EMU, a Canadian museum
systems vendor, about providing a free license and technical support
for AMICO to use their system to read and test the data contributed
by member museums. This support would make it possible for AMICO to
compile the initial dataset and determine its conformance with the AMICO
specification before shipping it to RLG for distribution or to an enhancer.
Some such capability will be required but the way we will obtain it
has not yet been determined.
Data Enhancement/Co-Publishing/Income Generation:
We were approached by the Managing Director of Macmillan
(publishers of the 34 volume Grove Dictionary of Art) about the possibility
of AMICO collaborating with them in production of a long-planned, but
permanently stalled, on-line version of the Grove Dictionary. The fundamental
problem they face is that they cannot afford to clear rights for the 15,000
images in the Dictionary and estimate that costs of the licenses alone
would exceed $2.3M ($150 average each) if they could get them. They are
interested in a one stop deal to get rights by linking to an AMICO screen
image (1024 x 768 x 24 bit). Preliminary discussions in London at the
end of November suggested that if the Executive Committee is willing to
allow such a discussion to go forward, we could probably negotiate:
sizable up front payment to AMICO
to the Grove on-line for all AMICO members
of the Grove into The AMICO Library (20,000 artists biographies/2,000
line drawings, maps etc. owned by Macmillan) in a co-publishing agreement
in which licensees of The AMICO Library would be offered the full
integrated Grove/AMICO set for a modest additional subscription fee,
with some sharing of income between Macmillan and AMICO.
of such a co-venture are fairly evident. We are seeking AMICO Board
approval because it represents a departure from the solely non-profit
aspect of all our other discussions. The timetable and technical requirements
of Macmillan fit nicely into those of AMICO and would help to further
support some aspects of AMICO's technical development for which we will
need to seek support in any case.
Throughout November we fielded numerous inquiries
from universities, consortia and governments interested in participating
in the 1998-99 University Testbed project. To date we have expressions
of intent to submit proposals from 30 individual schools, 2 Consortia
and one National Body [the UK's Joint Information System]. These institutions
have proposed a wide variety of extremely exciting research projects from
which AMICO will benefit, in addition to agreeing (with very little complaining)
to pay the AMICO license fee and additional subscription/access charge
Testbed proposals are due December 15, 1997. The AMICO User and Uses
Committee will select about 20 institutions to participate and present
their to the Board at its January 28th meeting. We have told the universities
we would announce their acceptance by the end of January. We anticipate
holding a meeting with participating universities and AMICO members
in the spring or early summer of 1998 and subsequent research conferences
with users of The AMICO Library in future years.
We drafted a license for members to assign rights to AMICO when they
contribute their works to The AMICO Library. It is under discussion
by the Rights Committee and others on the AMICO Discussion lists.
The schedule requires us to have a final version for Board approval
in January. This will then go to Legal Counsel for drafting into a
Minor modifications of the University License
The Rights Committee still needs to explore how it will approach the
issues raised by contemporary artists rights and the drafting of licenses
for public library and K-12 use.
The AMICO Board needs to authorize writing of the legal language versions
of the draft licenses for university and museum users and uses. These
will need to be ready to offer to testbed year participants in the
and Uses Committee:
The Users and Uses Committee discussed criteria for selecting participants
in the University Testbed. In December and January they will apply
these to the proposals we have. The schedule requires them to submit
a list of approved proposals for Board review in January.
of User needs for both the AMICO public catalogue and the AMICO
University Testbed have also begun, in reference to the Public Catalogue
Specification, and the Draft AMICO Data Dictionary.
all AMICO institutions have now described the works that they will
contribute in the first year in such a way that we can provide testbed
participants with an overview of the contents they will receive.
The approximately 23,000 works which have been committed cover the
range of world art reasonable well, if thinly. Non-western and twentieth
century art are less well represented, but this was expected. Full
descriptions of the contributions to The AMICO Library are due by
the end of January, 1998.
We drafted a data dictionary and preliminary image format and metadata
specification for discussion by the Technical Operations Committee.
This group needs to make develop final specifications by early January
at the latest if the technical staff at member museums are to produce
the data required by RLG by the end of March. It is very likely we
will need to have a face-to-face meeting of the members of this committee
in December in order to reach these agreements.
The AMICO Web site has been completely overhauled,
to reflect the transition from planning the consortium to supporting its
acitivites. We have specified a new structure and developed new content;
the site has been maintained and updated by the Art Gallery of Ontario.
We do not anticipate opening up any new areas of
activity in December since reaching closure on the methods of distribution
and enhancement and acquiring final proposals from all potential testbed
participants will engage our 'external' attention and our internal activity
needs to be directed at arriving at a technical specification for AMICO
work with the Executive Committee in December to determine what briefing
materials should be prepared for the full board meeting in January and
to develop an agenda for that meeting.
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