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AMICO Executive Committee

Art Museum Information Consortium (AMICO)
Archives & Museum Informatics:
Activities Report
February 1998

Executive Summary

Archives & Museum Informatics devoted 37 days of consulting to AMICO in February. This full-time effort revolved around completion of contracts and commencement of work with the distributor (RLG), a data processor (Focus Consulting) and obtaining test data from AMICO members:

    - We concluded contract negotiations with the Research Libraries Group to distribute The AMICO Library from 1998-2001 and to serve as the supplier to other distributors.
    - We let an RFP, selected a vendor, and oversaw production of data validation routines to test the AMICO data on its submission.
    - We oversaw the submission of the list of 20,000 works to be included in The AMICO Library in 1998, the initial set of ten test records (only half the members contributing within the month and all were late) and the initial set of 100 test records (few members reaching the target date).
    - We recruited partners for a TIIAP grant application and began work with them scoping out the project. The application is due March 12.
    - We continued to work with the Mellon Foundation and will continue in March with the aim of presenting to the Mellon Board in June.
    - We explored options with Macmillan Ltd. and may continue these discussion is in May.
    - We attended the College Art Association Conference, where AMICO was prominently featured, and presented AMICO to the Canadian Visual Resources Association.

February Report


Distributor: In February we completed four months of negotiations with the Research Libraries Group and arrived at an extremely beneficial agreement under which:

    - RLG will distribute The AMICO Library in the Testbed year and for 2 years beyond (1998-2001)
    - RLG will provide free service to AMICO members and will collect license fees from other users
    - RLG will make thumbnail images, with necessary metadata, from all AMICO images and provide them free to other distributors
    - RLG is soliciting AMICO member input on the best ways to present the Library
    - AMICO will provide RLG with the contents of The AMICO Library, validated, on dates promised
    - AMICO will, for three years, allow RLG a partially exclusive distribution to higher education in North America. Exceptions to this exclusivity allow us to realize all our current plans.
    - AMICO will, for the next year, try to help RLG become the distributor to the Joint Information Steering Committee in the U.K.

Data Processor: In February we let an RFP for data processing services, including data validation of The AMICO Library as required under our contract with RLG and assessment of the requirements for data enhancement against the GII vocabularies. Focus Consulting of Pittsburgh PA presented a bid which was far less expensive that the other respondents and whose work we know and has begun work. Within the first month, it established a web site to report on its work and validated all files received with increasingly sophisticated routines. The next month will see the completion of the routines and the further refinement of methods of communicating with AMICO members.

In a second phase of the Focus Consulting contract, FC will assess the fit between AMICO data and the Getty Information Institute Vocabularies so that we can determine with reasonable accuracy the costs of data enhancement with these vocabularies if we make an effort to do so next year.

Data Delivery:

Substantial time was expended this month working with each AMICO member to make sure they understand what the AMICO specification requires and how their system can be made to produce compliant data. By the end of February most, but not all, AMICO members had tried at least once to get the first round of ten records correct. March will be taken up with further efforts to ensure that all AMICO members can export the data they have promised to contribute and continuing to refine the data specification.

University Testbed:

Following the approval at the Board meeting of proposals for University Testbed Project we notified each testbed participant of their acceptance and have been compiling a list of the 20,000+ works they will receive, the terms of RLG's access service, fee structures, and other background materials for them. These will be sent early in March with further instructions to each institution about its research focus.

We have followed up with the California Digital Library, OhioLink and CHIN to invite them to become distributors in 1999. For that purpose, we have further refined the Distributor Development Agreement. Talks with California Digital Library and with OhioLink are scheduled. Those with CHIN are awaiting staff review.

Legal Matters:

We have worked throughout February with Michael Shapiro, who has now been publicly named and is acting as AMICO General Counsel. To review the RLG contract, develop a membership agreement, and draft licenses. We expect these will be made available in March after Michael discusses them with university and museum counsels at the ALI-ABA meeting.

Fund Raising and Outreach:

We worked with Maxwell Anderson, Chair of the Board committee, and continued discussions with the Mellon Foundation and expect to meet with them face-to-face again in the coming month, in preparation for a June proposal review.

We developed a framework for a TIIAP grant proposal in partnership with State Library Agencies to make The AMICO Library available to a range of institutions within Arizona and (probably) Kentucky. A proposal will be prepared for the March 12 deadline.

We proposed a framework for discussions on the integration of the Grove Dictionary of Art and The AMICO Library to Macmillans and may meet to further these discussion in late May.

We attended the College Art Association and Canadian Visual Resources Association meetings and presented AMICO at the latter.

The AMICO public web site moved to and was overhauled by AGO/AMN staff during February. Further improvements are planned for the coming months.


We worked with Robert Bergman, Chair of the AMICO Membership committee, to plan an approach to potential new members in March. In addition, we fielded numerous inquiries about AMICO membership.

Near Future:

The focus of attention in March will continue to be on the acquisition of AMICO member data in conformance with the data specification. Significant effort will be directed towards grant proposals and other funding. In addition, we will be making presentations and meeting with potential AMICO members at VRA, ARLIS and CNI in the coming month.

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