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AMICO Executive Committee

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

During June, Archives & Museum Informatics devoted 23 days to AMICO. [Only 7 days were billed however since our contract called for a maximum of 240 days through June 30 and we reached that number early in the month.]

Most of our work was devoted to establishing AMICO as an independent firm with legal basis for its membership, launching the University Testbed and RLG Preview facility, coordinating data review and update, preparing for a grant proposal to the National Science Foundation, improving the public web site and planning its extension, and building a basis for a shared knowledge model to be developed with Macmillan Reference. We also coordinated the AMICO Executive Committee and Board meeting, June 4, 1998.

In June, AMICO received a grant of $45,000 from the Mellon Foundation to assist in our planning.

A&MI coordinated a process (funded by the Delmas Foundation) to develop an AMICO grant proposal to the National Science Foundation (NSF) Digital Libraries II competition. Four universities, two distributors and a major art publisher are involved with four AMICO museums taking lead roles. Planning, which will lead to a meeting on July 6, and submission of a proposal by July 15, required considerable time.

On June 2, papers were filed in the District of Columbia that established AMICO Inc. as an independent not-for-profit company. AMICO is governed by a board of directors, initially comprised of representatives of each of its 23 members. A&MI prepared background briefing materials for an initial Executive Committee and Board meeting held on June 4 in Worcester MA, at which officers were elected and decisions taken regarding budget and forward plans.

The final forms of the legally binding Membership Agreement and AMICO Library Museum Agreement were completed and sent to each member for signature.

An accountant was hired. Forms required for establishing AMICO's 501(c)3 status with the I.R.S. were filed. Plans were made for AMICO funds to be transferred from AAMD to AMICO. Insurance applications were filed for Directors and Officers and multimedia coverage.

Members' contributions to the Testbed Library were finalized in June. Many records were edited and resubmitted. The Research Libraries Group (RLG) opened a facility for AMICO members to preview images that had been sampled for the University Testbed and received comments from members, some leading to resampling, some to resubmission of corrected images.

RLG Service Agreements and AMICO Library University Agreements were sent to all the participating universities for signature. Many questions were fielded from Testbed Participants and from University Counsels. RLG Service agreements were also sent to AMICO members.

The public web site overhaul continued, with improvements in the clarity of presentation and the depth of data. Sample records were added, the data specification was released, and an invitation to join AMICO was put on the web site.

An RFP issued by the Art Museum Network in May did not receive bids for software development that were affordable. The Art Museum Network asked A&MI if it could sub-contract the work to be done at a more reasonable rate and A&MI was able to propose a bid of 50% the lowest price quoted in the competitive RFP. A contract was let by AMN to A&MI to develop the AMICO public web site according to the specifications of the original RFP. Delivery will be by the end of August.

A&MI met with staff of the Grove Dictionaries in London at the end of June and agreed to collaborate over the next year on development of an open, shared knowledge model for art documentation, to be published as a common basis for markup of The AMICO Library, the Grove Dictionaries, and any other art resources that might wish to adopt it (such as the Wilson or Avery Indexes, the Getty Vocabularies and Provenance Index, etc.). The model will be based on existing CIDOC and CDWA standards and expressed as an SGML DTD.

The value of the model to AMICO is that those licensing both The AMICO Library and the Grove Dictionary will be able to move easily, and intelligently, between the two sources. Since Macmillan has a large worldwide academic market for its print Dictionary, and expects to build the same quickly for its online product, we expect the level of integration we can achieve will bring licensees to AMICO. Needless to say, such a capability also has value to the Grove, which can license its text to educational institutions with license to AMICO images without seeking any further rights, but we are achieving it in a non-exclusive fashion and hoping to attract other major publishers to the model as well.

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