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AMICO Executive Committee

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


The focus of activity in September was the meetings of the Executive Committee and of AMICO membership.

Substantial effort was devoted to preparation of background materials for the meeting of the Executive Committee of AMICO on September 28. Possible budgets were developed - one of which was approved for FY99. Briefings were developed for staffing plans, distribution agreements, rights negotiations and other strategic matters. The Library of Congress was admitted to membership in AMICO, making 3 institutions in three months. Targets for membership were established by the Executive Committee which assigned to its members the job of recruiting new members in the coming months.

A membership meeting of AMICO was held at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in conjunction with the Museum Computer Network conference. Issues relevant to all three standing committees were discussed both in a group of the whole and in committee meetings. The group decided to form an Editorial Committee which would look after quality control of the AMICO data, and in particular examine areas where common terminology might be agreed.

Detailed Reports:

Strategic issues facing AMICO were the subject of background analysis and discussion at the AMICO Executive Committee meeting. On-going development of membership, with targets of at least one new full member per month, was agreed to be the most pressing concern for the Board. By demonstrating that AMICO attracts new members and is growing, many other fears about the enterprise will be stilled and some additional income will be raised.

Targets were also set, and pricing guidelines agreed, for licensing income in the coming year. Increased distribution of The AMICO Library was considered by the Executive Committee to be a major objective independent of income, so management was instructed to make agreements which increased the number of users insofar as possible. Distribution to K-12 and Public Libraries was reaffirmed. The growth of The AMICO Library, both in quantity of works and quality of documentation, was discussed and targets for the coming year (1999-2000) of at least 40-50,000 works were reaffirmed. The 5 year AMICO target of 250,000 works was reiterated.

Annual Meeting
The focus of the members meeting at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in September was the task of on-going building of The AMICO Library. Since some members had not fully explored the RLG AMICO offering, this meeting also served as a briefing on that application and an opportunity for RLG staff to receive feedback (which was largely positive).

The Technical Committee affirmed the stability of the AMICO data dictionary and discussed issues of data structuring and metadata. The Rights Committee worked on a framework for rights agreements between members and individual artists and referred its recommendations that AMICO develop some common language for these rights requests and continue to expand the new FAQ for artists to the Executive Committee.

The User and Uses Committee reviewed the university testbed and IUPUI plans and agreed that an Editorial Committee should be struck to focus on the issue of data quality in The AMICO Library while the Users and Uses Committee would focus on relations with the client community. It was agreed that we should try to hold a single, independently timed, annual conference for AMICO in the future, rather than attempting to meet in conjunction with other museum conferences; committee meetings might still be scheduled at these related conferences t take advantage of travel budgets already committed by members.

University Testbed
Discussions about license agreements with University testbed participants continued to occupy significant time. As a consequence, Trant and Bearman began to consider a "brief" form of the university agreement and discuss terms with legal Counsel Michael Shapiro. Since the stumbling block in the longer agreements seems to be that many Universities are not willing to administer a license which requires them to report on the uses made of the works in the Library, we are considering an approach that does not require monitoring and reporting. Under this agreement, Universities would only receive The AMICO Library as it is delivered through the browser interface (up to 1024 x 768 dpi resolution images). They would not be required to report on uses, since they would not be entitled to receive the uncompressed TIFF images which we have required them to track if mounted locally. Nor would the universities be permitted, under the terms of such a license, to modify works in The AMICO Library. This had been allowed with the proviso that the Universities report annually. A draft of such an agreement was be turned over to Legal Counsel.

Issues of indemnification and insurance raised by LACMA and the Walker were brought before the Executive Committee. The current AMICO insurance policy was endorsed, but the Executive Committee requested that management obtain bids from the insurer for an increase in the coverage to $2M and $5M from the present $1M. The policy on mutual indemnification by members was re-affirmed.

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