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AMICO Executive Committee

Art Museum Information Consortium (AMICO)
Archives & Museum Informatics:
Activities Report
January 1999


The major focus of A&MI activity during the month of January was negotiations with distributors - including the Research Libraries Group, OhioLINK and the California Digital Library - and preparations for the January Board meeting in La Jolla.

Discussions with the Research Libraries Group were aimed at their being able to produce marketing literature in time for the mid-winter ALA meeting in late January and the VRA/CAA meetings in early February. These negotiations were very protracted. Initially we offered RLG a multi-year, fixed price, based on a 50% discount, for all their members (as we had offered OhioLINK and CDL). However RLG did not want to take the risk on this basis and we had to find levels of pricing based on their anticipated sales that would satisfy our income requirements and their sense of what the market would bear. At the end of January, our final counter proposal was still on the table.

In preparation for the Board meeting in January, we spent a great deal of time developing scenarios and projections for AMICO's future growth and financial stability. These were presented to the Executive Committee at its meeting. In general they show that if AMICO can expand its membership at a constant rate of about one member a month over the next several years, its financial future will be acceptably secure since the market will see this as evidence that the Library will continue to grow and become viable.

At their request, a revised proposal was submitted to the Getty Grant Program early in the month and funding for the focus groups was received.

Detailed Reports:

New Members
The McMichael Canadian Collection, Kleinberg, expressed its desire to become a Member of AMICO.

Extensive discussion continued with the Research Libraries Group to work out details of the 1999-2000 year delivery schedule and issues of RLG's pricing and advertising for The AMICO Library. Pricing negotiations were conducted on the one hand with an eye towards keeping overall subscription prices as low as possible in order to encourage larger uptake of the library, and on the other hand with keeping the framework for AMICO license fees such that it could be extended to other distributors and returned an adequate overall income to AMICO in the next year. A position agreed to by all parties was nearly reached several times but was still elusive at the end of the month.

Considerable effort was invested in working with RLG public relations staff regarding the production of a brochure, given their inexperience reproducing works of art. We are grateful to the AMICO members who assisted us with speedy processing of permissions for this project.

AMICO prepared a Developers Development Agreement for the California Digital Library them and sent it for signature.

OhioLINK agreed to license The AMICO Library for three years for $100,000 ($33,333. p.a). Final terms of the license are still to be written and signed but there are no major obstacles envisioned at present.

Negotiations with the Artists Rights Society were revived, but no progress was made in time for the Board meeting. VAGA and the AMSP were given similar offers and discussions began with them.

Users and Uses
The Getty Grant Program awarded AMICO $20,000 to conduct focus groups with users at CAA and VRA in February and follow them up with meetings of the AMICO User and Uses Committee. A framework for an in-depth study of users preferences was drafted as part of a detailed focus group assessment for the Getty Grant Program. The questionnaire we will administer in conjunction with those focus groups addresses most of the strategic issues confronting AMICO. Members were provided with copies and several have remarked that it would be useful to have members complete the study as well - forcing all of us to examine options and make resource allocation decisions. We expect to provide a means of doing this in the spring.

The IUPUI Project held its first advisory committee meetings, including reviewing candidates for the position of project manager. Jennifer Trant participated in the advisory meetings by speaker phone from Pittsburgh.

A near final draft of the Cornell administered online survey was received, reviewed, and returned with comments. The survey will run from February through April.

AMICO Technical Support
The AMICO members web site was enhanced to allow members to submit files for validation online and to make improvements in the parsing and editing routines. Final specifications for the site functionality were adopted and will be reflected in developments planned to go live early in February.

Jennifer Trant worked with a New York design firm, RazorFish, which was the recipient of a contract from the for a face lift" of the AMICO Public Web Site.

Member Support
Arrangements were made to allow AMICO participants free access to the workshops on Information Policies for Museums and Digital Image Project Management at the Museums and the web conference in New Orleans.

Arrangements were made for AMICO to exhibit at Museums and the Web in New Orleans.

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