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AMICO Executive Committee

Art Museum Information Consortium (AMICO)
Archives & Museum Informatics:
Activities Report
July - December 1999

Detailed Reports:

Subscriptions

AMICO subscriptions became available in July 1999; by the end of December well over half a million college students had access to AMICO (approximately 325,000 students at 25 institutions were subscribed through RLG and approximately 250,000 students at 87 institutions through OhioLink). A policy to provide consortial subscriptions to AMICO had been completed and discussions were underway with consortia representing over a million additional users. Subscription income in the first half of the fiscal year almost equaled membership dues (as budgeted) and is expected to considerably exceed membership dues for the year end.

Product - The AMICO Library

The 1999 AMICO Library of over 50,000 works became available in July. This represented a 250% increase over the testbed library of 1998. By year end, it was clear that the Library had achieved substantial name recognition (as reflected, for example, in job advertisements posted by non-subscribing libraries and non-member museums which mention tasks associated with AMICO). Although it has grown in size, the Library itself needs substantial editorial intervention to improve its consistency and depth of indexing. Plans were laid early in the period for an extension of the artist authority files to achieve some of these objectives.

The major portion of this work was postponed until appointment of a Library Editor. Unfortunately the Library Editor recruitment, which led to an offer in November, was still not successful at year end. Library intern applications are being processed and some offers of summer internships for year 2000 extended on the assumption that a Library Editor will be hired by then.

Technical development stopped in July with the resignation of the AMICO Technical Director. A job offer was made for a new Technical Director to begin in January, but that has unfortunately fallen through. Brad Dietrich, former AMICO Technical Director, is assisting with matters on an interim contract basis. Plans were made for the Year 2000 library contribution process and members began planning their contributions.

Membership

AMICO gained four new members in this period, bringing total membership to 30. Following the Executive Committee meeting in July, membership discussions and subscription negotiations in the UK were advanced in the fall of 1999. No concrete progress had been made by December, though the prospects for both UK-wide higher education distribution and UK museum membership are still good. Membership in AMICO by the Museum of the Americas Foundation may enable participation in AMICO by Latin American museums; discussions will be undertaken in January to plan for how best to achieve this end.

Distribution

The Research Libraries Group continued to be the major distributor of AMICO. OhioLink spent the period getting The AMICO Library ready for its users. AMICO explored a variety of ways to advance distribution in K-12 markets, including within university and commercial partners after the collapse of the partnership with IUPUI on which we had based hopes for development of models for such a distribution. These opportunities will be readied for Board review in January. AMICO also undertook discussions with a Canadian university that we hope will lead to a Canadian distributor for AMICO.

Marketing

The AMICO brochure developed by Kelly Richmond has been a big success and is being widely distributed. It was reprinted for further (year 2000) distribution. The design of a generic poster to be printed locally by subscribing institutions was undertaken as a further publicity measure. The California Digital Library, which had The AMICO Library on trial in the fall, conducted significant research on integration of AMICO into their other resources.

Development

A grant proposal was submitted to the NEH - if granted, funding would begin in May 2000. In December, a study was begun of other funding options, which will be presented to the Board in January.

Partnerships

A partnership with Antenna Audio Inc. was agreed to in principle. Under the terms of the agreement, Antenna would provide sound files it owns that discuss specific works of art in The AMICO Library in order to enhance AMICO content and in return for acknowledgement of their role. Discussions commenced around a partnership proposal from Britannica.com for educational distribution of AMICO. It is hoped that these discussions will be sufficiently advanced that a proposal can be brought to the Board for review in January.


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