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AMICO Executive Committee

Art Museum Information Consortium (AMICO)
Archives & Museum Informatics:
Activities Report
January - December 1998

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April September

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


Archives & Museum Informatics devoted 43 days of consulting to AMICO in January. This full-time effort revolved around several major deadlines, all achieved:

  • completion, with the Technical Operations Committee of a technical specification
  • completion, with the Users Committee, of a decision on University Testbed applications
  • completion, with the Rights Committee, of the terms of the License to AMICO
  • preparation of background materials and briefing papers for the Executive Committee and Board meetings in Los Angeles
  • completion of negotiations with the Research Libraries Group on being the Distributor of The AMICO Library in the testbed year
  • completion of an RFP (Request-for-Proposals) for data processing services
In addition, we continued discussions with the Mellon Foundation, regarding funding and submitted an ˝Intention to Submitţ to the Hitachi Foundation. We recruited a legal advisor (Michael Shapiro) and negotiated an agreement with him to provide largely pro bono legal assistance over the next five months.

Technical Specifications
The most critical, and complex task of AMICO═s initial year was to reach agreement on the specification for data to be provided to AMICO by its members, and from AMICO to the distributors and end users. We faced a number of issues that are familiar, if difficult to resolve, in the world of data interchange and quite a few issues which have never previously been resolved but required working solutions for AMICO to begin to build its library. The Technical Operations Committee held on-line discussions and we conducted research, all of which resulted in a quite complete specification for catalog records, associated multimedia files and metadata. A Conference Call was held to review outstanding issues, and the resulting specifications were finalized and issued.

These specifications were shared with the Research Libraries Group and agreed to by them. They then became the basis for a Request-for-Proposal to a data processing firm to pre-process the AMICO data and validate its contents before it is sent to the distributor.

The Research Libraries Group also offered us the first draft of their Product Functional Specification and showed us the first products of their image derivation efforts. In both cases, next drafts will be circulated to AMICO members. Our comments are being taken into consideration and we expect to have RLG specifications to offer the AMICO members in February.

In negotiations with RLG, we also worked out a timetable and schedule for delivery of data in order to meet the University Testbed deadlines. This schedule was published and all AMICO institutions agreed to it at the January Board meeting. AS RLG is investigating a significant amount in software that relies upon the AMICO data contribution, contractual penalties are associated with our failure to meet these deadlines.

Data Validation and Enhancement
Discussions with the Getty Information Institute failed to arrive at a means to check all AMICO data against the Getty Vocabularies and update terminology in those vocabularies this year. As a result, we have moved this task off the testbed year plan. Discussions began to do this with the GII when they are ready in the future.

Discussions with Macmillan Ltd. to integrate the Grove Dictionary of Art and The AMICO Library moved forward with a proposal from Grove that was discussed by the Executive Committee and authorization from the Executive Committee to continue the discussions. A suggestion from the Mellon Foundation that we consider integration of JSTOR with The AMICO Library was brought to the executive Committee which authorized pursuing it in discussions with AMICO.

Data parsing requirements were included in the RFP for data processing services and are expected to be included in the final contract.

University Testbed
The Users and Uses Committee reviewed the proposals received in response to our Call for Participation in the University Testbed Project. The selection of participants in the project was simplified by the generally high quality of proposals received. A conference call was held to make a final assessment, and the recommendations of the committee were sent to the AMICO Board.

In a few cases, the proposals we received were both to conduct the kinds of research in which we expressed interest in our ˝Call for Participationţ and to conduct research with the aim of becoming an AMICO Distributor. Feeling these two objectives were different, Archives & Museum Informatics has drafted a separate Distributor Development Agreement to offer to potential distributors. It is anticipated that Developers Agreements will be offered to OhioLink, the California Digital Library, and the Joint Information Systems Commission of the Higher Education Authority of the UK.

The Board accepted the recommendations of the Users and Uses Committee and accepted proposals from approximately 20 universities, holding open the possibility of an offer to Harvard University to participate if it provided a few more details not in its initial proposal.

Letters of Offer have been sent. In mid-February, each participating university will also receive details of the contents of The AMICO Library, an outline of license terms, functional specifications for the RLG delivery of the Library, service agreement terms from RLG, and contracts outlining license and service subscription fees.

Legal Matters: Licenses, By-laws and Membership Agreements
The last of the three licenses required to operate AMICO in its initial year was reviewed by the Rights Committee in December and January - the License to AMICO. In addition, discussions with the Executive Committee and at the Board meeting clarified a number of issues surrounding the future incorporation of AMICO, its basic modes of operating, and the terms of a membership agreement. All these documents now need to be written in legal drafts and provided to members in the coming month for their signatures.

Archives & Museum Informatics was fortunate to be able to acquire the services of Michael Shapiro, Esq., who is leaving his position as General Counsel of the NEH on February 13, 1998, as Counsel to AMICO. Michael will draft these documents for us and provide other management and legal advice. Prior to joining NEH, Mr. Shapiro was Director of the George Washington University graduate program in Museum Administration and the director of both a State Museum agency and a private museum, and also practiced privately in the areas of international contract and intellectual property law. He will bring a broad range of experience and expertise to AMICO.

A contract will be offered for Michael Shapiro. Members are required to sign the relevant licenses and agreements as part of their agreement to membership in the 1997/98 year.

Fund Raising and Outreach
Archives & Museum Informatics continued its discussions with the Mellon Foundation in January regarding major funding for AMICO. (The preliminary proposal was circulated to the Board at its meeting.) We expect these will lead to another face to face meeting in February and a preliminary agreement on the prospects of support. In addition, we sent an ˝Intention to Submitţ to the Hitachi Foundation. We also monitored the TIAPP and IMLS grant opportunities which have been announced for this spring and began to line up appropriate players to participate in the collaborative efforts required under those grants. AMICO members will need to reply promptly to requests for information to be included in these funding proposals.

Funding AMICO was a major concern of the Executive Committee. A plan was developed to assure that the 1998 cash flow would not be negative. A Board Fundraising Committee and Board Membership Committee were organized and will begin their work in February.

In January we completed the construction of an AMICO Advisory Committee, submitted names to the Executive Committee of AMICO, and reached agreement on a list of persons to invite to advise AMICO. They are now being invited by Harry Parker, Chairman of the Board.

Near Future
AMICO Membership and Fund Raising Committees will begin activities in February.

The Board authorized the addition of twelve new AMICO members to contribute data in the next year, and ratified the concept of an associate membership, that enabled institutions to audit AMICO discussions and receive a license to the Library before they began contributing to the Library.

The User and Uses Committee and A&MI will be making presentations at CAA, VRA, ARLIS, CNI and other professional meetings in the near future. Their purpose is to begin to get users involved in working with AMICO and to clarify our goals and objectives. We will also be using upcoming professional conferences to begin a dialog with the University Testbed participants.

The Technical Operations Committee and all technical personnel in AMICO museums are under very tight deadlines to deliver their data to AMICO in the next few months.

The Rights Committee will move on to addressing draft legal documents (licenses, membership agreements) and to an initial strategy discussion of the methods to approach artists and their estates. Language will be drafted for the grant of rights to AMICO (educational uses) by artists and efforts will be advanced to find ways to collaborate in seeking rights from individuals whose works have been identified for the first year contributions.

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


Archives & Museum Informatics devoted 27 days of consulting to AMICO in March. This focused on interactions with members to test their data, work with the data processing contractor (Focus Consulting), developing and submitting proposals for funding, and establishing the legal framework for AMICO with its General Counsel:

    - We completed the RLG negotiations, and initiated several other distributor agreements.
    - We worked with the data processing vendor on development of software tools to validate and parse AMICO member contributions to the Library, and worked with AMICO members to troubleshoot test records submissions.
    - We submitted a several grant proposals and continued to development of others.
    - We attended and spoke at the Visual Resources Association/Art Libraries Society of North America Conferences and expanded the AMICO web site.
    - We drafted language with Michael Shapiro, AMICO's General Counsel, for the AMICO membership agreement, the incorporation of AMICO, the university license and the museum license.
    - We distributed materials to university test bed participants and worked with them on the preplanning of their research projects for 1998-99.

Detailed Report

Distribution Agreements
Harry Parker  amp; Hugh Davies signed the RLG contract. RLG will distribute The AMICO Library from 1998-2001.

The California Digital Library and OhioLINK have agreed to develop systems for distribution of The AMICO Library in 1998/99 and be ready to serve their communities in the 1999/00 academic year. CHIN asked to be involved in the future but was too overwhelmed by other activities to take on AMICO Library distribution software development in the next year.

If the TIIAP and/or IMLS grants are funded (see below) the State Library of Arizona and the University of Indiana will join the list of AMICO Library distributors in 1999-2002.

Data Processing
The data processing routines have been fully developed and have been tested. Most AMICO members have tested some of their data to ensure that it will be correct when submitted. We began developing data parsing routines (to put full text field values into separate searchable fields) are developed and awaiting full testing. Initial success suggests we may be able to provide RLG with searchable terminology in fields that are contributed by members in a variety of different formats.

We continued discussions with the Getty Information Institute about the data validation routines to be developed in May, preliminary to writing detailed specifications for this work. This preliminary study will scope the extent of efforts required to use the GII terminology in searching AMICO data.

Data Delivery
Substantial time this month was again devoted to working with each AMICO member to make ensure that their data was correct. Data for approximately 12,500 works of art were in hand by the end of the month, but much remains to be done to get the remaining 7,500 in during April. Some institutions found the work extremely difficult; a review of methods is planned for April in order to develop guidelines for future new members.

University Testbed Project
An informal meeting was held with 15 participants in the university testbed project who were attending VRA and ARLIS. The group shared their goals for participation in the testbed, and offered suggestions for ways to facilitate communications and share ongoing research.

Introductory Packages were distributed to testbed participants. These included 1) the a list of the 20,000+ works to be in the Library, 2) a functional description of the testbed delivery system from RLG, 3) the framework for the license agreement, 4) a statement of fees and discounts, and 4) a summary of AMICO's Testbed Research Objectives.

We fielded many ongoing questions about AMICO's expectations for university research projects, and the nature of the delivery of The AMICO Library.

Legal Matters
Michael Shapiro finalized the RLG contract which was signed. He drafted a membership agreement and licenses, that we reviewed in detail with him.

The groundwork for incorporating AMICO was laid in a draft incorporation papers. A timetable was established for the independent incorporation of AMICO: drafts will be circulated to the Executive Committee in early April, with a target for final papers filed in Washington D.C. by the end of the month.

Shapiro also attended the ALI-ABA meetings to discuss museum licensing issues with colleagues, and continue discussions with AMICO member counsels about the legal language of the various agreements..

Fund Raising
We continued discussions with the Mellon Foundation and expect to submit a proposal for a June review.

We submitted a proposal to the Delmas Foundation for a small grant to assist us in planning for a Digital Libraries Initiative grant from NSF due in July.

We submitted a TIIAP grant proposal in partnership with Arizona State Library. Funding decisions will be reported in September.

We developed a framework for an IMLS grant proposal in partnership with the Indiana University Library to make The AMICO Library available to K-12, public libraries, museums and others within the greater Indianapolis metropolitan area. We expect a proposal will be submitted for the April 17 deadline. Funding decisions for this grant will also be reported in September.

We attended the Visual Resources Association and Art Libraries Society meetings and presented AMICO at the former. Further improvements were made to the AMICO public web site which was partially redesigned in March. A draft Request-for-Proposals for The AMICO Library public website was developed and is under review.

We agreed to participate, if invited, in a museum community standards setting exercise being led by the Consortium for Computer Interchange of Museum Information (CIMI) on the Dublin Core metadata model. This will involve significant effort, but is a place AMICO can make an important contribution to the community.

We met with staff of the Library of Congress and spoke with staff of the National Gallery of Art. Both institutions are now prepared to join AMICO. We made contacts with numerous other institutions and kept up discussions with others who have previously expressed interest.

We worked with Bob Bergman, Chairman of the membership committee, on planning for a membership drive to be conducted in April and May prior to the June general meeting.

Near Future
April's activities will be focused on the final submission of all members contribution to The AMICO Library.

We will present the University Testbed research and OCLC metadata research on The AMICO Library at the CNI Conference, April 15, 1998.

Meetings of all the AMICO working committees will be held before or/after the Museums and the Web Conference in Toronto, April 22-25, 1998. Michael Shapiro represent AMICO, and present a paper on international legal issues at that conference.

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


Archives & Museum Informatics devoted 22 days of consulting to AMICO in March. This effort focussed on delivering The AMICO Library in a validated form to RLG, developing and submitting an IMLS proposal, briefing and listening to testbed participants and completing editing of the draft legal framework for AMICO with its General Counsel.

    - We worked with Focus Consulting to refine data validation and parsing tools and to test AMICO member contributions to the library. At the end of April we submitted the library (65GB of data) to RLG.
    - We obtained funding from the Delmas Foundation for participation in the NSF DLI2 grant run, and applied for an IMLS grant with the University of Indiana, Purdue University, Indiana.
    - We attended and spoke at the Coalition for Networked information.
    - We organised three working committee meetings, Rights, Technical and Users at the Museums and the Web Conference.
    - We finalized incorporation papers with Michael Shapiro, AMICO's General Counsel, for the AMICO and continued to draft membership agreement, the university license and the museum license.
    - We distributed materials to university test bed participants, met with them at CNI, and prepared a web site for interaction with the testbed projects.

Detailed Report:

Data Processing & Delivery:

The big effort paid off. During April all AMICO members completed the submission of records for the testbed library. Some left this until the last day or two and still had errors when their data was submitted to RLG, so they will have work to do to clean them up in May. However, we were delighted to have almost 20,000 records and all members participating.

Data parsing routines were awaiting full testing. In May, all parsed data will be returned to members for review and approval.

We received the latest version of the vocabularies from the Getty Information Institute in preparation for vocabulary enhancement research and experiments we will conduct in May and June.

University Testbed:

We hosted a meeting of testbed participants at the CNI meeting and held a very successful session in the program discussing research underway at OCLC and in planning at testbed universities. The OCLC presentation is available on the AMICO members web site.

A web site for university testbed participants was completed and opened in April.


We met with all three working committees of AMICO (Rights, Users & Uses, and Technical Operations) in Toronto at the end of April. Each meeting produced positive forward progress and minutes will be posted to the lists in early May.

Legal Matters:

Michael Shapiro finalized the incorporation papers and started them on a round of serial notorization which will end with their being filed, in the District of Columbia, in May. The objective is for AMICO Inc. to exist as an independent non-profit when its board meets in Worcester in early June.

A rights committee meeting discussed the draft membership agreement and licenses and Michael Shapiro took their input into account in drafting the final agreements which will be ready the first week in May.

Fund Raising and Outreach:

We continued discussions with the Mellon Foundation and expect to submit a proposal for a June review.

We received a $10,000 grant from the Delmas Foundation to assist us in planning for a Digital Libraries Initiative grant from NSF due in July.

We submitted an IMLS grant proposal in partnership with the Indiana University Library to make The AMICO Library available to K-12, public libraries, museums and others within the greater Indianapolis metropolitan area.

We decided not to participate in the Consortium for Computer Interchange of Museum Information (CIMI) testbed on the Dublin Core metadata model because four AMICO member museums will participate on their own and bring the results back to the group.


We met with staff of the Library of Congress which agreed to join AMICO. We have expressions of interest in joining AMICO in hand from numerous other institutions. Membership will be opened in May and the membership committee will recommend new members to the board in June.

Near Future:

We will present AMICO at the closing meeting of the Conference on Fair Use (CONFU) in DC in May.

A planning meeting for the NSF DLI 2 grant cycle will be held in late May/early June.

We invited directors of several interested organizations to co-sponsor a meeting on Authenticity of Internet Resources which AMICO will host in the fall. We will invite vendors and providers of watermarking and object identification/registration systems to that meeting and use it as the occasion for AMICO members to decide their collective policies on the marking of authoritative data.

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

During July, Archives & Museum Informatics devoted 38 days to AMICO. For the first half of the month, this effort was largely devoted to organizing an NSF/DLI 2 grant application, which defined a series of research and development activities where AMICO needs to participate in the coming years (whether or not funding is received from NSF). The second half of the month was largely devoted to final data corrections for the 1998 Library, negotiations regarding AMICO Agreements, and planning for the coming year - meeting with RLG about delivery schedules and methods, initiating processes for artists rights, working on staffing and budgets with the Executive Committee.

Early in July, we spoke about AMICO and its information architecture strategies at the UK Office of Library Networking meeting in Bath. We agreed to write an article on AMICO for the New Review of Information Networking (an annual) due in September.


National Science Foundation Digital Libraries 2 Proposal
On July 15, AMICO submitted a grant proposal for $2.5M to the National Science Foundation Digital Libraries Initiative round 2 competition. To prepare this inter-disciplinary, multi-institutional project proposal, we coordinated the submissions of all project team members:

  • four AMICO members - Art Institute of Chicago, Fine Art Museum of San Francisco, Frick Collection, and Walker Art Center
  • four universities - Carnegie Mellon University, Hampshire College, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Illinois
  • two distributors - the Research Libraries Group and the Art Museum Network
  • and two for profit entities: Macmillan's Reference Publishing (Grove Dictionaries Inc.) and I4I (a Canadian software house that has donated SGML tools and consulting).

    We also assembled a full day meeting of participants in the project (the meeting was funded by the Delmas Foundation). The Narrative portion of the Proposal (which was limited to 15 pages) is available on the AMICO Members Web site at The detailed bibliography can be found at

    A&MI also coordinated and wrote about 120 pages of associated budget, personnel, facilities and other forms that made up the total package. If awarded, funding would most likely begin in December 1998.

    AMICO 1998/99 Operations:

    A&MI proposed a budget and staffing plan to the Executive Committee in order to have a framework for our 1998/99 activities.; AMICO will operate under this preliminary budget until we have news about pending funding applications and the Executive Committee has a discussion about longer term issues at a planned September meeting.

    A proposal to bring on permanent staff for AMICO was also presented. AMICO needs to have permanent staff, both because the outside world needs to know whom it can communicate with about AMICO and because our programs are now large enough to require it. A&MI proposed a 1998/99 staffing plan to the Executive Committee in which AMICO would name an Executive Director, Director of Strategy and Research, Technical Director, and Member/Client Services Coordinator. Jennifer Trant will become AMICO Executive Director, and David Bearman will become Director, Strategy and Research. We will immediately recruit a Coordinator of Member and Client Services and a Technical Director. Jennifer has agreed to serve in the role of Executive Director at the interim budgeted salary because we have concluded that the job must be filled on a full-time basis, but that funding does not currently allow for a salary that would otherwise attract the right person; we will re-evaluate this when AMICO's budget situation changes. Bearman will continue to work on a consulting basis, with a formal title.

    A&MI staff met with the Research Libraries Group to define upcoming schedules and technical methods.

    AMICO Library Distribution

    Research Libraries Group
    Trant, Bearman and Dietrich met with staff at the Research Libraries Group in San Francisco. We reviewed the Testbed Preview site, and suggested many changes and improvements, many of which were promptly acted upon. Procedures for data submission, update and tracking were discussed, and a proposal will be put to the AMICO members for the 1998/99 Library. A web-based facility will be developed to enable members to track the status of their records throughout the process of validation and mounting at a distributor.

    RLG's University Testbed
    The Research Libraries Group (RLG) turned on the testbed preview facility on schedule on July 6. About half of AMICO members and university testbed participants have received returned all the required agreements and are using the testbed.

    Further functionality will be developed during the next month - the actual software for the testbed year will be turned on August 24. RLG has developed a Comments function, that facilitates user feedback. These comments are sent both to AMICO and to RLG for response. Where appropriate, they will be routed to the HyperNews Discussions for Member input and feedback.

    California Digital Library
    A meeting with the California Digital Libraries project at the University of California confirmed their interest in signing a Distributor's Development Agreement with AMICO. They will be collaborating with the San Diego Super Computer Center to develop the facility to deliver The AMICO Library within the University of California system, and perhaps throughout the State of California.

    Discussions resumed with OhioLINK about their distribution of the Library, following the issuance of their white paper on licensed resources. We also expect them to sign a Distributor's Development Agreement in the Fall of 1998.

    AMICO Membership and Library Agreements

    Over half of AMICO members had signed the membership agreements and licenses by the end of July. Others are still reviewing the documents but expect to sign them in August. A&MI has been involved in discussions with several museum counsels over interpretation of the agreement and has discovered a few details that will be corrected or clarified in future agreements, but to date no substantive changes have been made. Once all agreements are in place, new members can be admitted and access to the 1998/99 Library can be granted. We will use the revisions suggested by members as the basis for an improved (or corrected) agreement that will become the text that all members will sign, so that we don't need to manage a lot of specially annotated documents. Members can expect a distribution of minor amendments to the Agreements in August.

    Over half the University Testbed participants have signed agreements and most others have submitted letters of intent to sign. A&MI has had discussions with counsels for the universities and generally resolved issues of apparent dispute through clarifying our intentions. Again, a few minor changes that have been suggested will be made in future agreements; no substantive changes have been approved. One sticking point seems to be with Washington University s general counsel (who thinks requiring the university to act against violations is too burdensome), but all others are expected in without trouble.

    The web site overhaul continued, with improvements in the clarity of presentation and the depth of data. Many thanks to Nancy Broden.

    A&MI submitted the first deliverable under its contract with AMN to develop the AMICO public web site. The development of the searchable database will be completed in August.

    Major future issues:

    As soon as all founding members have signed their membership agreements, we need to recruit the "class of 98/99". Full prospective members need to begin to prepare data for submission in this calendar year; prospective associate members need to ride along in the technical and rights discussions and to begin to make use of the library.

    We really need to get members, especially staff in education departments, to use The AMICO Library and to critique it. Getting a product we are all proud of out in 1999 will require tremendous work on everyone's part, but only by using the Library this fall will we know what we should be aiming for.

    Forward Schedules
    We have been working to set up forward schedules for AMICO activities in 1998/99 and hope to post these to the web site shortly. coming meetings include an AMICO members meeting prior tot he MCN meeting in Los Angeles (Sept. 21-22) and an AMICO Board Meeting, prior to the AAMD meeting in La Jolla (tentatively January 26,1999).

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

    Summary During August, Archives & Museum Informatics devoted 30 days to AMICO. The majority of this time was spent obtaining signed membership agreements and licenses from AMICO members and university testbed participants. Major initiatives which should have gotten under way in August, including background for the September Membership and Executive Committee meetings, were postponed.

    AMICO Membership Agreements and AMICO Library Museum Agreements Through lengthy discussions, we were able to obtain signed membership agreements from all but one member in time for the release of the library on August 24. The discussions did produce some suggestions for clarification of the language of the AMICO Membership Agreement and The AMICO Library Museum Agreement, that will clarify their meaning in future drafts. Michael Shapiro, General Counsel, will now create one set of combined changes and make these available to all members for comment.

    The length of time devoted to these negotiations served as proof positive that future agreements must be offered on an as is basis without any opportunity for negotiation. If AMICO is to survive and do useful things for its members it cannot invest in re-inventing these agreements each time they are offered; signing the agreements and licenses as they are offered (reflecting negotiation with all the founding members) must be a sine qua non of membership.

    AMICO Library University Agreements Equally extensive discussions and negotiations with university testbed participants led to signing of agreements by many of the testbed participants, and to suggestions for revisions from some others. Others are still in process of reviewing the drafts. At this time it is difficult to say for certain but we may lose one to three universities in the process. These discussions revealed some important issues that must be addressed by AMICO. Changes will almost certainly need to be made in future licenses if we are to have widespread acceptance of the agreements, which is economically necessary to AMICO.

    The major problem is that those responsible for signing the university agreements, unlike those who participated in the MESL discussion of principles and values, are much more concerned with manageability of the license. They are less willing to accept added burdens on the university as a trade-off for greater flexibility or more extensive rights under the license, because it falls to them to actually administer the terms of many licenses. The result is that they may prefer more standard terms (much like other licenses) rather than accept any obligations to monitor or report. This presents us with a philosophical dilemma which we may want to resolve by offering two licenses: a minimalist set of rights with no obligations to monitor and a more open agreement, a new social contract, that includes greater responsibilities on the part of the university.

    In addition, we must be more specific about requirements for acknowledgment and notice. Again, the desire on the part of participating universities is to have a clear set of requirements that they can meet easily, and without ambiguity.

    Funding Indiana University/Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), with whom we have applied to the IMLS for funding of a pilot project in K-12 distribution of The AMICO Library, has been asked for a modest revision of its budget - a signal that funding of this grant, to begin October 1, is quite likely. AMICO's portion of this grant is a modest $38,000 over two years. A revised budget will not affect the AMICO part of the budget.

    AMICO 1998/99 Operations The Executive Committee approved naming Jennifer Trant Executive Director, David Bearman, Director for Strategy & Research, and the hiring of a Coordinator for Member and Client services in August. A job description for that position was drafted and a position description advertised.

    Current operations continue under the budget adopted as an interim budget until the September 28 Executive Committee meeting.

    Library Access The Research Libraries Group turned on full testbed facility on schedule on August 24. At this time, all AMICO members but two have access; one tape of data corrections remains to be loaded and numerous data corrections still must be made by AMICO members.

    A&MI completed development of the public web site facility in August and prepared to turn it on, on schedule, September 1. Some AMICO members participated in load testing, and made suggestions for improvements to the interface design.

    Membership The Frick Collection and Research Library and the Whitney Museum of American Art were admitted to membership in August. These are the first two new members since membership opened in July. A concerted effort at recruiting membership is required in order to meet targets set in the 1998/99 budgets.

    A general new members information package was prepared and sent to the Whitney and the Frick.

    David Bearman and Jennifer Trant Archives & Museum Informatics

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


    AMICO received a ruling from the I.R.S. granting our application for 501 (c) 3 status.

    Staffing for AMICO was a priority following Executive Committee approval of a budget which permitted hiring. AMICO and Archives & Museum Informatics moved to new quarters in October. These facilities were in part selected because they include room for an expanding AMICO staff.

    Brad Dietrich, AMICO's new Technology Director, implemented a variety of upgrades to AMICO's hardware and software platforms in October.

    AMICO and its partner, IUPUI, were awarded funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to conduct an experiment in K-12 and public library distribution of The AMICO Library in the years 1999-2001. Planning for the project will now move forward with the advertisement for and hiring of a project director.

    Detailed Report:

    Archives & Museum Informatics hired two employees whose work will increasingly be devoted to AMICO and moved Jennifer Trant from a consulting relationship with AMICO to an employee relationship. The effect of these changes will be to give AMICO the staff support it needs, while reducing the costs to AMICO as compared to direct hiring of its own full-time staff. It is anticipated that these arrangements will remain in place for the remainder of this fiscal year, at which time all staff will be transferred fully to AMICO. For the remainder of this year, AMICO will be billed for services of its Executive Director, Member/Client Coordinator and Technical Director on a direct per diem basis depending on number of days (up to full time) that they devote to AMICO activity.

    The terms of an agreement with distributors to allow them to deliver The AMICO Library, and also to have The AMICO Library for a finite period in advance of offering a service in order to develop their application, were developed in the early months of AMICO's life and put up on the web site for discussion. Now we need to have these terms incorporated into a legal agreement so that contracts may be negotiated with potential 1999-2000 distributors. A draft has been turned over to Legal Counsel.

    AMICO Data Processing
    In conjunction with the move, the AMICO Public Web Site was upgraded. Significant numbers of users led us to move the database to a larger machine and different operating system and to install faster communications. Data processing on the Members web Site was improved dramatically as interactive editing of members contributions was introduced in October. Specifications for the interactive editing, validation, parsing and maintenance functions on the AMICO members web site were finalized and development of the full capabilities was scheduled. By the end of the month, interactive record editing was fully supported and documented and the framework and interface for other functions was available for member review.

    Discussions of the terms of AMICO indemnification and insurance, raised by LACMA and the Walker, continued to occupy time despite the Executive Committee decision in September. Many drafts of possible insurance and membership agreement terms were exchanged and reviewed by Counsel. Legal Counsel now has obtained all the changes suggested by members during the signing of these agreements and will consolidate them into a new form of agreement to be submitted for Board review in January. It is clear that in the future a single document outlining all terms of membership must be a non-negotiable element of joining AMICO since the effort involved in rewriting agreements is substantial.

    In an effort to bring new members "up to speed", Trant and Bearman conducted briefings at the Frick, Whitney and Library of Congress.

    University Testbed
    Some of the Universities began to use their testbeds and discussion began on the web site lists devoted to these experiments. Feedback began to be received by RLG about their application and The AMICO Library content.

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


    AMICO received its first check for royalties through RLG on behalf of the university testbed participants. Actual income exceeded the budget.

    At the Dublin Core metadata meetings early in November, ground was laid for AMICO metadata to co-exist with that of the publishing and rights holding communities. Towards the end of November, AMICO applied to become a member if the ISAAC Network, a test of distributed metadata exchange funded by NSF. Both endeavors will continue to ensure that AMICO metadata is widely distributed and interoperable.

    AMICO's framework for royalties and pricing of the 1999-2000 year library was introduced to potential distributors. Negotiations were commenced with an aim of having distribution agreements in place before the January 26 1999 Board meeting. A framework for negotiation between AMICO and the artists rights societies was approved by the Executive Committee and proposed to ARS and VAGA. Again the aim is to have terms for Board review in January. The Executive Committee approved conducting discussion with publishers of "Art 101" textbooks who had approached AMICO to index The AMICO Library to their texts; the framework assures that all agreements will be open and on the same terms and will cover AMICO's costs for indexing.

    Detailed Reports:

    Distributors/Subscription terms: AMICO management proposed to provide a pricing discount of 50% to distributors who agree to provide The AMICO Library to all of their members (or all members in a relevant category). The 1999-2000 "list" prices for The AMICO Library were proposed to be set at $0.25 per student to higher education, $0.10 per student to K-12 schools, and $0.01 per card holder to public libraries. Minimums and round-up quanta were left for discussion with the distributors but will probably be at least $1000 for higher education and $200 for schools and public libraries. No consortial discounts will be offered except to distributors, as noted above. Final prices will be set by the Board at its January meeting.

    Rights Societies: AMICO is seeking a blanket agreement with rights societies to document works of art by artists/estates whom they represent in return for a formula based royalty. This would acknowledge that AMICO earns income from the works of art and is willing to share its income with other rights holders while relieving AMICO members of the need to negotiate each work individually with each rights society. At the same time, it would establish the principle that educational uses of works and different than commercial uses, that limited and controlled access is different than public web site access, and that members use of works in their own educational programs is different than AMICO's use in its non-profit, but nevertheless income earning, product. A proposal has been made to ARS and VAGA to initiate discussions of terms for such a general agreement.

    Publishers: AMICO was approached by a publisher of one of the basic "Art 101" textbooks about obtaining links between their product and The AMICO Library. After consideration, AMICO management determined that such an arrangement could be beneficial to both the textbook publisher and AMICO. A method of making such links was envisioned - involving the hiring of graduate students in art history at a university that uses the text. Under the direction of a faculty member, these students would index The AMICO Library during each summer before it was released for classroom use in the fall. We envisioned that if such an arrangement could be made, and a publisher as willing to pay the costs, including some overhead to AMICO for administration of the program, we could treat it as a "grant" to AMICO. If a number of publishers could be attracted under the same terms, The AMICO Library would become much more

    Members: In response to requests from AMICO members for more guidance on information policies, Archives & Museum Informatics arranged with AMICO General Counsel Michael Shapiro to offer a workshop on museum information policies at the MW99 conference in New Orleans in March. AMICO members will be given free registration at the workshop (but must register in advance). Shapiro also wrote some copyright guidance to interpret the new "term extension" and Digital Millennium Copyright acts for AMICO's Members.

    University Testbed/University Museum participation: In response to inquiries from Harvard University, the Executive Committee decided that Universities which are subscribers to The AMICO Library are also entitled to provide access to their museums, but that the museums should be required (at no extra cost) to sign the separate, and more appropriate Museum Library Agreement. This does not make the museums members of AMICO, entitle them to contribute works or receive member benefits; in order to become members of AMICO, university museums must apply as regular members (as for example, the Davis has).

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


    New AMICO members began to contribute records for the 1999-2000 year, including 2 "rich" records per institution that are to become a test library for application developers. Although "declarations" of the contents of the 1999-2000 library were due from all members by the end of December, some had still not been received. AMICO is pushing for this information in order to make deadlines for developing literature to obtain subscribers for the library at conferences in late January and early February.

    Full functionality of the interactive data validation, parsing, editing and maintenance functions were made available to members. Records now have thumbnails created for them and are fully validated for online editing. Agreements are in place with RLG to provide weekly updates to the AMICO database in 1999.

    Negotiations with distributors led to agreement with the California Digital Library to develop an AMICO application in 1999. Negotiations of pricing and distribution terms continued with the Research Libraries Group and OhioLINK.

    Jennifer and David continued their practice of giving briefings to the staff's of member institutions whenever their travel schedules allowed. In December, full staff briefings were given at SF MOMA. Plans were made to brief staff at San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art in conjunction with the Board meeting in January.

    A Grant Proposal was submitted to the Getty Trust to fund focus group research with potential AMICO users at the VRA and CAA meetings in February. Preliminary plans were made for a conference on the University Testbed research to be held in June. Other research initiative of likely benefit to AMICO members were explored.

    Detailed Reports:

    Distributors: Meeting were held 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. An agreement that RLG will accept updates to AMICO records on a weekly basis will make ongoing addition to and revision of the Library smoother. RLG and AMICO briefed each other on their contacts with potential distributors and subscribers.

    Discussions with the California Digital Library resulted in a decision on their part to develop an AMICO application this spring and offer it to California universities next fall. Discussions with OhioLINK proceeded and both parties expect to reach agreement in time for the AMICO Board meeting in late January.

    Negotiations with the Artists Rights Society were quiescent, but we know that our proposal has been received and is under active consideration.

    AMICO was accepted as a partner in the ISAAC Network to test distributed metadata based searching of the Internet. If successful, this would have the effect of making individual works in The AMICO Library known to searchers in academic environments - bringing The AMICO Library to their attention as a resource.

    Users and Uses
    Discussions with Cornell University's Interactive Media Group which conducted the evaluation of "casual users" of MESL (those not showing/viewing MESL in a classroom), led to agreement that Cornell will conduct a similar analysis of users of The AMICO Library during the spring term of 1999.

    Needs of the IUPUI IMLS Project for a license to public libraries and K-12 institutions led to discussions of the AMICO Rights Committee on terms for such licenses. IUPUI advertised for a project director. Plans were made to hold meetings in Indianapolis with the Public Library and School Advisory Committees for the IUPUI/AMICO project in mid-January.

    University Testbed
    After a lively discussion on the AMICO User and Uses lists, it was decided to ask University Testbed participants for input into the 1999-2000 content selection process. It was agreed that their views/requests would not be considered binding on members, but also that it would be valuable to better understand what current users thought a proper balance of new resources would include.

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