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Art Museum Image Consortium (AMICO)
Founding Members Meeting

Art Institute of Chicago
September 22 - 23, 1997
Representatives of the founding members of AMICO met at the Art Institute of Chicago. They discussed a broad range of issues which required action before the formal establishment of the organization could be ratified by the AAMD Board of Trustees. The AMICO founding members reviewed the planning documents and accepted the overall framework as presented. Details of operations remain to be worked out, by a series of Working Committees, that were charged with agendas. Archives & Museum Informatics presented a proposal to support AMICO as management consultants through its start-up period. This must still be accepted by the AAMD. Critical Dates in the coming 6 months and a To Do List were agreed.
I. Decisions
- Membership
- Outreach
- Governance
- Distributors
- Content of the Library
II. Success Factors
- Quality of the Library
- Access
- Support
- Programs and Services
III. Working Committees
- Executive Committee and Board
- Technical Operations Committee
- Users and Uses Committee
- Rights Committee
IV. Possible Advisors
V. Role of Archives & Museum Informatics
VI. Critical Dates
VII. To Do by October 10, 1997


Among the decisions made by the group were:

A. Membership:
  • Founding membership will be closed at the organizations committing to AMICO and paying membership dues prior to the formal ratification of AMICO as an AAMD initiative, scheduled for October 14, 1997 in NYC. (Commitment letters and checks are due with the AAMD by close of business October 10 in order to provide time for coordination of a press release to be issued by all founding members).
  • Only founding members will participate in the "Testbed" project being launched now which will offer a library of digital object for university licensing in 1998/99.
  • New members are welcome to join AMICO at any point, but for logistical reasons they will neither participate in the Testbed project nor receive The AMICO Library in 1998/99. Instead they will begin to participate in 1998 in creation of data to be contributed for the Fall 99 AMICO Library.

B. Outreach:

  • Members determined that outreach to potential AMICO members and users was important and confirmed their commitment to open communication. All documents will be made public as soon as drafts were approved. The AMICO process will remain public. A service to analyze the data of potential members will be developed in order to provide them up-front assistance in joining AMICO.

C. Governance:

  • Members agreed that AMICO will initially be organized under the AAMD Educational Foundation (an existing 501 (c) 3) and that an acting executive committee will be appointed by Hugh Davies [the current AAMD President] to act for the AMICO Board until January 1998. In January 1998, at the AAMD Annual meeting in Los Angeles, the full AMICO Board [constituted of the Directors of Founding Members] will meet and make any further decisions about governance and elect its representatives. AMICO will be separately incorporated in 1998.
  • In order to guarantee stability of membership, institutions (rather than individuals) will be AMICO members. The membership of the Director of an AMICO organization in AAMD is not an essential condition to full membership in AMICO.

D. Distributors

  • AMICO will work with existing distributors to deliver its Library to target user groups, including the members. Distributors will be enabled to develop specific products suites by relating the library to other reference tools, creating 'slices' of Library for specific users, and developing particular user interfaces.
  • Distributors will operate under contract with AMICO, and will be granted a limited license to redistribute the Library. They will be responsible for managing and tracking user licenses and fees, and will share in income from fees.

E. Content of the Library

  • The members agreed that the quality and content of the Library will be what distinguishes AMICO from what is available on-line, or through locally sponsored projects. Concerns were voiced about how the Library will be created, particularly for the testbed, where there is a very short lead time. It will most likely be comprised of what is in existence or planned. However, it is desirable that the Library include "the Best' Museums have to offer, whether in terms of the works of art, or the documentation of them.
  • The size of the Library will be a significant factor in attracting university testbed participants and foundation funding. A survey of what is available will be conducted as soon as possible. In the longer term, AMICO needs to determine means of working with users to identify their needs and interests.

In a wide ranging discussion, members identified the following conditions which they felt were crucial to AMICO's success. These included the Quality of the Library, Access, Support and AMICO Programs and Services.

A. Quality of the Library:

The AMICO Library needs to:

  • be integrated (across contributing institutions and data types)
  • have breadth (but until it is quite comprehensive it must document what can be found by users)
  • include the "best" representation of each work available to the museum, e.g.:
    • deep data of different types
    • authority of information
    • currency of information
    • high quality of images

B. Access:

It was anticipated that AMICO users would value:

  • flexible delivery and terms of use
  • assurances of the continuity of the library and its continued development over time (completeness of content)
  • ease of administration
  • ease of use
    • in teaching
    • across distributors
  • simply searched but powerful
  • affordable pricing structures

C. Support:

Members felt that AMICO and its distributors should provide:

  • outreach to users
  • direct user to AMICO communication [not just filtered through distributor]
  • examples of how to use the AMICO content in teaching situations/scenarios
  • user training and support
  • a means for scholarly commentary and communication back to the museum
  • consistency of experience across the Library
  • Truth in Advertising

D. AMICO Programs and Services:

In addition, members felt that AMICO would have greatest value if it pursued:

  • Interdisciplinary resource materials
  • Internationalism
  • Implementable, stable, market sensitive standards that members could use
  • Services that are of value to members
  • Mechanisms to ensure user input into service development


Members established three working committees, and agreed that an Executive Committee of the Board would be responsible for overall administration.

AMICO Committee Structure

These four groups were assigned the following charges and tasks:

A. Executive Committee & Board

Charge: define management clearly and govern operations

1. Tasks:

  • incorporate AMICO
  • establish bylaws
  • develop business plan
  • budgets
  • fundraising strategies
  • Testbed projects
  • operations
  • specific content development
  • operational structure
    • job descriptions and staffing
    • relations with AAMD
    • communications within and outside
    • partnering with technology and international exchange
    • selection of distributor and signing of contract
  • legal review
    • licenses
    • organization/bylaws
    • contracts
2. Documents to Author:
  • invoice for dues
  • budget
  • bylaws
  • incorporation terms
  • job descriptions
  • funding proposals
  • communications plans
  • contracts with distributors, enhancers, Testbed participants
3. Membership:

To be appointed by AAMD President Hugh Davies before October 13, 1997

B. Technical Operations Committee

Charge: Define standards for the collection and distribution of The AMICO Library

1. Tasks:

  • test data and image set
    • specify
    • collect data
    • analyze
  • AMICO Data specification [into AMICO] for all media, fielded text free text image, motion video, sound etc.
  • Distributor Specification [out of AMICO]
  • Data Enhancement Specification
  • public Catalogue Specification, host and support
  • information processing flow [methods for collection, enhancement and distribution]
  • requirements for user interface and tools
    • multi-lingualism
    • software tools
  • national and international standards representation
2. Documents to Author:
  • watermark and authentication recommendations
  • museum data contribution standards
  • data delivery agreements with distributors and enhancers
  • specification for public catalogue site
  • specification for enhancers
  • spec for distributors
  • data test specification
  • image specification
3. Membership:

[open until October 10, for all members to name representatives if desired]

  • Sam Quigley, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • Marc Mayer, Albright-Knox Gallery
  • Randy Patch, Art Gallery of Ontario
  • Alan Newman, Art Institute of Chicago
  • Thorny Staples, National Museum of American Art
  • Robin Dowden, Walker Art Center
  • Arthur Tisi, Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Scott Sayre, Minneapolis Institute of Art
  • Marla Masunis, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  • Bill Weinstein, Philadelphia Museum of Art
C. Users and Uses Committee

Charge: Identify audiences for AMICO Library and articulate their needs

1. Tasks:

  • University Testbed Project
  • call for participation
  • needs and interests of users
  • criteria for selection
  • evaluation needs and plans
  • Distributor requirements
  • review product definitions
  • identify user requirements with distributor
  • service criteria
  • public library needs and interests
  • K-12 needs and interests
  • museum educators needs and interests
2. Documents to Author:
  • Call for participation in the Testbed
    • Testbed objectives
    • evaluation criteria for Testbed proposals
  • user requirements for access points and indexing
  • user requirements for public site
  • product descriptions
3. Membership:

[open until October 10, for all members to name representatives if desired]

  • Peter Walsh, Davis Museum and Cultural Center
  • Diana Folsom, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
  • Stephanie Stebich, Cleveland Museum of Art
  • Susan Chun, Asia Society Galleries
  • Steve Dietz, Walker Art Center
  • Kent Lydecker, Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Nancy Allen, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
D. Rights Committee

Charge: define AMICO's licensing frameworks

[open until October 10, for all members to name representatives if desired]

1. Tasks:

2. Documents to Author:
  • license to AMICO
  • License with artists
  • legal form of license with universities and museums
  • value statements [like the current University and Museum License Frameworks] for
    • public libraries
    • K-12
3. Membership:

[open until October 10, for all members to name representatives if desired]

  • Julie Zeftel, Art Institute of Chicago
  • Rachel Allen, National Museum of American Art
  • Charles Castle, San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Jennifer Small, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  • Terry Pitts, Center for Creative Photography

Members discussed the benefits of involving some outsiders with special understanding of what AMICO needed to do and whom AMICO needed to reach on an informal advisory group. The group might never meet as such, but individuals could be contacted for assistance and rewarded by recognizing their contribution as advisors. Among those proposed, and the process was left open for further nominations and ultimate decision by the executive committee, were:

  • Derek de Kerckhove, McLuhan Program, University of Toronto
  • John Vaughan, American Society of University Presidents / Stanford University
  • David Green, NINCH
  • Mary Levering, US Copyright Office
  • Clifford Lynch, Coalition for Networked Information
  • Nancy Macko [or someone within CAA Intellectual Property/Electronic Information Committee]
  • Linda Roberts, Department of Education
  • Sheldon Fisher, Department of Education
  • Stephen Weil, Smithsonian Institution
  • Neil Harris, Art Historian, University of Chicago
  • Jules Prown, Art Historian, Yale University
  • Greg Crane, Art Historian, Tufts University
  • Ron Johnston, University of Washington VP/Provost
  • Peter Lyman, University of California, Berkeley
  • Howard Besser, University of California, Berkeley
  • Pamela Samuelson, University of California, Berkeley
  • Joe Lewis, Cal State Northridge
  • Ed Paschke, Chicago
  • Doug Rowan, Corbis ?
  • Robbie McClintock, ILT, Columbia University, New York
  • Esther Dyson, Release I.0, NYC
  • Tim Burners Lee, WC3
  • Czeslaw Jan Grycz

David Bearman and Jennifer Trant presented their proposal submitted to the AAMD to facilitate the planning and administration of AMICO, through a three year phased start-up. At the end of this time, A&MI would withdraw completely, having established AMICO as an independently operating not-for-profit corporation with a permanent staff, operating procedures and a schedule for becoming completely self-financing.

A detailed task list was presented for Year I, that included Organizational, Operational and Strategic activities, and that offered a level of support to AMICO similar to that available in its planning phase. If accepted by the AAMD, this proposal would enable A&MI to staff the AMICO Working Committees, develop relationships with distributors, design and negotiate the implementation of data enhancement plans, and assist in fundraising. Working methods would be similar to those used successfully in the planning phase. Full details are available in the proposal circulated at the meeting.


A forward schedule of AMICO Activities was reviewed and revised. Members also discussed plans for activity around upcoming meetings of professional societies, using these both as opportunities for representatives to work on Committee tasks and as times to present AMICO and its work to others. Meeting where a core group is already assembled with help limit travel expenses and use our time as efficiently as possible.

Upcoming AMICO Dates [to be merged with the AMICO Timeline]:
Date Time AMICO Group Place/Mtg. Subject
Oct. 10 by 5:00 pm EDT Members NYC/AAMD All checks & letters of commitment due
Oct. 13 7:00 - 9:00 pm. Exec. Ctte NYC @ AAMD Trustees Governance mtg.
Oct. 14 TBA Exec. Ctte & AAM Trustees NYC/AAMD Trustees Formal adoption
Oct. 15 3:00 - 6:00 Users St. Louis @ MCN Discuss University Testbed & Call for Participation
Oct. 18 8:00 - 10:00 Intellectual Property Breakfast St. Louis @ MCN
Nancy Allen represents AMICO
Oct. 18 10:30-12:00 Presentation St. Louis @ MCN

Session on AMICO - Max, Jennifer, David
Oct. 18 1:30-6:30 Tech Ctte St. Louis @ MCN Discuss Distributor and Enhancer Requirements
Oct. 26 9:00 - 12:30 Uses Minneapolis @ CNI Introduce Testbed to potential participants
Oct. 27 TBA Presentation Minneapolis, @ CNI
Session on AMICO Jennifer, David
January 28 TBA Full Board LA @ AAMD Elect Exec. And act on all Business
February [25-28] TBA Users Toronto @ CAA
Focus Group of end users
March 3-7 TBA Presentation Philadelphia @ VRA/ARLIS
Nancy Allen paper
March [TBA] TBA Users Washington DC @ CNI Testbed Participants Announced
May [14-18] TBA Presentation Los Angeles @ AAM
Session on AMICO, Max, Jennifer, David
June [4-6] TBA Board Worchester, MA @ AAMD new member plans and staffing


Before leaving the meeting, members made concrete assignments to themselves of work to be completed in the very near future, including (by Oct. 10, 1997).

TO DO by Oct. 10, 1997

A. Name Representatives for AMICO

  • Provide Name, Job Title, and Full Contact information (mail, phone, fax, email) for:
    • Principal AMICO Contact [to be copied on all reports etc. to Director]
    • Technical Operations Committee
    • Users and Uses Committee
    • Rights Committee

  • Choose a total of 10 objects in your collection
    • Select at least one "typical" record. Indicate which one this is.
    • Select the other records to reflect the fullest depth and the most different data types that you could provide. Indicate whether any such data could be available for the testbed year. (It would be very desirable to have as wide a range as possible for the testbed).

  • Export all the data you are willing to contribute to AMICO about this work from your local systems
    • Do not change the structure of your database records [Include your fields as you have them.]
    • Save the files in a format that is as standard as possible without losing any meaning or structure in your data content
      • Database files in DIF or tab/Comma delimited ASCII rather than in their own software export format
      • Word processing files should be saved as.RTF not ASCII,
      • Images should be sent as uncompressed files

  • Put the data on floppy disk (1.4MB), Zip Cartridge (100MB) or Syquest cartridge (up to 200MB)

  • Include a hardcopy list of all data files sent:
    • file names and note about why you've selected this work, or included this file
    • documentation of the data types supplied, including details about file formats so we can read them!

  • Include a list of the fields extracted from your database, along with copies of any documentation that is available about your local database structure, cataloguing procedures, or the format of data that you collect

  • Include any guidelines you have developed for image capture or description, including file naming conventions.

  • Send the Test Data Package to arrive by October 10, 1997 to:
    Archives & Museum Informatics
    5501 Walnut St., #203
    Pittsburgh, PA

C. Identify contributions for Testbed project

  • Provide list of total number of works to be contributed with breakdown:
    • For western art: # of ancient, medieval, Renaissance, 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th centuries by country
    • For non-western art, the civilization and its own large time periods can be used

  • Note that for the beginning of the year, we will need to know the full profile of the test dataset:
    • # of works with fielded text and image
    • # of works that also have free text documents
    • # of works that also have structured texts [marked up in SGML for example]
    • # of works that also have bitmaps of documents
    • # of works that also have multiple images, other than normal light images
    • # of works that also have Quicktime™/video files
    • # of works that also have sound files
    • # of works that also have motion video plus sound

D. Museum Fundraising Profile [in both electronic form and hardcopy]

  • One page description of the museum and its collection
  • Letter of support for AMICO from Director, stating benefits of participating in the Consortium
  • biographical paragraphs for AMICO Contact and each Committee representative

E. Press Release for simultaneous issue on Oct. 14

  • Standard text will be drafted by the AAMD office.
  • This may be customized by each institution.
  • The AAMD release, and the founding documents, will include ONLY THOSE MUSEUMS whose checks AND letter of commitment have been received in the AAMD offices by October 10. (Invoices have now been sent from the AAMD office.)

D. Bearman and J. Trant
Archives & Museum Informatics
September 25, 1997

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