Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Digital Scriptorium April News

Digital Scriptorium
April News
Wednesday 26 April 2017

Devonshire Chaucer, Beinecke Library, Takamiya Deposit MS 24, England, 1440-1460.

Like Chaucer’s pilgrims, many of us consider April as the month to say goodbye to winter and make travel plans. So the DS Board of Directors would like to invite all our Members, Associates, Advisory Council, and friends to the next annual meeting, to be hosted by E.C. Schroeder and the Beinecke Library on Thursday 05 October 2017. The all-day meeting on Thursday will be followed by a two-day conference about the Takamiya Collection of British manuscripts, October 6-7, to be held in conjunction with the exhibition Making the English Book: the Takamiya Deposit at the Beinecke Library. In addition to a chance to view this exhibition, the DS meeting will include a presentation of the manuscript collections of The Ohio State University by Eric Johnson. 

Japanese orihon bindings at CODEX book fair, February 2017.
The DS Board of Directors (formerly known as the Executive Committee) will meet at the Beinecke on the day before the annual meeting on Wednesday 04 October 2017. The Board held their semi-annual meeting (a new but already valued tradition) on Friday 10 February 2017, at the Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley. The meeting was scheduled to coincide with two important book fairs, the California International Antiquarian Book Fair, which included many displays of medieval manuscripts, and CODEX, which focused  especially on artists' printed books.  

Besides attending the book fairs the Board was offered a tour of the Bancroft Library by Professor Elaine Tennant, Director of the Bancroft, and David Faulds, Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts and DS contact person. The current Bancroft exhibitions included a recently discovered letter signed by Dr. FĂ©lix Rey, which contains a verbal description and detailed sketch of Van Gogh’s self-inflicted amputation of his ear. David assisted author Bernadette Murphy in locating the letter among the Bancroft’s papers of Irving Stone, who wrote Lust for Life, a biographical novel about Van Gogh published in 1934. For more details see Murphy’s book, Van Gogh’s Ear (NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016).

The business of the Board meeting on February 10th was conducted in two sessions, governance in the morning and technology in the afternoon. Governance business included the draft of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for DS Members and Associates, in order to establish in writing the basic parameters of institutional participation in the consortium. This document is not intended as a contract but rather to summarize some of our new organizational arrangements for existing participants as well as to help new participants with practical concerns. The MOU is posted on the DS “About” web pages, under “Governance.” We ask all participants to please give their attention to the MOU and keep a copy of it in their files. 

The technology business at the February 10th meeting included a presentation of IIIF technology by Benjamin Albritton of Stanford University Libraries. Ben has been instrumental in organizing the international IIIF Community Manuscripts Group. Individuals interested in IIIF technology may want to attend the 2017 IIIF Vatican Conference, to be held on 5-9 June 2017. Lynne Grigsby also gave a report about the new DS metadata template and recent enhancements to the DS online catalog, including larger thumbnails and faceted search filters by Language, Century, and Country. 

The Board also decided to offer a survey to send to the DS mailing list in order to assess user preferences for future development of the database. The complete minutes of the Board of Directors meeting are posted on the “Governance” page, next to the DS Bylaws.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Digital Scriptorium

December News

We have great news to share with our members, associates, and friends, and just in time for the holidays! Since last February the Board of Directors has been working on the reorganization of DS in order to become a tax-exempt non-profit organization. After extensive work on the Mission Statement and Bylaws, we sought out legal support from Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts in St. Louis. VLAA assigned to us a pro-bono lawyer who revised the Bylaws to make them legally sound. The new Bylaws were approved by the membership at the annual meeting at Harvard's Houghton Library on 23 September 2016. Since then we have filed Articles of Incorporation as a non-profit organization, and these have been certified by the State of Missouri.

 Not all non-profits are tax exempt, so after we officially became a non-profit, we still needed to seek tax-exempt status with the IRS. Tax exempt status is only granted to organizations dedicated to altruistic purposes defined by statutory categories: 1) religious, 2) scientific, 3) charitable, 4) public safety, 5) literary, 6) educational, 7) sports, 8) protection of children or animals. Like most museum and libraries, DS falls under the exemption for organizations with an educational purpose. So after filing the 1023-EZ form with the IRS, on12 Dec 2016 we received the letter granting us tax-exempt status under Section 501c3 of the Internal Revenue Code. Many thanks to the VLAA, the DS Board, the Advisory Council, and the growing DS membership!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Annual Meeting of Digital Scriptorium, Houghton Library, Harvard University, 23 September 2016
(photos by Matthew Heintzelman)

Digital Scriptorium
October News
On Friday September 23, 2016 Digital Scriptorium held its annual all-day meeting of the membership at Houghton Library, Harvard University, in Cambridge, MA. The annual meeting this year was exciting for several reasons:
1.       It coincided with the opening of the Beyond Words exhibition of illuminated manuscripts in Boston area collections, held at three separate venues: Harvard, Boston College, and the Gardner Museum.
2.       The same Beyond Words exhibition helped to encourage interest in DS membership among Boston institutions.  At the meeting:
·         Tufts University officially joined DS
·         New York Academy of Medicine became a non-voting Associate
·         Wellesley College sent a representative who attended as a potential member
3.       DS members approved new Bylaws, Articles of Incorporation, and a legal Action of the Board to incorporate DS as a 501c3 tax-exempt organization. This means that DS will soon be eligible to receive tax-deductible donations, apply for government supported grants, and operate as an independent non-profit organization with all the legal protections and privileges that status incurs. We are grateful to the St. Louis based Volunteer Lawyers and Accountants for the Arts who assigned to us a pro-bono corporate lawyer to help us through the requirements of non-profit organization.
Presentations were made about:
·         new cataloging and research tools implemented at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library
·         new appointments and tasks for the DS Advisory Council
·         progress made on the Broken Books project
·         the Digging into Data Challenge and the possibilities of CC0 licensing of DS records
·         the potential for use of authority control of names,
·         a membership strategy based on regional analysis of the Conway-Davis directory and inspired by the Digital Public Library of America.

In attendance were: Christopher Barbour (Tufts), Debra Cashion (Saint Louis U), Lisa Fagin Davis (Medieval Academy), Consuelo Dutschke (Columbia), Lynne Grigsby (UC Berkeley), Matthew Heintzelmann (Hill Museum and Manuscript Library), Janine Pollock (Free Library Philadelphia), Ruth Rogers (Wellesley), E.C. Schroeder (Yale), Barbara Shailor (Yale), William Stoneman (Harvard), Elizabeth Teviotdale (Western Michigan), Vanessa Wilkie (Huntington), Cherry Williams (UC Riverside). Lynn Ransom (UPenn) was absent due to illness.

DS Board of Directors with signed Action of the Board to incorporate as a tax-exempt 501c3 non-profit. From left to right: Janine Pollock (Deputy Director), E.C. Schroeder (Treasurer), Vanessa Wilkie (Director At Large), Consuelo Dutschke (Director at Large), Debra Cashion (Executive Director), Cherry Williams (Director at Large).