Katie, Zelda, Penny, Deb, Cachet, Cheryl, Sharon, and Rick were present. Dan and David were absent, and Kim Charlson was present as a guest presenter.
Approval of December Minutes
Minutes from the December meeting were unanimously approved following the motion from Zelda and a second from Cheryl.
Public’s Point of View
Mary Haroyan asked if ACB has been able to make progress with Constant Contact regarding their lack of compliance with WCAG accessibility guidelines with respect to the messages which they distribute for ACB, i.e., e-mailed messages are not formatted to include headings for ease of navigation.
Deb responded that ACB has been negotiating with Constant Contact, but she is unaware of the status of those negotiations. She and Katie will ask for an update and report back to the BOP at our next meeting.
ACB Media Updates
Rick shared these interesting statistics for December:
During December, Media 1 reported 3,748 listener hours; Media 3 (Treasure Trove) reported 3,125 listener hours; Media 5 (community) reported 3,848 (including the Community-A-Thon) listener hours; Media 6 (special events) 227 listener hours. Media 4 (where we featured Christmas programming, including Santa and Mrs. Claus) was well received. Rick says that these numbers are easily two to three times higher than they were a year ago (before we were able to collect hard statistics) – the trend is in the right direction!
Rick said that Treasure Trove continues to attract a significant number of listeners. When things go wrong, complaints will follow, and Rick told Sharon that he had just handled a complaint from a person who complains frequently.
Rick expressed disappointment that Media 10 (where we have been streaming the Braille Forum) had only 122 listener hours during December.
BOP members recommended promoting Media 10’s inclusion of the Braille Forum in Dots and Dashes, within the Forum, itself, at the end of the daily Community schedule, and possibly on announcements which are aired in-between programming on other channels.
Harmonizing scheduled events on all of the ACB calendars is an ongoing goal and priority.
Two full-time employment opportunities with ACB Media were expected to be posted later in the week, as well as a contracted position.
Rick said that he is in the process of developing media milestones for the next six months. He will review those milestones with Jennifer Flatt, and share the proposed plan with the BOP at the next meeting.
He has written an RFP for the Audio-visual equipment that will be required for the hybrid national convention.
ACB Media continues to have a goal of developing criteria for evaluating content for streaming. Over time, the issue has taken on somewhat less urgency because (Rick and Deb agreed) at least 90 percent of content presented on community calls is perfectly appropriate for streaming.
Rick expects to prepare a document outlining criteria for streaming and to make it available for the BOP to review and evaluate for our next (February 1) meeting.
ACB Braille Forum Report
Sharon submitted the following report:
Editor’s Report, January 2022
Issue type: electronic
Page count: 96
Email distributed: 5,007
Email bounces: 91
Email unsubscribes: 1
Email spam reports: 0
Email return rate: 1.8%
Email received: 4,916
Issue type: hard-copy
Page count: 80
Braille distributed: 650
Large print distributed: 2,159
Cartridge distributed: TBA
Email distributed: 4,998
Issue type: electronic
Page count: 96
Email to be distributed: TBA
Deadlines for the Next Issues
March 2022 (hard-copy): ACB Women’s Committee; January 24th
April 2022 (electronic): Multi-Cultural Affairs Committee, February 23rd
... … …
Right now I’m working on the February E-Forum, hoping to get the issue out tomorrow or Thursday. I didn’t get as many articles as I’d hoped for the issue, but the Judy Dixon piece is amazing.
I continue to work on cleaning up and modernizing old issues of the Forum to current large print standards, and organizing them on our Sharepoint drive (at the moment, from the 1990s through today). I’m including Word, text, Duxbury and BRF file formats in the Forum folders on Sharepoint. I am working my way through 2013. The years 2000-2012 are done - Word, text and braille. For some issues, I even have the articles as separate Word or text files. Once I’ve gotten through the 2020s, I will start on 1990-1999, and work backward from there.
I updated the Job Connection in late December. Jobs continue to come in, sometimes a little at a time, sometimes a whole boatload all at once.
I am working with Clark and Swatha on getting the Washington Connection updated.
I continue to work with the archives committee and Kim Charlson on preserving and digitizing old recordings and documents from ACB events, such as conventions, board meetings, leadership seminars, legislative seminars and affiliate presidents’ meetings, etc. The subcommittees (one for audio, one for visual) met in December, and the visual group divided among its members the responsibility for archiving the board minutes for the last 10 years.
I’ve also been working with the awards committee. We have a meeting Thursday evening, and committee members will be on Tuesday Topics January 11th to talk about a few of the awards, the nominations process, etc.
My surgery was a success. They were able to remove the entire polyp - and it was benign. Whew! I feel better than I’ve felt in months.
Sharon Lovering, Editor
American Council of the Blind
Braille Forum Cartridge Discussion
The BOP had invited Kim Charlson to come and talk about cartridges, i.e., the process for returning them, the number that are not returned, the number of people who can become unsubscribed as a result, and so on.
Kim explained that Perkins has a ceiling of 3 issues out – which means if a subscriber is holding onto 3 cartridges (without returning them), they will not be receiving the next issue.
As of the final week in 2021, there were 796 active subscribers to the cartridge edition.
258 subscribers have 0 or 1 issue out.
157 subscribers have 2 issues out.
341 subscribers have 3 issues out. The circulation system will block those subscribers from receiving the next issue until they return one or more cartridges.
When they return a cartridge, the system prints a card for them for the next issue which they are in line to receive.
There is a recorded message at the end of each cartridge that reminds subscribers to return the cartridge once they have finished reading an issue.
Quarterly, Perkins sends out a letter, formatted in large print, to people who have 2 or 3 issues out, to remind them that they will need to send their cartridges back in order to continue receiving next issues. The letter also reminds subscribers that they can change the format they are currently receiving and reminds them how to do that, as well.
During a production run for a new monthly issue, on average, Perkins duplicates between 450 and 500 cartridges and then they mail those out.
Perkins doesn’t remove anyone from the subscription list unless Sharon tells them to, or Perkins receives a communication from a subscriber or their family, instructing them to remove a subscriber from the list. When Perkins receives such a notification, they communicate directly with Sharon – to coordinate subscribers lists, and Sharon does the same for Perkins.
In November, ACB purchased 200 additional cartridges (for a cost of $6.25 apiece). These will serve as a buffer supply if needed. New cartridges are printed with the ACB logo and also include a braille label.
Kim said that the approximately 5 percent of cartridges that are lost is actually a little better than the 8 percent rate for other kinds of library products that never come back.
If subscribers are still holding onto 3 cartridges after a year, it’s unlikely that they will come back.
Overall, it appears that Perkins and ACB have been vigilant about reminding subscribers to return cartridges and keeping track of how many are not being returned and who may have fallen off the subscribers’ list.
Kim confirmed to the BOP that cartridges are locked and one needs specific software – available only from the library – to unlock them, so, although some worried that a person might keep a cartridge because of its value as a device for storing other kinds of digital information, it appears that this is not actually likely.
Kim’s presentation confirmed for the BOP that the rate of delinquency in returning Braille Forum cartridges is not the significant problem we had worry it might be. Over time, most cartridges are being returned – sometimes more slowly than might be wished – and few subscribers are falling off the cartridge subscribers list.
Braille Forum Themes
In April, the Multicultural Affairs Committee is contributing content for the ACB Braille Forum.
Deb reported that Independent Visually Impaired Entrepreneurs (IVIE) has volunteered to adopt a month. Sharon suggested, and the BOP agreed, to designate May as the month for IVIE. Katie will contact Ron Brooks to let him know. The deadline will be March 25.
June will focus on convention. We can make July a potpourri issue.
Sharon has been sharing monthly themes and deadlines on ACB’s various e-mail discussion lists. She will also share with the ACB Community Facebook group and Twitter feed.
Katie has been working with the ACB Awards Committee to develop criteria for submitting nominations. She will join the committee on Tuesday Topics, VisAbilities, and elsewhere, to encourage more members to participate in the awards process.
We can also promote awards at the presidents’ meeting during the DC Leadership Conference.
Large Print Guidelines
Zelda reviewed the history of the large print guidelines we are currently using for ACB publications. In 2017, with Citizens with Low Vision, International (CCLVI) input, the BOP conducted a survey at convention to collect data from people who rely on large print regarding their preferences for the large print standards that ACB should adopt. Three members from CCLVI were instrumental in assisting the BOP to develop the guidelines we are using today.
The CCLVI Publications Committee has recommended revised large print standards to CCLVI, the organization has adopted them, and CCLVI is now recommended to the BOP that we promulgate these standards for ACB publications as well. Zelda has shared the document with the BOP on our e-mail discussion list, and CCLVI Publications Committee Chair, Melanie Alt sinohui, was also present at the BOP meeting to share information on the proposed standards and respond to questions.
BOP members greeted this development with enthusiasm and discussion proceeded as to how to vet the newly proposed guidelines to solicit members’ feedback.
The BOP decided to announce the proposed change in guidelines in an article in the Braille Forum, and to print that article in conformance with the proposed standards. We will ask readers to let us know if they don’t like the new format. Melanie said that the CCLVI Publications Committee had followed that exact process with the CCLVI newsletter. From the 88 subscribers who received and could evaluate the sample which was included in their October newsletter, they received no negative feedback.
Melanie will share a copy of the October CCLVI newsletter with Sharon, and plans are underway to include the article and solicit feedback from people who subscribe to the Forum in large print in the March issue.
Only people who are large print subscribers will be receiving the sample copy which will be included within the pages of the magazine they receive. People who are e-mail subscribers will not see the hard-copy sample, and therefore, will not be expected to evaluate or comment on the readability of the print.
We will include discussion of this issue on the agenda for our February meeting and let editors know about the coming article and sample in the Forum, and possibly inform members attending the presidents’ meeting as well.
The Blog Process
BOP members agree that the process we developed for managing blog submissions has worked well. Zelda will take the lead as the first person to review new submissions during January, and Penny will go second. Penny will become the lead in February, and Cheryl will go second.
The February BOP meeting will convene on February 1, at 9 p.m. Eastern. There will be a new Zoom link because we are moving the meeting to ACB’s Zoom account. The meeting adjourned at 11:15 p.m.