Meeting Minutes, June 6, 2023
The public meeting of the Board of Publications was preceded by a short executive session. All BOP members, as well as ACB President, Deb Cook Lewis, were present. Personnel matters were discussed, and no actions were taken. The public portion of the meeting then commenced at approximately 8:25 p.m. Eastern. All BOP members were present, as well as Sharon Lovering, editor, and Rick Morin, who provided an ACB Media update, and Cecily Nipper, who streamed the meeting.
Welcome and Review of Agenda
Katie called the meeting to order. The agenda had been distributed to BOP and ACB members earlier in the day, and there were no additions or corrections.
Approval of May Minutes
Zelda made a motion to approve the minutes from the May BOP meeting, Cachet seconded the motion, and the minutes were approved unanimously, without additions or corrections.
Public’s Point of View
There were no comments or questions from members of the public.
Sharon had provided the following report via the BOP e-mail list:
Editor’s Report June 2023
Issue type: hard copy
Page count: 48
Braille distributed: 507
Braille returned: 3
Braille return rate: 0.6%
Braille received: 504
Cartridge distributed: 394
Large print distributed: 2,154
Large print returned: 5
Large print return rate: 1.9%
Large print received: 2,149
Email distributed: 5,359
Email bounces: 92
Spam reports: 1
Return rate: 1.72%
Electronic received: 5,267
Issue type: electronic
Page count: 64
Email distributed: 5,434
Issue type: hard copy
Page count: 48
Braille to be distributed: 502
Cartridge to be distributed: TBA
Large print to be distributed: 2,151
Email to be distributed: TBA
Deadlines for the Next Issues
August 2023: travel; deadline: June 23, 2023
September 2023: convention wrap-up issue; deadline: July 24, 2023
October 2023: employment/training/voc rehab/white cane day – are we still doing the same things to find jobs that we did in the ‘70s?; deadline: August 25, 2023
I continue to work with the history and oral archives committee on preserving and digitizing old recordings and documents from ACB events, and identifying people in photos. As part of that work, I am cleaning up and modernizing old issues of the Forum to the large print standards and organizing them on our Sharepoint drive. I’m including Word, text, and BRF file formats in the Forum folders on Sharepoint. I’ve completed 1982 and 1983 issues, and uploaded them. I’m currently working my way through 1984, and uploaded what I’ve done so far. Michael Byington is putting together a package of the large print issues he has from the early years and sending it to me when it’s ready. And the UNC-Wilmington librarian is assisting by scanning the 1985 through 1989 issues, as she has time. These two should make this process much easier!
I continue to record the Washington Connection, and some of the other boxes on our phone system, such as the national convention box, the scholarship information, and the state convention box. For the next couple of weeks, I am also recording the Community Calls information onto our phone system, while Kolby is at guide dog school.
Sharon Lovering, Editor
American Council of the Blind
Sharon added that the number of people who subscribe to the braille format has decreased. The number of e-mail subscribers continues to increase, and the number of large-print subscribers has increased slightly.
We have themes for every issue of the ACB Braille Forum through the end of the year. At our next meeting, we will begin to think about themes for 2024, beginning with the January issue.
Zelda proposed that we wait to schedule the next editors’ workshop until September. The BOP agreed, and that meeting will take place on the 8th of September.
ACB 2023 Conference and Convention
Katie reminded BOP members of the schedule for events which will involve the BOP. The Candidates’ Forum is scheduled for June 14. The BOP Mix and Mingle event is scheduled for Sunday, July 2.
Sharon will arrive in Schaumburg on Wednesday, June 28, and she will be preparing, printing and brailling the first convention newspaper on Thursday, June 29. Sharon will let BOP members who can attend convention in-person know where and how they can help in the Communications Center.
Katie asked members who will be in Schaumburg to let her know if they want to present either of the BOP awards at the banquet.
Katie announced that after having served as Chair of the BOP for the last two years, and having participated in BOP meetings for possibly as many as eight years, she has decided to resign as chair of the Board of Publications. She explained that she plans to continue to assist with ACB publications, but because her work responsibilities have increased, it just makes sense for her to give up serving as BOP chair now.
The newly elected president of ACB will have the responsibility of appointing a new chairperson immediately following their election. Deb said that there is a reasonable likelihood that there will be an opening for one Board of Publications board position in the coming year. It was the consensus of the board that she should announce that possibility to the members of ACB and urge members who may decide to run to fill that possible vacancy to let her know so that they can participate in the candidates’ forum. She planned to make that announcement the next morning.
Deb and every BOP member at the meeting thanked Katie for her service on the BOP and for how well she has managed our meetings and our work during her chairpersonship. We wish her well with the added responsibilities of her job and with her future involvement within ACB.
ACB Media Report
Rick told the BOP that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be a featured theme at this year’s convention, not only as a topic covered by several affiliates during their convention programs, but as a convenient application which ACB Media will be using to inform convention attendees. ACB Media has already employed Eleven Labs, an AI application, to read and record some of the resolutions, and they are very pleased with the quality of the app’s synthesized voice (called Adam) and its text-to-speech capability. They will probably use the same AI application to record proposed bylaw amendments, convention standing rules, and remaining resolutions.
We will use one of the Microsoft read-aloud voices again this year to provide the daily convention newspaper on ACB Media Channel 10.
During convention, Bryn Lee will be managing the ALDs. Dennis Becker will be managing all of the videography for convention general sessions, Doug Hunsinger will be managing recordings of all of the break-out room sessions that are not hybrid, and these recordings will become podcasts. Ryan Cordell will be handling all of the audio for convention. Rick said that he feels good about the team’s collective capability, and Cheryl congratulated ACB Media for assembling a team with so much obvious expertise.
Rick had distributed a statistical report covering listener hours and podcast downloads during the month of May, via the BOP e-mail list. He said that the trends we have been observing over the last several months continue. Treasure Trove continues to garner the greatest number of listener hours. Despite the fact that there’s only one new episode each month, MainStream comes in as third with respect to number of listener hours.
Looking at trending data for the year, it appears that ACB Media will have gotten 300,000 podcasts up online by the end of this year.
He said that Larry and Joyce and Cecily continue to put in lots of very productive time getting podcasts up online very quickly.
He expressed his surprise that podcasts from 2022 convention sessions continue to be downloaded almost a year after that convention ended. Convention 2022 podcasts represent the fourth most frequently downloaded podcasts.
Because of circumstances outside our control, the effort to address formatting issues with respect to the community schedule daily e-mail messages will probably not be happening until after convention, but it remains on Cindy’s and the BOP’s to-do list.
Zelda reached out to Peter Altschul regarding formatting problems that occur within employment announcement e-mail messages. Peter said that he does not have the skill to insert headings. This leads the BOP to consider providing some training via the ACB Community, on formatting for any ACB members who are interested in acquiring skills in this area, possibly during coming months.
Deb said that, beginning with official written communications regarding the 2023 convention, it is one goal of ACB to assure that all ACB written communications adhere to best practices with respect to formatting and accessibility. Kelly Gasque will oversee ACB’s official communications with respect to the upcoming convention. (This will hopefully mean that all e-mails announcing which program sessions are scheduled for upcoming periods of time will be coming from only one source and will follow guidelines assuring ease of readability.)
The June 6 meeting of the Board of Publications adjourned at 9:12 p.m. Eastern. There will be no meeting in July. The next BOP meeting is scheduled for August 1, beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern.