Call to Order and Introductions
Deb called the October meeting of the ACB Board of Publications to order at 9:01 p.m. Eastern on October 6, 2020. All board members were present. Guests were Sandra Sermons and Peggy Garrett, both representing the ACB Multicultural Affairs Committee (MCAC), as well as Carla Ruschival, who arrived later.
Adoption of the Agenda for the October 6, 2020, ACB Board of Publications Meeting
Penny moved and Zelda seconded a motion to accept the meeting agenda, and the board voted unanimously to accept it.
Approval of the Minutes for the September 1, 2020 meeting of the ACB Board of Publications
Zelda moved and Susan seconded the motion to approve the minutes from the September BOP meeting, and the board voted unanimously to approve the motion.
Open Forum – Opportunity for guests to comment on non-agendized items
Peggy and Sandra explained that the Multicultural Affairs Committee wishes to bring more awareness to diversity issues within ACB, and therefore, they requested that the BOP approve the Multicultural Affairs Committee’s request to host the April ACB Braille Forum. April has been designated “Diversity Month.” The Board of Publications is pleased to honor their request. Deb told Peggy and Sandra that their content will need to be submitted to Sharon by the middle of February.
Discussion of BOP training and presentation activities—see Minutes for a starter list of topics
One topic that has been proposed as a Board of Publications presentation is, “How to Handle Your Gmail Efficiently.” It makes sense to offer this presentation as concurrently as we can with the roll-out of the proposed changes in ACB e-mail lists. We will present the proposed list changes to the ACB Board at their November 13 and 14 meeting, and, assuming they approve the changes, we can anticipate inaugurating the new e-mail configuration at the beginning of 2021. The BOP program, which will air as an ACB Radio event, should probably last a maximum of 90 minutes, and we will turn it into a podcast later, so that it can exist as a longer-term resource.
Another presentation which was proposed last month by Jeff, and which we would like to pursue, is a presentation for writers providing training in Markdown and Writage. Jeff explained that Markdown is an add-on that allows one to take a MS Word file and use something like “Reveal Codes” to insert HTML elements. Then, Writage allows one to paste the “marked-down” file directly onto a web page.
Deb suggested and Jeff agreed that we should make this a joint presentation along with the Information Access Committee (IAC).
Jeff and Jason offered to present the materials, which will include written hand-outs to facilitate learning and practicing.
Another presentation idea, also shared by Jeff, is “New Horizons for the New Year,” where we could talk about the new e-mail lists choices, the ACB Voices blog, streaming on ACB Radio, and ACB media in general.
Another possible presentation topic is Writing Etiquette for a Diverse Audience. Paul summarized the discussion that we had surrounding this topic by saying, “Unless we can provide guidance that is specific, we shouldn’t try to cover this topic at all.” The board agreed. We will keep the idea in mind for future presentations, after we have presented the three topics above: E-mail Efficiency with Gmail for January; New Horizons in ACB Media for February; and “Markdown for March.” We may look for a presenter to help with the” writing etiquette for diverse audiences” topic.
BOP Chair’s Report—update on email list transition
Deb and Jason closed the ACB-Chat list after our September BOP meeting concluded. Now we need to get other changes in place so that, when our proposed list changes are approved by the ACB Board, we can move forward.
We have all agreed that the BOP needs to be responsible in some way for moderating the lists, and we need to begin thinking about how we will do that. To some extent, the descriptions of our lists will generate an understanding of the skills we are looking for. In our next meeting, we should be thinking about what kind of process we would like to follow for identifying list moderators. Deb suggested that we might want to hold this discussion in an executive session.
Paul said that the Board of Publications has held executive sessions in the past (utilizing a different phone number for public and executive sessions.
BOP Editor’s Report: Update on ACB Braille Forum and E-Forum Themes. Do we want better coordination with other ACB communication themes?
Sharon submitted the following report via the BOP e-mail discussion list:
Editor’s Report, October 2020
Issue type: Hard copy
Page count: 80
Large print distributed: 2,316
Large print returned: 17
Return rate: 0.7%
Braille distributed: 656
Braille returned: 4
Return rate: 0.6%
Cartridge distributed: 559
Email distributed: 4,898
Email bounces: 285
* A large number of vacation/out of office auto-reply returns, along with a number of “account suspended” and “mailbox full” returns.
Email received: 4,608
Return rate: 5.8%
Issue type: Electronic
Page count: 96
Email distributed: 4,949
Issue type: hard copy
Page count: 80
Large print to be distributed: 2,311
Braille to be distributed: 651
Cartridge to be distributed: TBA
I just finished working on the November Forum and sent it to press. Some of us may need a tissue or two to get through the beautiful pieces about Charlie Crawford.
One project I continue to work on is recording, in five boxes on our telephone system, information about the community calls. I record from home on Friday nights, and occasionally Sunday afternoons, too. Sunday and Monday are at extension 1020; Tuesday, 1021; Wednesday, 1022; Thursday, 1023; and Friday and Saturday, 1017. Listen to the prompts on the call-in menu to get directly to them.
Another long-term project I’m spending a fair bit of time on is getting copies of the Forum digitized, cleaned up and modernized 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 and BRF file formats in the Forum folders on SharePoint. Once I get through the current ones, then I’ll go back and look at the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s, scan what I can, and go from there. It’s been great fun so far, unearthing some fantastic memories, including the protests at WMATA headquarters (one of which included a coffin), the hiring of Eric Bridges, and many others.
Yes, I’m still working on identifying people in old convention photos; that’s another long-term project.
Sharon Lovering, Editor
American Council of the Blind
The board expressed their collective appreciation for Sharon’s comprehensive report.
Deb said that the Public Awareness Committee is attempting to harmonize ACB’s public relations activity themes with special events that are listed, by month, on several publicly available calendars. Deb wonders if we can harmonize our Braille Forum themes with those that may emerge from the Public Awareness Committee’s identified monthly and seasonal themes. The long delay that necessarily exists because of the publishing schedule may make this difficult, but Deb believes this synchronization could be a worthwhile thing to do. For example, January is a month when ACB will be focusing on braille, on the blog, perhaps on ACB Radio, or community calls, and we could choose to focus on braille in the Forum, as well.
Susan suggested that it could be good to focus on the various braille reading competitions and other braille literacy activities. Susan is willing to investigate what our various affiliates may be doing under the heading of promoting braille literacy. Paul can work with Susan to identify suggested activities and topics. The next two Braille Buzz presentations can both provide materials for articles, interviews, or apply to other kinds of media formats.
Deb suggested another monthly focus can be on large print.
Katie said that February is Low Vision Awareness Month.
Susan suggested audio description as another theme, possibly for March.
Susan and Paul will work together on January and March BOP contributions. Penny and Zelda will work on large print topics for February.
Debbie reported that ACB Radio is busy virtually every weekend during the rest of October and throughout November with scheduled state conventions and auctions. There are also conventions scheduled in December and January. The various teams who will be streaming the conventions and auctions are working well together. ACB Radio management is realizing that different kinds of streaming require different skill sets, and recruiting the right people for the appropriate assignments has been working out very well.
They are also developing standards and plan to provide training for the people who do various kinds of broadcasting and streaming.
They will be moving some community calls over to Mainstream, beginning in the near future.
They are also planning to cut back on some of the content that is not ours.
Jason reported that ACB Radio has migrated all of the podcasts over to Pinecast, which means the load is not on their server anymore, and the modernization of the new platform is especially appealing. The move allows staff to easily move podcasts into other directories, such as Apple Podcasts, Google, Spotify, etc. In addition, statistics regarding listenership, subscribers, and so on can be easily viewed and interpreted and communicated. Further, it is incredibly easy to convert shows into podcasts — Jeff said the whole process can be accomplished in about five minutes.
They will be making a major announcement, describing what has been done and letting people know the new addresses. All the new addresses are reflected on the ACB Radio home page.
They are planning to present and ACB Radio Podcasts Roundtable. Paul will provide a segment on accessing podcasts with the Stream. Deb says that, when ACB Radio presents the podcasts roundtable, there should also be an article for the Forum to go along with it.
Jason, Jeff and Debbie were excited to report that — because of help from several members and Jonathan Mosen as well — they have acquired the Main Menu content from before 2008, and they are creating Main Menu Legacy, and the podcast is already available for the first-ever Main Menu episode (from 20 years ago).
Jeff is forming a committee to update ACB Link with the goal of making it available to use for next summer’s convention and the community events calendar.
ACB Email Lists
The only e-mail information Deb has this month was regarding the Leadership list, as follows in this message from Kim:
Subject: Leadership List Subscribers
The number of subscribers to the Leadership list is 309.
Deb says she will try to accumulate additional statistics for Leadership and ACB-L for our next meeting.
No report this month.
Katie told the group about the CVAA tenth anniversary events scheduled for later in the week.
There was no additional business.
Next Meeting – Tuesday, November 10, 2020, 9 p.m. Eastern
It was agreed by consensus to change the date because the first Tuesday in November is Election Day.
The meeting adjourned at 11:07 p.m. Eastern time.