Minutes of the February 20th, 1999 SIG Governing Board

1.0 Welcome and Introductions [Ellis, Notkin]

Notkin opened the meeting at 9:00 am. Introductions were made.

2.0 Approve minutes of October meeting

Minutes were approved unanimously without change.

Ellis thanked everyone for coming and introduced John White, ACM's Chief Executive Officer.

3.0 ACM Executive Director [White]

White thanked the SGB for the invitation to participate. White was an ACM volunteer for many years. He's been with ACM as the Executive Director for 6 weeks. The reason he took the position was because of its' redefinition by Council. During the past weeks he met with HQ and volunteers and distilled out priorities to share and see how they mesh with what the SIGs are thinking about. The goals he has established include:

  • Increase revenue (and net) to invest in things ACM needs to do as a Computer Society.
  • Increase global awareness of ACM
  • Increase value as part of ACM electronic community


As part of increasing revenue:

Increase DL subscriptions

  1. Increase Digital Library value (Draw on all aspects of what we can do)
    • Increase content including ACM, other societies, content from popular technical Press
    • Increase DL Services and Features
      • search
      • technical threads
      • notification
      • open, community-based review and discussion
  2. Promote DL (DL has reached 30K in subscriptions and has not been promoted)
    • promote to ACM members
    • promote to non-members (but members of other societies)

Increase print subscriptions

  • new publications
  • revitalize ACM publications

Increase advertising revenue

  • Advertising on the ACM Web-site

Increase membership revenue

  • Increase student membership
  • Drive electronic services for members

Headquarters - acm.org

acm.org is the future; treat it that way

  • Continually improve organization and look-and-feel
  • Understand, monitor and continually look to improve performance
  • Rationalize how to support acm.org on a 7x24 basis
  • Deliver and support DL enhancement
  • Deliver and support new electronic services

Immediate investments being made to improve performance

  • Bandwidth
  • Significant server upgrade for acm.org
  • Separate processor for email (Listserve)
  • New Cisco router
Rethinking "mirror" sights for the DL
  • Digital Islands (global, high-speed access)
  • Exploring how Cisco and Yahoo mirror sits around the world


  • T3 Internet connection: additional $70K per year
  • Capital: $210K for server and switch upgrades
  • High-speed, global access could cost an additional 120K


The components

  • MPO
    • Membership
    • Publications
    • Operations
  • Volunteer Programs
    • Council
    • EC
    • MAB
    • Pubs Board
    • Education Board
    • Special Programs
  • SIGs

It was suggested that ACM outsource acm.org. White responded that they have looked into outsourcing part of it. When it gets to the point where a staff of 50 is needed, outsourcing will truly happen. We must not lose the connection between the organization and the web site.

Notkin thanked White and encouraged the SGB to meet with him during the day.

4.0 Program Reviews

Notkin discussed the program review process. He suggested the Actions that could be taken on each of the reviews. The SGB could either:

  1. Continue the SIG's current status
  2. Refer to SGB EC for discussion & decision
  3. Move the SIG to transitional status

4.1 SIG3C [Klee]

Karl Klee presented the SIG3C review.

SIG3C was chartered on July 1, 1994 as the first Newsletter SIG of ACM. The mission of SIG3C is:

  • to serve the needs of community college computing professionals,
  • to encourage the exchange of thoughts and ideas in a changing discipline,
  • to communicate experience through discussion, dialogue, and presentation in a professional setting, and
  • to seek out new ways to improve the educational environment for students.

From October 1994 through and including October 1997, SIG3C published 4 issues of 3C ONLINE per year ranging between 16 and 24 pages per issue. Unfortunately, the income from the membership fees did not fully cover the costs of printing and mailing the four annual issues of 3C ONLINE. In FY'99, the decision was made to change 3C ONLINE to solely a web-based publication and to lower the membership fees to $10 for all membership categories. Materials/comments/suggestions were solicited from the membership, but with very little response. The home page is set up but has not been fully functional or well utilized.

Recommendation from the SIG3C Officers:

  1. Decertify SIG3C as an active ACM SIG.
  2. Allow SIG3C members the opportunity to select another ACM SIG for the remainder of their current SIG3C membership year (at no additional cost).

Motion: Move to decertify SIG3C as an active ACM SIG and refer to SGB EC for discussion and decision on how to compensate and serve current SIG3C members.
Furuta, L. Johnson

The SGB suggested that the needs of the group could be met through the Education Board.

The SGB thanked SIG3C for dealing with this in such a forthright fashion.

4.2 SIGAda [Brosgol]

Ben Brosgol presented the SIGAda program review. He reported that SIGAda's current officers were elected for July 1997 - June 1999 but were granted a 2-year extension of terms.

Some highlights of Brosgol's report are presented here.

SIGAda's Mission

Scope ("What")
Address technical, educational, and policy issues related to the Ada programming language including:

  • Language design/semantics
  • Compilation techniques
  • Language-related tools
  • Software development methods
  • Relationships with other languages
  • Usage and practical experience
  • Policies on "conformance assessment"
  • Role in computer science curricula
  • Relationships with computing technologies such as:
    • Real-time systems
    • Safety and security

Purpose ("Why")

  • Ada community is best served by a focused SIG
Vehicles ("How")
  • Annual refereed conference
  • Quarterly newsletter
  • Working Groups
  • Local Chapters
  • Ada Awareness Initiative
  • Cooperation with other Ada societies
  • Web site
  • Student-friendly activities
  • Focal point for technical review of Ada-related standards

Working Groups
Working Groups have played a major role in preparing "products" (documents), reviewing proposed standards, and supporting SIGAda's mission

  • Organization and activities are specific to the WG
  • Generally meet as "Birds of a Feather" session at conference

SIGAda Local Chapters
Historically, local chapters have played an important role

  • Sponsor conferences such as WadaS
  • Conduct tutorials
  • Assist with local arrangements at SIGAda conferences in their area
  • Conduct lecture series
  • Approximately 10 active local chapters, mostly in U.S.

General conclusions

  • The technical quality of the conferences has remained consistently high over the years
  • SIGAda's problem has been simply financial

How to lose money on conferences
Tri-Ada'97 (Adams Mark Hotel, St. Louis)

  • Overestimated attendance, causing shortfall on budgeted revenue
  • Did not have the SIGAda Chair review the hotel contract before it was signed
  • Publicized a low-cost hotel across the street form the conference, which does not count towards the room block
  • Bottom line: major attrition penalty � $70K loss

What is being done for SIGAda'99

  • Crown Plaza Hotel, Redondo Beach, CA
  • October 17-21, 1999
  • General Chair: Hal Hart, TRW


  • Focus on application area (real-time, distributed) versus simply the language, but keep it an Ada conference
  • Program Co-Chairs (Tucker Taft, Franco Gasperoni) are likely to attract participation/attendance


  • Budget a conservative break-even figure (around 100 paid)
  • "Spend smarter, not more" on publicity, use mailing lists wisely
  • Scale exhibits to fit the conference
  • Find creative opportunities for vendor sponsorship
  • Rely more heavily on volunteers
  • pay attention to the hotel contract deadlines

Some Soul-Searching
Should SIGAda fold up their tent?

  • Possible approach is to re-join SIGPLAN or SIGSOFT.
  • But: Executive Committee believes strongly that SIGAda has sufficiently specialized interests to warrant existence as a separate SIG.
    • Conference attendance still shows a consistent core constituency
    • Ada is the focal point of some interesting new activities, especially in the safety critical area
    • SIGAda can find external sponsorship for some of its activities.

Should SIGAda exist as a "newsletter only" SIG, without a conference?

  • the recent conference losses were due to preventable factors rather than intrinsic problems.
  • Executive Committee believes strongly that an annual conference is essential to serving the Ada community

Challenges and Goals

  • Generic to all SIGs
    • We are all volunteers
    • Different degrees of commitment, ability to work with others, organizational skills, etc.
  • Specific to SIGAda
    • Highly diversified membership interests
    • Need to adjust to changes in the external Ada community
    • Financial status requires conservative plans


  • Bring annual conference back to financial stability
  • Reverse membership attrition
  • Encourage local chapter activities

On the negative side

  • Membership has been declining
  • Recent conferences have lost money
  • Insularity has some disadvantages

But keep in mind

  • Retention numbers are about at ACM's average
  • Some of the causes were beyond SIGAda's control (DoD. policy change)

On the positive side

  • SIGAda's role is acknowledged in the Ada community
  • At "steady state" in membership, conference attendance
  • "Core constituency" is active and energetic
  • Trying to increase cooperation with other SIGs
  • Active in academia and have given away Ada CD-Roms at SIGCSE
  • Machinery in place to ensure conference financial responsibility

Members of the SGB indicated that the point of alternative models is to look at what a SIG does best and go in that direction either alone or under another SIGs umbrella. It was suggested that SIGAda consider the opportunity to convert to a Conference SIG.

There was discussion about placing SIGAda in transition. with The SGB EC believed transition to be a positive move. The transition period is meant to help a SIG with their planning. Brosgol saw it as a negative thing.

Brosgol was asked whether SIGAda had any plans for raising their fund balance. Brosgol explained they're planning to raise money at their conference by lowering the number of complimentary registrations.

Motion: Move to continue the multi-service status of SIGAda with a program review in 2 years.
Cunningham, Levitan

4.3 SIGWEB [Furuta]

Rick Furuta presented the SIGWEB program review. A summary of highlights is included here.

Mission Statement

ACM SIGWEB supports the multi-disciplinary field of hypertext and hypermedia, facilitating its application both on the World-Wide Web and also in independent distributed and stand-alone environments. It provides a forum for the promotion, dissemination, and exchange of ideas concerning research and applications among scientists, systems designers and end-users.

Technical Program Goals and Milestones

SIG Mission
Scope: SIGWEB aims to support disseminating and discussing original ideas and experiences relating to hypermedia; it also supports information exchange on the use of hypermedia concepts and technologies in the World-Wide Web as well as in stand-alone environments. Topics that have been well-represented include those involved with system design and building, hypertext design and building and hypertext use. The field draws from many wider areas, including authoring, publishing, databases, human-computer interAction, digital libraries, electronic literature, computer supported cooperative work, operating systems, software engineering, and education.

Vehicles Historically, major SIGWEB activity include:

  • the organization of a yearly conference on Hypertext and Hypermedia
  • the co-organization with SIGIR of a Digital Library Conference,
  • the organization of several workshop series.

Other important activities include:

  • A thrice-yearly newsletter
  • A website
  • Encouragement for the formation and continuation of several working groups (e.g., Open Hypermedia Systems)
  • Co-operating to organization of conferences with other SIGs

With the initiation of SIGWEB, a number of special activities have been initiated

  • Workshops are being organized in cooperation with SIGWEB at the WWW conference and as joint events.
  • Many SIGWEB members have participated on the WWW8 program committee in selecting papers with a Hypertext/Hypermedia slant for presentation at the conference.
  • SIGWEB has initiated a project of starting a new ACM Web journal jointly with SIGMOD, SIGDOC, SIGCHI. (SIGIR is also considering an invitation to join the project)

Before undergoing the name change to SIGLINK it was clear to the leaders that there were significant overlaps in the SIGLINK community and the self-identified WWW community. Illustration of this was seen through authors presenting at the two conferences, but also through the overlapping activities of individuals in organizing activities.


A. Newsletters
3 issues per year. Currently, about 32 pages per issue on the last 8 ones.

The newsletter was on schedule until 1996. Unfortunately, a change in editors that occurred then resulted in a period of over a year with no newsletters. Working with the new editor, the SIGWEB US Vice President has undertaken a sustained effort over the last year that has brought the newsletters back onto schedule. From February 98 to February 99 (12 months) 7 issues instead of 4 were delivered to ACM. With issue V8.1, the newsletter is now back on schedule.

B. Electronic/Groups
Most of the workshops are organized by a SIGWEB subgroup. We are hosting an overview of their activity on the SIGWEB Website. Each group contains from 15 to 40 persons. SIGWEB participates to a project of organizing a HyNIC, based on the work of Doug Engelbart.

C. Web site
The web site was completely re-built in November 98 when SIGLINK became SIGWEB. Currently: 55 new pages plus those of the archive of SIGLINK site. It is updated now about once to twice a week. The activity of electronic groups starts to be visible. Some pages are still under development.

Distributed editorial structure: An Information Director, plus one guest-editor for each workgroup.


SIGWEB HT conferences have a broad scope ranging over all aspects of hypermedia, from the literary hypertext to open hypermedia systems, and from hypermedia design to the WWW.

The HT and DL conferences are high ranked with a submitted/accepted papers ratio of about 1 in 4. SIGWEB is high-ranked as an academic group, though many members do not belong to universitities. The results published in the proceedings of these conferences are among the most cited references of the domain.

One of the strengths of the group is its global recognition: more than one third of submitted papers at HT Conferences come from outside the USA.

Membership #

Membership is declining, even faster than the average for ACM. The retention rate is low, about 50%. At the time of our previous review, 1995, our membership rate was keeping track with that of ACM. We believe that the primary factor that has caused the greater losses are the problems with newsletter issuance. As noted, the newsletters are now back on schedule.

A second reason for membership decline may be that the name change was warranted several years ago. Hypertext research and application is now mainly concerned with Web issues.

As the newsletters return to circulation, they expect to see this effect diminished. In addition it is expected that the expansion in focus also will have positive benefits.

A. Education programs: none
B. Local units: none
C. International units: A small Italian Chapter "Linkit", concerned with Hypermedia literature. SIGWEB has long had a strong international presence, as reflected in the makeup of their executive committee and in the location of their conferences.

Technical Program Goals and Milestones (for future)
In November'98, SIGLINK became SIGWEB. They need to take advantage of this opportunity and work in the next year to actively attract newcomers. This effort needs to be sustained over subsequent years as well.

Volunteer development must continue to be a major focus. Internal efforts rely on a strong and evolving team of volunteers. More volunteers from expanded areas (WEB and DL) will need to be identified, recruited, and brought into the SIG.

Preparing joint events with the WWW Conference. Cooperation with IW3C2 is on track for organizing a joint event in April 2000.

Preparing HT 2000 and DL 2000. These 2 conferences are planned in May/June 2000 and preparation is on schedule.

Launching an ACM Journal about the Web. A steering committee is in place.

Improving SIG communication with members:

  • Website redevelopment is underway
  • The newsletter is being distributed, once again, and will be more and more concerned with the Web.

Efforts will need to be initiated for attracting professionals and addressing application-related issues.

Preparing a Web-related event for 2001. Establishing a Conference Organizing team for HT2001.

Motion: Move that SIGWEB retain their status as a multi-service SIG.
Soffa, Belkin

4.4 SIGAPL Program Review [Siegel]

David Siegel presented the SIGAPL Program Review.

SIGAPL is dedicated to promoting the development and application of the APL programming language.

APL Quote Quad Newsletter
Although Quote Quad remains behind schedule and has not been coming out as regularly as the leadership would like, it has continued to come out. It is clear that they need to accelerate the speed of production in order to return Quote Quad to its proper publishing schedule. The delay of delivery of Quote Quad has been a hard problem for the SIG to solve, and is a matter of serious concern. They recently added a new Advertising Coordinator for Quote Quad, who will relieve the Editors of this job, and allow them more time to concentrate on the creation of new issues. They are in the process of recruiting additional help for the production side.

New Initiatives in Quote Quad
The current editor has introduced interviews into several issues of Quote Quad, which have proved popular with readers. They now have 3 regular columnists and are working to develop others. Regular columns are valuable to members, providing continuity across issues.

Quote Quad changed to full-color covers a couple of years ago. Each cover is unique, reflecting the theme of the issue or of its lead article. This increases the professional appearance of Quote Quad and helps to attract new readers. It also helps to make each issue distinctive and memorable. Covers are already designed and prototypes printed for the next several issues. The cost of printing the color cover is completely covered by a full-color ad on the back cover of each issue. They have a standing order for this full-color ad, indicating the high value that the advertiser obtains from Quote Quad exposure.

SIGAPL continues to have a member retention rate of over 70%, better than the average for ACM SIGs. The total subscription to Quote Quad is over 525, of which over 400 are SIG members. This does not include copies distributed through the library package.

Recruitment of new members remains a problem. They intend to repeat last year's letter, soliciting lapsed members to re-join.

The APL98 conference in Rome, Italy drew over 150 attendees. Siegel believes that number would have been higher had the publicity been more timely and better distributed. APL98 was a very successful conference for the attendees. Local arrangements were good, and the quality of the technical program was high.

It appears that there is strong interest in conferences within the APL community, and that it is possible, with good planning, to hold APL conferences which are financially successful as well as very satisfying to the attendees.

Corporate Support
SIGAPL has secured rights from all the major APL vendors to use their proprietary APL fonts in preparing Quote Quad and APL Conference Proceedings. This includes use by any author as well as the editors and other volunteers. They have also obtained continuing corporate funding for the Iverson Award from Solution, Inc.

Web Site
SIGAPL's Information Director has completely redesigned the SIG web site since his appointment.

An election was held in 1998, and a complete slate of officers was chosen. All positions were contested by real, viable candidates. They were elected for a term of 2 years, but have been advised of the possibility of this term being extended by 1 year, to return SIGAPL to the normal election cycle.

Communication with Members
A forum was held at APL98 on the future direction of ACM SIGAPL. More than 50 people attended, and there was a lively discussion of the future of the SIG. There was considerable interest in electronic publishing of the Quote Quad content.

Last year an Advisory Panel for SIGAPL was appointed. This consists of people interested in the well-being of the organization, who are consulted regularly on the policies and directions of the SIG. This group will serve as a reservoir of talent for the SIG to draw upon at need. In particular, future officers and other volunteers may be groomed here. This group has already proved the locus of several fruitful discussions, and their activities are intended to increase in the coming year.

Program Plan for SIGAPL
The first task, and in the short term, the most important one, is to get Quote Quad back on schedule. The proceedings issues are always handled by a separate editorial team, in parallel with the regular issues of Quote Quad. That parallelism will be used to speed up the production process. In addition, SIGAPL is now recruiting additional members for the Quote Quad team, each of whom will undertake a single well-defined task. This assistance will allow the Production editor to focus on other tasks, which will result in a speed-up of the production process.

The next task is to increase volunteer participation in SIGAPL.

SIGAPL's primary service is Quote Quad, and this will continue to be the case. However, it is not their only service. Conferences are important to their members. SIGAPL will continue to work with local conference organizers to encourage well-planned conferences. APL conference proceedings will be published as issues of Quote Quad, but they will not allow conference delays to impact the delivery of the regular issues of Quote Quad in the future.

In the long term, the most important function for the APL community is an educational one. SIGAPL will continue to work to promote the APL language and to encourage its teaching.

Siegel opened the floor for questions from the SGB.

The SGB questioned why SIGAPL couldn't exist under another SIG? Siegel responded that SIGAPL would be better served by a distinct SIG, and this has been the wish of their members.

The SGB asked how SIGAPL could assure their newsletter would be on time. Previously it seemed that a program review was the only way to keep theme on schedule. Siegel felt that SIGAPL is very motivated to get their newsletter back on schedule with or without any outside pressure.

Notkin recommended that SIGAPL be referred to the SGB EC for review. His concern was that although SIGAPL was out of transition, they still have problems and it would be too risky to wait 4 years to check back with them.

Motion: Move that the viability of SIGAPL be referred to the SGB EC for discussion and decision.
Snodgrass, Furuta

L. Johnson asked for some sort of status report to the SGB from the SGB EC on the SIGs they are monitoring.

4.5 SIGBIO Program Review [Rada]

Roy Rada presented the SIGBIO program review. A summary of highlights is included here.

Mission Statement
The mission of SIGBIO is to promote the interests of computer scientists and professionals in the health and biological sciences. The traditional emphasis of SIGBIO has been medical informatics, but the Group has expanded its scope to include other topics, such as multimedia and molecular databases.

New Initiative
Virtual Health Care Informatics Education

Conference Activities

  • Five years as co-sponsor of the Symposium on Applied Computing and has conducted a session track on Biomedical Computing
  • In-cooperation sponsor of SIGAda Conference in November 1998

Member Survey

  • Survey to assess member attitudes conducted in June 1998
  • E-mail response rate 32%
  • Postal mail response rate 4%
  • Seven questions total; three questions were objective, four were open-ended

Volunteer Recruitment

  • Question 6 of the Survey asked members to volunteer their services
  • Seven members indicated an interest in serving as Editor or Guest Editor of the Newsletter
  • Thirteen members indicated an interest in submitting a paper to the Newsletter
  • Nine members indicated an interest in submitting a review

Self Assessment

  • Good News #1: The Newsletter is being published on time; a new Editor has been appointed and several persons have expressed an interest in serving as Guest Editors
  • Good News #2: SIGBIO is financially healthy; for FY'98 the required fund balance is $7,413 and the actual fund balance is $76,455
  • Bad News #1: Membership continues to decline, but no longer at a precipitous rate
  • Bad News #2: The retention rate for FY'98 is a low 47% (up from 44% in FY'97)


  • SIGBIO is publishing the Newsletter on time
  • SIGBIO has made arrangements to provide the magazine MD Computing to its members at no charge
  • SIGBIO is sponsoring a new initiative in Virtual Health Care Informatics Education
  • SIGBIO officers have been extended for two more years

The SGB voiced their concerns over the SIGBIO newsletter and lack of membership activities. It was suggested that SIGBIO attempt to understand what their members want, maybe appoint a new newsletter editor.

Lidtke reminded the SGB that the purpose of this review was for SIGBIO to define or specify their mission. In their last review that was not clear and they were specifically asked to come to the SGB and focus on that. There was an uneasiness with the lack of SIGBIO's activities; the newsletter, limited conference activity and their health informatics education activity. Rada agreed and attributed this to the lack of volunteerism.

Motion: Move to refer SIGBIO status to the SGB EC for discussion and decision.
Cunningham, L. Johnson

4.6 SIGCPR Program Review [Lederer]

Al Lederer presented the SIGCPR program review. A summary of highlights are included here.

Provide a forum for better understanding people issues critical in the development, acquisition, management, use and maintenance of information technologies and systems.

SIGCPR investigates the needs, interests, and abilities of computer professionals, managers, and end users who work with information technology in their organizations.

Programmatic Vehicles

  • Computer Personnel - double blind, peer reviewed
  • Annual Conference

Computer Personnel Goals

  • publish every 3 months
  • continue double blind, peer reviewed
  • 6 articles in 1999 in 2 combined issues
  • 12 articles in 2000 in 4 separate issues
  • 16 articles in 4 separate issues thereafter

Conference Goals

  • One per year
  • 30 to 60 papers
  • 50 to 100 papers
  • financial surplus

Finances: Goals

  • maintain fund balance
  • Subsidize Computer Personnel

Membership Goals

  • increase number of regular members
  • create a plan to do so

Collaboration with other SIGs

  • 1996 conference with SIGMIS

Motion: Move that SIGCPR retain their status as a multi-service SIG.
Baer, Belkin

4.7 SIGIR Program Review [Belkin]

Due to time constraints, Belkin was asked to report at the next SIG Business Meetings.

Action: Baglio to place SIGIR program review on agenda of next SGB meeting.

4.8 SIGSIM Program Review [Tufarolo]

John Tufarolo presented the SIGSIM Program Review. SIGSIM recently converted to a Conference SIG. A summary of highlights is included here.


  • Advance the state-of-the-art in simulation and modeling through world-wide membership of cross-disciplinary professionals
  • Vehicles
    • Support premiere conferences
    • Introduce new web-based services

Electronic Offerings

  • Public Items
    • web site (www.acm.org/sigsim)
    • mailing list (sigsim@acm.org)
    • USENET News Group (comp.simulation)
  • Members only
    • Distinguished Lecture Series (2 completed, 2 in progress)
    • additional services planned

SIGSIM Conferences

  • Winter Simulation Conference
  • Parallel and Distributed Simulation Workshop (part of FCRC multi-conference)

SIGSIM Educational Program
Distinguished Lecture Series

  • On-line Lecture series
    • Historic and leading-edge material
    • Multimedia Presentations
    • Hosted on SIGSIM web site (members only)
    • Geared to attract students

Technical Goals and Milestones

  • Continue to support leading simulation conferences
  • Increase exposure via active presence on the web
  • Explore new service options
  • Increase liaison with other international simulation groups
  • "Full Service" vs "Conference-only" SIG is a meaningless distinction
    • paper newsletters are an expensive, slow anachronism
    • digital content is more cost, time and content effective

Motion: Move that SIGSIM retain their status as a conference SIG.
Soffa, Cunningham

5.0 Membership Activity Report [Arnold]

David Arnold was introduced to give a membership activity update.

The purpose of the Membership Activities Board (MAB) is to encourage the development of programs (in addition to implementing them whenever possible) that will enhance membership.

Arnold explained that he was participating to hear what the SGB had to say about the MAB and to listen to their ideas for programs.

MAB Goals:

  • To strive to increase the value of membership by recommending and/or implementing membership benefits/programs/services that support the educational and technical needs of the IT community.
  • To ensure that ACM's benefits/programs/services are planned to be enjoyed by members throughout the world.
  • To develop benefits/programs/services that will increase the retention rate of the association, as well as attract new members.
  • To promote alliances with related societies, industry, and governmental agencies, bringing more visibility to ACM by enabling ACM to make strategic contacts.

Suggested programs for Student Members

  • Internship/Co-op/Summer/Entry Job Database
  • Mentoring program for students before they graduate and/or after they graduate
  • Events/Volunteer Opps/Research Database
  • Scholarship program
  • Profiles of Computing Professionals
  • Additional Student Quests (over-the-net), contests - SIG members as judges

The MAB is currently conducting a student survey that will provide data on student members' attitudes toward current ACM products/services and potential products. Results of this survey will be available mid-March and will be posted on the MAB website.

Suggested Programs for Professional and Student Members

  • "DIVA" - ACM's "Digital, Interactive & Video Attachment - also known as the multimedia part of the DL consisting of
    • ACM "Hot Topics" tutorials - on site
    • ACM Career Database
    • Combining of SIG Lectureship programs to build a bigger ACM Lectureship program
    • Online tutorials - selected SIG Conferences
    • Online courses with self-assessment tests
    • Clearinghouse and review of distance learning programs that are available

Arnold requested that any feedback or suggestions be sent to him at arnold@sys.uea.ac.uk

6.0 Awards

6.1 Awards Update [M.S. Johnson]

Mark Scott Johnson presented an Award update. He acts as the SGB Liaison with the ACM Awards Committee.

  • ACM Awards Committee (http://www.acm.org/awards/)
    • 1998 ACM-wide award recipients announced
    • 1999 ACM Fellows announced, by SIG
    • Annual ACM Awards Banquet planned for 1999-05-15 (7-10PM) in New York City
    • Annual committee meeting planned for the weekend of 1999-05-15
    • New ACM Award Guidelines in effect
  • New SIG Awards (since 1998-09-14)
    • SIGCAS Service and Making a Different awards
    • SIGCHI Douglas Englebart Award for HCI Innovation [proposed]
    • SIGKDD Innovation and Services awards
  • Other Recent Achievements
    • SIG awards, when known, are listed in the annual ACM Awards brochure.
    • An ACM-Wide Awards Matrix is under development.
    • A SIG Awards Matrix is (still) under development.
  • Recommendations
    • Nominate candidates for Association-wide awards (due 1999-09-01).
    • Establish SIG awards, especially service and paper awards.
    • Become familiar with the new ACM Awards Guidelines.
    • Endow SIG awards (e.g., SIGACT, SIGARCH, SIGGRAPH, and SIGPLAN).
    • Contribute to the endowment of existing ACM awards.

Action: SGB leadership to forward names of award recipients to their program directors for inclusion in the ACM Awards brochure.

6.2 1999 ACM Fellow Listing

This was an informational item included in the back-up.

7.0 SIG Project Funding [Cunningham]

Steve Cunningham presented the SIG Project Funding report.

SIG Opportunity Funding
Proposed Goals, Mechanisms, and Processes

Original Task

  • Consider a way to develop funds for projects that would benefit all the SIGs

As the Task Evolved

  • Why should the SIGs consider more than the current SDF?
  • What kinds of projects are reasonable for this kind of fund?
  • What are criteria for a reasonable funding mechanism?
  • What are good processes for managing such a fund?

All-SIG Opportunity Fund

  • An opportunity fund is a budgeted amount that can be used for work that is not known at the time a budget is created. Most of us already have opportunity funds within our SIGs under names such as special projects.
  • The task, then, became to consider creating a single all-SIG opportunity fund for SIG projects.

Why is the SDF not Enough?

  • In principle, it might be - but it has accrued baggage and no longer looks like a way to fund projects for the SIGs ourselves
  • SDF has no recommended funding process and has had ups and downs of funding
  • A new approach offers a way to re-think issues and start over in how we think about SIG projects

Examples of Fund Use

  • Online support for conference and member services
  • Electronic publishing and digital library projects
  • Supporting SIG representatives to IFIP
  • � what ideas might you have?

Criteria for a SIG Fund

  • equitable,
  • voluntary,
  • adequate, and
  • not requiring funds from financially distressed SIGs

The fund should be:

  • Equitable
    • Each SIG would be asked to contribute based on its membership
    • Contribution would be progressive, on the assumption that larger SIGs are able to afford more than smaller SIGs Voluntary
    • No SIG would be required to contribute to the fund
    • SIGs not contributing to the fund would not propose projects for the fund and would not participate in selecting projects it supports
  • o Adequate
    • The fund should raise enough to support reasonable and worthwhile projects
    • In case the fund is not fully used, there could be a proportional reduction in the next year's requested contributions (e.g. if there is a 50% remainder in the fund, the next year all contributions might be 50% of the formula amounts.)

Not Requiring Funds from Financially Distressed SIGs

  • No SIG whose fund balance is lower than their required reserves would be asked to participate
  • These SIGs can still participate fully in managing and using the fund

Formula for the Fund

  • The first 1000 members: $1/member
  • The second 1000 members: $2/member over 1000 members
  • The third 1000 members: $3/member over 2000 members
  • The rest: $4/member over 3000 members

Bottom Line

  • Overall this would bring in over $104,000 in a year, using July 1, 1998 membership numbers
  • The SIG contributing the most would be SIGPLAN, with just under $20,000
  • The full set of numbers is shown on a spreadsheet after this presentation

Focus of the Fund

  • Personal suggestions - details will evolve if the concept is accepted
    • This fund would focus on projects that have value to SIGs and are brought forward by a SIG, but proposals from others could come through SIGs
    • This fund would subsume SDF because it makes little sense to have two separate opportunity funds. It would also refocus SDF somewhat.

Processes for Managing the Fund

  • Some expected details of handling projects
    • Projects would be presented to SGB and be reviewed by SGB members or designees on a periodic basis, and would need a super majority for approval
    • Proposals would be asked to outline how the project would have value for the SIGs
    • Projects would need to provide a final report that described the way they benefited SIGs

What Do You Think?

  • This concept was developed in response to requests at the October 1988 SGB meeting, so where it goes from here is up to us.
  • What is your pleasure with it?

Action: Cunningham to continue work on "Future of SDF" committee. Working with 2-3 SIG representatives he will put together a formal proposal to be presented at the next SGB meeting.

8.0 Publications Discussion [Cohoon, Arms]

Bill Armes outlined the recent activities of the Publications Board including the Digital Library business policies and copyright policies. He explained that ACM was now at a period where there are opportunities. The Publications Board doesn't know what comes next but they do have some ideas. They intend to enhance the digital library and broaden the scope beyond ACM collections. Enhancements would include technical performance and reliability, alternative formats, e.g., mathematics, authentication, archiving and preservation, linking to other online publications and awareness services. To broaden the scope, all current ACM materials including SIG publications and new ACM publications would be included as well as ACM's historic archives; all publications from the beginning of ACM. In addition, the Publications Board is seeking partnerships with major publishers and considering offering services to smaller societies.

Moving quickly into new areas will require experiments and new initiatives, all of which will not succeed. There will need to be organization flexibility, which means lightweight decision making and cooperation across organizational boundaries. This is a joint responsibility and the Publications Board would welcome innovation from any source.

It will be important to minimize organizational distinctions within ACM and within the computing community and protect ACM as an organization. There has long been a disconnection between SIGs and Pubs. That needs to be worked on as the first step in the long road ahead.

The SGB members encouraged innovation but stressed the importance of doing it well, implementing appropriately and within a given timeline. Armes agreed with this. He also noted that there's an organizational structure in which it's not always clear where responsibility lies to make things happen. The best thing he can do is help to improve the organization structure so that innovation comes about.

Armes was thanked for his presentation.

8.1 SGB Digital Library Project

Rick Snodgrass presented a project he called, "The ACM Computer Science Portal. The objective of the project would be to increase the viability of SIGs and ACM and qualitatively improve effectiveness of scholarship in computer science. 
Snodgrass Outlined 5 stages of development for the program:

  • Stage 1 - Bibliographic Entries - collect all bibliographic entries from all computer science journals, conferences, workshops, technical bulletins, and books from 1940 through 2000. That would be approximately 1M entries. Provide free searching on the web and citations in multiple formats: BIBTeX, refer, Word,�
  • Stage 2 - Abstracts and Keywords - collect abstracts and keywords for all entries recognizing there may be copyright restrictions on some.
  • Stage 3 - Full Text - collect the full text of each paper and book for use in searching, to develop classification maps and lexicons and other analyses.
  • Step 4 - Citation linking - start with full test of paper's bibliography, outlinking: identify bibliographic entry of papers referenced by the paper, In linking: identify bibliographic entries of papers referencing the paper, use for citation analysis, knowledge diffusion studies.
  • Step 5 - Collect bit-mapped image of each page of each paper to retain formatting , equations, and figures. Each paper could then be reproduced as an exact copy and provide structure on full text.

Snodgrass proposed that each SIG be responsible for collecting relevant entries to ensure completeness based on SIG interests, to reduce overlap between SIGs and ensure correctness. The software for data entry, validation, and conversion would be provided to the SIGs. He also proposed that the SIGs collect the keywords and abstracts and mentioned that any copyright permissions would be negotiated by ACM HQ. ACM and the SIGs would be responsible for populating a full ACM Digital Library.

In summary, the ACM Computer Science Portal would allow free searchable access to the entire computer science corpus. There would be SIG-specific portals, fully populated ACM DL, the inclusion of portal to other DL resources, capability to purchase papers and to register queries and the possibility of ancillary SIG-provided benefits, such as CDRoms.

The presentation generated enormous enthusiasm from the SGB leadership. They suggested that Snodgrass work with the SGB, Pubs Board and ACM staff to move ahead on the ACM Computing Portal. Each SIG could name an editor. It was suggested that graduate students could do this type of work. There was some concern about the costs of taking on a project like this. The SIG fund balance was considered along with the notion that this body of literature is the size that a bold effort could capture. It has a chance and it's a great way of tying it all together. It was decided that this was the right thing to be doing and ACM has to do it. If ACM doesn't someone else will and we'd need to find other methods to buy our way out of that. Baer suggested we start with what we can reasonably get and after that go back rather than try to be complete from the beginning.

The current committee includes of Rick Snodgrass, John White, Bill Armes.

Action: Snodgrass to work with the SGB, Pubs Board and ACM staff to move ahead on the ACM Computing Portal.

Action: SGB leadership to look at bibliography resources that are already available and collect these and forward to Mandelbaum for archiving.

8.2 Reviewer Database Software [Snodgrass]

Snodgrass reported that the SGB EC was asked to review the efforts of the various SIGs with regard to the various reviewer databases used for conferences. Snodgrass took the lead on this project as the SGC EC Conference advisor. He sent out queries requesting information on the software systems that were in use and was surprised at the number and capabilities of the systems that surfaced.

He recommended forming a committee to review the systems, develop a list of functionality and evaluate the systems against that list. He requested that SGB Leaders forward suggested committee participants.

Motion: Move that the SGB EC constitute a committee to provide recommendations on what the SGB should do with regard to conference management software.
Snodgrass, Levitan

Action: SGB Leadership should forward candidates for the Reviewer Database Committee to follow-up on this issue.

Action: Ellis to name reviewer database committee based on suggestions from the SGB Leaders.

9.0 Alternate SIG Models [Johnson]

Lewis Johnson presented a report on alternative SIG models. Suppose a group came to ACM and wanted to put together a SIG on the Y2K problem. If we'd have put that together, the Y2K issues would have passed and we'd still have a SIG. There needs to be an alternate structure that will allow groups to come into ACM that don't necessarily fit the SIG model.

Lewis' committee suggested developing guidelines for the formation of societies and working groups. The idea of societies was considered based on SGB discussions to make a "super type SIG" option available. The committee suggested working groups based on a need to support the creation of focused groups, without the size or longevity of a full-service SIG. The committee suggested that the formation process be similar to the establishment of sponsored conferences. A group must present a list of officers, a statement of purpose and a summary of planned activities. Working group proposals are approved and sponsored by one or more SIGs. For topics that do not overlap with current SIGs, at-large sponsorship by SGB is possible. WGs would have the ability to solicit membership, open ACM-sponsored bank accounts and petition SGB for recognition as a "regular" SIG. They would be responsible to report annually to sponsoring SIGs concerning activities and fiscal status and maintain an organizing committee. SIGs would approve their budgets, endorse organizing committees, and approve expenditures outside of budgets and dissolve working groups when and if necessary.

The SGB leaders agreed that both models should be considered further. There were many questions yet to answer such as, criteria for becoming a society, membership in a WG, lifecycle, etc.

Action: Alternate SIG Model committee to continue discussions and prepare recommendations for next meeting of SGB.

Action: Alternate SIG Model committee to continue discussions and prepare recommendations for next meeting of SGB.

10. SGB EC Report [Ellis, Notkin]

Ellis asked members of the SGB EC to provide updates on issues that would be of interest to the SGB. Furuta announced that he was seeking guidance on the continuation of the technical Standards Committee. The TSC was developed to coordinate ACM participation and individual SIG standards activities. The most recent report from the group argues that the committee is not achieving its mission. SIGs have set up their own mechanisms with regard to standards and those interested are not interested in the TSC. In December, Furuta distributed a call for discussion about he future of the committee and received no responses. This should be considered a last call for interest or the EC will determine that this isn't an area the SGB want to spend time on.

Barker reported on the election status. 18 SIGs were up for elections and 14 had submitted slates. It looks as thought the others will come in although they are moving slowly. Some of them are seeking flexibility in their slates for instance people that groom volunteers for particular positions. Since that can be modified Baer suggested forming a committee to examine election issues. He encouraged volunteers from both the larger and smaller SIGs.

Action: Baer to Chair committee on elections with regard to number of candidates for each position, term limits and electronic balloting.

Action: SGB to send candidates to Baer for elections committee.

Ellis reported that the SGBEC had some concerns with regard to the program review process. There seem to be problems and the process doesn't seem to be working well. The program review has two purposes:

  1. Strong and active SIGs have a forum to showcase their accomplishments and share ideas
  2. Inactive SIGs can bring their problems to the group for guidance and assistance.

This doesn't seem to be happening. Belkin suggested there be more time for the program reviews and more back up. The SGB should have a better understanding of the issues associated with SIGs. Notkin suggested that the EC come to the SGB with a recommendation. The SGB thought that wold be a good idea along with a standarized slike indicating concerns. Just a single template. If a SIG is doing a find job what they believe sets them apart if not identify what they are not doing well. Ellis asked if the SGB would be willing to charge the EC with looking reviewing the process and coming up with recommendations for improving it. Notkin vcvolunteered to champion the project. The SGB requested that he move ahead with htis.

Action: Notkin to investigate process of program review system.

Notkin thanked everyone for coming and participating. Cunningham announced that he was stepping off the board after 4 years and thanked all for ideas and energy and making the transition form Chairs to SGB, HQ staff and Patrick McCarren and Judy Osteller. It was a good experience and he thanked everyone. L. Johnson thanked the EC for the great job they were doing.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:00pm.


  • Mike Atwood, SIGCHI
  • Jean-Loup Baer, SIGARCH/SGBEC
  • Nicholas Belkin, SIGIR
  • Ben Brosgol, SIGAda
  • John Bucher, SIGUCCS
  • Steve Cunningham, SIGGRAPH
  • Carla Ellis, SIGOPS/EC
  • Sally Floyd, SIGCOMM
  • Ephraim Glinert, SIGCAPH
  • Stuart Feldman, SIGecom
  • Rick Furuta, SIGWEB/EC
  • Kathy Haramundanis, SIGDOC
  • Jim Hightower, SIGCUE
  • Tom Jewitt, SIGCAS
  • Lewis Johnson, SIGART
  • George Kasper, SIGMIS
  • Karl Klee, SIG3C
  • Bruce Klein, SIGCSE
  • Al Lederer, SIGCPR
  • Steve Levitan, SIGDA
  • David Notkin, SIGSOFT/EC
  • Roy Rada, SIGBIO
  • Prabhakar Raghavan, SIGACT
  • Larry Rowe, SIGMM
  • David E. Siegel, SIGAPL
  • Mary Lou Soffa, SIGPLAN/EC
  • Rick Snodgrass, SIGMOD/EC
  • John Tufardo, SIGSIM
  • Bill Armes, Pubs Board
  • Dave Arnold, MAB
  • Boots Cassel, SGB EC
  • Alain Chesnais, SGB EC Candidate
  • Doris Lidtke, SGB EC
  • John McGrew, SIGAPL
  • Barbara Ryder, SGB Council Candidate
  • Mark Scott Johnson, Awards Liaison/SGB Council Candidate
  • Barbara Simons, ACM EC
  • Mary Whitton, SGB Council Representative
ACM HQ Staff
  • Donna Baglio
  • Mark Mandelbaum
  • Maria Rivera
  • Patricia Ryan
  • John White