Minutes of the SGB EC Meeting October 1, 1999

1.0 Welcome and Introductions (Chesnais)

Chesnais opened the meeting and welcomed the EC and guests. The goal of the meeting was to listen to a summary of each of the planned presentations for the SGB meeting, to allow the EC to endorse the ideas and bring forth recommendations to the SGB.

Notkin requested that some SIG issues be added to the agenda during the open discussion period. They included the SIGACT/EATCS relationship, SIGAPP status, SIGBIO status and SIGCUE status.

Lidtke requested a few moments prior to beginning the summary reports to discuss the nominating committee. As the Nominating Committee Chair, she expects the work of her committee to begin shortly. The committee currently consists of herself, Levitan and Baglio. Ellis will need to appoint another member to the committee prior to them beginning their task of finding candidates for the positions of Chair, 3 Members-at-Large and 1 SGB Council Rep. This weekend would be a perfect time to gather input from the SGB. She encouraged Ellis to discuss the nominating committee position with possible candidates and to ask the SGB for their input on candidates.

Action: Ellis to appoint member to the SGB Nominating Committee by seeking suggestions from the SGB.

2.0 Review of SGB Agenda

2.1 Review SGB Agenda (Chesnais)

Chesnais requested that each of the presenters try to stick to the time allotted for each of their summaries. He requested that the SGB EC, consider the presentations and be prepared to discuss recommendations for Saturday's meeting. He emphasized the importance for each of the presenters to go to the SGB meeting with clear concise proposals.

2.2 Computing Portal Report (Snodgrass)

Snodgrass discussed the 2 proposals he was going to present to the SGB: a management proposal from the SGB Portal Committee and a funding proposal from the SGB Portal Committee.

The funding proposal was presented by providing the estimated costs of placing all journals and proceedings dated 1985-91 into the ACM DL. Snodgrass was originally going to ask the SIGs to support funding all of this material however, White indicated that the support for the journals would come from ACM funding. Snodgrass revised his proposal to include only the proceedings. The proceedings of each SIG were broken down and a cost estimate to place each in the DL was provided. Snodgrass intends to request that the SGB leaders go the their ECs for support of this program.

The EC discussed the SIGs that would be unable to support the program as well as the SIGs that may be unwilling. They included SIGs that did not meet their required fund balance: Ada, DOC and SAC and SIGs that were no longer going to exist like SIGNUM. Notkin reminded the EC that Council would officially decharter NUM with a $90,000+ fund balance. He suggested that $3K of that fund balance be utilized to support this proposal. For SIGs unwilling to support the program it was decided that the SGB EC fund balance could be used. Cohoon suggested that the SIGDA 'challenge fund" also be considered a financial source for the program.

Having these proceedings in electronic format will also allow the SIGs to produce CD Roms. The EC verified with White that this was not an issue. White indicated that just as SIGMOD had received the appropriate approvals from the Pubs Board he anticipated other SIGs would be able to produce CD Roms with the same ease. Snodgrass and Ellis were in favor of making the '85-'91 materials free to the world. Cohoon suggested that with a date yet to be determined, certain years could be free. White agreed that coming up with a date would be possible and certainly could be considered at some point. However, free to the world was an issue requiring more consideration. The cost of capture is insufficient; the on-going cost related to having the information in the DL is the issue. His presentation will include suggested revenue sharing with the SIGs for the DL.

Motion: Move that the SGB EC use a portion of SIGNUM's fund balance to support placing 1985-91 SIGNUM related materials in the DL.
Notkin, Soffa

Motion: Move that the SGB EC endorse the funding proposal outlined by Rick Snodgrass requesting that each financially viable SIG cover the cost of producing the PDF version of the 1985-91 conference proceedings relevant to their domain with the resulting material added to the DL. 
Cohoon, Soffa

Motion: Move that the SGB EC support producing PDF versions of 1985 - 1991 conferences relevant to the domain of defunct and non-financially viable SIGs with the resulting material added to the DL.
Cohoon, Soffa

The management proposal requested that the SIGs become involved immediately in the Computing Portal. Snodgrass will propose that a Computing Portal Management Board be formed, with a representative from each of the 37 SIGs. This Management Board would coordinate the efforts of the individual SIGs in realizing the portal.

The Portal Committee would continue to make the broad strategic decisions to realize the portal. Rick Snodgrass would serve as initial chair of the Management Board and would represent that Board on the Publications Board. The initial default, until the Chair named a representative, would be for the Chair of the SIG to play that role.

The SGB EC was concerned about the amount of work expected from the committee members. Snodgrass indicated that they were the only people that could identify the material that needed to be part of the portal. Assistance to actually do the work could come from students and paid contractors.

Motion: Move that the SGB EC endorse the proposal presented by Rick Snodgrass that a Computing Portal Management Committee be formed as outlined.
Cohoon, Notkin

2.3 SIG Funding Proposal (Cunningham)

The SGB EC had reviewed Cunningham's back up for the SIG Funding Proposal. Chesnais intended to meet with him prior to the SGB.

2.4 Program Review Proposal (Notkin)

Notkin provided a summary of the SIG Program Review Policies and Procedures that he developed. He expected the report to take 5-10 minutes and the remainder of time to be for discussion. His goal was to bring the new SGB members up to speed.

During the SGB meeting Notkin will discuss the two major changes, with the rest of the proposal focusing on mechanisms for implementing those changes:

  1. The primary change is to rename Program Reviews as Viability Reviews. The intention is to make explicit the difference between the reviews required by the bylaws and the other information intended to keep other SIGs informed about various activities of the other SIGs. In practice, of course, the written and oral presentations will mix these to some degree, but it is important for everyone involved to understand the distinctions.
  2. To increase consistency, accuracy, and efficiency, the SIG Services staff at ACM HQ will handle the gathering of factual information required for the review of a SIG.

There was some concern with regard to who would be presenting the factual data about the SIG during a review. He explained that the data would be a template put together by HQ and provided to the leader for presentation. The data would also be made available as back-up to the SGB and SGB EC prior to the meeting. This would mean more work for HQ and for the SGB EC SIG advisors but Notkin believes it's the only way to move ahead. Johnson asked if the intent was to bring back the "viability review" and Notkin confirmed that it was.

2.5 Chief Operating Officer Reports (White)

White provided a summary of his presentation for the SGB to the SGB EC. Because there are so many new leaders he's going to provide a DL Update including what it is and its initiatives. He'll explain that ACM is in transition as a society, a business and a worldwide presence and the DL is ACM's most significant new product in this transition. ACM is moving from a membership organization to an electronic community, not just ACM members but IT professionals worldwide. ACM is moving from a print-based publisher of journals and magazines to an electronic publisher and from an organization that measures success in terms of membership levels and subscriptions levels to an organization that measures success in terms of web-hits, DL searches and downloads from a world-wide-web community. ACM is moving from selling products to selling an experience, from charging for content to charging for services and from selling to members to selling to everyone. We're moving from being U.S. centric to global, from a sub-member of IFIP to full international member of IFIP, from competing for members with national societies to providing value to members of all societies worldwide.

White then outlined the priorities of the organization, which included the look and feel of acm.org, increasing value in the DL and ensuring the ACM electronic community present a valuable experience to IT professional's world-wide.

Today the DL has 42,000 entries (34,000 proceedings and 8,000 journals and magazines), 30,000 entries with full text (23,000 proceedings and 7,000 journals and magazines) and 250,000 pages (140,000 proceedings and 110,000 journals and magazines). The initiatives for the DL are to increase the value of the DL and promote it world-wide, to increase the ACM content, to acquire third-party popular content, to be a part of the portals project, to include digital video in the DL and offer more services including binders, on-line Computing Reviews, electronic forums, Technical interest profiling and early alerts on new content.

White explained that ACM would be building a partnership with Digital Island for global delivery. Digital Island is an e-commerce solutions company with data centers in Hawaii, Santa Clara, New York and London.

White outlined the revenue sharing he was proposing. The objectives are to continue to allow for investing in and growing outstanding electronic products and services, to share the revenue fairly and in the process, account for sunk costs, real operating costs, on-going product development and support costs, meet the commitment to the SIGs and ensure reinvestment in the DL He proposed that ACM define the annual DL Net surplus and share it 30% SIGs and 70% general ACM. The rationale for this is the relative positions (based on investment and lost revenue). It honors ACM's response to the SIG challenge not to look to the SIGs to fund non-SIG ACM programs and develop revenue streams that will meet ACM's needs. ACM believes it is a fair response to the commitment to the SIGs. The intent is to track cumulative positions and reconsider when the ACM-General cumulative position is positive.

The SGB EC suggested that white note ACM's plans to pay for the capture of journals from '47 through '85. White intended to make it clear that the cost of the DL is coming out of non-SIGs. The SGB EC supported White's presentation and revenue sharing proposal since non-SIG ACM is taking a bigger risk than the SIGs.

Motion: Move that the SGB EC endorse the revenue sharing proposal brought forth by John White as fair.
Lidtke, Notkin

2.6 Conference Software (Cassel)

Cassel indicated that the time on the agenda for her SGB presentation on conference software was sufficient. Her goal was to educate the newer members of the SGB on the reviewer software and touch on other areas that fall within this software that may be of interest. She reported that the working conference software is progressing slowly. A number of groups claimed to pass on the request but did not. Her hope is to garner interest in the project from some of the new SGB members. She will then proceed with the project based on the input she's given.

3.0 Open Discussion Items

Notkin had 4 small SIG issues he sought SGB EC input on: SIGCUE being unable to provide a program review, SIGBIO being in limbo as the SGB EC never decided whether they should remain as a regular SIG or be deemed nonviable, SIGAPP in transitional status and the SIGACT request regarding EATCS.

During the February '99 meetings the Chair of SIGCUE requested a postponement of their program review. The postponement was granted and SIGCUE was scheduled to provide a review during the October meetings. Jim Hightower, the Chair of SIGCUE recently informed the SGB EC that he'd be unable to attend the October meetings and could not find another member of the EC that could provide the review. As a result, consistent with the SIG operating rules, Notkin will announce to the SGB that SIGCUE is being placed in transition. He'll provide them with a bit of history and any other information they request. Baglio was asked to place SIGCUE on the agenda for February'00.

Action: Baglio to place SIGCUE on the Febraury'00 agenda for a program review.

Action: Notkin to inform SIGCUE Chair that the SIG has been placed in transition.

SIGBIO had provided a rambling program review during the Febraury'99 meetings. As a result, the SGB requested that their viability be referred to the SGB EC. The leadership of SIGBIO was asked to provide a program plan and was given a deadline. They did not meet the deadline and the plan they finally turned in required clarification. There is confusion about the mission and goals of the SIG and how they are going to obtain them. There is also a concern about volunteer development.

The SGB EC suggested that Notkin talk to the SIGBIO Chair and help them develop a plan for presentation to the SGB during the February '00 meetings.

Action: Notkin to work with SIGBIO Chair on development of a program plan for presentation during the February meetings.

Notkin had informed the SIGAPP leadership that they'd been placed in transition. They'd received fewer total votes in their last election than the number of candidates for office. Election was the trigger but the SIG has had difficulties in the past with volunteer development, programs, etc. The SGB EC appointed Barrett Bryant as the Chair and has requested that he work with his EC to come up with a program plan for the February meetings. Notkin has requested that they provide him with the plan prior to the meeting so that he can assist them and provide them with guidance if needed.

Action: Notkin to work with the SIGAPP leadership in development of their program plan for the February meetings.

SIGACT had recently requested that their proceedings in the DL be made available to members of EATCS. This request proved to be a bit trickier than the SIGACT Chair had anticipated. Is this philosophically OK? Is this feasible or, are the costs so significant that we must advise against this?

White indicated that the organization built the DL because it was the right thing to do and it would be a significant ACM member's service. What principles should guide us to open it up? Perhaps we want to build relationships with other organizations and place their fully searchable information in the DL. For the SIGACT request ACM would need to set up an authentication system, download their membership database on a weekly basis and position ourselves to do this with each society as requested by ACM sub-units. It was suggested that if we moved ahead with EATCS ACM HQ would need to work out a minimal impact mechanism. The investment in a program such as this is that something comes back to ACM. What is the return from EATCS? ACM is now looking at Digital Island to offer global access to the DL. This is going to be costly. Does EATCS have some valuable content that they'd let us have to offset the cost? The ACM DL is viewed as an asset and the default is to build relationships to improve that asset.

Action: Notkin and White will talk to David Johnson, SIGACT's on-site representative about the EATCS/ACM DL proposal for his input. They will then formulate a recommendation for Jeff Vitter.

Chesnais adjourned the meeting at 4:55 PM





  • Donna Baglio
  • Boots Cassel
  • Alain Chesnais
  • Jim Cohoon
  • Carla Ellis
  • Doris Lidtke
  • David Notkin
  • Mary Lou Soffa


  • Mark Scott Johnson, SGB Council Rep
  • Maritza Nichols, ACM AA
  • Marilyn Tremaine, SIGCHI
  • Patricia Ryan, ACM COO
  • John White, ACM CEO
  • Mary Whitton, SGB Council Rep