BOP Chair Katie Frederick called the August 2 meeting of the Board of Publications to order at 9 p.m. Eastern time. The meeting was streamed on ACB Media Channel 6.
Members who were present included Katie; Deb; Cheryl; Penny; Zelda; Cachet; ACB president Dan Spoone; ACB treasurer David Trott; ACB Braille Forum editor Sharon Lovering; ACB Media Manager Rick Morin; and ACB board member Jeff Bishop. There were several guests, including Anthony Corona, Terry Pacheco, Paul Edwards, Renee Zelickson, and Diane Scalzi.
Without objections, Katie re-ordered the agenda to accommodate Anthony Corona’s schedule. The board approved the revised meeting agenda, and following a motion by Cachet and a second by Zelda, the board unanimously approved the June 2022 meeting minutes.
Public’s Point of View
Terry Pacheco asked the BOP to address the convention program as it was distributed in Microsoft Word. The document that Terry downloaded following a link provided by ACB did not include ads. During discussion, BOP members who had downloaded the program in Word reported that the documents they downloaded did include the ads, and Sharon said that she included the ads in the program document that she provided. The board concluded that perhaps different versions of the document were uploaded over time, and the document that Terry downloaded happened to be an older version. Katie and Deb will investigate further along with the Convention Steering Committee.
Jeff Bishop asked the BOP to discuss poor formatting of the daily e-mail messages that Community sends to inform readers of the daily schedule. Improper use of headings makes accessing information, especially when using VoiceOver on iOS, extremely frustrating and time-consuming. Penny added that she continues to hear complaints from members about variations in font sizes and colors that result from copying and pasting information from diverse sources and neglecting to convert the document into one consistent font. Cachet added that she had failed to participate in some community events that she had wanted to attend because they were listed in the e-mail in a color that she could not see and had, therefore, not noticed them in time to attend. Diane Scalzi noted that accessing information about the daily schedule is especially difficult for VoiceOver users on the iPhone.
Zelda said that, several months ago, she contacted Community staff and volunteers to discuss problems large-print readers were having accessing information in the daily e-mail messages. No one from Community ever got back in touch with her, but after she sent her e-mail, they did begin using asterisks to separate events. Headings are still used incorrectly, however, and variability in font sizes and colors continues to be problematic.
Deb said that the process Community staff uses to create the e-mail messages is an important factor that contributes to the formatting issues we want them to address, and Rick agreed that one aspect of the problems they are encountering is related to the database from which they retrieve data. Deb, Rick and Jeff Bishop all suggested that there are relatively easy (but perhaps somewhat time-consuming) fixes for the problem. Deb and Katie will meet with Community staff and discuss ways of improving their process for creating the daily e-mails, emphasizing improving readability and ease of navigation for readers who use screen readers and screen magnification.
Renee Zelickson asked how to subscribe to the calendar of events that is available via the ACB Link app, and Jeff said that he would be happy to teach her how to subscribe.
Editor’s Report, August 2022
Sharon had shared the following report with the BOP via the e-mail discussion list.
Issue type: hard-copy
Page count: 48
Braille distributed: 648
Braille returned: 2
Return rate: 0.3%
Braille received: 646
Cartridge distributed: 457
Large print distributed: 2,160
Large print returned: 11
Return rate: 0.5%
Large print received: 2,149
Email distributed: 5,149
Email bounces: 67
Return rate: 1.3%
Email received: 5,082
Issue type: Electronic
Page count: 49
Email distributed: 5,132
Issue type: hard-copy
Page count: 48
Braille to be distributed: 641
Cartridge to be distributed: TBA
Large print to be distributed: 2,165
Email to be distributed: TBA
Deadlines for the Next Issues
October (electronic): convention wrap-up; deadline: August 25th
November (hard-copy): Diabetics in Action; deadline: September 23rd
December (electronic): International Relations Committee; deadline: October 24th
I have finalized the September issue, correcting layout and design issues along with any last-minute spelling/grammar/punctuation errors, and sent it off to press today, August 1st.
The current contracts will end on January 14, 2023. We need to work fast and get bids out so that we're ready for next year.
I continue to put together the Dots and Dashes newsletter. One issue will go out on August 1st; the next one, August 15th.
I also continue to work on cleaning up and modernizing old issues of the Forum to the 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. As of today, I am done with 1997 and working my way through 1996.
I'm still working with the archives committee on preserving and digitizing old recordings and documents from ACB events, and identifying people in photos.
In addition, I have updated the Washington Connection, and am working on an update for the ACB Job Connection (www.acb.org/jobs).
Sharon Lovering, Editor
American Council of the Blind
… … … …
Katie and Sharon discussed the need for sending out requests for bids letters for producing the ACB Braille Forum, as soon as possible, so that we will be ready to share projected production costs when the ACB budget process begins in October.
Zelda said that she noticed that the March issue of the Forum, which was the issue in which we included a single sample article that followed new large print guidelines, was 80 pages in length, but she was surprised to find that subsequent issues, which follow the new large print guidelines throughout, have been considerably shorter in length. This is surprising, because a logical assumption would have been that the additional space which results from a presumed ability to fit more lines on a page would be that we could fit more content into each issue. When discussing the length of the magazine in terms of page count, Katie and Deb said that, despite our assumption that revised large-print guidelines would allow for increased content in each issue, in most months, we can still expect only a 48-page count.
Since we will now be producing 12 issues, every year, the E-Forum will not be produced any longer. Paul Edwards observed that the E-Forum has allowed us to publish more diverse content. He said he would hate to see our magazine become so small that we would no longer have the head room to accommodate expanded content.
In addition to estimates for print, braille and cartridge formats, we will request bids for producing the magazine, or, more likely, portions of the magazine, in Spanish.
Deb noted that the budget committee is expecting bids for producing 12 braille issues, that resolution having been adopted, but they may not be expecting the need to budget for a Spanish-language publication. Therefore, Katie and Sharon will need to do some additional research to identify additional costs that will be associated with providing content in Spanish.
Cheryl said that the Multi-Cultural Affairs Committee suggests inviting ACB members who are bilingual to submit articles for the ACB Braille Forum in Spanish and English. She also reminded the BOP that $20,000 was set aside in the 2021 budget for Spanish language productions, and ACB has spent only a small portion of that money so far.
Paul Edwards commented that much of the Spanish language material currently published in braille in Latin America is produced in uncontracted braille. This is worthy of consideration when estimating page count for Spanish-language articles produced in braille.
Sharon expressed some disappointment that, although IVIE had volunteered to contribute articles for the August issue, only two articles about entrepreneurship came in. After discussion, the board recommended that, when a special interest affiliate or committee volunteers to adopt an issue, Sharon and the BOP can recommend that they commit to a specific number of articles. Six articles seems like a reasonable number to expect. If they can’t produce that many, then the special interest theme for a particular issue can be combined with another theme, or the BOP can offer to assist the affiliate with writing or acquiring articles, in other ways.
Braille Forum Themes
September’s theme is the audio description project; October’s theme is the 2022 convention. Diabetics in Action has volunteered for November, and International Relations has adopted the December issue.
A tentative theme for January, Dan remembered, is the 2022 Year in Review, and Cheryl remembered that we have invited special-interest affiliates to submit articles that describe their focus, in prior January issues.
The next editors’ workshop is scheduled for September 9. The meeting will provide an opportunity for editors to introduce themselves, to identify new editors and notify the group about changes in personnel or publications – with the goal of strengthening relationships among members of the group and promoting discussion of topics of shared interest. Katie will set up the Zoom link for the meeting, which will begin at 8:30 p.m. Eastern on September 9.
Katie and Rick will discuss the possibility of creating and sharing podcasts of last year’s editors’ workshops.
Jeff suggested that ACB Media can set up a BOP Podcasts page.
2022-2023 BOP Goals
Setting up a BOP feed with links to podcasts from meetings and editors’ workshops, the blog, the editorial manual, guidelines for candidates’ submissions and forums, and informational resources, such as expected wordcounts, deadlines, coming themes, etc. is a goal for coming months.
Dan wondered if the BOP had conducted a members’ survey recently to learn about members’ preferences with respect to length, content, or other aspects of the ACB Braille Forum, and Katie suggested that we might consider such a survey in the coming year.
ACB Media Update
Rick said that the convention survey, which he expected would come out toward the end of the week, will provide good data for planning for future hybrid conventions. Rick and Kelly worked together to develop survey questions. One important piece of information they hope to derive is how many people attended virtually without registering.
Three open-ended questions are included, and Rick and Kelly expect to spend a good amount of time analyzing those responses.
Approximately one third of 2022 convention attendees attended in person, and two thirds attended virtually via Zoom and listening on ACB Media.
The ACB Media team continues to explore criteria for rebroadcasting program content. The team is beginning to think about their responsibilities for meeting expectations under the Readers Digest grant which include helping state affiliates with building their own communities.
Dan told the board that a new ACB Media Support Committee has been formed, and he invited BOP members who want to assist with that committee’s work to let him know of our interest. Deb will share the proposed draft ACB Media and Affiliate Engagement Policy document on the BOP e-mail discussion list. The ACB Media Support Committee hopes to get approval of the proposed affiliate engagement policy from the BOP in advance of discussion that will take place at the October 22 ACB Board meeting.
Katie said that in a pre-convention meeting of the Public Affairs Steering Committee, she and Sharon, Deb, and Kelly had considered how to take content from the Braille Forum and re-purpose it for the blog. This would be a good way to introduce people who are not members of ACB to our organization. If articles are shortened to fit into the wordcount limitations associated with the blog, we can link back to the original articles. Sharon has shared a couple of candidate articles with Katie, and she will share them on the e-mail list for BOP members’ input.
BOP members agreed to continue the process we initiated last year for reviewing and editing blog content. Cheryl will take the lead in August, and Penny will take the lead in September; each will serve as a secondary editor for the other.
Anthony proposed a new type of content for the Voices blog. He will prepare interviews with diverse ACB members (who are not necessarily ACB leaders) and post the interviews in MP3 format, with accompanying written summaries or transcripts, as well as photos and links to affiliates or projects, at least once a month. This kind of content will be particularly useful for applying for grant funding.
Penny and Zelda offered to help with transcribing and/or summarizing interviews, and Anthony said that his goal is to complete several individual submissions so as to have back-up blog content ready to use in advance of deadlines. He proposed to produce the first entries of this type, called “At the Mic,” to share with BOP members by October 1. Over time, we hope to form a team to produce At the Mic content. Anthony’s goal is to prepare four interviews/stories for BOP members to access and discuss at the October 4, BOP meeting.
Katie, Cheryl and Deb congratulated elected BOP members on their return to the Board of Publications. Zelda and Cheryl both said how much they enjoyed working with Sharon to produce the convention newspaper. Katie hopes to plan a brief social event where BOP members can spend some time on Zoom socializing and getting to know one another better. The meeting adjourned shortly before 11:30 p.m. Eastern. The next BOP meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. Eastern on September 6.