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Get Involved

Want to get involved in BISG? We have over 14 participation opportunities for you! These include: 

Board leadership

The bylaws currently provide for five officer roles: chair, vice chair, treasurer and secretary, plus the immediate past chair. Members vote for Board leaders in even years, and officers are elected for two-year terms.

Four other members of the full Board join the five officers to form the executive committee. This committee has primary responsibility for hiring and evaluating the executive director. Currently the EC has one opening.

The Board has formed ad hoc committees to address certain topics. In 2016, one such committee updated BISG’s strategic plan. This year, an ad hoc committee recommended changes in Board role, composition and size. Another ad hoc effort to evaluate ways that BISG can address channel conflict issues is being formed this summer. It is likely other ad hoc committees will be formed as needs emerge.

Board membership

The current Board has 33 members, of whom 25 are regular members (not an officer or part of the executive committee). Most of these board members are also the primary contact for membership at their respective organizations.

Current  expectations of Board members include three-hour meetings of the full Board (scheduled on a quarterly basis). All Board members are expected to prepare for and attend these meetings.

Committee chairs

BISG currently supports five standing committees. The committees are: content structure, metadata, rights, subject codes, and supply chain. The Board chair appoints committee chairs, with support from the Board.

In 2016, the Board adopted a policy on committee and working group chairs and members. The policy articulates expectations, particularly for chairs. It also notes that chairs are appointed for staggered three-year terms.

BISG expects that anyone serving as a committee chair is willing to make a significant commitment. Chairs set the agenda for each committee, not just each meeting. The staff provides administrative support (scheduling meetings, preparing minutes and arranging for other activities, such as copy editing), and the chairs serve as leaders for their committees.

Committee members

A significant number of members serve on the five standing committees. In practical terms, there are active members, typically 15 to 20 individuals per committee, and interested followers, numbering 30 to 50 per committee. The followers review minutes and engage when they have something they want to contribute.

Time commitments vary by committee, but all five meet monthly for a minimum of an hour. The subject codes committee meets for three hours, while the metadata committee schedules a two-hour window. Assignments, usually research, can be given at committee meetings and may take place between meetings. This approach gives companies an opportunity to weigh in through a designated representative without requiring every staff member to attend.

Working group chairs and members

Working groups are formed to address a cyclical or limited-term problem. An example is the Thema working group, which meets for a period of time after BISAC codes are updated, then updates the BISAC to Thema map. This summer, BISG has convened working groups to develop a business case for ONIX 3, and to update a BISG guide to keywords.

Chairs and members are typically individuals with interest and experience in the topic. Chairs are expected to be effective leaders. The committee chair most relevant to the topic appoints them and oversees their work. They report back to the sponsoring committee on any issues, work products, or recommendations.

Industry Awards selection committee

Convened annually each summer, the committee reviews nominations for BISG’s annual awards and recommends individuals or companies to recognize. The commitment is focused but can take a few meetings. The 2017 jury completed its work in a single meeting.

Participation in BISG events, programs and webinars

In 2017, we have significantly expanded the number of touch-points with BISG, offering a total of 33 webinars, topic-driven programs, and events. We expect to continue with a similar program in 2018.

Participants are typically drawn from BISG membership or partner organizations. BISG members already represent the experience and best practice we want to promote, and we normally reserve participation for those who are part of the organization.

Sponsorship (events, programs and webinars)

The expanded program offers companies multiple ways to engage with BISG membership and a broader publishing community. A rate card established how companies can participate. When it is relevant to the membership of the book industry, we also work with member companies to highlight their work, particularly through our webinar series.

Sponsorship (research)

The long-range forecast presented to the Board in November 2016 included a plan to grow BISG-funded research. We are also in discussions with companies to sponsor efforts that include an EPUB MOOC offering, and a publishing services study. Companies looking for studies that are reliable and unbiased can partner with BISG to conduct relevant research.

Marketing and Communications advisory group

In July 2017 BISG convened  a new Marketing and Communications advisory group that will meet quarterly. The advisory group will review and help BISG improve its public-facing communications about its work, including research, product releases, programming and other relevant information.

Membership advisory group 

In July 2017 BISG also convened a new Membership advisory group that will meet quarterly. The advisory group will review and help BISG improve its efforts to recruit new members and retain existing members.

Research advisory group (proposed)

The Board has ultimate responsibility for approving the selection, implementation, and findings of research projects performed by or on behalf of BISG. The Research advisory group will work to scan the horizon, identify topics of current or emerging interest, and craft requests for proposals that can be reviewed by the advisory group, the staff, and the Board.

Association Advisory Council (new)

BISG counts a number of associations as members, but not every book industry organization is part of BISG. Their voices may be critical to solving the challenges facing the book industry.

This advisory council has yet to be formed. It would consist of all associations whose work informs or is related to book publishing. Membership would require:

  • A representative from the association participates in at least three of four quarterly meetings of the council; and

  • One or more representatives of the association joins a relevant BISG committee or working group.

BISG would serve as a convening entity for other book publishing associations. The quarterly meetings would provide a cross-section of industry associations with a chance to describe opportunities and challenges, while the committee participation would ensure that these associations could contribute to work that would address those opportunities and challenges. A chair would be elected from within the advisory council and serve for a year, to give a range of advisory council members an opportunity to participate.


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