ARCHIVED: Online Bibliographic Services SIS History and Bylaws

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The Section originated in 1977 as the OCLC-SIS. At the San Francisco meeting in 1979, in response to the interest of RLIN (then called BALLOTS) users, the Section broadened its scope to include all bibliographic utilities and changed its name to Online Bibliographic Services SIS. Proposals to merge the Section with the Technical Services SIS were defeated in 1979, 1983 and 1988.

OBS-SIS provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and information on the use and capabilities of various online bibliographic services (including OCLC) and on local automated library systems. In addition, the section explores ways that emerging technologies can be integrated with traditional bibliographic systems and how these changes affect libraries and librarians.

Section committees include: the OCLC Committee, the RLIN Committee, the Local Systems Committee, the Education Committee, the OBS/TS Joint Research Grant Committee and the Web Advisory Committee. In addition to working throughout the year and meeting during the AALL annual meeting, committees often develop educational programs.

Some recently sponsored AALL annual meeting programs include:

  • Vendor Showcases on Federated Searching and Electronic Resource Management,
  • SCCTP Electronic Serials Cataloging Workshop,
  • Google Search Appliance Beta Test,
  • Building Pioneering Library Services,
  • Top Trends in Library Systems,
  • OCLC/RLIN Updates,
  • OCLC�s WorldCat Collection Analysis Service,
  • Encore, Enterprise, Primo and WorldCat Local: Explore the Evolving Discovery Tools for Your Catalog,
  • The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: Rethinking Bibliographic Services in the 21st Century,
  • Exploring Relevancy Ranking Systems in Search Engines on the Web and in Our OPACs: What They Are and How They Work, and
  • Demystifying Batch-load Analysis: What You Need to Know About Vendor-supplied Bibliographic Records.

The official online newsletter of the OBS-SIS and TS-SIS is TSLL (Technical Services Law Librarian). Editorial policy states that it will carry reports of Annual Meeting programs, act as a vehicle of communication for SIS committee activities, carry current awareness reports, and publish regular columns and special articles. TSLL has an editor, a business manager, and an editorial board, jointly appointed by the TS-SIS and OBS-SIS. Columnists report on various topics of concern to both sections. TSLL is freely available at

Chairs of the Section:

Christian M. Boissonas 1977-78
Cherylyn Briggs 1978-79
Diane Hillmann 1979-80
Catherine Chenu-Campbell 1980
Gregory Koster 1980-82
Ermina Hahn 1982-83
Suzanne Thorpe 1983-84
Evelyn L. Smith 1984-85
Suzanne Harvey 1985-86
Patricia Callahan 1986-87
Margaret Maes Axtmann1987-88
Janice Snyder Anderson1988-89
Carol Avery Nicholson 1989-90
Susan Roach 1990-91
Alva T. Stone 1991-92
Elaine Sciolino 1992-93
Phyllis Post 1993-94
Mary Chapman 1994-95
Anne Myers 1995-96
Sally Wambold 1996-97
Jacqueline Paul 1997-98
John P. Bissett 1998-99
Brian D. Striman 1999-00
Ellen McGrath 2000-01
Ismael Gullon 2001-02
Mary Jane Kelsey 2002-03
Kevin Butterfield 2003-04
Georgia Briscoe 2004-05
Richard Jost 2005-06
Susan Goldner 2006-07
Andrea Rabbia 2007-08
Michael Maben 2008-09
Patricia Sayre McCoy 2009-10



American Association of Law Libraries



Amended 5/1/2000 See:

Article I: NAME

The name of this special interest section of the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) shall be the Online Bibliographic Services Special Interest Section (OBS/SIS).

Article II: OBJECT

The object of the Online Bibliographic Services SIS shall be:

  1. To provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and information on the use and capabilities of various interactive online bibliographic services, including (but not limited to) OCLC, RLIN and local systems; and

  2. To communicate the concerns of its members to the governing bodies of those systems; and

  3. To concern itself with all technical services, public services, and administrative aspects of such bibliographic systems as they affect users; and

  4. To represent its members' interests and concerns within the AALL.

The Section shall conduct its affairs in conformity with the Constitution and Bylaws of the American Association of Law Libraries.


Membership shall be open to any AALL member requesting affiliation with the Online Bibliographic Services SIS as provided in the AALL Bylaws. Membership shall be renewable each year.


  • Section 1.
    There shall be an annual meeting of the Online Bibliographic Services Special Interest Section held in conjunction with, or during, the annual meeting of AALL. The scheduling of the annual meeting during the annual meeting of AALL shall be cleared with the Convention Program Chairperson, or as otherwise provided in the AALL Bylaws. Meetings shall be open to all members of the Association (AALL), but no person may vote in any meeting who is not a Section member in good standing.

  • Section 2.
    A quorum shall consist of the members present at the meeting.


  • Section 1. Officers.
    The officers shall consist of a Chair, a Vice-Chair/Chair-elect, a Secretary/ Treasurer, and two (2) Members-at-Large.

  • \Section 2. Duties of Officers.
    The Chair and the Vice-Chair/Chair-elect shall each serve for a term of one year. The Secretary/ Treasurer and Members-at-Large shall serve for two-year terms, with the terms of the Members-at-Large being staggered so that one new Member-at-Large assumes office each year. Officers shall serve until the adjournment of the annual business meeting. They shall perform the duties usually pertaining to their respective offices, and other such duties as may be assigned by the Executive Committee or the membership. The Vice-Chair/Chair-elect shall also serve as Chair of the Education Committee.

  • Section 3. Executive Committee.
    There shall be an Executive Committee consisting of the officers named above and the immediate past-Chair. The Executive Committee shall conduct the business of the Section during the period between annual meetings, provided that no actions are taken in conflict with the AALL bylaws. The Executive Committee may meet during the AALL annual meeting.


  • Section 1.
    The Officers and Members-at-Large shall be elected annually. The Nominating Committee shall set dates each year for each part of the nominating/election procedure to ensure that adequate time is allowed for each procedure and that the election process is complete at least two months prior to the annual AALL meeting.

  • Section 2.
    The Chair shall appoint a Nominating Committee which will consist of three (3) section members, none of whom may be a member of the Executive Committee, and none of whom may be a current officer, nor a candidate for office at the succeeding election. The members of the Nominating Committee shall serve for a term of one year. The Chair will designate one of the three members to serve as chairperson of the committee.

  • Section 3.
    The Nominating Committee shall choose a slate of at least two (2) nominees for each position. Only those OBS members holding individual or designated institutional membership in AALL are eligible to hold office. The names of candidates, together with their written acceptances, shall be presented by the Nominating Committee to the Chair in sufficient time to enable the Chair to inform Section members of the nominations, no later than February 28.

    Further nominations may be made upon the written petition of five (5) Section members. Such petitions, with the written consent of the nominees, should be filed with the Secretary/Treasurer no later than March 23.

  • Section 4.
    The Secretary/Treasurer shall prepare an official ballot, and no later than April 1, mail a copy of the official ballot to each member of the Section. Ballots shall be marked, sealed in envelopes stamped to identify them as containing ballots, and returned to the Secretary/Treasurer no later than May 1 or 65 days prior to the annual meeting, in covering envelopes. The candidates receiving the largest number of votes shall be elected and shall be so reported at the annual meeting by the Secretary/Treasurer, and all candidates shall be notified of the results of the election at the earliest possible time. In case of a tie vote, a run-off election shall be by secret ballot at the annual meeting. The ballots shall be immediately counted and the candidate with the largest number of votes declared elected.

  • Section 5.
    The occurrence of a vacancy in the position of Chair shall be filled by the succession of the present Vice-Chair/Chair-elect to serve as Chair until the next scheduled election of Section officers.

    In the event of an unexpected vacancy in the office of Vice-Chair/Chair-elect, Secretary/Treasurer, or Member-at-Large, the Section Chair shall appoint a replacement with the approval of the Executive Committee.


  • Section 1. Standing Committees.
    In keeping with the goals of the Section as stated in Article II, standing committees are created to provide a forum for discussion of issues relating to online bibliographic services and a vehicle for the dissemination of information about such services. Committees may be authorized by the Section at the annual business meeting by a majority vote of the members present at the meeting. Committee membership is open to any member of the Section. The Vice-Chair/Chair -elect appoints members to the standing committees for a one-year term which shall correspond to the year in which the Vice-Chair/Chair-elect is to serve as Chair of the Section. Committee Chairs are elected for two-year terms by the committee members, except in the Education Committee. Each year the Vice-Chair/Chair-elect of the Section shall serve as Chair of the Education Committee.

    Committee chairs are responsible for regular communication with the representatives of their respective utilities or systems, reporting to such representatives any concerns of the membership and reporting back to the membership. The Chair of the Education Committee is responsible for organizing and coordinating the planning of educational programs, workshops and institutes, which support the interests of Section members, for the subsequent AALL annual meeting. Standing committees formed jointly with another AALL section shall have responsibilities assigned, members appointed and chairs selected in a manner approved by the Executive Committees of both of the sections. Committee chairs shall contribute to the Section's newsletter and shall participate in program planning when appropriate. Each committee will hold a meeting in connection with the annual business meeting.

    The occurrence of a vacancy in the position of committee chair shall be filled by appointment of the Section Chair with the approval of the Executive Committee. A standing committee may be discontinued by a majority vote of the members present and voting at the annual business meeting.

    Authorized committees are as follows:
    1. OCLC Committee
    2. RLIN Committee
    3. Local Systems Committee
    4. Education Committee
    5. OBS/TS Joint Research Grant Committee
    6. Web Advisory Committee

  • Section 2. Special Committees.
    Special committees, for the performance of particular assignments, may be appointed at any time by the Chair after consultation with the other members of the Executive Committee. Committee progress shall be reviewed on a regular basis and the need for continuing the work of such committees should be evaluated by the income Section Chair.

  • Section 3. Discussion Groups.
    Informal discussion groups, to meet under the auspices of the Section, may be formed by any five (5) or more members of the Section, with the approval of the Chair.


  • Section 1.
    These bylaws may be amended at the annual meeting of the Section, by a two-thirds vote of the members present and voting. Any amendment shall take effect after it has been approved by the AALL Executive Board.

  • Section 2.
    Notice of proposed amendments shall be mailed to the Section's members 30 days in advance of the meeting.


Sturgis' Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure, in the latest edition, shall govern all deliberations of the section.