2010Q3 Reports: Office

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Priscilla Rasmussen 24 June 2010


ACL Business Office Report

Our accounting continues to improve in being streamlined and there is better coordination between Graeme and Chiaki (the accountant) and myself. Regarding our tax filings, we are now caught up through 2008 and have file for an extension to file 2009 taxes by August 15th. Graeme has already sent the 2009 accounting to me and I have an appointment with Mr. Pope (our USA accountant) to hand over the files to be done while we are all in Sweden at ACL 2010. So, we are now on a good, timely tax filing schedule.

John Kirby, my assistant, continues to be invaluable to me as I bring him along, when possible, to conferences and allows me greater freedom to attend meetings, put out logistical fires, and do all those things beyond registration that I need to do. He continues to feel ACL is a part of him, much as I do.

As you probably already know, the current landlord has offered a reduction in the current rent to entice us to stay in the same space for the next 14 months (to April 1, 2011). I have accepted his offer, at least in part, to avoid the difficulties of address changing worldwide, keeping a more stable main office address for ACL and AMTA and waiting to see if he might extend the lowered rate beyond next April. Currently, we are saving about $130/month from what the rent would have been.

Publications: While we had agreed it was a good idea to hold a “fire sale” of a lot of the proceedings stock held in the office, the fire sale has not taken place yet. But, I do think holding a fire sale at summer’s end (after the conferences have ended) is still a good idea to do. We will continue to down-size our stock and begin to prepare for a sale in the fall unless anyone has better ideas on how to rid ourselves of much of this overwhelming number of hardcopy publications.

There are some book vendors who take orders from libraries and such that want only hardcopies. It seems that we now have an agreement with Curran Associates (who have been one of our largest yearly purchasers) to take an online, USB stick or CD-ROM copy and produce hardcopies for sale to satisfy this group of customers. The ACL would receive royalties for books sold. I believe Drago would have more information on the agreement end of this arrangement. Meanwhile, I have just sent the NAACL 2010 USB stick to Curran Associates for production.

Membership: In 2006, 2007 and 2009, we surpassed 2100 members by the end of each year..our highest numbers in the past 15 years. When there are three conferences, one in each geographic area of the world we represent, we tend to increase memberships quite a bit. And, when in Europe (Prague, 2007), it seems our conference registrations are increasing dramatically which results in higher end-of-year membership totals. This seems to be happening again for 2010 with a very high number of registrations for our Uppsala meeting (more conference details below).

We begin 2010 with 366 multi-year members who carried over into 2010 plus some anxious renewals that have come in even before our online membership form has been updated. Adding to this the NAACL 2010 conference registrants who all get a complimentary year of membership and the ACL 2010 registrants paying their memberships, the total membership for 2010 now stands at 1648. I am currently “chasing” 62 ACL 2010 registrants (52 regular and 10 students) who claimed to be members but are not. Capturing these 62 plus the rest of late and onsite registrants, all INLG 2010 and EMNLP 2010 registrants becoming members, should result in over 2000 members for the year. Please see the two Membership spreadsheets for details of countries represented and statistics.

It will be interesting (and exciting) to see the response from members to our new Portal! I believe we are “on track” to go live with this just prior to our Uppsala conference.

Conferences:

NAACL 2010 in Los Angeles was quite a success with a final registration count of 662. The venue, Millennium Biltmore, was a landmark hotel from the 1920s and many people commented on the beauty and interesting features of the hotel and were quite impressed at the relatively modest guest room costs ($139) given the quality of the hotel and its staff. We were able to cut costs quite a bit and obtain a good amount of sponsorship and I believe we should make a nice surplus (hopefully, in the $40-50,000 range). I had expected to reach a full 700 or slightly more but, again it seems more people are interested in going to our European event.

ACL 2010 in Uppsala will be wonderfully successful. We currently have a total registration count of 891 and more continue to dribble in until the close of late registration on July 2nd. I expect final pre-registrations to be about 950 and onsite registrations to add another 50 or more, bringing us to a final registration count of over 1000. The awkwardness of this success has meant Joakim Nivre, Ulla Conti and I have been scrambling to accommodate these higher-than-expected numbers, having to order additional proceedings and conference bags, rearranging some of the meeting space (especially for a couple of workshops), increasing food orders, etc. All of our planning is well under control. Sponsorships have been generous, too, bringing me to believe there should be a very healthy surplus.

And, ACL-HLT 2011, in Portland, Oregon will be a great meeting, across the street from the banks of the Columbia River and near an interesting and lively downtown area. The planning and budgeting is now in place and all contracts are signed. After the 2010 conferences end, Brian, Richard and I will begin to maintain and update the budget so we will be in good shape when it is time to set registration fees late-winter to early-spring.

Beyond our large regular meetings, the Office has provided support to INLG 2010 (unexpectedly) and has been asked to manage the registration of EMNLP 2010 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Additionally, NAACL has been approached to jointly hold their 2012 conference with Coling. The location being considered is Baltimore, Maryland, with Johns Hopkins University playing a role in the event and its planning. I will be contacting the two likely venues and most likely conducting a site visit to Baltimore upon my return from Sweden. More on this as the feasibility becomes more clear.

Conference Sponsorship:

I am very pleased to report that, for ACL 2010, we received commitments totaling just over $45,000 plus Platinum Sponsorships of 240,000 SEK (around $30,000) from Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation) and Swedish Research Council (VR). Quite a few different people played roles in acquiring this wonderful level of sponsorship.

NAACL-HLT 2010 was also very successful in garnering sponsorships and received just over $37,500 in total sponsorship. Srinivas Bangalore, Ed Hovy and myself were the most active in acquiring these funds.

Many thanks to all sponsors who helped to make our conferences and workshops successful!

ACL’s 50th Anniversary:

I wonder what sort of new initiatives or special functions we should begin to plan for our upcoming 50th anniversary in 2012 in Asia? Anything of impressive size will most likely require a targeted sponsorship drive. Discussion?

Appendix 1

Memberships

Appendix 2

Memberships per country