Revitalizing_JewishGen_Ukraine_SIG_Part_3_of_3 #ukraine

Ronald D. Doctor

Revitalizing JewishGen Ukraine SIG ? Part 3 of 3
General Meeting at the IAJGS Conference, 15 August 2011
Dr. Ronald D. Doctor, Coordinator, Ukraine SIG <>

In Parts 1 & 2 of this presentation, I described the geographic
coverage and structure of Ukraine SIG and mentioned two projects that
we can begin quickly to make more data available to our researchers. I
also discussed the elements of a new Research Plan focused on short
term and medium to long term projects. In this part, I will discuss a
proposal to re-structure the SIG and democratize its governance.


The new Research Plan will be a lot of work, but that work has a very
high payoff. To get the work done, I believe we need to re-structure
the SIG. I'd like you to consider these questions: What kind of people
should be on the Ukraine SIG Board? What responsibilities should they

Here is my take on these questions.

Each Board member should be responsible for carrying out specific
assignments to further the SIG's Objectives and Mission. Board members
should not be figureheads; and they should not simply be advisors with
no vote on what the SIG does. I believe that Board members should have
voting power to determine what the SIG does and how it operates. As
for the question, what responsibilities should Board members have?
Board members could coordinate activities within a specific Guberniya,
as in the past, or, they could coordinate town-based projects that cut
across Guberniyas. I would like to hear your views on this during our
open discussion time.

Part of improving communication involves opening discussion about how
the SIG should be governed. Currently, the SIG Coordinator is
appointed by JewishGen's Managing Director and the SIG Coordinator
appoints a Board or no Board at all.

What I propose to you now is a different way to provide governance for
our SIG. I suggest that many of the problems with SIGs, like
leadership changes, can be reduced if the SIG is 'democratized'. This
means that our 'members' would elect the Coordinator and Board
periodically. A question that arises immediately is, 'who do we count
as members'?

Members might be defined liberally a member is anyone who has:

* registered for the Discussion List
* created a Shtetlinks webpage for a town in Ukraine
* managed a Yizkor Book translation project
* submitted data to JOWBR for Ukraine-related Jewish cemeteries, or,
* donated money, services, data, or documents to the SIG

Anyone meeting any of these criteria within, say, the past two years
would be eligible to vote. If we decide to democratize the SIG, and
this will be _your_ decision, we also will need a set of operating
guidelines. We'll start this discussion today and will continue it
during the Open Board Meeting on Tuesday. I hope you will attend, and
contribute to the Discussion.


We had extensive discussion about governance and democratization at
the General Meeting and at the Open Board Meeting. There was a strong
consensus that democratization is a good idea, but it is premature. We
should focus first on getting substantive town-based projects up and
running. So, unless I hear otherwise >from you, that is what we will
do. If you wish to express your views on this, please post a message
to our Discussion List.

There also was near unanimity that we should replace the
Guberniya-based structure of the SIG with a town and district focus.
Within the next few weeks we will post on our website a table showing
current and potential town-based projects and the availability of data
for each town. An announcement will be posted to the Discussion List
when the first version of the table is available. We also will begin
developing a series of 'how-to' documents based on JRI-Poland's very
useful guides.

Shifting to a town/district focus requires Board members who have
"functional" responsibilities. For example, we might have the
following Board positions:

* SIG Coordinator
* Towns/District Director
* Projects Director
* Translations and Data Director
* Outreach Director
* Special Projects Director
* Discussion List Director
* Webmaster

We will develop job descriptions for each position and begin filling
the positions within the next few weeks.


What we accomplish depends on you and on others doing Ukraine
research. We need volunteers with various skills, and we need town and
project leaders to coordinate and manage the projects. Town and
District Leaders will coordinate all projects for a specific Town or
District. Project Leaders will focus on specific tasks that cover many
towns. We need both. Please contact me ( if you are
willing to volunteer. We will provide you with guidance to get you
started and will help you all along the way.

Many of our records are in Cyrillic and Hebrew alphabets, and are
handwritten. So, we need people with some language skills. You don?t
have to be fluent in a language, but it would help if you can
recognize names written in these alphabets. To find out who among us
has these skills, we will conduct an online survey through our
Discussion List and website. At the IAJGS Conference we did a test run
of our first survey. It focused on language, computer and webmaster
assistance skills. We distributed about 185 survey forms and received
96 responses. I'll describe the results in a message to our Discussion
List within the next week. Bottom line - the survey was successful.

Over the next several months we will send you a series of additional
surveys focused on other topics. When you receive a survey form,
please fill it out and click to send it in, even if all you can say is
that you don't have the skills or time for our projects.


If you don't have either skills or time, you can help by donating
money to the JewishGen Ukraine SIG General Fund or to your choice of
town-based projects. Your donations will be used to pay for document
acquisition and for professional translators.

To donate, point your browser to:

http:// <

Click on the Ukraine SIG link at the bottom right side of page.
Specify that your donation is for the Ukraine SIG General Fund, a
specific town, or a specific project.

JewishGen is a 501(c)(3) organization. Your donations are
tax-deductible in the U.S. to the extent permitted by law.

I am looking forward to further discussion with you.


Ron Doctor
Coordinator, JewishGen Ukraine SIG

Kremenets, Oleksinets, Yampol, Vishnevets
and KAZDOY (KOSODOY), DUBINSKI, DUBOWSKY ... all >from Kiev, Uman, Odessa

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