I am delighted, honoured, and a little scared to serve as the chair of the TEI Board for the next two years. There is no doubt that my technical qualifications for this job are much lower than those of my predecessors. Not much can be said in favour of that lack except that it may give me a good feeling for the things that go without saying within the TEI but need a lot of saying and explaining outside it. And "preaching among the heathens" may be the most important challenge for the TEI in the years to come.
I look forward to meeting with the TEI Council at its April meeting in Chicago and to meeting many of you in Würzburg. Between now and then a lot of organizational and financial questions need addressing if the technical and scholarly work of the TEI over the next decade is to build on its very substantial achievements over the past quarter century.
We have a new and thoughtfully designed set of bylaws, but like all other things in life, bylaws do not implement themselves without attentive energy. Under the new bylaws we will move from an environment in which the TEI had four anchors or host institutions to an environment in which it will rely on "partner" institutions whose number and contributions remain to be worked out.
This is a good place to say a very emphatic Thank You to the American, Canadian, English, French, and Norwegian host institutions without whose administrative, financial, and intellectual contributions (both philological and technical) the TEI would not be what it is today. Thank you Bergen, Brown, Lethbridge, Nancy, Oxford, and Virginia. You have set a high standard for the partner institutions to meet, and I hope that some of you will be among the new partners.
The student loan office at Indiana University (when I was there in the early sixties) greeted its visitors with an inscription that went something like "Money may not be everything, but it is way ahead of whatever comes next" (The university library next door quoted Milton about a book being the precious life blood of a master spirit). Money will be a big challenge for the TEI. Not only is less of it going around everywhere, but there is much less of it going around among the North American research libraries whose generous membership fees have provided half or more of the revenue for the TEI. It will take energy and imagination to maintain an adequate level of funding and broaden its base.
Easier said than done, but we will be helped by two newly elected members of the board, Marin Dacos (http://cleo.cnrs.fr/143) and John Walsh. Welcome to both of them.
Finally, on behalf of the Board, the Council, all the subscribers to the TEI-list, not to speak of all the scholars and students who benefit from the work of the TEI (even and especially if they have no idea what it is or does), let me express our collective thanks to Daniel O'Donnell for his vigorous and imaginative leadership over the course of the past four years.
Professor of English and Classics