The discussion about increasing the dues by $2/year to provide restricted funds for the archives has yet again gotten bogged down in the discussion of private vs. public information. We've got some chapters who don't think that it's worth funding the archives if we make (the majority? any? all?) of the archives available to the public.
We've got a simple business problem: The archives needs a mission statement so the board reps know what the hell they're voting on. This is separate from the ICG's mission statement, but encompassed by it.
We've also got a more basic issue: The archives will never completely be made available to the public on the web.
While the bandwidth to provide video is becoming available, we don't have the storage and we don't necessarily have the licenses (particularly the ASCAP licenses) to publish these videos on the web. They can (and should) be cataloged, and if the archives team ever has enough people to support it, made available for members to purchase for duplicating costs.
I believe we have books in the archive too. They can (and should) be cataloged. If we can include member reviews in the catalog to guide people who might want to get their own copies, that would be cool. We can't practically or legally provide reproductions, though.
We have a lot of photos in the archive. We are only going to provide screen-resolution images to the public on the web. Again, photos should be cataloged (and the web gallery is a great tool towards this end), and if the archives team ever has enough people to support it, high-resolution copies or prints could be made available for members to purchase for duplicating costs.
It's going to be really difficult to do any of this, even with a volunteer crew, without funding. It's also going to be really difficult to get submissions from non-members (and we don't care where the submissions come from, we just care that they're costume-related) if we don't have a fairly large web-presence.
Arguments about keeping resources private to members are moot if the archives are only available by driving to the archivist's house, and there is no catalog. Right now that's pretty much the case. The online archive gallery has been a spur to get some of our images scanned, cataloged and uploaded so they're available at all. Don't use it, or its configuration, as a lever to say the archive shouldn't be funded. It's made more archive materials available to members than ever before; so what if it's also made those archive materials available to the public?