WWW Virtual Library Constitution

The current location of this document is http://vlib.org/admin/Constitution

Art. I: Constitution

An Association, known as "The World Wide Web Virtual Library" (WWWVL), also known as "The Web Virtual Library" (WVL), and organized in accordance with, and subject to, articles 60 and following of the Swiss civil Code is hereby constituted. The association is domiciled in Geneva, Switzerland.

Art. II: Mission statement

The WWWVL is a not-for-profit organization whose objective is to create a superlative and easy to use guide that thoroughly catalogues, in an organized and meaningful way, quality Web resources on particular topics.

The WWWVL is made up of numerous volunteer specialists who are united by an interest in cooperation, unbiased sharing and free dissemination of information and dedicated to creating a distributed form of networked knowledge. The WWWVL Council coordinates the efforts of the WWWVL.

Art. III: Bylaws

In addition to the present Constitution, separate Bylaws govern the practical functioning and the procedural details of the WWWVL. The articles in these Bylaws have to be ratified by a formal vote of the membership. Modifications to the Bylaws can be proposed by the Council, or by individual members through an initiative, as defined in Art. IX of the present Constitution.

Art. IV: Membership

  1. The list of WWW Virtual Library maintainers ("the list") as recorded in the database held at http://conbio.rice.edu/vl/database/footnote is recognized as the set of members of the WWW Virtual Library.
  2. The details of how new members are accepted and existing memberships are terminated are stipulated in the Bylaws.
  3. Any member in good standing may vote and may seek election to the position of WWWVL Council Member.
  4. The content and intellectual property of each member's VL site is the exclusive property of the member, and does not belong to the Virtual Library itself.

Art. V: Organization

  1. WWWVL
    1. All WWWVL members must be subscribed to the wwwvlannounce mailing list. This list is reserved for special announcements and is private (i.e., only the membership can subscribe and send to the list) and moderated.
    2. All WWWVL members may be subscribed to the wwwvl mailing list. This list is for general discussions among members and is private and not moderated.
  2. WWWVL Council
    1. The council shall consist of at most 11 WWWVL members who are elected by all the members.
    2. Council members who have finished their term may be candidates for a new term.
    3. Any wwwvl member can be a candidate for council membership.
    4. The council will internally elect its chair, secretary, treasurer, and whichever other role(s) it deems appropriate.

Art. VI: Elections and other votes

Votes on elections of new council members, on changing the bylaws, or on any other decision that should be taken by the membership, are announced via the wwwvlannounce mailing list. The exact procedures are as follows:

  1. Elections
    1. A council member is elected for three years, after which the corresponding seat must be open for candidacy.
    2. Whenever a vacancy is about to arise, the council shall send a call for candidacy to the wwwvlannounce mailing list.
    3. Within the two months following the announcement, candidates should publicize their interest by sending an email to the wwwvlannounce mailing list within two months of the call for candidacy.
    4. After this period, if the number of candidates is less than or equal to the number of seats, no vote shall be necessary and all the candidates shall be considered to have been elected.
    5. If the number of candidates is greater than the number of seats, an election must be organized within a period of two months after the end of the candidacy period. The council shall announce the election by sending the list of candidates to the wwwvlannounce mailing list and by reminding the membership of the procedure for voting.
    6. Within four weeks of the election announcement, the WWWVL members shall send their votes by email to the address indicated in the call for votes, listing their choice of candidates. Each member has as many votes as vacant seats, but a member may cast only one vote per candidate.
    7. The current council shall then count the votes that each candidate received and shall prepare a list of those candidates who have received the most votes, with as many names as there are seats available.
    8. Finally, the council shall send the list of newly elected council members to the wwwvlannounce mailing list.
  2. Other votes
    1. Voting shall be conducted on the basis that each member has one vote.
    2. The council sends a message to the wwwvlannounce mailing list with the text that should be voted on and, possibly, the position of the council on that subject. The call for votes shall also mention the email address to which the votes should be emailed.
    3. In the month following the announcement, the membership can discuss the subject on the wwwvl mailing list and send their votes by email.
    4. In order for the subject voted on to be adopted, it shall require the consent of not less than 75% of those eligible and voting.
    5. At the end of this period, the council shall count the votes and announce the result on the wwwvlannounce mailing list.
  3. Votes ending in a tie
    1. A tie vote, in an election or in any other kind of vote, will be broken by a vote of the members of the council.

Art. VII: Role and function of the Council

  1. The council controls and manages the "vlib.org" Internet domain, administers the WWWVL and WWWVLannounce lists, and is in charge of moderating the WWWVLannounce list.
  2. The council, or designee thereof, represents the membership at ceremonies, awards and other such events.
  3. The council proposes guidelines, rules and bylaws to be voted upon by all members.
  4. The council proposes new members.
  5. The council attracts new members to participate in the WWWVL.
  6. One of the council members, to be selected by the council, shall oversee the overall structure of the VL to encourage and organize cross-reference links between VL entries.
  7. The council manages the assets of the VL, including money, trademarks, and copyrights held by the VL, and defends the trademarks and copyright of the VL against misuse.
  8. The council can require that individual VL entries contain a link to the entry (or entries) that are immediately higher up in the hierarchical catalog.
  9. The council, or designee thereof, manages the central catalog and database of all WWWVL subject areas.
  10. The council enforces the bylaws of the WWWVL and the rulings of the Dispute Resolution Officer (see article on arbitration).
  11. The council responds to outside criticism of WWWVL member sites as it deems necessary.
  12. The council shall decide on its own procedures for decision-making.

Art. VIII: Decisions on implementing the Constitution and the Bylaws

The WWWVL defines, in the Bylaws, a procedure to resolve all disagreements and conflicts arising from the implementation of the present Constitution and its accompanying Bylaws. The place of jurisdiction for the WWWVL association is the Geneva court, Switzerland.

Art. IX: Initiative

  1. Whereas the administrative body of WWWVL shall be the WWWVL Council, the control of WWWVL shall be vested in the membership in that any member may submit a proposal (called "initiative") on which the membership could vote. The submission shall be made by mailing the proposal to the wwwvlannounce mailing list. To be accepted such a proposal should be supported by at least five members who must be named in the initial mailing.
  2. Within two months of the submission of the proposal, the council shall organize a vote on the proposal. The council may simply submit the proposal for a vote, and may argue for acceptance or rejection of the proposal, or can submit a counter-proposal. Members shall vote to accept one proposal or the other, or both, or reject both. The proposal with the highest vote will be carried if it got more than 50% of favorable votes. Those submitting the initial proposal can, before the vote, decide to withdraw their proposal in favor of the counter-proposal, in which case only the counter-proposal shall be submitted to the vote.

Art. X: Dissolution

The Association may be dissolved by a vote of the membership, who shall decide on the disposition of the Association's assets. Such assets (financial, intellectual, or of any other nature) may only be transferred to another not-for-profit organisation with similar objectives to the Association [and with similar dispositions about any subsequent disposal of assets in its own constitution]. In the absence of a suitable candidate organisation or the inability or impracticality of agreeing on one, the assets shall be donated to the Swiss national Red Cross.


Footnote added March 2005.

This footnote does not form part of the Constitution.
Following the centralisation of all VLib services on the server vlib.org, this link is no longer technically valid. (Legalistically though, links from conbio.net now redirect to vlib.org.)
The Database of Members is being recreated: details.


Last update: Aug. 9, 2000 at 18:59 (GMT+1:00) (the US east coast is GMT-5:00, i.e. 6 hours earlier)
March 14th 2005: Earlier this year the HTML coding was tidied and a stylesheet introduced. Links have also been updated (where these do not form part of the Constitution text). A footnote has been added (but is not part of the Constitution) to explain the remaining anomalous link in the Constitution. Work continues on converting these older pages to XHTML and the better use of stylesheets. This work will not affect the wording of the documents.
Accepted by a vote of the membership on Aug. 7, 2000.

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