Date: October 1, 1999
WEBSITE AND TECHNOLOGY
FORMAL REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON
ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS AND COMMERCE
Members of the Committee have been assisting the Membership Secretary, Winston Rice, in the design and
implementation of the MLA web site (www.mlaus.org). As part of this work, the Committee has prepared a draft
MLA Web Site Policy in order to provide a structure for agreement as to the present and future content,
functionality and management of the site. The current draft of the policy can be found at
In reviewing the draft, the Committee reached consensus on the following points.
1. Committee memberships should be made accessible to members and the public on the site with a disclaimer,
if necessary, that Committee membership does not connote any expertise in the Committee area. It was
noted that it is often difficult for members themselves to find out which Committees they are on, and
Committee Chairs sometimes have difficulty reconciling their membership lists with those of the
Association. It was noted that the web site would be the easiest way to maintain and disseminate current
information as to Committee memberships.
2. If an MLA officer is to serve as webmaster, he or she should delegate as many discrete functions to other
members as much as possible in order to avoid creating a bottleneck in getting materials published on the
web in view of the very busy schedules usually maintained by the MLA officers. Members of the
Committee are ready to volunteer to serve as administrators of various sections of the web site. Maintaining
the Links section, for example, could be quite time-consuming since it requires finding and reviewing sites
for potential links.
3. Concerning whether some section of the site, for example, minutes, proposals and drafts, should be limited
to access by members only, the consensus was that the entire site should remain available to the public, and
members and officers should not post materials on the site that should have limited distribution.
4. It would be very useful to have members' e-mail addresses in the directory information on-line and that
users be able to send mail to a member through the site.
5. Among new things to be added to the site, top priority should be given to adding discussion groups as
described in the draft Web Site Policy.
Members have volunteered to present reports in upcoming Committee meetings on domestic and
international developments in electronic commerce in the shipping industry, and on the ethical aspects of attorneys'
use of electronic communications.
In addition, the Committee will attempt to obtain a speaker for the upcoming meeting on practices and
issues in the use of electronic shipping documents from a company involved in providing related services, such as
Bolero or TradeCard.
Glen T. Oxton, Chair