AASHTO re:source Q & A Podcast

Inside AASHTO Publications

January 17, 2023 AASHTO Publications Team Season 3 Episode 36
Show Notes Transcript

AASHTO re:source Q&A Podcast Transcript 

Season 3, Episode 36: Inside AASHTO Publications 

Recorded: December 20, 2022

Released: January 17, 2023 

Hosts: Brian Jonson, AASHTO Accreditation Program Manager; Kim Swanson, Communications Manager, AASHTO re:source 

Guests: Erin Grady, AASHTO Director of Publications Production; Deb Kim, Assistant Director of Publications Production; Greg Pearson, Bookstore and Web Services Manager

Note: Please reference AASHTO re:source and AASHTO Accreditation Program policies and procedures online for official guidance on this, and other topics.

Transcription is auto-generated.

[Theme music fades in.] 

00:00:02 Announcer: Welcome to AASHTO resource Q & A. We're taking time to discuss construction materials, testing, and inspection with people in the know from exploring testing problems and solutions to laboratory best practices and quality management, we're covering topics important to you. Now here our host, Brian Jonson. 

00:00:21 Brian:  Welcome AASHTO resource Q & A. I'm Brian Johnson. 

 00:00:24 Kim:  And I'm Kim Swanson. And we have a few guests today, Brian. Why are they here? 

 00:00:31 Brian: We've had episodes in the past where we've talked about standards development, particularly on the AASHTO side with the AASHTO Committee on Materials and Pavements, COMP.  But now we're going to get into what happens after that COMP process and the standards development and production and editing and sales and all of that magic that happens between those committee meetings and when those standards arrive in your inbox, or at your door, or however you get them. So, to talk about that today, I've got AASHTO Publications team. Welcome to the podcast. 

00:01:13 Erin:  Hi thanks Brian. Yeah, this is Erin Grady, Director of Publications at AASHTO. Thanks for having me on the show.  

00:01:18 Brian: Happy to have you. Deb Kim.  

00:01:20 Deb:  Hello everyone, I'm Deb Kim. I'm Assistant Director of Publications. I am the Pubs Project Manager for Materials. Happy to be here.  

00:01:30 Brian: Thank you and then, last, we've got Greg Pearson. Welcome, Greg. 


00:01:34 Greg:  Hi, I'm Greg as Brian said and I am the Bookstore and Digital Publications Manager, a title which doesn't actually convey too much, so I run our online store, do our PDF conversions, and also am a copy editor. So, I have read and copy edited many of the standards.  

00:01:57 Brian: Yeah, that would be a lot for business card Greg. So, thank you for the explanation on what you do though - we'll get more into that later. So, Erin, we're going to start with you as director, why don't you give us the rundown about what AASHTO Publications does?  

00:02:12 Erin:  We are essentially the tail of the dog here. So much of the hard work happens from the committee's side and through our liaisons that work with the committee to help develop the original native content that gets through and is balloted as you know, comes to us in a variety of ways, but typically we like everything to come to us and kind of a clean document. That's been obviously been balloted and vetted by the committee and lots of other folks, but we start our process where we begin with signing something and initiating it and assigning it to a project manager editor, who then takes it to the next level of hardcore copy, edit, proofreading, review looking to find obviously grammatical errors, but looking for inconsistencies and inaccuracies that we, as copy editors and proofreaders do not answer. We just flag them. To provide queries back to those subject matter experts who obviously are much more suited to come up with an answer faster than we would be able to research it. But we're just basically flagging it that something doesn't look quite right. It doesn't read very well. We come up with wording suggestions that goes back to the experts to either approve or say no, we'd rather it go some other direction. And from there. We're kind of back and forth depending on the complexity of the standard or the application that we're working on sometimes that can be a multi-level review period we have multiple rounds. We try to make up as much time while something's out for tech review with our queries by working on a cover design and then when everything comes back, we tend to then do the layout and many times in material standards is in Microsoft Word to keep it consistent with all the many, many, many specs that are in that book. But for the other publications that we do, we also work in design software that's for desktop layout, that's a much better suited for columns, artwork, figures, photos, that kind of thing. In which case then we are sending out that layout for final review to make sure that we haven't messed something up by laying something out, we usually will catch queries along the way and from there it goes on to our digital review person. In this case, it's Greg to go on to the store to do his final quality control. Getting it ready for online. He is a fresh eye. He hasn't seen it during the whole production. For example, Deb’s been looking at this publication for weeks and weeks and months and months, and having a fresh eye just helps to just give it a much more well-rounded read through. As he's getting it ready for online, there will almost 100% of the time be additional queries or questions that come from that process goes back out for tech review, we finally get another response to those queries.  If all goes well, then we get it back with approval and we can then post it on our online store and or print it depending on what the publication is. We do all of our publications in digital format with fewer and fewer going into print, but there are some books like the materials book that remains in print based on our customer's. Probably a little long winded, but it hopefully gives you a nutshell approach to a very complex process, but that we enjoy and really hope brings the publications to the highest quality to really emphasize all the hard work of the committee.  

00:05:19 Kim:  Erin, as you're going through that whole summary of what you all do. I got to thinking. That I mean the materials publications is just one of so many different publications that you are working with. And I don't even know the answer, I've been with ash toe long enough that I should know. 

The answer to this, I think. But how many publications do you have?  

00:05:42 Erin:  Well, we released about 25 to 30 publications a year. We have about 200 titles. That does not include each individual material spec - so add an additional what. 800 to that number, but actively about 200 full titles. Right now, just to put things into perspective, we have about 19 titles in production, in various phases of production and that's you know some. Of them are very. Short they might be 25 to 50 pages and then you might have some that have closer to 15 hundred to 1800 pages if it's a large bridge spec, by the way, so. Yeah, so we have a lot going on here.  

00:06:18 Brian: Well, how many people are on the team?  

00:06:20 Erin:  Including myself, there's nine of us, [Brian: Nine of you...] and that includes we've got between Greg and Deb. We've also got two other copy editors, project managers. We have two senior graphic designers, and we also have a part-time admin as well as publications marketing manager.  

00:06:36 Brian: Wow, that's a lot. We talked mainly about what goes on in the COMP realm, but those other publications that you manage do they have similar interactions with committees, and is there similar process for development of those whatever those publications are?  

00:06:52 Deb:  Yes, we've got a similar workflow for all of the technical publications. We do have some non-technical, like policy-type things, but it all goes through a committee is balloted and comes to us and sometimes it will come to us in chunks as Erin mentioned instead of all in one neat package, which we do like better, but yeah, it comes from the committee or from authors contracted by the committee. So, for instance, if it started life as an NCHRP report then the principal investigator of that NCHRP report might be the one who's sending us files rather than the committee directly. But yeah, everything has to be edited. Your listeners would be surprised how much we actually catch, and we're not engineers, not by any stretch of the imagination, but if something doesn't scan right, you know if something looks ambiguous grammatically, then we will ask them about that, and say did you mean this, this or this, or something else. 

00:08:05 Kim:  Yeah, I know I play that role sometimes at re:source for some of the things that we do that I'm a fresh set of eyes of that I don't have the technical background, but I know enough to know somethings might not be right or might need some clarification so I can respect the importance of that role as you're trying to communicate so much information. Especially technical information around that. I'm curious as well, how long is a typical process? So, let's use the material standards as an example. But how long would you say is the process from when you get the balloted changes and everything like that from when it comes into your hands to it's out the door and ready for distribution. How long does that take?  

00:08:47 Deb:  Well, there's. A lot of pre-production before we even get the files because we're pulling the meeting minutes apart and ballot reports. If there are any negative votes or negative comments, we want to make sure we've got that in there. So when we get the files, if it looks any different from the ballot attachment, then version of the standard, then we go look at that. And go, ohh OK, that's why that's different because the tech chair was addressing that comment. So I started doing pre-production on materials in late October. I got the first tech subcommittee handoff in early November and the book releases digitally on the very last working day of July. That's our typical workflow from year to year.  

00:09:40 Kim:  That is a long process, but just describing like but thinking about everything that Erin described earlier and all of the work that goes into it. That also feels like a very short process. At the same time, so it feels like that is a very jam-packed amount of time and a very busy time.  

00:09:57 Deb:  Yes, as a project manager, I look at those test dependencies and I better keep these deadlines on track early on or it's just going to be a nightmare a few months later.  

00:10:11 Erin:  And I would say outside of the materials book, unless you're talking about a very big bridge book, the average book I usually tell folks when they ask me is about a three-to-four-month process. And imagine that's like a 200-page spec of some kind. The smaller Policy Committee reports we usually can turn around in 4 to 8 weeks, something like. That depending on how much redesign. A lot of times it comes down to waiting on artwork for the cover design to come through, which you think would be the easiest part, but that's why we're always trying to work behind the scenes while other phases of the process are going on, so we're kind of making up as much time as we can.  

00:10:46 Deb:  And with covers, we actually, have to that any cover photos to make sure that it's technically appropriate for the subject of the book. It's not showing any improper safety practices, and it's not just grab a few pretty pictures off the web.  

00:11:06 Erin:  Oh, please don't. Please don't do that. Copyright infringement. 

00:11:11 Greg:  And then the other thing with that is a lot of the subject matter experts that we deal with are volunteers and some of them are volunteers who are doing that as part of their job. That's part of their duty assignments at the agency that they work for, but for some of them, it is not, and they have to do the query review and responses on their own time because that's something that they feel is their duty to the industry. And so that can make it difficult to enforce deadlines on them because they are not our employees and they are often working nights, weekends, holidays to get this stuff done so that also can impact the speed of the production process because there is a lot of waiting to get query responses for these extremely busy people to have time in their schedule to work on our stuff.  

00:12:16 Brian: Absolutely, and I would say from the COMP meetings that Deb does an outstanding job explaining what the sequence of events are going to be, what the deadlines are, what Publications is dealing with deadlines so that people have an understanding of why we can't just publish this down, why we can't just throw another ballot out there to get this out there now because it's important to me. I know I've gone through the process of writing a standard balloting, putting it through the provisional phase, and then now we're going through this, trying to make it a real standard so that we can actually use it in the industry. And it takes years to do it, but there's so much that goes on that people don't understand, and I'm hoping that this episode helps clear some of that up. Deb, what are some of the real challenges that you face working with the volunteers who presumably do not work in publishing right to get them to participate and still maintain AASHTO expectations of quality of these publications, not just the standards I know I'm heavy on the standards part, but any of the publications you work on with volunteers.  

00:13:23 Deb:  Well, they are happy to work with us. They have a real sense of pride and ownership in these standards. And so, any delay is really their real job demanding so much of their time. Because you know, everybody's really busy, but when you're working in transportation, there's some really critical deadlines in that as well. So, they do the best they can, and. We have Mark Felag who's not on this podcast but plays a very critical role as the Secretary of COMP. Doing some gentle reminders to people that we need them to hand off their files, or later if we need them to respond to the technical queries. And regarding the technical queries, when we send those out, we'll have questions about standards that are balloted sometimes questions about standards that aren't balloted, but we asked them to review every balloted standard to ensure that our edits haven't inadvertently introduced any errors. We try to query everything, but you know, sometimes even just the addition of 1 comma could change the meaning of something. So, it's important that even if we don't have queries for a standard that they've balloted, they still need to go in and take a good hard look and make sure it's OK for publication.  

00:14:54 Brian: Yeah, you do a great job with that. I don't think I've ever really run into any issues where I've seen Publications make editorial changes that ostensibly changed the intent, or the even the practical explanation of what a step is in a procedure or a requirement for it that's in a specification. But yeah, I could see where that would happen. And I know you were talking about. Or maybe I was just inferring this from what you said. But a lot of times the people who work on the standards, they may be technically competent, right? But then they might need a little help in getting that translated to something that makes sense to the end reader. And I at least in COMP. I haven't really seen that be a real issue, but I do appreciate when I get questions from people who understand editing it or grammar or communication. When we get some comment about - especially Kim is the master of this on side where somebody writes something down and she looks at it and it's like what does that mean? And then we have to think, OK, what did we mean or what did I mean when I wrote when and did I communicate that effectively and it really takes somebody who's not buried in the minutia of that kind of work? To be able to shine a light on that, the effectiveness of communication issues so it. Long way for me to get to the point of saying that I think AASHTO Publications does a really nice job helping us make the most of our ideas and our thoughts and the technical publication. So, thank you for that. I also want to say Deb, I think you're very brave in the way that you allow people like me to go into the library. And upload a new version of the standard that frankly scared me quite a bit. Because I'm like, OK, I'm going into this is the standard that is going to be used and I am uploading it overwriting the standard that is then going to be end up finally being the publication. What do you do after that because I'm certain that I can't be the only one who had some level of uncertainty with uploading a new document, what do you do to safeguard that from people like me screwing it up?  

00:17:13 Deb:  Well, you are definitely not the only one, especially a newer Tech Chair might be very, very nervous about that, but you know it is a SharePoint site so there are various versions. So, in the absolute worst case we can revert to a prior version of the standard. But we do go in and make sure that everything is OK. There are no glitches with the word file that 99% of the time it's fine. But if they're really, really feeling nervous, then they can e-mail me the file instead and I'll check it out and make sure it's OK and upload it on their behalf before we start doing any other work on it.  

00:18:00 Brian: I appreciate that, and I appreciate that you kind of put it in the hands of the volunteers to do that too, because then it really hits home that, OK we really expect you to make sure that you get this right before it comes to the editors that don't have that technical knowledge, to be able to decide if this change made sense or not from a technical perspective.  

00:18:22 Erin:  To add to what Deb said, I think that that is sort of nerve-wracking I think, especially for the newer Tech Chairs and I think Deb is fantastic in responding to emails, so I think that's one of the things we would like to just put out there is to -  whenever there's a concern or question, please just pop an e-mail because we would love to make sure that we're directing folks into the right place. Because I will say one of the main challenges, I think we face, besides just the complexity and the length of the production cycle of this book is really making certain that folks are picking up on the most recent version in the library because a lot of times we'll get edits to a file that's one version back and it takes Deb and Greg like. We'll just be really late in the process, but something will come up. Be like, uh, oh, we know that change was already made. We saw that, so that was already something, so it really takes us back to they. They started with the wrong version, so that's kind of a word of caution is just always being sure to check that the date is the proper date and to really ask questions. Sending an e-mail to Deb, she will certainly respond quickly to make sure that we're all starting off the right version.  

00:19:28 Deb:  Part of the right version is making sure that it is locked down. File protection is turned on, because we want to make sure that all of the changes are flagged. And if it's not protected file then it may very well not be the final file from the previous year. So, then we need to do a copy compare to make sure that they're not undoing edits from the previous year, such as our global edits. So, with those provisionals, when they become real standards then they get a brand-new standard number. So if that standard has been cited anywhere. They we need to change that citation to the new standard number for every standard that cites it. So those are the sorts of things that get lost if the file they upload to the libraries and not the right version of the standard. 

00:20:27 Kim:  A previous episode, Brian was talking about upcoming changes to AASHTO R18 in the balloting process that he went through there. And one of the points that he made was that he wanted to make sure that nobody else was trying to submit another ballot for R18 and all those things to kind of worry about the version control and making changes to the document that is the most current version of it, so thank you for the insight on that. I think those two parts together can really help make sure that. AASHTO is putting out the best information going forward.  

00:20:57 Deb:  And kudos to Brian because R 18 was rather complex this year. There were three ballot items proposing changes to the standard. One was withdrawn, so there's still 2 ballot items that all of the changes need to go into a single file, and he did that for us, and I really appreciate that because it does get complex.  

00:21:24 Brian: Glad you like that because it was a pain and it's going to be a pain next year when I make the next ballot too, but I will make sure to maintain version control. Don't you worry about that?  

00:21:34 Greg:  So just to interject briefly, in case someone in the audience is having a panic attack, what we're talking about is R18-23 the version that will be published on July 31st, 2023. There were no changes to R18 and 2022, so if you didn't buy it last year and you're suddenly having a heart attack, don't worry. It's next year that you have to update it. We haven't actually made any changes to R18 since 2018.  

00:22:05 Kim:  Thank you for that clarification, because I can envision some lab managers having a minor heart attack at that if they were not familiar with that, so I definitely appreciate that, and the AASHTO Accreditation Program for those accredited laboratories, does require participants to have the most updated and current version of all of the standards, so that is important information to know that next year is the year.  

00:22:28 Brian: And we require that you have current and legally acquired copies. That is something that is going to be in the 2024 version. That specific language. That didn't make that was in the big ballot that didn't pass, but it doesn't mean that it's not still the case, so don't go out there stealing copyrighted information, people. That's a bad bad move. Anyway, Greg, let's talk about how we get these standards in people's hands now, legally, what's your role in making sure that people can get these standards once they're published and other documents that Publications puts out?  

00:23:02 Greg:  All of our publications, including our standards, are available from the AASHTO store online at store.transportation.org. We also have an 800 number you can call if you really want to order by phone or by mail. We offer the standards in two different formats. You can either buy them in print or as a PDF. As we've mentioned, we really make an effort to get the PDF available on the last business day of July, every year. So, that will be July 31st, 2023 is when the new version of the standards will hit in PDF.  In print, we try to get as close to that date with the print version as we can right now. There is actually a huge worldwide paper shortage. Caused by a number of plants closing during the pandemic. It is getting increasingly hard to get things putted in a timely fashion. We're hoping we'll be able to do better in 2023 and get the print version closer to that July 31st PDF release, but it may be a few weeks later. A little too early to tell. So., as PDF you can get either a single-user or multi-user version. Our PDFs are always concurrent user, so if you buy a single user, that doesn't mean you are the only person in your lab who can ever use it. It means that only one person in your lab can use it at a time. And all of our PDFs are fully printable. Again, according to license, you shouldn't be printing more copies than you have licenses for. That's part of the legally acquired thing that Brian was talking about, but it's also not going to limit you. So, if you spill a bunch of hot asphalt all over your standard when you're doing a test and can no longer read it. It's perfectly fine to throw that one away and go back to the PDF and print it again. And once you have a PDF, it is yours to keep. They don't expire. They may get superseded, and they're no longer the valid standard. But if you ever need to go back and look at the old version for some reason, maybe a project that you were doing in a previous years getting audited and you need to reference the materials you were using at that time, you'll always be able to go back to the. Store and download a new copy. No matter what happens, it stays in your account forever. And if you don't need all 600 of our standards, we also sell each one individually. So, if you just need R18, if that's the only thing you're doing, then you can just go and buy R18 on its own or any of our other standards. Generally, if you regularly use 10 or fewer standards. It's cheaper to just buy them a la carte. If you're using in the 10 to 15 range. It kind of depends, uh, standard pricing varies by length, so if you're using a bunch of long standards, then at that point it's better to buy the complete collection. And if you're using more than about 15, then it's - you're pretty much always going to save money by buying the whole set.  

00:26:29 Deb:  And I just wanted to circle back about the paper shortage because the materials book is particularly sensitive to that because we use a specialty paper for it because it's so large. It's 5 hefty volumes, the print. And it would be even bigger except that we use a special lightweight paper on it. I think it's called Bible paper actually. So, it's super lightweight but still sturdy and so yeah. Very few paper manufacturers produced that paper.  

00:27:04 Kim:  I just learned so much information from both Greg and Deb right now.  

00:27:09 Brian: Another thing I wanted to mention is that it says R 18 the standards have to be available and understood by the staff, so keep that in mind. Go back, rewind, listen to what Greg was saying about how you can use those multi-license agreements properly. Because I don't think that that's well understood by a lot of people, so I appreciate that information. Speaking of areas that might be a little confusing, Greg, can you speak to what the most common areas of confusion are related to delivery of publications that you've heard, since you often get some of these questions?  

00:27:45 Greg:  If there's one thing that I would like every user of the standards to know, it's how to figure out what the most recent version of a standard is, because there is a lot of confusion about that, and you can actually tell by looking at the standard number when it was published and what's current. 

We actually did a survey of standards users two years ago to see how well understood that was and we did a little quiz of showing people standard numbers and asking if and asking when was the standard published. We sent it to every purchaser of the material standards in 2020. And only about 1/3 of the people get it right. So, let's talk about R18. So if you look at the standard number for the current version of R18, it's R18-18 (2022).  and I want to go over a little bit. What that means, so R means it's a standard practice as opposed to a specification or test method 18 just means it's the 18th standard practice that AASHTO published.  You, the listener don't care about that either. The Dash 18 is where it gets important, though that means it was last technically updated in 2018. So if you purchased it in 2018-2019, 2020,2021 or 2022, it's technically the same version. And that's fine. You do not need to update. R18-18 is the current version. The (2022) does not mean we updated it in 2022, which a lot of people think. What it actually means is that the committee reviewed it for technical accuracy in 2022 and decided that no technical changes. Were needed at that time. So that's telling you that, yes, we've looked at it. Yes, we still think it's valid, but it doesn't mean we changed it. If you have our 1818 without the 2022 after it, that's just as good as R 18-18 (2022). So, when we do update it, next year, it will become R 18-23. So that's another thing that is a point of confusion, often among people who are doing testing contracts. If you specify R18-18. You're saying that you must use the 2018 version of that standard if you just specify R18, then you're saying you should use the latest version of that standard, whatever that happens to be so. If it's 2024, and you're putting out a contract that says you people are supposed to be doing this to  R18-18 even though R18-24 is now out, then you're saying people shouldn't be using R 18-24. They need to go back, find their old version, and use R 18-18 and I think a lot of people who are writing contracts don't really understand that they're making that decision and think the Dash 18 is part of the standard number and don't realize that that's just the year, so there's kind of two things on the part of the lab or the manufacturer, it's to know when you need to update it and it's when that number after the dash changes and then on part of the specifier, it's to know whether you want to specify a specific version or whether you want to people to use the latest version, and they're valid reasons for doing both. You just should understand what you're doing.  

00:31:53 Kim:  That was super helpful, Greg. I hope everybody caught all of that. Deb, did you have something to add?  

00:31:58 Deb:  Yes, and if they didn't catch all of that in response to the survey results, we also added a designation key to the header of each standard. So, you know you've got the title and then you've got the designation number below that we have a little line that says what year it was revised, adopted, reclassified - any of that to the left. And then if it was reviewed and not revised then there is that number will be shown in the middle and it will say, reviewed and not technically revised. I forget the exact word and Greg will know that and then if it has had any editorial revisions, which is not what we and pubs do, that's anything that the committee decides needs to be done as a correction or clarification, but hasn't been balloted. So, something that came up at one of their meetings and they said, yeah, we need to correct this, then those are the editorial revisions that might be flagged with that third position. The right-justified editorially revised this year or that year. 

00:33:10 Greg:  If you didn't catch it when I said it, and you don't want to rewind and listen if you have the full standards book, there is a section in the front matter on page Roman numeral X, so page 10, that says about AASHTO designation numbers and it has a written description of everything that Deb and I have just said. And our intention is that maybe after the 2023 publication, or maybe in 2024 we're going to do another survey to see if these changes that Deb was talking about have actually helped people, and if the understanding in the future is better, so yes, this will be on the quiz.  

00:33:59 Kim:  Thank you for all that information and I did want to let our listeners know that we have a webinar that we've recorded in the AASHTO re:university webinar series and its Standards as a Second Language that does kind of go into some of this as well, and it talks a little bit about how to dissect and read basically and understand the ASTM standards as well. So, it goes into both AASHTO and ASTM standards, and I'll put a link to that in the show notes. If our listeners want more information on that.  

00:34:27 Brian: A couple people were talking about the parenthetical date on the end, just from an insider look at committee view. That also means that you know, for R18, for example, that Brian has been dragging his feet for several years and they had to reapprove it instead of putting new date on it. So that that's why it's so that draft ballot took me too long to get out, or we wouldn't have had the parenthetical. So sometimes when you see that date, it means it's also not being managed as actively as it could have been managed, I'm not saying. It's a bad thing, but it happened.  

00:34:55 Deb:  I just wanted to add that review cycle if the standard hasn't been revised after four years, it does have to be reviewed. So standards that haven't been revised or not languishing with nobody looking at it on a regular basis every four years each standard is reviewed by the subject matter experts.  

00:35:18 Greg:  And I think our oldest standard, if I remember correctly, is A-65 so you don't have to feel too bad Brian.  

00:35:27 Brian: Well, I appreciate that, and I will take that and run with it. Erin, I want to go back to you and give you kind of an open forum here. What do you wish people knew about AASHTO Publications?  

00:35:40 Erin:  We so value our customers and our AASHTO members and the fact that we play such an important part to make sure that we get this content out. Have it be as legible and as attractive in formatting and as accurate as possible that we really follow through the steps. My team is incredibly passionate about making sure that they do everything they can to make sure these documents are honoring the hard work that went into the development of them, and I guess I just I would like folks to know that our store has got a little bit of everything you can find so many different categories of information. We also have an archive section for those if someone's needing to go back in time to look at things that have been sunsetted, but still may be relevant in some legal cases or what have you. And that we really are juggling a lot in our publications team. But we really do believe in. What we're working on, and I'm so fortunate to have a team that our youngest person and our team has been here for three years. But the average lifespan of a national publication’s person is. 15 years or more. I'm so so lucky to have such a veteran team that is very experienced and if you have any questions I we always are really hoping that folks will reach out to us so that we can help direct people to the right publication and or help with any questions they may have about ordering. So, thanks again for the opportunity.  

00:37:00 Kim:  I just wanted to ask what other things are available at the store.transportation.org and I know that the standards are there and the other publications, but is there anything else available?  

00:37:12 Brian: Do we have AASHTO resource Q and A mugs or shirts or something? I mean what kind of merch do we have on the AASHTO store, Greg?  

00:37:19 Greg:  Not much in the way of merch at the moment. Many years we do a calendar, but we do not have a 2023 calendar, unfortunately. We are merch list at the moment. There are also a lot of training courses. Available, however. And several of them do in fact deal with certain of the standards, particularly with test methods where you can do an online training course to kind of walk you through how to do that test. The courses are all online, do at your own pace kinds of things and you can get a certificate in professional development hours for many of them.  

00:38:04 Brian: You talked about what's available at the store, but I know some people get their standards other ways. They get, they get them through. Other vendors are those legitimate versions of the standards? What are those relationships you have with other vendors?  

00:38:17 Greg:  Usually there are legitimate. I'm sure there are some that are not, but we have official reseller agreements with several other organizations that sell standards on our behalf and then pay a royalty. Usually, that so that they can be included, in a multi-organizational platform, so where you can get AASHTO standards and ASTM standards and I EEE standards and SAE standards or all sorts of others. So our official reseller agreements are with Techstreet, HIS, ASTM Compass, Novel. The IHS thing is Engineering Workbench. Novel has a platform, and then there is a company called Academic Pub that mostly does course packs for students. And SAI also we're working on a couple of others, so there may be, uh, there may be more in the future, but those are currently our official resellers, all of whom also sell material standards as part of their subscription platforms or on their own. Often it's at a bit of a markup over what you get buying directly from us, because of course they have to pay us a royalty and make their own profit. But if you want a multi-publisher subscription platform then that is often the best way to get them because the AASHTO store does only sell AASHTO standards, so.  

00:39:55 Kim:  Is there anything that end users can do to do the due diligence to make sure that they are working with an approved reseller? 

00:40:04 Greg:  There isn't really a sort of stamp that we put on an authorized thing. If you have questions, you're as welcome to contact AASHTO Publications. If you go to the AASHTO store, there's a publications questions form that you can put in and that actually will go to me. And either I will answer directly, or if it's something more technical like. You have a question about using a standard or something, then I will forward that to the appropriate subject matter expert. I know Brian sometimes gets those.  

00:40:42 Brian: Yeah, I'm happy to get those kinds of questions, but everybody is always really responsive, on the publications team and I know I appreciate it, and I think the customers do as well. So, thanks for mentioning that.  

00:40:53 Kim:  One thing I wanted to make sure that we mentioned is that AASHTO accredited laboratories are eligible for a discount on the AASHTO Publication, and I know I send out an e-mail every year to accredited laboratories in our system with the code and details about the new materials standards. So if you're an AASHTO Accredited laboratory, you should have gotten one of those emails for me and for 2022, and you'll get another one in spring/summer for 2023. But if you have questions about that, you can e-mail me at kswanson@AASHTOresource.org and we can determine if you are an accredited laboratory that received that discount. And the discount is for you get the publication at the AASHTO member Price. So that is what the discount is. And Greg, do you want to explain the difference between AASHTO members and nonmembers? 

00:41:53 Greg:  I could do that. I will also add that the discount is for purchasing the full set of standards from the AASHTO Store. It does not apply if you are buying individual standards, does not apply to any other AASHTO publications, and it does not apply if you are buying from a third party. AASHTO is the Association of State Transportation departments, so they are the 52 state DOT's are core members. They pay us a lot of money in annual dues and they get a discount on our publications as one of several member benefits. Other transportation agencies, cities, counties, federal agencies, Canadian provinces or agencies outside the US that are involved in transportation can become AASHTO Associate Members. The dues for that are $3500 a year. You get several benefits with that, including the member price on all AASHTO publications and trainings.  

00:42:59 Kim:  Thank you for clarifying that.  

00:43:02 Brian: Erin, thank you so much for your time.  

00:43:04 Erin: Thank you.  

00:43:05 Brian: Deb. I appreciate everything. All the stuff that you do behind the scenes before and after is really incredible.  I appreciate everything you do. Appreciate the time that you spent with us today.  

00:43:15 Deb:  Thank you, I really appreciate the committee as well. The Committee on Materials and Pavements. They are just a really hard-working bunch and really a pleasure to work with.  

00:43:24 Brian: And finally, Greg, thanks for your time today and for all the information you provided.  

00:43:29 Greg:  It was great to be here. Thank you for having me and I hope I was able to answer some people's questions and I'm always happy to answer more. 

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