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6.3.2 The minutes Package

Unlike meetingmins, described above, minutes [53] is a package, so you can choose your document class. The package comes with alternative German commands that you can use instead of the English command names. For example, instead of using \subtitle you can use \untertitel. For brevity, this book only describes the English commands. See the minutes documentation for a list of the German equivalents and for the additional Dutch support. The default language is German, so if you are writing the minutes in English, you'll need to load babel [7] with the english option.

The meeting minutes are contained in the body of the Minutes environment

\begin{Minutes}{title}

where ⟨title⟩ is the title of the minutes. You can have more than one Minutes environment within your document, for example, if you want a compilation of all the minutes for a particular group or committee.

Within the Minutes environment, you can set various information using the commands described below.

\subtitle{title}

This sets the subtitle, if required.

\moderation{name}

This sets the name of the meeting moderator (for example, the chair).

\minutetaker{name}

This sets the name of the minute taker.

\participant{names}

This sets the names of the people present at the meeting.

\guest{names}

This sets the names of any guests present at the meeting.

\minutesdate{date}

This sets the date of the meeting.

\starttime{time}

This sets the starting time of the meeting.

\endtime{time}

This sets the time the meeting ended.

\location{place}

This sets the location of the meeting.

\cc{names}

This sets the distribution list. The argument ⟨names⟩ is a list of names of people who should receive a copy of the minutes. To specify absentees, you can either use

\missingExcused{excused names}

and

\missingNoExcuse{no-excuse names}

or

\missing[excused names]{no-excuse names}

where ⟨excused names⟩ is a list of names of missing people who provided an excuse and ⟨no-excuse names⟩ is a list of missing people who didn't provide an excuse.

The above commands all behave in an analogous way to \title and \author. Once they have been specified, you then need to use:

\maketitle

Example 32. Sample Minutes (minutes package)

This example just sets up the title information for the minutes.

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage[english]{babel}
\usepackage{minutes}

\begin{document}

\begin{Minutes}{Secret Lab of Experimental Stuff}
 \subtitle{Annual General Meeting}
 \moderation{Mr Big Head}
 \minutetaker{Dr Bor Ing}
 \participant{Polly Parrot, Mabel Canary}
 \missing[Z\"oe Zebra, Jos\'e Arara]{Dickie Duck, Fred Canary}
 \guest{Prof Important Person}
 \minutesdate{12th March 2014}
 \starttime{15:00}
 \endtime{17:00}
 \location{University of Somewhere}
 \cc{Vice Chancellor}

 \maketitle
\end{Minutes}

\end{document}

The result is shown in Figure 6.3. Since this document only contains the minutes from a single meeting, I haven't bothered to include an overall document title or table of contents. This causes warnings from the minitoc package [22] (which the minutes package loads). If you want to have a collection of minutes, you can add the title and contents at the start of the document:

\begin{document}
\title{Minutes from the Secret Lab Meetings}
\author{Dr Bor Ing}
\maketitle
\tableofcontents
% add the Minutes environments here

Figure 6.3: Sample Minutes (Title Information Only)
 

Secret Lab of Experimental Stuff

Annual General Meeting

Moderation Mr Big Head

Minutes taker Dr Bor Ing

Those present Polly Parrot

Absent (excused) Zöe Zebra, José Arara

Absent (not excused) Dickie Duck, Fred Canary

Guest Prof Important Person

Location of the meeting University of Somewhere

Date 12th March 2014 15:00–17:00

Distribution Vice Chancellor

End of Image.

You can download or view this example.

The minutes can be subdivided into topics using:

\topic[toc text]{text}

and subtopics using:

\subtopic[toc text]{text}

where ⟨text⟩ is the topic or subtopic and ⟨toc text⟩ is alternative text for the table of contents. These commands are analogous to sectioning commands such as \section. The ⟨toc text⟩ (or ⟨text⟩ if the optional argument is omitted) appears in an overview section in the minutes and also appears in the overall document table of contents (if \tableofcontents has been used, as described above).

Tasks can be specified using the \task command which has a starred and unstarred version. The unstarred version has the syntax:

\task[footnote text]{name}[when]{text}

The starred version has the syntax:

\task*[when]{text}

Example:

\topic{Tasks}
\subtopic{New Experimental Stuff}
\task[done]{Mabel Canary}[tomorrow]{Proposal for a time machine}
\task[pending]{Polly Parrot}{Apply for a ray gun grant}

\subtopic{Kitchen}
\task*{Order a new coffee machine}
\task*[today]{Remove the mind-controlling cookies}

As with the meetingmins class, the minutes package allows you to hide text. This is done either via the command:

\secret{secret text}

or using the Secret environment

\begin{Secret}
secret text
\end{Secret}

The ⟨secret text⟩ will only be displayed if you use the Secret package option.

\usepackage[Secret]{minutes}

Example:

\begin{Secret}
 \task*{There will be a surprise lab inspection on Tuesday.}
\end{Secret}

If the meeting discussed an opinion, this can be recorded using:

\opinion{main}{differing}

where ⟨main⟩ is the main opinion held and ⟨differing⟩ is the differing opinion. The discussion can then be formatted using the Opinions environment:

\begin{Opinions}
\item[name]opinion

\end{Opinions}

Example:

\opinion
  {Keep the coffee break at 11.00am}% main
  {Move the coffee break to 10:30am}% differing

\begin{Opinions}
  \item[Mabel Canary] We should continue to have 
   coffee at 11:00am.
  \item[Polly Parrot] We should move the coffee 
   break to an earlier time.
\end{Opinions}

Arguments can be formatted using the Argumentation environment.

\begin{Argumentation}
items
\end{Argumentation}

Within this environment, you can use the standard \item command for a comment or one of the following commands:

\proreason for

which itemizes a reason in favour of the argument,

\Proimportant reason for

which itemizes an important reason in favour of the argument,

\contrareason against

which itemizes a reason against the argument,

\Contraimportant reason against

which itemizes an important reason against the argument, and

\resultargument result

which itemizes the result of the argument.

Example:

\begin{Argumentation}
  \pro We've always had coffee at 11:00am. There's no need to change it.
  \contra 11:00am is too long a wait for the caffeine addicts.
  \Pro Coffee at 10:30am would interfere with our clandestine 
  experiments scheduled at that time.
  \item Prof Important Person said it would be better to have tea instead of coffee.
  \result The coffee break will continue to be at 11:00am.
\end{Argumentation}

A single vote can be formatted using

\vote{description}{yes}{no}{abstain}[decision]

where ⟨description⟩ is a brief description of the vote, ⟨yes⟩ is the number of “Yes” votes, ⟨no⟩ is the number of “No” votes and ⟨abstain⟩ is the number of abstainers. Optionally, a decision can be added. For example:

\vote{Maintain coffee at 11am}{2}{1}{1}

indicates that there were two votes in favour of maintaining coffee at 11am, one vote against and one abstainer.

Multiple votes can be listed in the Vote environment:

\begin{Vote}
\vote{description}{yes}{no}{abstain}[decision]

\end{Vote}

Example:

\begin{Vote}
 \vote{Maintain coffee at 11am?}{2}{1}{1}
 \vote{Move clandestine experiments to after lunch?}{1}{3}{0}
\end{Vote}

Decisions are first declared using:

\decisiontheme{theme}{title}

This doesn't display anything in the document at this point, but it will be added to the list of decisions which can be displayed using:

\listofdecisions

This is like other \listof… commands, such as \listoftables. Each decision is then specified using:

\decision{theme}{short description}[long description]

There is also a starred version which doesn't add the decision to the list of decisions:

\decision*{short description}[long description]

Example:

 \decisiontheme{Ray Guns}{Should we reverse the polarity of ray guns?}
 \decision{Ray Guns}{The ray gun polarity doesn't need modifying.}
 \decision*{We don't need to reverse the polarity.}
  [Reversing the polarity is generally considered to be a daft idea.]

If necessary, the minutes can be signed at the end using

\signature{name}

This should be placed before the end of the Minutes environment. Any additional information that doesn't belong to the minutes may be included in the Postscript environment

\begin{Postscript}
additional information
\end{Postscript}

or in the argument of

\postscript{additional information}

For other commands not listed here, including how to alter the style, see the minutes documentation.

Exercise 19. Minutes (minutes package)

Extend the document in Example 32 to include topics, tasks, opinions, arguments, votes and decisions.

You can download or view a solution.


This book is also available as A4 PDF or 12.8cm x 9.6cm PDF or paperback (ISBN 978-1-909440-07-4).

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