of the American Society for Information Science and Technology    Vol. 29 No. 1     October / November 2002

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ASIST 2002
Philadelphia, Here We Come

by Edie Rasmussen and Hong Xu

Conference Chair Edie Rasmussen is a professor and Hong Xu is assistant professor at University of Pittsburgh, 135 N. Bellefield, Pittsburgh, PA 15260. Edie can be reached by phone at 412-624-9459 or by e-mail at erasmus@mail.sis.pitt.edu. Hong can be reached by phone at 412-624-9454 or by e-mail at hzu@mail.sis.pitt.edu.

This year's ASIST Annual Meeting, with the theme "Information, Connections and Community," will be held in Philadelphia's Wyndham Franklin Plaza Hotel from November 18 to 21, with pre-conference events on Saturday and Sunday, November 16 and 17. From the series of seminars on Saturday and Sunday, November 16 and 17, through plenaries, technical program, tours and social events, the conference promises a rich exploration of new trends and successful innovations in information science research and practice.

New this year, the ASIST 2002 Knowledge Management Summit, a pre-conference event on Saturday, November 16, will give attendees the opportunity to get an in-depth look at best practices in knowledge management as it is implemented in organizations. Other pre-conference events include a rich selection of half- and one-day courses on current topics such as intranet strategies, taxonomies and metadata, legal concerns and machine learning.  On Saturday, SIG/USE will present a half-day workshop where participants will work in small groups and on Sunday, SIG/CR will continue its tradition of a one-day workshop on issues in classification research. This year, the format has been modified with participants invited to submit position papers on the status of classification research and agendas for future research, with the aim of stimulating discussion about the future of the field. Also on Sunday (at 3:30), the Program Committee has scheduled the first technical program session "Touch, Talk, Think Technology:  Experience and Explore Education Web Portals with Experts."  Sponsored by SIG/HCI, this session was a remarkable, innovative and interactive session at last year's meeting and we wanted to schedule it when more people could attend.

The full technical program kicks off on Monday with a keynote presentation in the form of a dialogue between two well-known figures in the ongoing discussion of the conflicts between the now widely recognized need for national security (and the information that requires) and our nation's long traditions of open government and individual privacy. Thomas Blanton, executive director of the independent non-governmental National Security Archive, and Lee Strickland, a career attorney and intelligence officer with the U.S. government are the speakers. Blanton and Strickland, who sometimes but not always agree, will discuss their views on issues related to the often conflicting demands of openness and security.

A second plenary on Wednesday will present David Snowden, director of IBM's newly formed Center for Action Research in Organizational Complexity (CAROC).  Snowden pioneered the use of story techniques as a means of knowledge disclosure and is an interesting speaker with new insights to offer on the importance of story in knowledge management.

This year's extensive conference program encompasses 65 outstanding concurrent sessions, including 16 contributed paper sessions, 37 Special Interest Group (SIG) programs and nine invited panels. The program offers a choice from six parallel sessions for most time slots.  Contributed papers cover a variety of topics such as information policy, social issues, education, collaborational communication, bibliometrics, information retrieval (including Web information retrieval and visual information retrieval), search strategies, information use, users and information technology, user interfaces, user models, Web metrics and metadata. 

Among SIG-sponsored sessions, SIG/III's programs discuss issues on digital divide, multicultural aspects of information organization and access, and information metrics in the global environment.  SIG/HFIS provides a forum to discuss the history of information science and conceptions of information as evidence. SIG/KM presents knowledge management and organizational climate in addition to their continuing discussion on knowledge management education. SIG/LAN sessions discuss wireless computing in library and information centers and the implications of the library of the future on the design of the physical library.  SIG/MED sessions examine data mining for health care professionals and the structure of medical informatics. State-of-the-art federal information policies are to be discussed by SIG/IFP. SIG/USE programs focus on general and particular use and users in information behavior, methodological issues on user studies.  SIG/VIS sessions explore current research in digital image management and audio technology for spoken archives, designing information communities for the 3-D environment. SIG/STI examines new models for scholarly publishing in the electronic environment.  The Doctoral Forum, first presenting award-winning student papers in an open session, then moving to a closed session of individual mentoring of selected students, is again sponsored by SIG/ED. 

Sixteen sessions co-sponsored by two or more SIGs provide excellent opportunities for those who are interested in multifaceted issues and problems such as virtual reference services, media asset retrieval systems, informetric applications for information retrieval, open sourcing in digital libraries, digital libraries supporting distance education and cross-disciplinary discussion on topics such as scholarly communication, science studies and knowledge discovery and information visualization.

Nine invited panel sessions focus on deeper representation of digital information, metadata, systems design and applications in the scientific, government and artistic communities, content management and the semantic Web.  Several panels will also share their experiences in funded national and international research projects such as National Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology Education Digital Library.

The poster format successfully introduced last year has been repeated this year, with a Monday noon poster session scheduled.  Other participatory lunch hour events include an innovative new SIG/III Special Session, the Global Information Village Plaza.  A SIG/III 20th anniversary project, the Plaza will offer an opportunity for all ASIST members to express their views on the impact of the global village and digital economy.  Wednesday lunch-hour offers a SIG/MGT session, "Wanted: Information Specialist, Manager, Designer, Analyst, Architect."

Of course, conferences are also about networking, and new ASIST members and first time attendees can get a head start on meeting other conference participants, with their special reception on Sunday evening.  Opportunities to socialize follow daily, with alumni and international receptions, SIG Dutch-treat networking dinners and the annual reception and banquet.

It has been a number of years since the ASIST Annual Meeting has been held in Philadelphia, so 2002 offers an opportunity to make up for lost time and explore the many cultural and historic sites the city has to offer.  As well as boasting "America's Most Historic Square Mile," the Philadelphia area is rich in museums and galleries, and the conference website recommends a number of do-it-yourself tours ( http://www.asis.org/Conferences/AM02/things_to_do.html).   For those who want to expand their professional horizons, no-charge tours of facilities at Drexel University, the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and the ISI Production Facility have been arranged. The numbers are limited, so be sure to pre-register.  The local arrangements committee has been eating out on your behalf, and has come up with a great list of restaurant recommendations to suit all tastes and budgets.  The combination of professional and education opportunities, social and networking events, and the chance to explore all Philadelphia has to offer will make the ASIST 2002 Annual Meeting a valuable experience for all those interested in the information professions.

For complete ASIST 2002 Annual Meeting news and information, including program updates, visit www.asis.org/conferences.

Election of ASIST Officers Underway

As this issue of the Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology goes to press, ballots for the election of new officers and directors of ASIST are still arriving at headquarters. The ballots will be counted in advance of the Annual Meeting. Results of the election will be posted on the ASIST website and will be discussed at the Annual Meeting as new members of the Board prepare to take their seats.

News about ASIST Chapters

The 2002 Fall Workshop of the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (LACASIS) focused on Website Usability: Practical Guidelines, Potential Pitfalls, Proven Successes at Chapman University in late September. Among the scheduled speakers at the day-long event were Jesse James Garrett, Adaptive Path, Inc.; Michelangelo Capraro, Palm, Inc.; Rashmi Sinha, University of California, Berkeley; Christopher Ewing, University of Southern California; and Lynn Waldal, OTIVO, Inc. The workshop was sponsored by Amgen Corporation, OVID Technologies, Advanced Information Management (AIM), Basch Subscriptions and InformationSciences Institute (ISI).

 The Southern Ohio ASIST (SOASIST) Chapter, in conjunction with LexisNexis Technical Library, presented Mark Wasson, LexisNexis, on "Data Mining and Text-based Information" at an August meeting. The talk included a general overview of knowledge discovery and data mining, a discussion of how this technology can be applied to text, a review of applications and related technology and links to resources for more information.

 Then for its September meeting, SOASIST, along with the Miami Valley Computing Societies, held its 14th Annual Fall Joint Meeting, on the topic of Disruptive Technology: A Panel Discussion on Innovation and Disorder.  According to session planners, disruptive technologies are those so innovative that they go beyond typical "better, faster, cheaper" improvements to radically alter (i.e., disrupt) business and societal paradigms. Disruptive innovation can create or destroy the market for entire product lines. For example, the hand-held electronic calculator quickly ended the slide rule industry. The panel, representing academia, commerce and the military, revealed their secrets for staying on top of disruptive technologies in their individual markets.

News about ASIST Members

Ada Emmett is the winner of the 2002 Student Paper Award of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of ASIST for her paper "Scholarly Publishing Policy: The Clash of Two Socio-economic Systems." The paper examines the policies and relationships of stakeholders in the process of scholarly publishing; economic conflicts between and among scholars, libraries and publishers; and initiatives aimed at developing new models of knowledge dissemination. She received a cash award from ASIST PNC and the paper was submitted to the ASIST national student research paper competition.

Jinmook Kim, doctoral student in College of Information Studies, University of Maryland, is a Beta Phi Mu Garfield Fellowship winner for a dissertation titled, "User Interaction in Speech Retrieval Systems: Relevance Judgments and Query Reformulation."

Wallace Koehler, formerly associate professor at Valdosta State University, has been promoted to Director of the Master of Library and Information Science Program. Koehler joined the Valdosta MLIS program as associate director in 2001. 

Martha M. Smith, formerly of Clarion University and Long Island University, has joined the faculty of the College of Information Science and Technology at Drexel University. Smith has extensive experience in distance education teaching and will be responsible for providing leadership and coordination for the Drexel online M.S. program.

Andy Large and Jamshid Beheshti, of McGill University, have obtained a $213,800 grant for a project entitled, Children as Designers of Web Portal Architecture. The three-year New Economy Initiative grant is from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). The research will help understand how children approach software design, as well as their specific opinions on portal design.  Large and Beheshti, joined by John Leide and Charles Cole, also received a three-year $80,000 SSHRC grant for Integrating Classification Visualization Devices for Undergraduate Users, which addresses the divergence of an undergraduate's mental model of a term paper topic and the objective structure of the topic represented by a subject index.

Gary Marchionini and Stephanie Haas at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science will lead a three-year joint university/government effort to make government statistics available over the Internet more accessible and understandable by the general public. The research team has received a grant from the National Science Foundation to lay the foundations for a national statistical knowledge network. UNC-Chapel Hill will be the lead institution on the project and will coordinate the nationwide effort to link state and federal statistical resources and develop user interfaces. Among the other team members are Ben Shneiderman, University of Maryland at College Park, and Carol Hert, Syracuse University.

 

Institutional Member News

The University of South Carolina

The University of South Carolina School of Library and Information Science has joined with the School of Journalism and Mass Communications to become the new College of Mass Communications and Information Studies (CMCIS).  The formation of the College followed months of planning involving the faculties of both Schools as well as the University's administration. Charles Bierbauer, former CNN senior Washington correspondent, has been named dean and professor of the USC College of Mass Communications and Information Studies. 

Bob Williams has been named Director of the Research Center for the CMCIS. He will retain his tenured professorship in Library and Information Science. The CMCIS Research Center has existed for several years within Journalism and Mass Communications but will now serve the research interests of all faculty and staff in the new CMCIS.

A national search will be conducted this fall for Directors of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications and the School of Library and Information Science. The creation of the CMCIS is seen by the faculties of both Schools as an exciting opportunity that will open doors to new research possibilities, new degree programs at all levels, and new avenues to reach out to professional communities in the state and beyond. The two schools have worked together previously to share courses, develop a joint Master's degree program and collaborate in scholarly activities.

The University of Texas at Austin

Andrew Dillon , dean and professor at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Texas at Austin, has received a $200,000 grant from Microsoft Research to lead a series of investigations into user response to ClearType technology, a technology that seeks to advance significantly the usability of digital documents. Dillon will design a series of evaluations that will test the impact of this new feature on a range of real world information-intensive tasks. The funding will support a research team at Austin and further aid the development of a new user experience research lab at the school.

Also at UT-Austin, GSLIS has received a two-year grant of $460,000 outright and $80,000 in matching funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support the Preservation and Conservation Studies Program whose graduates maintain both the integrity and the continuing usability of the resources of America's libraries and archives.

Library Humor Wanted

Do you have library-related cartoons taped to your desk or posted on your bulletin board?  Is there a favorite library humor Web page that you monitor regularly or favorite humorous books or articles? Jeanette Smith of the New Mexico State University Library is collecting library humor for a sabbatical research project. She would appreciate it if you would send her your favorites pieces of library humor from inside or outside the profession, from the popular or professional literature. She may be contacted by email at jcsmith@lib.nmsu.edu, or mail material to PO Box 3352, Las Cruces, New Mexico 88003.

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