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Bulletin, October/November 2010


ASIS&T in Europe: The Lida-ASIS&T Connection

by Emil Levine

The Libraries in the Digital Age (LIDA) conference, held annually in Croatia, represents not only a core European meeting for library and information science, but also specifically a focal point for participation by ASIS&T members in Europe. 

The first LIDA Conference (2000) was organized jointly by Tefko Saracevic, School of Communication, Information and Library Studies, Rutgers University, and Tatjana Aparac-Jelusic, Department of Library and Information Science, University of Zadar, Croatia. The conference, which has been co-chaired by them since that time, has included ASIS&T members as part of the program committee, featured and keynote speakers and guests of honor. 

Tefko, who left Croatia in 1957, was honored at LIDA in 2006 with a book entitled Contributions to the Creation of a Theory of Information Science, which contained Croatian translations of nine of his highly cited articles. 

ASIS&T President Gary Marchionini, the keynote speaker at the 2010 conference held in Zadar, Croatia, May 24-28, expressed surprise at the involvement of ASIS&T membership in the meeting, which prompted me to ensure wider knowledge about LIDA among ASIS&T members worldwide.

Typical Conference Themes
According to Saracevic, “Since its inception in 2000, LIDA has emphasized the examination of contemporary problems, intriguing advances, innovative approaches and solutions related to digital libraries. Each year a different and hot theme was addressed, divided in two parts, the first part covering research and development and the second part addressing advances in applications and practice.”

Further, Saracevic explained, “Rather than analyze each of the 20 themes covered over 10 years, six overreaching and recurring subjects are chosen for discussion of changes and trends:

  1. Networked environment: digital libraries and the web - positions, retrieval, diversity 
  2. Development: building digital libraries 
  3. Services: variety of services provided 
  4. Users & use: using digital libraries; human information behavior& information seeking in digital libraries 
  5. Professional: education for digital librarians, competencies needed; ethical concerns 
  6. Social: digital libraries and social, cultural, and institutional effects.” 

ASIS&T Participation 
ASIS&T notables who have attended LIDA conferences as keynote speakers and guests of honor include past presidents Eugene Garfield, Don King, Gary Marchionini, Tefko Saracevic, Nick Belkin and Robert Taylor. ASIS&T award winners participating have included Christine L. Borgman, Paul Kantor, Michael Buckland, Peter Ingwersen, Ching-chih Chen, Marcia Bates, Carol Kuhlthau and Barbara Wildemuth

The ASIS&T European Chapter provides support for LIDA in the form of social events (wine and cheese parties), which are used to explain ASIS&T and recruit membership. (Tatjana Aparac-Jelusic served until recently as chairperson of the chapter, succeeding Emil Levine, who revived the chapter in the late 1990s. The chapter was originally organized by Michel Menou.)

A 2003 panel entitled the “The Role of Professional Organizations in Career Development” consisted of ASIS&T members giving examples of how participation in ASIS&T impacted and influenced their profession. Panelists included Levine, Kantor, Sanda Erdelez, University of Missouri- Columbia, Aparac-Jelusic and Saracevic.

ASIS&T European Student Chapter and LIDA
The relatively new ASIS&T-EC student chapter is strongly represented at LIDA, holding their annual meeting during the conference. The European Chapter awards several ASIS&T student memberships each year to student winners of the LIDA Poster Session. 

In 2005 Gary Marchionini, Christine Borgman, Emil Levine, Tatjana Aparac and her husband Srecko Jelusic donated five free ASIS&T student memberships, whose recipients were selected by lottery.

The award of the Thomson Reuters Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award to Tatjana Aparac-Jelusic in 2008 and the selection of the ASIS&T European student chapter as one of the two Student Chapters of the Year in 2008 also recognized the ASIS&T/LIDA connection. 

The Future of LIDA
Conference statistics for 2010 are typical of other meetings. One hundred twenty four participants from 16 countries included 52 undergraduate and PhD students. Both the United States and British embassies in Croatia have provided financial support for speakers from their countries in the past.

Future meetings will be held on a biannual basis. The next LIDA will be held June 4-8, 2012, in Zadar, Croatia, with the theme Quality and Evaluation of Digital Libraries and Preservation of Digital Resources and Records. All LIDA presentations are available in proceedings of the conference at web.ffos.hr/lida.

Above, l-r: Christine Borgman, guest of honor at LIDA 2007, is shown with Kora Golub in 2002.  Golub has translated several information and library science books into Croatian.  Golub was ASIS&T European Chapter Student of the Year in 2002. | ASIS&T President Gary Marchionini delivers the keynote addresses at LIDA 2010. | Co-chair Tatjana Aparac-Jelusic with Igor Ignjacic, student winner of the LIDA Poster Session 2010.  He and colleagues from the University of Osijek, Croatia, were presented free ASIS&T student memberships by the ASIS&T European Chapter. | Former ASIS&T President Nick Belkin served as program chair at LIDA 2003.
 
Above l-r, ASIS&T members, from left, Paul Kantor, Sanda Erdelez, Tatjana Aparac-Jelusic and Tefko Saracevic, present panel on "The Role of Professional Organizations in Career Development" at LIDA 2003.  Emil Levine also participated. | Former ASIS&T President Robert Hayes has participated in most of the LIDA conferences.  In 2005, he was guest of honor. | At LIDA 2006, co-chair Tatjana Aparac-Jelusic presents co-chair Tefko Saracevic with Contributions to the Creation of a Theory of Information Science, a book containing Croatian translations of nine of his highly cited articles. | Former ASIS&T President Eugene Garfield gives his presentation as guest of honor at LIDA 2004.

Emil Levine, an information science and library science consultant, is a long time member of ASIS&T. He served as the European Chapter Chair for several years and is now the Chapter Advisor. He lives in Vienna, Austria. He can be reached at emil.levine<at>chello.at.