B  U  L  L  E  T  I  N

of the American Society for Information Science and Technology       Vol. 31, No. 4    April/May 2005

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Celebrating Global Plaza and SIG/III

by Yin Zhang

Yin Zhang is the SIG/III 2004-2005 chair. She can be reached by email at Kent State University at yinzhang@slis.kent.edu.

The 2004 Annual Meeting marked the third anniversary of the Global Information Village Plaza, an innovative and highly applauded program that was originally proposed and later run by Nadia Caidi and Michel Menou. Through their initiative and dedication the event has turned into a successful forum for exploring and discussing international information issues and problems by engaging ASIS&T members across the board, domestic and international. From the very beginning, Nadia and Michel adopted an innovative format that allows all participants to fully and freely explore and discuss international information issues. Over the past three years, they have worked diligently to ensure that the most current and urgent issues are explored, and that the full, broad and on-going participation of all interested information professionals is achieved.

            The Global Plaza represents a welcome addition to the array of SIG/III programs, including the International Paper Contest, the InfoShare program and other technical sessions at the Annual Meetings, which all help put SIG/III in a better position to fulfill its goals:

  • Promote better awareness among ASIS&T members and information professionals of the importance of international cooperation.
  • Facilitate and enhance better communication and interaction among ASIS&T members and their foreign colleagues on information issues.
  • Develop an international network of digital scholars and experts on digital libraries and information technology in developing countries.
  • Provide a forum for exploration and discussion of international information issues and problems.

            The success of the Global Plaza as well as that of other SIG/III programs is the result of the dedication of our officers and members who work hard to make SIG/III meaningful and beneficial to so many people. If awards are any indication of success, then we must be doing something right: since its inception, SIG/III has won the SIG-of-the-Year Award eight times and has even made ASIS&T history by winning this award three years in a row.

This success can be attributed to our broad membership base and an increasing interest in international information issues among ASIS&T members. Currently, SIG/III has about 150 active members from many countries, with diverse backgrounds in both academic and professional worlds. There are 460 subscribers to the SIG/III listserv. Our officers are actively involved in international research and professional work. Now we are fortunate to have many long-time officers on board: Sue O'Neill Johnson, Nathalie Leroy, Bahaa El-Hadidy, Toni Carbo, Michel J. Menou, Norman Horrocks, Liwen Vaughan, Yunfei Du and Nadia Caidi.  We also have brand new officers, Faizur Rahman and Abebe Rorissa, who have joined the board to serve as communication officers. Our network of digital scholars from developing countries has been quickly expanding. In the past three years (2002-2004), we have attracted more than 150 information professionals from 35 developing countries to participate in the International Paper Contest. Many of the participants subsequently have taken leadership roles in the information profession both in their countries and internationally. Some become fresh driving forces in SIG/III Ė Duncan Omole is serving as the SIG/III Annual Meeting program chair, and Merlyna Lim is serving as the assistant chair (outside the United States).

            We feel really grateful for all the outpouring support from other SIGs, chapters, individual ASIS&T members, the ASIS&T Board of Directors and headquarters, and public as well as private organizations. It is always touching to see so many colleagues and friends show up at the International Reception, bring and buy items at the Silent Auction and buy raffle tickets to raise money for ASIS&T membership for information professionals in developing countries. It is also fun for us to hear different languages, learn about different cultures and enjoy the food and entertainment at the International Reception.

To keep SIG/III moving forward, we are always looking for more participation in SIG/III activities and for new initiatives. Nadia and Michel have set a wonderful example of how we can work creatively and productively to achieve SIG/IIIís goals. For more information about the Global Plaza and other programs, including archives and photos of these events, please check our website at www.asis.org/SIG/SIGIII/.

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