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Bulletin, April/May 2008

ASIS&T President, Nancy RodererPresident's Page

Nancy Roderer
2008 ASIS&T President

The past few months have been quite busy for ASIS&T, with much progress being made toward some strategic goals. I’m expecting that there will be more to say in several areas over the remainder of the year, but at this point I want to provide you with updates of activities in three areas: ASIS&T publishing, the promotion of the information professions and planning for the accreditation of educational programs for information professions. The latter two make up my special presidential initiatives, introduced in my presidential address and in the previous issue of the Bulletin.

We have several important activities underway in the publications area. Our contract with John Wiley (now Wiley-Blackwell) to publish JASIS&T is up in December 2010, and so we have had a very active Publisher Selection Task Force at work since October. The group, led by Trudi Bellardo Hahn and ably assisted by consultant Morna Conway, developed an RFP, received and analyzed a number of excellent proposals and met with finalists at the beginning of February. Over the next few months we will move into negotiations and expect to have some news by the Annual Meeting. This decision is critical for us and has involved in-depth discussions of all our Society publications, of the future of publishing and of what will benefit the members and how. 

Secondly, another task force, this one led by Gary Marchionini, is conducting a search for the next editor of JASIS&T. Long-time editor Donald Kraft is retiring both as professor at LSU and as JASIS&T editor. A call for applications was developed and sent out, and the task force stands ready to review applications and make a recommendation. The timing of this change is fortuitous, coming as we reassess our publications program as noted above.

As if those two important activities were not enough, we have also changed the policy of JASIS&T with regard to open access. We are very interested in making the work of JASIS&T authors more available to readers. To that end, we have worked with Wiley-Blackwell to adopt the following policy on an experimental basis as of January 1, 2008:

Authors may post pre- and post-prints to their own or their institution’s websites, but not to subject repositories. (“Post-prints” here means the author’s version, not the Wiley-Blackwell marked up and typeset version.)

As good researchers, we will be also be working with Wiley-Blackwell to evaluate the impact of this change in policy and have already conducted a survey of information science authors and readers regarded their scholarly communication processes and reviewed key statistics related to JASIS&T. These two data sources will serve as a baseline to be compared with similar information obtained after the program has been in effect for a while. An initial look at the survey data was quite intriguing, and I look forward to being able to provide a fuller report to you in an upcoming Bulletin.

All of these publication activities would not be possible without the hard work of our Scholarly Communications and Publications Committee, led by the intrepid Sam Hastings. While the work is challenging, I have no doubt that this will be a year of significant progress for our publications program.

In the area of promoting the information professions, I am hoping to call more attention this year to this umbrella term which can be applied to a wide range of positions. If successful, this could bring more visibility to the work that we do and provide a stronger basis for coordinated efforts when they make sense. I have been pleasantly surprised by the reactions I have received to the idea which have more often than not taken the form of “of course we are information professionals.” I have had people in several audiences practice saying “I am an information professional,” and it seems to come naturally to many. Especially interesting has been the reaction of students, with one commenting very favorably on the Catholic University of America-ASIS&T blog on the logic of this approach. (see
) Why not try it yourself… the next time someone asks what you do, say “I’m an information professional.” More on this front as the year goes on.

Finally, another stalwart task force is at work on bringing the idea of an accreditation process for educational programs for information professions to fruition. This process would complement the current process for accrediting library and information science programs carried out by the American Library Association, but would extend to a much wider range of information professions. Ann Prentice and I are leading the Information Professionals Task Force and have able support from both the task force members and the Council on Library and Information Resources. 

And that is not all… but enough for now. I welcome your comments and questions.