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of the American Society for Information Science

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Volume 25, No. 4

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April / May 1999





Speaking personally, professionally and ASIS-wise, it's been a busy couple of months since my last column. I will spare you the details of my wonderful and exhausting two weeks at the Celtic Connections music festival in Scotland in January. However, I did manage to slip a little ASIS into Glasgow when I had a very nice meeting at the local Starbucks equivalent with Sheila Webber, newsletter editor of the ASIS Europe Chapter.

ASIS and Y2K

Headquarters has ensured that our systems are Y2K ready, so whatever else happens, you can count on ASIS in the new millennium.


ASIS was invited to send representatives to several meetings at the ALISE (Association for Library and Information Science Education) National Conference and the ALA (American Library Association) Midwinter Meeting, which were held back-to-back in Philadelphia. On our behalf, Ann Prentice attended an open hearing on ALA's upcoming Congress on Professional Education (more on this later), and Julie Hurd represented us at a meeting of national organizations to begin discussions on a future White Conference on Library and Information Services. As ASIS President, I was personally invited to attend an Affiliates Luncheon, where I said a few words about ASIS and the upcoming Mid-Year Meeting. This was my first ALA meeting. (I was quite impressed by the sheer size of the whole thing -- and this was only Midwinter!)

Congress on Professional Education

The American Library Association is inviting 150 delegates to a Congress on Professional Education in Washington, DC, on April 30 and May 1 of this year (full details at http://www.ala.org/congress/). The Board appointed Ann Prentice as our official delegate to the Congress, and she will be working with a team composed of Board of Directors members Gary Marchionini and Vic Rosenberg, President-elect Gene Garfield, and Information Science Education Committee Chair Beth Logan.

As I mentioned earlier, Ann attended an open hearing on the Congress at the recent ALISE conference. The first part of the hearing was devoted to an overview of the process, pointing out that there is no pre-set agenda and that the purpose is to promote thoughtful discussion. The outcome is expected to be a document and recommendations to go before the ALA Executive Board in June. The Web site will carry various working papers, background readings and open discussion groups.

The Congress will focus on three content areas, each being led by its own committee:

  • higher education (current issues, changing mission, market forces, education versus training, funding and accreditation of library and information science [LIS] programs in higher education);
  • LIS education (current and future status and practice, the domain, theory and practice, competencies and values, accreditation and access); and
  • the profession (roles, alternative careers, recruitment, placement, diversity, etc.).

Questions from the floor were concerned with the Congress being closed to observers (other than press), although it was pointed out that the chat rooms and Web site are open to all. Someone asked whether ASIS was invited, to which Ann writes "I responded [positively] to that one and there seemed to be agreement that this was a good thing." It was recognized that it might be difficult for the delegates to reach consensus and that there were liable to be areas of deep disagreement. As one member of the audience pointed out, this Congress will have profound implications for LIS educational programs. I will make sure that the ASIS membership is kept up-to-date on this event.

ASIS Board Meeting

The Board met on February 7 and 8 in Crystal City, Virginia. In addition to the normal routine business (reports from the President, President-elect, Treasurer, Executive Director and various committees), we spent some time constituted as the new "Program Advisory Board." This group, which is advisory to the Board and whose shape will become more firm over the next few months, gives us an opportunity to have a free-flowing discussion outside of the bounds of a board meeting. In this environment we can look at how changes in the ways that people network and learn have affected the role of professional societies in general, and ASIS in particular. Among other things, we talked about the array of alternatives for bringing program content to members and about the need to look more closely at services to undergraduate as well as graduate students in information science.

Mid-Year Meeting

Also at the Board meeting, we got a preliminary look at the Mid-Year Meeting program. Even if I were not President, I would be going to this one! Mid-Year will be held at the Hilton Pasadena (California), from May 24 to 26, with the theme Evaluating and Using Networked Information Resources and Services. There will be sessions and presentations on digital library metrics, developing performance measures, usability, authentication, federated digital libraries, visualization, verification, Z39.50, course delivery, user needs assessment, environmental decision making, community networks, content management, networked information economics and a host of other topics. Cliff Lynch will open the conference on Sunday night with a background and update, and John Bertot will provide a wrap-up ("what was learned, what is needed") on the final day. Continuing education sessions on intranet development, metadata, Web database delivery, image databases and JavaScript are planned, as well as a tour of the Getty Museum. Read on in this issue of the Bulletin for more information about this exciting meeting, and I look forward to seeing you there (look for your President by the pool with a piņa colada, when she isn't in meetings or sessions).

Candy Schwartz, Simmons College,
1999 ASIS President



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