of the American Society for Information Science and Technology  Vol. 28, No. 6    August / September 2002


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ASIST President Donald H. KraftPresident's Column

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Donald H. Kraft

I am rather disappointed that we had to cancel the exciting summit that we planned on content management. No doubt it was the economy that did not allow enough participants to be able to attend, because Joseph Busch, Bob Boiko, Howard McQueen and Sue Feldman had put together a very strong and compelling program on an emerging topic. You can, however, anticipate that ASIST will be involved in the future on this important topic. Content management involves developing practices that utilize many information science theories, so it is a natural for ASIST. I am hopeful that we can do a better job of forecasting and have more summits on such topics in the future. My thought is that ASIST, with its cutting edge sessions, employment placement mechanisms, and the integration of theory and practice, is more important than ever.

On the other hand, we take being forced to cancel this symposium as a lesson and have created a task force to assess how and what we can make available over the Web and other available technology. A task force consisting of Samantha Hastings, Gretchen Whitney, Jonah Jenkins and David Robins is working with Dick Hill on developing plans and recommendations for the Board to consider. And, in this connection, this summer will see the first (to my knowledge) ASIST distance education event. The Los Angeles and New England Chapters are cooperating on a program, "Strategies for E-Learning and Distance Education Educators: An ASIST Joint Chapter Virtual Mini-Course," with Howard Besser, UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies (GSE&IS), and Richard Larson, professor of electrical engineering and director of Center for Advanced Educational Services (CAES) at MIT. This exciting free offering was to be available virtually around the world and around the clock (24/7) during the period July 15-31, 2002. We all extend our compliments and thanks to the leaders of our NEASIS and LACASIS chapters for developing such an event. This event is a fine example of how ASIST learns.

We are moving slowly but surely ahead with plans for the ASIST digital library. Such a project necessarily involves a host of policy, technology and permissions questions, all of which are of critical importance and should not be rushed. Moreover, we are starting to ask JASIST authors to publish a brief summary of their work, indicating its importance for information science and technology practitioners, in the Bulletin.

Perhaps most worthy of mention is that the ASIST Board will be meeting in August, and as part of that meeting will be spending some time in a retreat mode where the Board will meet as a committee of the whole and will look at what ASIST can and should be in the future and how to get there. This includes issues of financial planning, publications and publication venues and formats, future seminars, institutes and summits, relationships to other societies, relationships to schools of information science and technology (whatever they are called), placement services, our SIGs and chapters, and priorities over the short term and the long term.

As always, but even more so with all these goings-on, we need your input as caring, participating members. In this regard, ASIST President-elect Trudi Bellardo Hahn is now establishing committees for the next administrative year. (My, how time flies!) Volunteers for committees and task forces are completely welcome and encouraged. Everyone benefits from the injection of new blood, innovative ideas and fresh approaches. ASIST committees are listed and described on the Web at http://www.asis.org/Board/asis-committees.html; however, please note that the Executive, Budget and Finance, and Nominations Committees are restricted. All awards juries, SIGs, and chapters welcome your involvement and ideas. Dick Hill, our ASIST executive director, who can be reached at rhill@asis.org, is acting as a clearinghouse. So, if you are interested and willing to volunteer, please let Dick know immediately. Let him know what your interests are, what special capabilities you have and whether there are any limitations of which we should be aware in advance. He will make sure the appropriate groups know of you and your willingness to serve.

Donald H. Kraft
2002 ASIST President
Professor, Department of Computer Science
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-4020

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