B  U  L  L  E  T  I  N

of the American Society for Information Science and Technology       Vol. 31, No. 2    December/January 2005

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ASIS&T President Nicholas J. BelkinPresident's Page

Nicholas J. Belkin
2005 ASIS&T President

Iím extremely pleased to be writing my first Presidentís Page column for the Bulletin and would like to take this opportunity to thank the membership of ASIS&T for making it possible for me to do this. Iíll do all that I can over the next year to justify the trust youíve placed in me, and to live up to the fine example set by our past president, Sam Hastings.

The coming year brings great promise for the Society, with a host of new member services and new delivery methods of member services. It also brings challenges, financial and other, as well as new opportunities. In her last column in the Bulletin, Sam described some of the hard decisions that have had to be made and also some of the new initiatives that will be (or by the time this is published, may already have been) implemented during this year. Iíd like to offer her my heartfelt personal thanks for having volunteered to take the heat associated with announcing the dues increase for members; but she also got to announce the establishment of a lot of new benefits for members. Iíd like to devote this issueís column to describing briefly some of these new initiatives and to give you an indication of my priorities and plans for this coming year.


ASIS&T Enters the 21st Century

This year marks the full commitment of ASIS&T to the digital environment. With the collaboration of our publishers, John Wiley and Information Today, and the invaluable contributions of Access Innovations, Inc., and to all those who worked on the development of the third edition of the ASIS&T Thesaurus of Information Science and Librarianship, we will be implementing the ASIS&T Digital Library. This will consist, in the first instance, of the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIST), the Bulletin, the Proceedings of the Annual Meeting and the Annual Review of Information Science and Technology. A unique feature of the ASIS&T Digital Library will be its support for subject access through automatic indexing using the new ASIS&T Thesaurus of Information Science.

The ASIS&T Handbook and Directory will also be available to members electronically with searching capabilities to stimulate member networking. You will be able to specify how much and what information you want available to other members. We plan to add access to further information sources relevant to our membership through a variety of arrangements.

The ASIS&T Jobline will become totally (and only) electronic as of this year, as will the Proceedings of the Annual Meeting. JASIST will continue to be published in both paper and electronic forms.  Future plans call for converting the Bulletin to only electronic form but only after a new printed (and electronic) publication is conceived and developed, whose role will be to maintain and enhance communication about the Society and its activities. This will be a major activity for the Board of the Society over the coming year.

The ASIS&T website has been wholly re-designed, and the new version will be available to members early in 2005. The new site will not only enhance the user experience with ASIS&Tís major public face, but will also serve as the framework for much improved communication among the members of the Society, between them and their local chapters and SIGs, and between all these parties and the Board and Headquarters staff.


Some Priorities for 2004-2005

Here I just mention and briefly describe my thoughts about how to address some issues that I intend to make priorities during this year. In subsequent columns, I will discuss these issues, and others, in more detail. I welcome your comments on these priorities, on whether and how we should address them, and your thoughts about any other issues to which we should be devoting our attention.

Membership. Membership in ASIS&T has been in steady, though gradual, decline. I would like to reverse this trend, primarily by attracting members from new constituencies, including the information architecture community and students in the variety of undergraduate programs that the various schools of information and library science have established in recent years. More effort will also be placed on increasing international membership.

Chapters. It is clear that the chapters are the lifeblood of our Society, but also that they are perhaps not getting all of the support that they could use from the central organization. Steps have been initiated to help the chapters in their work; I plan to further these steps and initiate some new ones.

Digital Library and Publications. We have made a really significant start on moving ourselves into the digital information environment. I intend to continue this movement and to at least set the stage for collaboration with other groups with related interests in sharing access to digital publications. How the Bulletin will be published and how we will maintain regular contact and communication with the membership are issues of special concern.

Communication. A society such as ours depends for its health and well-being on effective communication among its members and between its members and all of the officers of all of its units. As I mentioned above, weíve already taken some significant steps toward improving communication; I intend to expand on these, considering all modes and media that are relevant.

Relations with other Societies. ASIS&T already has good relations with a number of related societies and other organizations. I will work to increase both the intensity and number of such relationships, both to increase benefits to the membership and to extend the influence and image of the Society in North America and throughout the world.

Nicholas J. Belkin
2005 ASIS&T President
Professor & Chair
Department of Library and Information Science
School of Communication , Information & Library Studies
Rutgers University
4 Huntington Street
New Brunswick , NJ 08901-1071
732-932-7500, ext. 8271  

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