Bulletin, December 2013/January 2014

Inside ASIS&T
ASIS&T Annual Meeting Coverage
Looking Back; Looking Ahead

In keeping with recent tradition, the bulk of our reporting on the 2013 ASIS&T Annual Meeting – including both photographic and substantive coverage – will be included in the February/March 2014 issue of the Bulletin. In this issue, you’ll find a list of the winners of the 2013 ASIS&T Annual Awards for which more details will be provided in the next issue. 

With the conclusion of one Annual Meeting, our attention moves immediately to the planning of the next. Plans for the 77th ASIS&T Annual Meeting are well underway, with committees hard at work seeking submissions for all aspects of the technical program, suggestions for pre- and post-conference undertakings and ideas for social events and new ways to engage attendees in networking and team-building activities. Mark your calendars for October 31-November 4, 2014, and plan to join the festivities at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel in Seattle, Washington.

The theme for the meeting is Connecting Collections, Cultures and Communities. As always, the conference committees welcome contributions from all areas of information science and technology. For more information about submission ideas, formats and deadlines, please visit the ASIS&T website at www.asist.org.

Conference Committees
Jens-Erik Mai, University of Copenhagen, conference chair
Melanie Feinberg, University of Texas at Austin, and Jonathan Furner, University of California, Los Angeles, papers co-chairs
Howard Rosenbaum and Pnina Fichman, Indiana University, panels co-chairs
Nadia Caidi, University of Toronto, and Lai Ma, University College Dublin, posters co-chairs
Richard Hill, ASIS&T executive director, workshops/tutorials, local arrangements, logistics

2013 ASIS&T Award Winners
Award of Merit: Carol C. Kuhlthau, Rutgers University 
Watson Davis Award: Beata Panagopoulos, Suffolk University 
Research Award: Susan Herring, Indiana University
Thomson Reuters Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award: Carole Palmer, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Best JASIST Paper Award: Ling-Ling Wu, Mu-Hsuan Huang and Ching-Yi Chen, Citation Patterns of the Pre-web and Web-prevalent Environments: The Moderating Effects of Domain Knowledge 
Pratt Severn Best Student Research Paper Award: Hilary Zelko, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Reasoning about Relevance 
James Cretsos Leadership Award: Chirag Shah, Rutgers University
Best Information Science Book Award: Raya Fidel, University of Washington, Human Information Interaction: An Ecological Approach to Information Behavior, MIT Press
Thomson Reuters Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Scholarship: Kaitlin Costello, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Investigating Information Seeking and Disclosure in Online Support Groups for Chronic Kidney Disease
ProQuest Doctoral Dissertation Award: Sebastian K. Boell, Theorizing Information and Information Systems 
Chapter-of-the-Year Award: European Chapter
Student Chapter-of-the-Year Award: Simmons College and University of Denver
SIG-of-the-Year Award: SIG/History and Foundations of Information Science (SIG/HFIS)
SIG Member-of-the-Year Award: Judit Bar-Ilan, Bar-Ilan University, Israel, SIG/MET
SIG Publication-of-the-Year Award: SIG/International Information Issues (SIG/III), SIG/III’s 30th Anniversary Commemorative Publication 
Other Awards
History Fund Research Grant Award: Kalpana Shankar, Indiana University, and Kristin Eschenfelder, University of Wisconsin-Madison
History Fund Best Paper Award: Xiaohua Zhu, University of Tennessee

2013 Class of New Leaders Named in Montreal
The 4th class in the ASIS&T New Leaders program was named in Montreal. The seven members of the class, about whom we will learn more as they move through the program, are listed below. 
The program is designed to initiate new members of ASIS&T into the service activity of the organization by providing a select group of members with funding, a mentor and a specific assignment with a particular unit of ASIS&T. 

The 2013 class of new leaders:

  • Houda El Mimouni
  • Rhiannon Gainor
  • Emad Khazraee
  • Liya Deng
  • Irene Onyancha 
  • Brandi Loveday 
  • Hans-Christoph Hobohm

News about ASIS&T Members
Christine L. Borgman, professor and presidential chair in information studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), was honored by her alma mater, University of Pittsburgh, with the school’s 225th Anniversary Medallion, recognizing alumni who have made outstanding contributions to their professional fields and who still find ways to contribute to the progress of Pitt and its students. A prolific and widely acclaimed researcher, Dr. Borgman received ASIS&T’s Best Information Science Book of the Year for her monographs, Scholarship in the Digital Age: Information, Infrastructure, and the Internet (MIT Press, 2007) and From Gutenberg to the Global Information Infrastructure: Access to Information in a Networked World (MIT Press, 2000). She also received the 2011 ASIS&T Research in Information Science Award.

Anthony DebonsAnthony Debons
Anthony “Tony” Debons
, pioneer in the field of information science and intellectual mentor of hundreds of IS students over the years, passed away in mid-October in Dayton, Ohio. Tony was born in Malta in 1916, emigrated to the United States in 1923, became a U.S. citizen in 1941 and enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942. He saw action in both the Battle of Britain and the Battle of the Bulge. 

Following WWII, he continued his military career and completed his Ph.D. in experimental psychology at Columbia University. Upon retiring after 22 years of military service and achieving the rank of Colonel, Tony embarked upon his second career as a professor at the University of Dayton, where he chaired the psychology department and was the first to chair the department of information science. In 1970, he moved to the University of Pittsburgh and became the chair of the interdisciplinary department of information science. He was a leader in the information science field for more than four decades. 

A Personal Note
Anthony Debons, Information Science Pioneer
by Roger Flynn

Dr. Debons died October 19, 2013. I still remember, more or less, the first day that I met Dr. Debons. He was teaching IS200, Introduction to Information Science, in the basement of the LIS building, 135 N. Bellefield, at the University of Pittsburgh. There were 14 of us (including Eileen Trauth, now of Penn State) in the class. It was the second formal class of doctoral students in information science at the University of Pittsburgh. The prior class included Art Wetzel (Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center) and Karen Kukich (formerly of Bellcore) and others. And prior to that five students had accompanied Dr. Debons from Dayton, where the information science program that he had started had closed. Professor Kent, our chair, had recruited him. Kent, Debons, Belzer and others were responsible for beginning IS at the University of Pittsburgh, one of five such programs in the nation at the time. The strongest compliment that I can give to Dr. Debons (and Kent) is that back in the fall of 1974, they were truly at the forefront of what today is a worldwide phenomenon – the information age, complete with the ubiquitous iSchools, iPads, etc.

They saw computing for humans before it was popular, before it was presumed to be feasible. The computing landscape was barren. Among the few visible elements were ASIS&T, known at the time as the American Society for Information Science (following its early life as the American Documentation Institute) and its journal American Documentation (later changed several times to its current Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology), but little else. 

Dr. Debons ran three NATO conferences in the 1970s and financed many in the information field while he was still in the Air Force. But once he entered academia and found his way into information science, he began churning out students at Pitt and Dayton. He didn't stop until the late 1990s and early 2000s when he was still teaching and counseling students in his office (one of his offices over the years) on the 6th floor of that same building at 135 N. Bellefield. It was a productive 40 some years (after retirement from the service).

Dr. Debons initial theoretical contribution is the EATPUT (event, acquisition, transmission, processing, utilization and transfer) model of a reiterative information system. It is still a viable model today and one which I use and have used in my text, Introduction to Information Science, and one which he saw as "alive," processing, generating, utilizing information rather than treating information as a static commodity (a term which is valid but made him unhappy).

Dr. Debons (and his co-authors) twice won the ASIS&T Best Information Science Book Award, and he influenced many with his publications. But I think the greatest influence that he (and other pioneers with whom he helped shape the field of information science) exhibited was with the flood of students he met over the years.