The 1997 ASIS Annual Meeting, held in early November in Washington, DC, met the expectations of meeting organizers, society leaders and enthusiastic attendees, as nearly 1000 attendees delved into Digital Collections: Implications for Users, Funders, Developers and Maintainers.
With the usual mix of invited speakers, contributed papers, SIG-sponsored panel sessions, demonstrations, continuing education courses, business meetings and social events, the week’s program drew praise for both the depth and breadth of its presentations.
At the conclusion of the meeting, the ASIS Board of Directors commended Joseph A. Busch, chair of the Technical Program Committee, and committee members Terry Beamsley, David Bearman, Nicholas Belkin, Bernd Frohmann, Judy Gerber, Myke Gluck, Karen Howell, Mark Rorvig, Candy Schwartz and Stephen Toney for their efforts.
Throughout this issue of the Bulletin
of the American Society for Information Science and at the ASIS Web site,
you will find coverage of some of the meeting’s highlights. But first,
here’s a look at some of the faces of ASIS ‘97.
Michael Buckland, professor at the University of California at Berkeley, assumed the presidency from Debora Shaw. In addition, as a result of membership balloting conducted during the summer, three new members joined the Board. Candy Schwartz, professor at Simmons College in Boston, took her seat as president-elect; Pat Molholt, assistant vice president and associate dean for scholarly resources at Columbia Health Sciences, and Ray Larson, specialist in the design and performance evaluation of information systems, assumed their duties as directors-at-large.
As the new Board prepared to begin
its work, the efforts of those who left the Board after several years of
service were commended. Clifford Lynch, immediate past president, and Carol
Tenopir and Barbara Kwasnik, directors-at-large, were thanked for their
distinguished service and contributions to the society.
Dr. Soergel has been a prolific writer of journal papers, consultancy reports and conference papers which demonstrate his ability to cut to the heart of a problem and identify the real issues. His two major books, Indexing Languages and Thesauri: Construction and Maintenance and Organizing Information: Principles of Data Base and Retrieval Systems, are modern classics which have significantly advanced our understanding of information systems designs.
His career epitomizes the ultimate interrelationship between research and teaching. Much of his work has proven to be inspirational and has provided direction for other researchers to follow. His expertise and capabilities as a professor are so widely recognized that he has been invited to teach in Canada and Europe in addition to his position at the University of Maryland.
It is for his extraordinary and continuous
contributions to the field of information science that Dr. Dagobert Soergel
has earned this recognition. (See feature article beginning on page 10
of this issue of the Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science
for Dr. Soergel’s acceptance speech for the Award of Merit.)
The 1997 Watson Davis Award was given
to Karla Petersen, Loyola University, Chicago, in recognition of 23 years
of active, unstinting service to ASIS. Karla has worked within ASIS at
every level from chapters and Special Interest Groups to the national level
as member of the ASIS Board of Directors, SIG Cabinet Director and chair
of an Annual Meeting. In naming Karla the Watson Davis Award winner, the
jury noted that she is "a popular member of any team she joins and completes
all tasks she takes on in timely, high quality fashion."
In the five short years that Geoff has been an ASIS member he has co-authored a chapter on "Groupware" in the 1995 Annual Review of Information Science and Technology (ARIST); served as chair-elect, chair and Chapter Assembly representative of the Indiana Chapter; developed the technical implementation for the ASIS Web site; moderated a technical session at the 1996 Mid-Year Meeting; served on the ASIS Continuing Education Committee; presented technical sessions on intranets at the 1996 Annual Meeting and for the Indiana Chapter; and co-presented a CE workshop on Computer Networks and Security at the 1997 Mid-Year Meeting.
Geoff is an outstanding ASIS member.
He has contributed to the Society and the field in areas of research, leadership,
technology and service. He exemplifies the qualities honored with the James
Cretsos Leadership Award.
Nicholas J. (Nick) Belkin, professor
at Rutgers University, is the winner of the 1997 ASIS Research Award for
his work on the role of human factors in retrieval systems. His research
has broad-ranging implications that impact both theoretical and practical
aspects of our field. He has published widely and has been recognized by
funding agencies and by peers for his research. The jury was also impressed
by his efforts to engage students in the research process and to mentor
new researchers. In this way, his ideas will influence future information
scientists in a very fundamental fashion.
This paper brings attention to the problem of variations in relevance assessments and the effects these variations may have on measures of retrieval effectiveness. An analytical review of the literature is used to demonstrate that, although many variables have been shown to affect relevance judgments in experimental settings, the effects of these variables on retrieval measurement have not been explored. The author points out the need for rigorous and extensive tests of the ways in which variations in relevance assessments do and do not affect measures of retrieval performance and the need to recognize that approaches to evaluation must reflect the real world of real users.
The award jury recognized the importance
of this topical area to the field. Through his rigorous and comprehensive
analysis, Harter provided a readable and understandable explication of
a complex problem.
Melinda Axel, Drexel University,
received the 1997 Pratt-Severn Student Research Award for her paper entitled,
"Data Warehouse Design for Pharmaceutical Drug Discovery Research." This
well-written paper proposes a framework for the application of data warehousing
to integrate a pharmaceutical company's drug discovery data, supporting
searches making use of these data in response to a variety of types of
questions. The potential benefits of this approach to data management are
Completed dissertations submitted
to the UMI Doctoral Dissertation Award jury are judged on the importance
of the topic to information science, quality of the literature review,
appropriateness and soundness of the research methodology, analysis of
the results and conclusions, and clarity of presentation.
The 1997 ISI Information Science
Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Scholarship was awarded to R. David Lenkes
for his proposed research, "Building and Maintaining Internet Information
Services." The selection of this proposal was based on several factors.
Lenkes is exploring an emerging area of digital reference services that
will contribute significantly to our understanding of the changing information
environment. The proposed methodology is well-conceived, sound and rigorous.
The proposal reflects Lenkes’ knowledge of the problems and issues in this
area and is presented in a clear and comprehensive manner. Overall, this
research has the potential for important contributions to the field of
The winner of the 1997 Best Information Science Book Award is Bryce Allen of the University of Missouri-Columbia for his book Information Tasks: Toward a User-Centered Approach to Information Systems, published by Academic Press.
The major theme of this book is important
and central to information science. The approach is unique and may affect
the thinking and behavior of many information professionals. Both the approach
and organization of material in this book are innovative and imaginative.
The book looks at information institutions and the profession, in addition
to user behavior, opinions and system design. It is well written and clearly
thought out, citing significant studies and extensive literature. A very
The 1997 Student Chapter-of-the-Year
Award was presented to the University of Washington Student Chapter, which
also won the 1996 award.
Vivian Hay of the Los Angeles Chapter of ASIS (LACASIS) has been active in the chapter since 1991. She has held various chapter offices, including serving as chair during 1993. In nominating Vivian for this award her colleagues noted that "no task is too small or large in her capable hands" and that "her most remarkable asset is her ability to see the solution in the most challenging of situations." Recently Vivian has directed her energies toward the Los Angeles chapter’s very successful annual workshop making arrangements for facilities and audio and telecommunication equipment. She also judges the chapter’s student essay competition and contributes articles to the newsletter. Vivian is recognized for her continuing contributions to the smooth running of the Los Angeles chapter.
John Tebo of the Southern Ohio ASIS
Chapter (SOASIS) is regarded as an indispensable member of his chapter.
In nominating him, his colleagues observe that "in eight years as an ASIS
member, John has contributed more to his chapter than many members contribute
in a professional lifetime." He has served as chair of several chapter
committees and as chapter treasurer, secretary, and Assembly Representative.
He has served as a member of the Chapter Assembly Advisory Committee. John
has planned and promoted the SOASIS award-winning workshops and written
for its newsletter. He is also known for his mentoring activities that
encourage new members to participate actively in the chapter. The Southern
Ohio ASIS Chapter has recognized John Tebo’s contributions with its Membership
and Leadership Awards.
The workshop was attended by 216
information professionals, 135 of whom were not ASIS members. In addition
to raising LACASIS’ profile within the regional information community,
the workshop increased the chapter’s visibility in the academic and commercial
sectors. The LACASIS annual workshop posted a profit of almost $9000. Proceeds
from the workshop fund the Margaret McKinley Scholarship, which sends one
library/information science student a year to the ASIS Annual Meeting,
and Society membership dues for the winner and two runners-up.
PVC Currents provides chapter members
with timely information on chapter events and programs. The chapter published
four issues last year that included reports from the chapter chair, minutes
of Board meetings and summaries of chapter programs. Other articles provided
descriptions of the chapter’s outreach program to introduce area senior
citizens to the Internet and their scholarship program for student members.
The Potomac Valley Chapter is recognized for its efforts to keep its members
informed with PVC Currents.
The 1997 ASIS SIG-of-the-Year Award
was presented to SIG/International Information Issues (III). The SIG last
won the award in 1993.
For its Fall Kick-off Meeting in October, the Delaware Valley Chapter of ASIS presented Lynn Brooks, co-author of the recently published book, Seven Secrets of Successful Women, who shared some of her secrets for workplace success. Then in November, the chapter joined forces with the local SLA chapter to offer Exploring Information Visualization. Katherine McCain, College of Information Science and Technology, Drexel University, Robert Dougherty, Merck Research Labs, and William Wright, Visible Decisions, Inc., spoke on the background and general purposes of visualization as applied to information and discussed specific applications of visualization methods.
The European Chapter of ASIS proudly announces that it has launched its Web site with the help of a team from the Department of Information Science of the University of Constance, Germany. The site can be found at http://asis-europe.uni-konstanz.de.
Christine Borgman, recently appointed to the University of California’s Presidential Chair in Information Studies, is the winner of the 1997 LACASIS Contributions to Information Science Award, an annual award from the Los Angeles Chapter of ASIS (LACASIS). Borgman was to address the chapter’s membership in November in a talk entitled, Access to Information in the Networked World: Some Reflection from the Research Front.
The Fall 1997 Program of the New Jersey ASIS (NJ/ASIS) Chapter, held in conjunction with the Special Libraries Association chapter in the area, was a workshop on computer security. Among the scheduled participants were Jana Volavka, consultant on information strategy and Web architecture, providing an overview of Internet security problems and technologies to prevent them; Alan Martin of Sequel Technologies, talking about the importance of analyzing Web server usage; and Frank D’Arrigo, National Computer Security Association, discussing elements of computer security, roles and responsibilities and best practices.
Earlier in the fall, NJ/ASIS presented a program on Assessing the Value of Library and Information Services, featuring Paul Kantor, professor of information science at Rutgers University, reporting on a series of studies which seek to isolate the key dimensions of service, as perceived by users, at both academic and special libraries. The research for this presentation was conducted jointly with Tefko Saracevic, also of Rutgers.
Among the speakers scheduled for the December meeting of the Northern Ohio ASIS (NORASIS) Chapter is Huijie Chen, information systems analyst at Morrison Knudsen Corp., with a presentation entitled, A Small Search Engine for a Small Library: A Case Report. Also scheduled is Michael Kreyche, digital resource development specialist and assistant professor, Kent State University.
The October meeting of the Metropolitan New York Chapter of ASIS featured speakers on the topic of Telemedicine: Electronic Delivery of Health Care Services. Among the speakers were Donald Parsons, New York State Department of Health, and Jordan Stern, New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, discussing the use of telecommunications to deliver medical care to inaccessible locations. For December, the chapter has scheduled a visit to the New York Stock Exchange with presentations by the NYSE chief technology officer, managing director and information services folks.
The Indiana ASIS Chapter took a look
at the weather for its September meeting and presented Steve Haines, meteorologist
and lead forecaster with the National Weather Service (NWS) Indianapolis
office, discussing the flow of data in and out of the NWS office.
Barbara B. Moran, dean since 1990 of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science, will step down at the end of the current academic year. After a research leave, she will return to the school’s faculty to continue teaching and research.
Rob Kling and Howard Rosenbaum, both of Indiana University, received support from the National Science Foundation for a November workshop on Advances in Organizational and Social Informatics.
Tefko Saracevic, 1991 ASIS president and professor of library and information studies at Rutgers University, has received the Gerard Salton Award for Excellence in Information Retrieval. The award, presented by the Special Interest Group in Information Retrieval (SIGIR) of the Association for Computing Machinery, recognizes continued, influential research in information retrieval and honors Salton, a longtime ASIS member and a major figure in information retrieval research for many years.
Donald J. Waters, formerly associate university librarian at the Yale University Library, has joined the staff of the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) as the director of the National Digital Library Federation. The federation comprises 15 libraries and archives that have identified three primary topics for its agenda: discovery and retrieval of digital information; intellectual property issues and economic models for the provision of digital information; and the archiving of digital information.
Kathy Hummel, librarian with the Santa Ana Public Library in California, and Sherry Little, doctoral candidate at the School of Library and Information Studies at Texas Women’s University, are among those awarded 1997-98 fellowships by the ALA Library Fellows Program funded by the U.S. Information Agency. Hummel received a four-month user-instruction fellowship at the Documents and Information Center in La Paz, Bolivia, where she will facilitate access to specialized U.S. databases for Bolivian researchers focusing on education. Little will complete a four-month fellowship with the Estonian Academy of Sciences Library in Tallin, Estonia, where she will provide library automation training and support to the Academy and the Consortium of Estonian Libraries Network.
K. Wayne Smith, president and chief executive officer of OCLC Online Computer Library Center, has announced his plans to step down in June 1998. He has served as president since 1989. He indicated he will continue to serve OCLC in an advisory capacity after June 1998, but would no longer be involved in day-to-day management.
Blaise Cronin, professor of information science and dean of the School of Library and Information Science at Indiana University, has been awarded the degree of Doctor of Letters (Honoris causa) by Queen Margaret College, Edinburgh. The honorary degree recognizes Cronin’s "distinguished academic career and outstanding contribution to the development of information science."
Francis Miksa, professor, University of Texas at Austin, and Jian Qin, assistant professor, University of Southern Mississippi, are the recipients of two Library and Information Science Research Grants awarded by the OCLC Office of Research. Miksa received a grant for Examining the Attributes of Information Resources on the World Wide Web and Testing for Their Usefulness as Metadata. Qin will investigate Computational Representation of Web Objects in an Interdisciplinary Digital Library: A Survey and an Experiment in Polymer Science.
Bella Hass Weinberg, professor in
the Division of Library and Information Science, St. John's University,
will offer a one-day professional development seminar entitled Vocabulary
Links for Information Systems: An Introduction to Thesaurus Design and
Natural Language Searching in Manhattan in April. Pre-registration discounts
for the university-sponsored seminar are available to members of the American
Society for Information Science.
The internationally recognized award honors individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of information science.
Willett was scheduled to accept the NJ/ASIS honor at ceremonies at Rutgers University in early December. The evening presentation was to include Willett’s address entitled Similarity Measures for Database Searching. Earlier in the day, Willett was scheduled to address students and other interested persons in a colloquium entitled Textual and Chemical Information Processing: Different Domains but Similar Algorithms.