Bulletin, February/March 2008

Inside ASIS&T
Annual Meeting Coverage

A Look at ASIS&T 2007

Join us throughout this issue of the Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology for a look at some of the work that members and guests enjoyed at the 2007 ASIS&T Annual Meeting in Milwaukee.

In addition to this photo spread, look for full coverage of the presentation of the prestigious ASIS&T Annual Awards; the acceptance address from the winner of the ASIS&T Award of Merit; and a report on one of the two remarkable plenary addresses delivered at the meeting.




2007 ASIS&T Award Winners

Each year at the ASIS&T Annual Meeting, the Society honors the winners of the prestigious ASIS&T Annual Awards. This year’s winners are featured in this section.

Award of Merit

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Don Kraft, flanked by Edie Rasmussen, with Award of Merit Bowl and citation

Donald H. Kraft, recipient of the 2007 ASIS&T Award of Merit, has played a pivotal role in both the field of information science and technology and our society as editor of the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIST) over the past 22 years. Every field that has any association with information technology has undergone many dramatic changes in these decades. More than any other individual, Kraft has successfully negotiated these changes and shaped and advanced the field of information science and technology through his skilled and visionary leadership of the Journal.

That JASIST continues to reign as a top-ranked journal in quantitative and qualitative assessments is a tribute to Kraft’s leadership. He has steered the journal into electronic publication and more than doubled the number of issues and quadrupled the number of pages published each year. Kraft’s editorship has been characterized by expanded international reach and receptivity to new approaches and areas of research.

In addition to his exemplary stewardship of JASIST, he has continued his pioneering research applying mathematics and logic to the very real problems of library management and information retrieval. Kraft has been in the forefront of defining and prodding the evolution of information retrieval through his own work and has championed information science in general through his enthusiastic voice and support for scholarly publication in the field.

For more about Kraft, his work and his acceptance address to the ASIS&T membership, please see continuing Annual Meeting coverage later in this issue.

Research in Information Science Award
Ophir Frieder, recipient of the 2007 ASIS&T Research Award, exemplifies the very ideals that this award celebrates. Working jointly with scientists at the National Institutes of Health, Frieder addressed the key information technology issue of the genome project – namely the creation of efficient sequencing tools. He developed parallel systems for retrieving similar sequences and for aligning multiple sequences. Both systems significantly reduced the computation time needed for analysis. 

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Edie Rasmussen presents Research Award to Ophir Frieder

In addition, with support from NCR, he was the first to efficiently map all key information retrieval primitives to relational scripts without introducing non-standard operators. Since his approach relied on purely standard SQL, parallel database engines could similarly serve as parallel information retrieval engines. Several NCR commercial data warehouse deployments adopted his approach to support their text processing needs. 

He is a named inventor on nine patents and more than a dozen other patent applications. His patents cover inventions in the information processing and communication networks domains. He also co-authored two textbooks: one on distributed information systems and one, now in its second edition, on information retrieval. He likewise co-authored a research monograph on scalable gene sequencing and over 150 articles (including nine in JASIST).
For all these reasons and more, the 2007 ASIS&T Research Award is presented to Ophir Frieder.

Watson Davis Award
Paula Galbraith is the 2007 winner of the Watson Davis Award, an award given in acknowledgement and recognition of lifetime service to the organization and the field. Paula’s dedication and service to ASIS&T truly exemplify the spirit of this award. Since joining ASIS&T in 1981, she has dedicated her time to ensure the success of the Society through participation in the Society’s committees, Special Interest Groups (SIGs), on award juries and as an ASIS&T appointee on numerous panels, task forces and committees. 

Paula’s commitment and hard work can be seen in the committee work she has participated in over the years. She chaired the Awards and Honors Committee from 1996-1998 and has continued to lend her time to the committee when called upon. She has also served on both the Education and Nominations Committees. She is an active member of five Special Interest Groups (SIGs): SIG/ED, SIG/KM, SIG/MED, SIG/NOT and SIG/VIS. In addition, she has worked on numerous awards juries, including the ISI Doctoral Dissertation Award and the Research Award among others. She was a member of the Board of Directors from 1993-1995 and served as board liaison to the continuing education, education, conference & meetings and professionalism committees. 

Paula’s service to the Society has also included outreach. She served on the Accreditation Task Force as an ASIS&T representative and was selected as an ASIS&T delegate to the White House Conference on Library and Information Services in 1991.

These are just a few a few examples of the dedication Paula has shown to ASIS&T. After reading letters in support of her nomination, jurors noted a few clear themes: Paula will always lend a hand, she does things on time and she is willing to take on essential tasks that yield little recognition. It is time we recognize and thank Paula Galbraith and her dedication to ASIS&T with the 2007 Watson Davis Award. 

Thomson ISI/ASIS&T Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award
The ISI/ASIST Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award is presented each year to an individual who has demonstrated sustained excellence in teaching information science. This year’s honoree is Peter Ingwersen, research professor at the Department of Information Studies, Royal School of Library and Information Science in Copenhagen. He is a distinguished researcher and scholar whose contributions include, among others, suggesting cognitive approaches to interactive information retrieval theory and coining the term Webometrics to describe quantitative studies of the Web. His list of publications is impressive, his professional service is outstanding and his influence on the field is further enhanced through his teaching. 

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Edie Rasmussen presents award to Peter Ingwersen

Standards for this award include evidence of “sustained excellence” and “unique style” – terms that define Professor Ingwersen well, and his influence extends beyond his school and his nation. His papers appear on the syllabi of courses in schools of information and library science throughout the world. His teaching methods are innovative and his style is engaging. He is, above all, a charismatic teacher and a gifted mentor who has made a lasting impact on a new generation of teachers and researchers. Students praise his intellect, his passion for research and teaching, and his ability to inspire those qualities in others. One student has described him in this way: “[He is] the single greatest influence on my research and teaching” and “the standard to which I strive to hold myself as a researcher, educator and mentor.”

John Wiley & Sons Best JASIST Paper Award
The 2007 John Wiley & Sons Best JASIST Paper Award goes to Catherine Blake and Wanda Pratt for their two-part article, “Collaborative Information Synthesis, Part 1,” JASIST 57(13): 1740-1749 and “Collaborative Information Synthesis, Part 2: Recommendations for Information Systems to Support Synthesis,” JASIST 57(14): 1888-1895.

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Don Kraft presents Best JASIST Paper honors to Catherine Blake accepting for herself and her co-author Wanda Pratt

Blake and Pratt's beautifully crafted two-part article is an exemplary study of the collaborative information synthesis process. The study design allowed for sustained interactions with participants through which rich data about practice was gleaned. Rather than relying on one method of gathering qualitative data the authors employed an in-depth triangulated approach that reached beyond information seeking to consider analysis and synthesis, key components of scientific work that have been under-explored. The authors practice exemplary scholarship by frequently mentioning how their findings corroborate existing information behavior models and demonstrating scholarly courtesy when reporting findings that differ from those of earlier researchers. The study is further enriched by the collaboration the authors embody between the disciplines of information science and biomedical and health informatics. The robust evidence-based results serve as a highly constructive model for designers of medical and health information systems.

The jury believes that this work by Blake and Pratt is highly relevant and contributes significantly to the field of information science both theoretically and empirically. It is, therefore, most worthy of the 2007 John Wiley & Sons Best JASIST Paper Award.

Thomson ISI/ASIS&T Citation Analysis Research Grant

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Philip M. Davis receives Citation Analysis Research Grant from Edie Rasmussen

Philip M. Davis, Department of Communication, Cornell University, is the winner of the 2007 Thomson ISI/ASIS&T Citation Analysis Research Grant for his proposal entitled, Does Free Access to Scholarly Articles Increase Readership and Citation Impact?: A Randomized, Controlled, Multi-publisher, Multi-journal Study. Members of the award jury described this proposal as excellent, using innovative methods to study an important and difficult problem that is considered pressing in the field today.

Thomson ISI/ASIS&T Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Scholarship 
Phillip M. Edwards, School of Information at the University of Washington, is the winner of the 2007 Thomson ISI/ASIS&T Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Scholarship for Mapping Scholars’ Decision Processes and Factors That Influence How They Publish and Distribute Their Works. Phillip’s dissertation proposal focuses on how scholars make important decisions about how, when and where to publish their work. One reviewer noted that the proposal is very thorough, well written and well reasoned. Other comments include that the methodology is creative and ties the different data collection methods together to inform the research questions; the proposal is nicely structured and very interesting.

A quote from his nomination letter further elucidates the proposal:

It is a topic at once very simple – how do scholars decide where and how to distribute the results of their scholarly work – but also quite complex, with a large and growing variety of factors affecting those decisions and in an increasingly complicated communication landscape. Mr. Edwards has chosen to attack this problem with an innovative and robust set of theoretical frameworks from management and social psychology, and an appropriate and cogent set of methods to answer his research questions using those frameworks. We have been struck by the lack of research in this seemingly obvious and crucial area, and his original approach should serve him well in his investigation.

ProQuest/ASIS&T Dissertation Award
W. John MacMullen, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, is the recipient of the 2007 ProQuest/ASIS&T Doctoral Dissertation Award for Contextual Analysis of Variation and Quality in Human-curated Gene Ontology Annotations

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Catherine May presents the dissertation award to W. John MacMullen

The dissertation addresses a novel topic with respect to the increasingly important area of biotechnology enterprise, while addressing the fundamental information science issue of adding value to research literature. The jury was impressed with the attention to detail demonstrated both in the methodology and analysis. The methodology is carefully constructed and makes use of a mixed approach that combines both quantitative and qualitative techniques to assess research literature annotations that link experimental data to research literature for the gene ontology community.

This research contributes to our understanding of annotation behavior within a specific community and has practical implications for practitioners who can use this work to assess their annotation practices.


Two ASIS&T chapters receive the 2007 Chapter-of-the-Year Awards: Los Angeles Chapter of ASIS&T (LACASIS) and New England Chapter of ASIS&T (NEASIST).

The Los Angeles Chapter is cited for its stellar performance in all areas covered by the jury’s assessment criteria. With 25 active local members, LACASIS provides its membership with myriad educational and networking opportunities in the Los Angeles area. Five events organized by LACASIS during the past year were on topics ranging from the practical “Working with Wikis” to the theoretical “Toward Multimedia Surrogation.” With one board member responsible for member recruitment and retention, LACASIS has an impressive array of activities geared toward attracting members from many different professional and geographic areas and keeping them hooked on the Society. The chapter sponsors two awards: the Margaret McKinley Memorial Student Scholarship which provides reimbursement funding up to $1000 for one student to attend the ASIS&T Annual Meeting, and the Contribution to Information Science and Technology Award honoring individuals who have made significant contributions to the field. The chapter also co-sponsors the UCLA GSE&IS Lazerow Lecture. This year the chapter moved its award-winning quarterly newsletter, OASIS, from a traditional print/pdf format to a wiki format, enabling registered users to contribute content to it. And finally, by watching expenses and juggling priorities, LACASIS maintains its fiscal health while continuing to offer its members rich local programming and services.

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Beata Panagopoulos, right, presents Chapter-of-the-Year honors to Caryn Anderson, left, New England chapter chair, and Christina Salazar, chair of the Los Angeles chapter

The second winner, the New England Chapter, was equally outstanding in all Chapter-of-the-Year assessment criteria. The chapter sponsored four successful programs with an average attendance of 85. The diversity of the program topics (“The Dawn of the Embedded Library,” “Geographic Information Made Accessible,” “Designing Usable Interfaces” and “Visualizing Wikipedia”) reflects the understanding that not all of its 200 members work in libraries. In support of the Society’s goal to increase membership, NEASIST has begun offering discounted ASIS&T memberships to nonmembers who join the Society at the same time they register for a NEASIST program. The chapter has also shifted the pricing structure of its fee-based programs to provide deeper discounts to ASIS&T members, thus encouraging membership. NEASIST sponsors a Student Travel Award competition: up to two winners receive $750 to cover travel expenses to attend the ASIS&T Annual Meeting. The chapter also supports the International Calendar of Information Science. With these initiatives which nurture and support the information science and technology community in New England and internationally, the chapter exemplifies the adage: “Think Globally, Act Locally.”

Student Chapter-of-the-Year
Two ASIS&T Student Chapters receive Student Chapter-of-the-Year honors for 2007: the student chapters at Simmons College and the University of California at Los Angeles.

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From the left, John Khuu, co-chair of the UCLA student chapter, and Alison Cody, chair of the Simmons College student chapter, receive Student Chapter-of-the-Year honors on behalf of their colleagues from Shawne Miksa

Chapter Member-of-the-Year
The Chapter Member-of-the-Year Award goes to two individuals this year who are recognized for their incredible work on behalf of their respective chapters: Caryn Anderson of the New England Chapter (NEASIST) and Dawn Pointer McCleskey of the Potomac Valley Chapter (PVC).

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Caryn Anderson receives Chapter Member-of-the-Year honor from Beata Panagopoulos

Caryn Anderson’s contributions have significantly increased the visibility of NEASIST within the New England region. Among her many activities, she has introduced students and others to ASIS&T through events and programs, developed connections with sister associations and instilled a strong sense of camaraderie among chapter officers and members. Within the past year, NEASIST has staged four very successful events, including the Dawn of the Embedded Library program at Tufts University. Caryn implemented strategies to bolster and demonstrate the value of ASIS&T membership, such as increasing the member discount for event registration and establishing a process to register new members at a subsidized rate as they register for NEASIST events. Caryn also cultivated strong ties with Simmons College's student chapter of ASIS&T and with O'Reilly Media, which has allowed the chapter to give event participants free copies of O'Reilly books, magazines and other materials. Caryn is unselfish in sharing her time and enthusiasm, and she is willing to take on any task to ensure that NEASIST is successful. Her strong commitment to ASIS&T as an organization shines through, whether she's updating members about events via email, greeting them at the registration table, introducing speakers at programs or responding to questions about the chapter.

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Beata Panagopoulos, right, presents Chapter Member-of-the-Year honors to Dawn Pointer McCleskey

Dawn Pointer McCleskey began her rise to Chapter Member-of-the-Year honors at the very time that she joined ASIS&T. In July of 2006, Dawn was asked to take the helm of the Potomac Valley Chapter, the largest chapter in ASIS&T, but one that was experiencing a letdown in programming and leadership. She agreed almost immediately to give it a try, but first she had to join ASIS&T, which she happily did. As the new chapter chair, she found a large group of very helpful advisors who were looking for a leader to follow. Dawn stepped right in and provided the missing link. During the ensuing year, the chapter held five successful programs, attracting a diverse group of local ASIS&T members. Program topics included federated searching, disaster planning, internet policy and women in information networks. Dawn employed a highly collaborative leadership style that took advantage of the deep pool of willing helpers, many of whom are former local and national ASIS&T leaders. With an eye toward rebuilding a strong chapter that would continue on past her tenure, Dawn worked skillfully to involve as many people as possible at many levels and to make them active contributors to the chapter. 

Chapter Event-of-the-Year
The 2007 Chapter Event-of-the-Year Award goes to Working with Wikis, the 2006 Fall Workshop presented by the Los Angeles Chapter of ASIS&T. Wikis have become a ubiquitous publishing medium in many libraries, universities and business information centers. This workshop served as an introduction to the format, including potential implementations, pitfalls, maintenance concerns, different platforms and evaluation methods. The featured speaker, Louisa Verma, librarian for the Specialty Coffee Association of America, has created and maintained several wikis, including the Los Angeles Chapter’s OASIS newsletter and one created for this workshop that provided a hands-on experience using wikis for the attendees.

In selecting this workshop as Chapter Event-of -the-Year, the awards committee noted several impressive factors about the event: the program was of high quality and included a meal function, while keeping the registration fee quite low; the selected speaker was appealing to the chapter’s diverse membership; a great deal of information was packed into a compact schedule; and the content was not only practical and useful to attendees, but the session also included the hands-on experimentation element. 

Chapter Publication-of-the-Year
The 2007 Chapter Publication-of-the-Year Award goes to Observation of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (OASIS) the newsletter of the Los Angeles Chapter of ASIS&T (LACASIS). The Los Angeles Chapter has been publishing OASIS for more than 40 years. As the times have changed so too has the format of the popular newsletter. After years of successful print publication of OASIS, the newsletter migrated to an electronic format in 2004. As electronic options have expanded, the newsletter’s editors have kept pace as well, adding such delivery options and formats over the years as access to a PDF version, a database driven newsletter and the current wiki format. A sample issue of OASIS is available at http://oasisnewsletter.wikispaces.com/winter2007.

The awards committee noted that LACASIS continues to lead the way in publication innovation. The OASIS format is easy to use and allows for up-to-the-minute content. The publication also illustrates the great potential for the use of wikis to produce publications, record important information and conduct business.

Chapter Innovation-of-the-Year
Two ASIS&T chapters received honors for the Chapter Innovation-of-the-Year: the Indiana chapter and the Los Angeles chapter. The Indiana chapter has been making innovative use of videoconferencing technologies since 2004 for a variety of chapter functions and programs. The technology has allowed the chapter to overcome geographic distances and a dispersed membership to engage and reach out to ASIS&T members throughout the state. The Los Angeles Chapter has converted its newsletter, Observations of the American Society for Information Science & Technology (OASIS), to a wiki format, encouraging greater newsletter participation from the membership. In addition, the collaborative nature of the wiki format means that any author can edit the site at any time, rather than relying on a single gatekeeper or adherence to a strict publication schedule.

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Members of the Los Angeles and Indiana Chapters receive Chapter Innovation-of-the-Year honors

The two innovations not only received identical scores, but also similar comments from the judges. The judges believe that both chapters have been able to effectively use existing technologies to overcome challenges and enhance services to their membership. The innovations also show both chapters’ strong commitment to reaching out to their membership in order to get more individuals actively involved. These successful projects will no doubt serve as models for other chapters, special interest groups and committees within ASIST. 


SIG/International Information Issues (SIG/III) and SIG/Digital Libraries (SIG/DL) share the 2007 honors for SIG-of the-Year in recognition of the service that each provides to its membership and to the Society at large. 

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SIG/III members celebrate their selection as SIG-of-the-Year

SIG/III continues to set the bar high for what ASIS&T SIGs can and should do: deep involvement and participation with the membership, extensive outreach beyond the Annual Meeting, the InfoShare project which opens the world of ASIS&T to information scientists around the globe and many other activities that are planned throughout the year. 

SIG/DL demonstrates an exciting scope of innovation with the use of wikis for their program planning; superior communication with their members; a usability study done in collaboration with students at SUNY/Buffalo; their leadership in exploring open access models of scholarship; and consistently strong and important programs and activities at ASIS&T Annual Meetings.

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SIG/DL members delight in their honor as SIG-of-the-Year