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Bulletin, February/March 2009
Annual Meeting Coverage
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
Clifford A. Lynch, recipient of the 2008 ASIS&T Award of Merit, thinks quietly and deeply about the big issues of information science and then explains them lucidly and eloquently to his professional colleagues and to the practitioners who benefit from IS developments.
There are few, if any, others who have done so much to make the more arcane aspects of so many different areas of information science comprehensible and approachable to a wide audience. Through interviews, editorials, conference presentations, books and articles in peer-reviewed journals and popular magazines (Ariadne, EDUCAUSE Review, First Monday and Scientific American), Cliff has demystified search engines, digital libraries, electronic publishing, open access, preservation and curation, rights management and metadata. Cliff has a knack for gauging the technical level of his audience without being patronizing, whether the audience is an individual in conversation, a packed meeting room or the readership of a publication.
Cliff’s influence and reputation extend to the National Academies of Sciences, and his service includes both the high-profile (e.g., U.S. Office of Technology Assessment) and the unsung (countless visiting review boards, advisory boards and program committees). What matters to Cliff is not whether there is prestige attached to a task, but whether there is a benefit to the organizations and the communities reached.
Not only is Cliff Lynch a prodigious analyst and writer, he is also an accessible colleague, teacher and mentor. Despite his almost continuous travel schedule, Cliff continues to make time for a weekly seminar on advanced information access topics at the UC Berkeley School of Information. The seminar has been a salon for Berkeley alumni, Bay Area colleagues and visitors over the years. He has jointly chaired this “Friday Afternoon Seminar” for the past 35 consecutive semesters.
His casual, unassuming, quietly confident personality, executive competency, good nature and exceptionally broad and up-to-date knowledge of both policy and technical challenges in libraries and higher education make it a true pleasure to present Clifford A. Lynch with the 2008 ASIS&T Award of Merit.
Watson Davis Award
This year’s Watson Davis Award winner truly exemplifies the spirit of the award, and it is an honor to recognize Samantha Hastings as the 2008 recipient. Sam has a long history of service to ASIS&T, and it is easy to see her dedication through her work and her students.
Sam joined ASIS&T in 1989 and immediately stepped into a leadership role. If you want to know what jobs there are in ASIS&T, just look at Sam’s involvement. She has served, chaired or directed the Annual Meeting Program Committee, Executive Committee, Board of Directors, Publications & Scholarly Communication Committee, Awards & Honors Committee, Budget and Finance Committee, Continuing Education Committee, Education Committee, Membership Committee and Nominations Committee; she has directed the ASIS&T SIGs, as well as SIG/ED; served on the ISI Doctoral Dissertation Award jury and the SIG-of-the-Year jury; and, in 2004, was ASIS&T President. There is no question about her willingness to serve the Society.
Sam’s dedication to the Society can be seen through her enthusiasm. She is the first to emphasize the importance of ASIS&T to her students and will find a way to get them to the Annual Meeting. She regularly participates in the New Member Brunch and recognizes the opportunity to welcome and recruit new members. Sam is her own membership committee. She always takes time to network with new members, helping them to find the best place for their service. And everyone knows SIG CON is the most important session.
Throughout the letters nominating Sam for this honor, one finds several constant themes: appreciation for Sam’s support in helping people to get involved in the Society; reference to her infectious energy; and notice that Sam always gives back, not just to ASIS&T, but also in all aspects of her life. She has clearly shown dedication and service to the Society. It is time to thank and recognize Samantha Hastings with the 2008 Watson Davis Award.
Thomson ISI/ASIS&T Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award
The ISI/ASIS&T Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award is presented to Eileen Abels, Drexel University. Dr. Abel’s courses are central to the knowledge needed for LIS graduates to work successfully in libraries and information organizations. Her innovative and imaginative teaching and workshop materials speak volumes about her commitment to the learning process. She engages her students through a variety of activities including very valuable applied learning approaches. In addition, Dr. Abels has worked with organizations that affect library institutions as well as institutions outside of libraries demonstrating her out-of-the-box approach to professorship. Her research work is of interest to practitioners, enriching the world of libraries and information science education.
Best Information Science Book Award
Scholarship in the Digital Age: Information, Infrastructure, and the Internet, by Christine L. Borgman and published by MIT Press, is unique in its breadth of disciplines and sources and in the depth to which it investigates these disciplines and sources. The content is remarkably well-integrated and treatise-like and is of interest to many disciplines, while being well grounded in information studies and information science. Thus, it is likely to attract a wide audience. It will prove especially valuable as a teaching text for graduate students at both the master's and doctoral levels, while also supporting the research of the most accomplished of scholars and the decision making of institutional leaders and national and other policy makers.
Perhaps most valuably, Christine Borgman has, by her individual participation, thorough interviews and very close document analysis, surveyed many if not most of the leading initiatives in digital technologies, in scholarly communication and in scientific and technical societies. The work is a landmark in the study of the process of doing scholarship in the digital age and will remain so for years to come.
John Wiley & Sons Best JASIST Paper Award
The 2008 John Wiley & Sons Best JASIST Paper Award goes to Teresa M. Harrison, University at Albany, SUNY, and Theresa Pardo, J. Ramon Gil-Garcia, Fiona Thompson and Dubravka Juraga, all of the Center for Technology and Government, University at Albany, SUNY, for their article “Geographic Information Technologies, Structuration Theory, and the World Trade Center Crisis,” JASIST, 58(14), pp. 2240-2254.
The article focuses on the important role geographic information technologies (GITs) had in interorganizational responses to the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001. The authors argue that the attacks were a catalyst for change in the use of GITs, moving them from serving as relatively static reference tools to dynamic decision-making tools for emergency situations. The authors support their argument by applying structuration theory to the relations among agents, organizations and technologies using three case studies to show how GITs were applied and adapted preceding, during and following the September 11 attacks.
While noting numerous specific strengths in the article’s presentation of its subject matter, the jury found the article particularly noteworthy for the following reasons:
- the subtleness of its theoretical review;
- the superb writing in all its constituent parts – theoretical framework, method, results and conclusions;
- the clarity of thought and wisdom in choosing illustrative quotations;
- the ways in which it shows how the project being reported advanced and amplified earlier work;
- the use of well-chosen interviews; and
- the insightful application of theory to actual events.
James M. Cretsos Leadership Award
The James M. Cretsos Leadership Award is presented each year to new ASIS&T members who have demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities in ASIS&T activities. The 2008 Cretsos Leadership Award goes to Elise Lewis, University of North Texas, and Phillip M. Edwards, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Elise Lewis has been a member of ASIS&T since 2001. Early in her membership, she was instrumental in the formation of the North Texas Student Chapter, contributing her excellent planning and communication skills. Elise has served on the Membership Committee for the past several years, enlivening the New Member Brunch at the Annual Meeting and chairing the Watson Davis Award jury. She has also presented on her research at a number of Annual Meetings. Elise brings creativity, intelligence and humor to all of her ASIS&T endeavors and has shown a natural sense of leadership in her work for the Society.
Phil Edwards has contributed in a number of areas since joining ASIS&T in 2002. He was active in both the University of Washington and the University of Michigan student chapters, was a member of the 2006 DASER/Trisociety Symposium program committee and has served in a number of roles within SIG/STI. He also served as a reviewer for both the 2007 and 2008 Annual Meetings and currently is a member of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee. Phil has presented at a number of ASIS&T Annual Meetings and has been published in both the Bulletin and in JASIST, and he was selected to serve as the student representative to the Bulletin Advisory Board. Phil has shown substantial interest in leadership development within ASIS&T and serves as a wonderful example of a leader within our Society.
For these reasons and more, Elise Lewis and Phillip M. Edwards are awarded the 2008 James M. Cretsos Leadership Award.
Pratt-Severn Best Student Research Paper Award
Evaluated by the same rigorous standards as papers submitted for the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, the best student research paper is judged on technical competence, significance of findings, originality and clarity of expression. The 2008 award, recognizing the outstanding work of a current student in a degree-granting program in the information field, goes to Ann Irvine, University of North Carolina, for "Natural Language Processing and Temporal Information Extraction in Emergency Department Triage Notes.”
Thomson ISI Citation Analysis Research Grant
The 2008 Citation Analysis Research Grant is presented to Isola Ajiferuke and Dietmar Wolfram, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, for Citer Analysis as a Measure of Research Impact. The investigators propose to study author research impact using the number of citers an author’s research is able to attract, as opposed to the more traditional measure of citations. They posit that a focus on citers may provide a more objective measure of an author’s reach or influence in a field, whereas citations, although possibly numerous, may not reflect this reach, particularly if many citations are received from a small number of citers. Among many positive comments, the jurors said the proposal is well-documented; the project is worthwhile and will build on existing work; and the study has the potential to break new ground by further refining our understanding of citation as an activity of authors, rather than as a link between documents.
Thomson ISI/ASIS&T Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Scholarship
Christina M. Finneran, Syracuse University, is the winner of the 2008 Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Scholarship for Factors that Influence Users to Keep and/or Leave Information Items: A Case Study of College Students’ Personal Information Management Behavior. Christina’s dissertation topic is timely, and she proves her qualification for this award through the depth of the theoretical thinking that she brings to her research. The research area of personal information management is evolving very quickly as a critical, new line of research inquiry, especially with respect to knowledge management and the broader field of information science. It is our assertion that her findings could provide researchers with a deeper understanding of the motivations and practices of information users. She may also provide information system developers with increased insight and understanding for supporting knowledge and information workers. Christina’s methodology is well designed and thorough, and it demonstrates deep academic insight. Her proposed schedule and budget demonstrate a passion for rigor and self-discipline, which bode well for finishing her investigation.
ProQuest/ASIS&T Doctoral Dissertation Award
The 2008 ProQuest/ASIS&T Doctoral Dissertation Award is presented to Eric Meyer for his investigation of Socio-Technical Perspectives on Digital Photography: Scientific Digital Photography Use by Marine Mammal Researchers. This social informatics research dissertation is well organized and clearly presented. The data was well collected and thorough analyzed. The author studied the intersection between technology and scientific practice for marine mammal scientists using digital photography to identify individual animals, such as whales and dolphins, in the wild. Dr. Meyers used Kling’s socio-technical interaction networks (STIN) strategy to analyze the use of digital photography in this research field and to discover the consequences of this technology for the practice of science. His research methods included interviews and observations of 41 scientists working at 13 labs as case studies, and he analyzed the relevant supporting documents and data collected in both quantitative and qualitative analysis. Dr. Meyers presents the research question – what is the relationship between information technologies and social change? – with a social informatics focus. The author points out that “there has been little comparative research that considers both social and technical dimensions of digital photography as an information technology.” He then further describes his research questions, purposes and the significance of social informatics to the information society and information science.
The 2008 recipient of ASIS&T Chapter-of-the-Year honors is the Los Angeles Chapter of ASIS&T (LACASIS), recognized for its continuing strong programs and membership activities. LACASIS is cited for its strong membership recruitment and retention program, in which every potential, new and non-renewed member is contacted personally. The jury also noted several specific programs, including two for which the chapter collaborated with the local SLA chapter; the chapter’s annual Contributions to Information Science Award program; and the financially rewarding Annual Program focusing this year on “Tag, You’re It: A Dialog between Social Tagging and Traditional Cataloging.” In other areas, the chapter offers a student scholarship; publishes the award-winning wiki newsletter, OASIS, four times a year; and has set up a business wiki, a private web-based collaboration space for board members to conduct chapter business. Hearty congratulations go to the Los Angeles Chapter for another exemplary year of hard work and tremendous success.
Chapter Member of the Year
Three deserving people from three different chapters receive honors in 2008 for Chapter Member-of-the-Year. In all three cases, these members’ extraordinary activities go beyond the work they do for their chapters and benefit ASIS&T as a whole. The cited members are Rachael Green Clemens (Carolinas Chapter), Christine Quirion (New England) and Bo-Gay Salvador (Los Angeles).
Rachael Green Clemens, who not insignificantly is still a student, was instrumental in seeing that North Carolina and South Carolina were granted an ASIS&T chapter charter in 2007. She utilized her years of extensive experience with ASIS&T to take a leadership role in the formation of the local chapter. Once the chapter was chartered, Rachael led the coordination and promotion of the chapter’s inaugural program entitled, Institutional Repositories: The Great Debate. The April event drew an enthusiastic and diverse audience from the local library and information science community. Reviewers noted her unconditional commitment and ability to juggle so many efforts on behalf of the Carolinas Chapter.
Christine Quirion is a true leader for the New England Chapter. This year she has juggled duties as both program chair and chapter chair. Her efforts to keep members involved and engaged in a time of transitional leadership have been a key factor in keeping the New England Chapter active and vibrant. In addition, she experimented with new technologies such as blogs, podcasts and Skype to help keep non-Boston members informed and involved in chapter activities. Reviewers were impressed by both her willingness to jump right in when needed and her innovative approaches to tasks at hand.
Bo-Gay Salvador is an indispensable resource for the Los Angeles Chapter. This year she served as hospitality chair, which means attending every program, greeting members and program speakers, tracking incoming payments for programs and program registrations and maintaining the chapter’s post office box. The reviewers commented on her continuous level of commitment to her chapter over the years, even in her retirement, as well as her key role in making events happen in a chapter that hosts a number of large and small programs each year.
The 2008 Chapter Event-of-the-Year Award goes to two excellent programs: Working Together, Working Differently: How Millennials Are Changing the Way Other Generations Learn, Interact and Do Commerce, hosted by the Potomac Valley Chapter, and Tag You’re It: A Dialog Between Social Tagging and Traditional Classification, hosted by the Los Angeles Chapter. Both nominations received nearly identical scores with a common theme of participant engagement. Each event also had its own distinct strengths and benefits to members.
The Potomac Valley Chapter event included a behind-the-scenes docent tour of the Library of Congress, a discussion of local networking opportunities and a two-hour Socratic discussion based on the Pew Research Center's report, "How Young People View Their Lives, Futures and Politics: A Portrait of Generation Next,” led by Roberta Shaffer, the executive director of FLICC/FEDLINK. The discussion was lively and heated and left everyone with a clearer picture of different generational concerns on the way people learn, interact and do commerce. The program was offered with a low registration fee for members and was free for students, which resulted in 58 attendees (21 of whom were students). Reviewers were impressed by all that the chapter managed to pack into this single program, the various options for participation and the chapter’s commitment to providing a low- or no-cost program.
The Los Angeles Chapter event gathered speakers from various sectors to present information on social tagging and to open a dialog on its relationship to existing classification practices. Speakers represented public libraries, academic libraries and museums. In addition to facilitating dialog, the event was also a financial success since the chapter was able to secure free facilities and lost-cost catering. All presentations and handouts were made available on the LACASIS website (www.lacasis.org). Reviewers noted the timeliness of the topic, speaker diversity and the opportunity presented to the membership with this interactive program.
The Chapter Innovation-of-the-Year Award goes to the Los Angeles Chapter of ASIS&T (LACASIS) for its wiki (lacasis.wikidot.com), a business tool launched in August 2007 as a private web-based collaboration space for board members to conduct chapter business. The wiki has played a role in nearly all chapter activities, including document archiving, member contacts, program planning/discussion and meeting date/location information. Knowledge-sharing among the board members has been greatly facilitated by this implementation. The board members have also experimented with the survey tool widget to further reduce the need for managing email and alerts to notify members when content has changed. Reviewers viewed the business wiki as an effective and efficient way for members to plan and communicate as well as a powerful means of archiving and documenting the information for future chapter leaders.
The Chapter Publication-of-the-Year Award goes to the Los Angeles Chapter’s Observation of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (OASIS) newsletter (oasisnewsletter.wikispaces.com/). The Los Angeles Chapter has been publishing OASIS for over 40 years. As times have changed so too has the format. The chapter migrated from print to electronic in 2004. Electronic delivery over the years has included access to a PDF version, a database driven newsletter and the current wiki format.
Grace Lau, the new editor of OASIS, increased the variety and volume of content and encouraged a wider range of contributors by featuring member submissions and by providing students an opportunity to publish articles in this professional forum. As a result, each of the three issues featured at least one student submission from either UCLA or SJSU. Reviewers noted the newsletters’ clean, crisp, concise layout as well as the richness of its content. All were impressed by both the diversity of the authors and the editor’s dedication to seeking fresh perspectives.
The 2008 SIG-of-the-Year Award is given to two ASIS&T Special Interest Groups: SIG/III and SIG/USE.
As internationalism and global information have become increasingly more important to the academic and corporate environments, SIG/International Information Issues (SIG/III) has demonstrated its strength and importance to the work of ASIS&T. SIG/III consistently produces excellent programs and publications at the Annual Meeting and throughout the year. One key example is the February/March 2008 issue of the Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, in which SIG/III offered a special section that included articles on information activities on four continents. The popular International Reception at the Annual Meeting offers an opportunity to celebrate our international – and local – members, and it raises funds to support memberships for professionals in developing countries. SIG/III helps to bring international members to ASIS&T through the InfoShare and Digital Scholars programs and aids many countries in forming and evaluating information policies. As one of the jury members noted, “SIG/III rocks!” In recognition of its work supporting the society at home and abroad (wherever that may be), we are pleased to recognize SIG/III as the 2008 SIG-of-the-Year.
SIG/Information Needs, Seeking and Use (SIG/USE) is an excellent example of a special interest group that seeks and finds development opportunities beyond those normally expected of a SIG. The long-standing SIG/USE Symposium not only draws attention to the SIG and the Society, but also helps support other programs of the SIG. Through the publication of Information and Emotion: The Emergent Affective Paradigm in Information Behavior Research and Theory (honored this year as SIG Publication-of-the-Year), SIG/USE managed a trifecta of success: they expanded the available literature in this area, supported the publication activities of their members and created a revenue stream for the SIG and the Society. SIG/USE members (including Karen Fisher, honored this year as SIG Member-of-the-Year) are also active in supporting recruitment and retention efforts for the SIG and the Society, including hosting their own website, creating a Facebook page and offering “swag” for members at the Annual Meeting. We are pleased to recognize SIG/USE as the 2008 SIG-of-the-Year for its programs, publishing and membership efforts.
The 2008 SIG Member-of-the-Year honoree, Karen Fisher, has been active in many levels of SIG/USE. Now serving as treasurer, Karen has previously served as the SIG’s chair and program organizer. She regularly organizes successful Annual Meeting panel sessions; in 2003 and 2007 she co-organized the annual SIG/USE Symposium. Karen co-edited the proceedings from the 2003 symposium into Theories of Information Behavior, a popular ASIS&T publication. Since becoming treasurer of SIG/USE, Karen also initiated an innovative member recruiting project: SIG/USE red suitcase tags for the 2007 Annual Meeting with a printed motto: “How people experience information – Our passion.” Because of her involvement in the leadership, program planning and recruitment activities of SIG/USE, Karen Fisher is named SIG Member-of-the-Year.
Information and Emotion: The Emergent Affective Paradigm in Information Behavior Research and Theory, launched at the 2007 ASIS&T Annual Meeting as a title in the ASIS&T Monograph Series, is the first to bring together work on affective behavior in library and information science. Information and Emotion offers a significant new text for SIG/USE members, with contributions by SIG/USE members for the SIG/USE community. The many SIG/USE authors and authors from various fields of study reporting on diverse information behavior research create value in this volume. The book is based on recent theoretical developments and research findings in information science and the cognate fields of cognitive science, psychology, business, education and computer science. Importantly, this book brings together affective and cognitive viewpoints covering both young and adult users' information behaviors in various contexts and from interdisciplinary perspectives. The book has received excellent reviews from scholars in information science, human-computer interaction and business, among others. This book's unique contribution to LIS teaching, research and practice qualifies it for the SIG Publication-of-the-Year Award.
Articles in this Issue
2008 ASIS&T Award Winners