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Bulletin, February/March 2010

Inside ASIS&T
Annual Meeting Coverage
A Look at ASIS&T 2009

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 and fun that members and guests enjoyed at the 2009 ASIS&T Annual Meeting in Vancouver. In addition to photo montages and news and pictures of all ASIS&T award winners included here in Inside ASIS&T, look throughout the pages for coverage of plenary sessions and the anniversary symposium conducted by SIG/USE.

2009 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.

Carol Tenopir, recipient of the 2009 ASIS&T Award of Merit, has had a remarkable career as a researcher, teacher and contributor to the information science profession for almost three decades. A major study of information science scholarship recently found Carol Tenopir to be the most frequently cited researcher in the field and ranked her first in terms of scholarly productivity. 

Carol’s research emphasizes a strong user focus while covering the evolution and development of databases, online systems and searching and, more recently, scholarly communications on a broad scale. Her bridging of the research and practice communities is outstanding.

An STM publisher supporting her nomination noted, “Her studies have been unique in bringing an evidence-based rigor to an area that has long been fraught with misinformation and controversy. Her exhaustive studies and their publication have been an inspiration to all those who seek better to understand how scholarly journals have been used and the role they perform for academics. Her studies on the behavioral patterns of academics in their approach to the electronic literature have lain to rest many misperceptions.”

She is an international presence for information science, with over a third of her presentations delivered overseas in more than 18 countries. In addition, she is a popular consultant for national and international firms. Tenopir has authored five books and more than 200 journal articles. 

She has been most successful in involving a large number of faculty and students in major research projects, giving them an opportunity to develop research skills and knowledge that immediately contribute to their personal and professional growth. Carol Tenopir has received national awards for teaching excellence from ASIS&T, as well as from the Association for Library and Information Science Education.

For all these reasons and more, Dr. Carol Tenopir, University of Tennessee, is presented with the 2009 ASIS&T Award of Merit.

In recognition of her two decades of continued service to the membership of ASIS&T, Edie Rasmussen is honored as the 2009 recipient of the Watson Davis Award.

Her activities have touched on nearly every aspect of the organization. She has served on five standing committees and five award juries; chaired the 2002 Annual Meeting, and served on a number of other Annual Meeting planning committees; served as Student Chapter Advisor at two schools and Chapter Assembly Representative for Student Chapters; chaired the Pittsburgh Chapter, where she is credited with reinvigorating that group; provided extensive support and activity within a number of special interest groups, most notably SIG/CR; and held the highest level of leadership as ASIS&T 2007 president.

Her efforts on behalf of the profession and the Society go beyond the official roles and leadership positions. One nominator wrote, “Dr. Rasmussen has had a significant but indirect effect on ASIS&T through her mentorship of doctoral students who have become ASIS&T members and contributors.”

One letter of support noted, “One of Edie’s traits that has impressed me the most over the years is her quiet way of just getting the job done and done at an excellent level.” Another letter stated, “She is a role model for all of us and a wonderful human being…There is no one I know who is more deserving of this Award.” A member of the Award Jury summed it up: Edie is a “member who has made the well-being of the Society as an organization, and of its individual members, a priority in her professional life…Edie is exactly the type of member this award is meant to recognize.” With much gratitude and appreciation, ASIS&T is proud to recognize Edie Rasmussen as the 2009 recipient of the Watson Davis Award.

The 2009 Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award is presented to Diane Kelly, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Kelly’s courses are integral for preparing future information professionals to apply critical thinking and analytical skills to challenges in practice. Her research in the area of user behavior not only informs colleagues in the field, but also instructs her students who participate in her research projects. She also provides students with practical projects that expose them to real world situations they are likely to encounter in their professional careers. Dr. Kelly’s student-centered approach is appreciated by her students, and her excellence in teaching is recognized by her colleagues. Her teaching performance and her professional activities combine to confirm her merit for this award. 

The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind, by James Boyle and published by Yale University Press, is a well-written exploration of the mix and balance between intellectual property on the one hand and the public domain on the other. The book provides an excellent overview of where the debate has been and where it will go. Boyle has written an impressive book; it is extremely well-grounded in history and specific about how political philosophy, public policy and society more generally influence cultural expression. The book gives an excellent analysis of the complex history underlying issues ranging from Jefferson's philosophy of innovation, remixing and synthetic biology to Internet file sharing, and as such it will be of interest to many disciplines. Boyle's eloquent narrative is impressive for telling a tale that begins well before the Internet age and points to the challenges for the "future present" we must all face. This broad outlook will serve students and scholars in information science well as they seek to better understand copyright and its numerous implications for information, systems and the Internet.

The 2009 John Wiley & Sons Best JASIST Paper Award goes to Ofer Bergman, Ruth Beyth-Marom and Rafi Nachmias for their article, “The User-Subjective Approach to Personal Information Management Systems Design: Evidence and Implementations,” Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 59, 2, pp.235-246.

This paper evaluates and provides example designs to support a user-subjective approach to personal information management through an empirical study. The user-subjective approach is concerned with the capacity of individual users of their own personal information systems to organize or label material by subjective attributes, such as project, importance and context. Participants in the survey tended to use subjective attributes when the system design encouraged them to act in this way.

The professional merit of the paper is particularly manifested in its methodological and conceptual development. Methodologically, the paper is notable for its care in developing a sample population and the use of multiple forms of data collection, including questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. The study also helpfully covers a range of documentary types, including email, locally stored textual documents and Internet resources. The conceptual contribution of the paper focuses attention on the significance and ubiquity of the issues studied – most contemporary scholars and other information workers store personal information in a number of formats. The paper is also clearly and progressively written and the hand-drawing of design sketches adds to the appeal of the paper. The design recommendations are simple and presumably could be implemented, and their simplicity should not disguise their potential significance.

In summary, the paper is a well-argued and documented, effective, intelligible and potentially useful and applicable study.

ASIS&T member Cassidy R. Sugimoto is the recipient of the 2009 James M. Cretsos Leadership Award – an award that recognizes new ASIS&T members who have demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities in professional ASIS&T activities.

Since joining ASIS&T in 2006, Cassidy has engaged in a wide variety of activities to support local, regional and national ASIS&T activities with impressive energy and skillful leadership. Cassidy served as treasurer of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s ASIS&T student chapter and played a major role in co-founding the Carolinas Chapter of ASIS&T in 2007, serving first as the chapter’s secretary and then chair. As chapter chair she both extended and deepened membership activity with several successful events. She also laid the groundwork for the continual success of the chapter by recruiting high caliber and highly motivated individuals to serve as officers.

Cassidy currently serves as ASIS&T Deputy Chapter Assembly Director. She has been an active member on the Membership Committee, working on an international survey to assess the benefits of ASIS&T to international members, the results of which were published in the February/March 2008 Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. She was also involved with creating student chapter "Kits," a collection of resources that will be made available on the ASIS&T website to encourage activity in current student chapters and to assist with the development of new student chapters. She serves as communications officer for ASIS&T’s SIG/ED.

Cassidy’s scholarly pursuits are rich and abundant. She has published in papers in JASIST and the Bulletin and has been an author of ASIS&T conference papers and posters. 

In letters supporting Cassidy’s nomination, she was described as “exactly the type of candidate who has demonstrated the leadership abilities and contributions signified by this award” and rarely would one “encounter someone with such service talent and enthusiasm.” 

The James M. Cretsos Leadership Award for 2009 is presented to Cassidy R. Sugimoto.

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 2009 Pratt-Severn Best Student Research Paper Award, recognizing the outstanding work of a current student in a degree-granting program in the information field, goes to Katie O'Leary, University of British Columbia, for "Information Seeking in the Context of a Hobby: A Case Study of a Young Adult With Asperger’s Syndrome."

O'Leary's research breaks new ground in a currently understudied area – the information needs and seeking behaviors of young adults with disabilities. The paper uses research on information interaction for serious leisure to frame a case study of information use and meaning of information use. O’Leary’s work takes this line of investigation to a new level by going beyond the mere need for information to illustrate how information seeking by the individual affects quality of life and enhances ability to communicate with others. Furthermore, the research gives useful insights for information professionals who work with disabled individuals to help them understand the information needs and habits of people with disabilities and how the library is used to enhance the individual’s life. 

Although the study is limited in its scope by its small sample size, it shows great promise for additional studies of others with similar disabilities or perhaps individuals with similar special interests. The jurors were impressed with the work and believe it shows great promise for O’Leary’s positive future contributions to the information science literature and the practice of librarianship.

Heather Piwowar, University of Pittsburgh, is the winner of the 2009 Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Scholarship for Foundational Studies for Measuring the Impact, Prevalence, and Patterns of Publicly Shared Biomedical Research Data. This proposal addresses a very timely topic – publicly shared biomedical research data – with a solid methodology. Much time and effort have been invested in requiring that biomedical research data be available for sharing, with the assumption that this would lead to greater reuse of data and ultimately more effective research. This is an opportune time to study what sharing has occurred and to what effect. 

The strengths of this proposal are in the importance of the questions and the originality of the approach taken to address them. The student seems committed to making a significant scholarly research contribution in this area, both in terms of results and tools for further research. This is a significant topic that could impact healthcare and research in information science as well as biology. 

The 2009 ProQuest/ASIS&T Doctoral Dissertation Award is presented to Luanne Freund for Exploiting Task-Document Relations in Support of Information Retrieval in the Workplace. This dissertation showcases important research objectives, executed in a rigorous manner and outstandingly presented. Luanne's research examines the relationship between the environment in which the search for information emerges and the document collection searched, with an aim toward achieving more targeted results. The research was conducted in an enterprise workplace and involved that organization’s digital information collection (both public and private) with people who actually do the work and need/use the information. Luanne identified core factors that influence the search for information in this information use environment, isolating three factors for further examination: work task, information task and document. She developed a methodology to weigh relationships among these factors and utilized a Support Vector Machine method to assign genre tags to the documents in the set. Finally, she integrated this novel process into an existing information retrieval system and experimentally tested it in the working environment. Luanne’s work is an elegant example of the integration of information behavior and interactive information retrieval research to design a system that is seated in human behavior and influenced by the real-world context.

The 2009 Citation Analysis Research Grant is presented to Cassidy Sugimoto, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for Measuring Interdisciplinarity: An Exploration of a Novel Metric Applied to ILS Dissertations. The study will provide a description of the constructs of disciplinarity and interdisciplinarity and then explore measurements used in empirical studies of the latter, focusing on studies of interdisciplinarity indices. An interdisciplinarity index will be proposed along with a study for validating and applying the index.

Chapter Awards


Chapter-of-the-Year Awards for 2009 are presented to two worthy chapters: New England ASIS&T (NEASIS&T) chapter and the Potomac Valley Chapter (PVC). These two chapters set clear goals for themselves and articulated relevant accomplishments, which included efforts to enhance membership, improve communication and organize programs that drew both members and non-members. 

NEASIS&T hosted 10 business meetings and eight programs, drawing 243 attendees. The chapter continues its commitment to providing no-cost or low-cost programs and exploring new program models, such as the TED Talks Festival. This program provided high-quality content at no cost to the attendees. The chapter also continues to improve its communication with its leadership and membership. This year the chapter augmented its existing Facebook and Flickr tools with a conversion of its website to Wordpress, and creation of program committee and board wikis and a Twitter feed to conduct business, keep members informed about upcoming events and recruit new members. 

PVC focused much of its efforts this past year on membership recruitment. Using a grant from the chapter development fund, the chapter created a number of incentives for membership and participation, including allowing friends to attend programs at member rates; free student attendance at all programs; and discounted memberships for new professionals. The chapter also developed a student membership award and created a new recruitment brochure that was sent to new professionals and information science programs in their area. The recruitment project is still on-going, but they have already added eight new members. In support of the recruitment activities, PVC planned a variety of programs, both theoretical and practical on a wide range of relevant topics. 


The 2009 Student Chapter-of-the-Year Award goes to the University of Washington, Information School Student Chapter which began its year with two goals: develop meaningful relationships with information practitioners in the local community and foster ties between information students and students in other departments with similar interests. To these ends, the chapter designed program events to appeal to students in such departments as computer science, visual design and technical communications; broadly promoted its events and activities; provided audio recordings of events for students unable to be physically present; and created cooperative ventures with other organizations in the community. With 15 meetings and events throughout the year, every member attended at least one; the highest attendance was 120 people. For its commitment to its goals and its success in working toward them, the University of Washington student chapter is honored this year.

The 2009 Chapter Member-of-the-Year Award goes to Nicole Henning of the New England Chapter of ASIS&T (NEASIS&T). Nicole is the current chair of NEASIS&T and has been the key motivator behind a number of chapter events and publications. Nominators call her the “ideas person” of the chapter and the brains behind the TED Talks Film Festival, which won the 2009 Chapter Event of the Year Award. Her nominator said Nicole “has a unique ability to turn ideas into practical and accessible events.” Nicole’s skill in planning events was noticed by the judges, who were also impressed by her work in developing communication tools for the chapter, in particular her ability to implement innovations that will allow the chapter to communicate over a broader geographic distance.

The 2009 Chapter Event-of-the-Year Award goes to two events this year: the Introduction to Content Management Systems Workshop held by the Carolinas Chapter of ASIS&T (cc:assis&t) and Mobile Mania, an event hosted by the New England Chapter of ASIS&T (NEASIS&T).

More than 40 students and professionals attended cc:asis&t’s half-day workshop on content management systems. The workshop introduced ASIS&T to the larger technical community in North Carolina and began building relationships with other professional societies in the area, as a way to promote ASIS&T’s mission and recruit new members. The judges found the event timely, valuable and affordable and were impressed with the chapter’s ability to present such a technical topic in an accessible and introductory manner.

NEASIS&T’s “Mobile Mania: Developing Information Services for Portable Devices” was a collaborative event between the New England and Simmons College chapters of ASIS&T. This event brought together a diverse audience of more than 60 participants, including public librarians, mobile device vendors, freelance programmers and mobile device developers. The judges were impressed by the timeliness of the topic and the way in which the event engaged a variety of participants. As one judge commented, the chapter benefited from the event “by reaching beyond its boundaries to other groups.” 

The 2009 Chapter Innovation-of-the-Year Award goes to the New England Chapter of ASIS&T for the “TED Talks Film Festival.” This event leveraged the free, virtual content from TED to gather together a wide variety of information scientists, developers and librarians. Their approach to grouping and discussing the films impressed the judges. As one judge noted, “This was an innovative way to share a variety of new developments, in an accessible and simple format, at minimal cost to attendees.” NEASIS&T’s efforts are applauded, and other chapters are encouraged to consider using this innovative idea for chapter events.

The 2009 Chapter Publication-of-the-Year Award goes to the Potomac Valley Chapter of ASIS&T for the PVC blog. The blog connects the other online communication tools of the chapter, such as the chapter website, Facebook page, LinkedIn group and GoogleCalendar. The judges were particularly impressed with the offerings of slidecases and podcasts on the blog, allowing participation to continue after events have occurred. Judges also commented on the professionalism exhibited in the structure and presentation of the blog.

SIG Awards

The 2009 SIG-of-the-Year is SIG/International Information Issues (SIG/III). One of the jury members summed up the appeal of SIG/III very well: “SIG/III has a well-established pattern of service to the international community as well as to the Society. Their membership makes up in enthusiasm what it may lack in size, and they have a large and very task-oriented executive committee. They communicate effectively with their membership through a bi-monthly newsletter, alternating with one to the executive committee. They bring new members into the association through their InfoShare program, and their paper competition is an excellent mechanism for bringing scholars to the conference who would otherwise be unable to attend. Their international reception is one of the highlights of the Annual Meeting, and they make good use of the event as a venue for fundraising for their many awards. As a SIG, they have very high visibility and as a consequence they make all members, not just their own SIG, aware of ASIS&T's potential role in international scholarship.” Unlike many other SIGs, SIG/III recognizes that the work of this society is not solely accomplished at this Annual Meeting, but consists of small activities throughout time and space and across national, cultural and linguistic boundaries. Congratulations to SIG/III, and particularly to Aaron Bowen, chair, and all the other officers of SIG/III for being this year’s ASIS&T SIG-of-the-Year.

The 2009 SIG Member-of-the-Year is Ingrid Hsieh-Yee, chair of SIG/ED. Central to Ingrid’s success as a SIG leader is her open and constant communication with members via Wiki, listserv and most recently, through a survey. She successfully shepherded nine of 12 proposals to acceptance for the 2009 Annual Meeting. Two of these were organized by Ingrid, and she will be presenting in a third. Another mark of Ingrid’s leadership is collaboration among the SIGs. Of particular value to SIG/ED has been Ingrid’s focus on diversity through her outreach to the international, biomedical and archives and museum communities. As ASIS&T moves forward to integrate the important perspective of our international members, SIG/ED, through Ingrid’s efforts, is playing an important role in realizing that goal. Her nominator concluded, “Ingrid's the best!” and the jury agreed. Congratulations to Ingrid Hsieh-Yee, the 2009 SIG Member-of-the-Year.

The 2009 SIG Publication-of-the-Year is awarded to “Visual Representation, Search and Retrieval: Ways of Seeing,” the June/July 2009 special issue of the Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. A jury member commented, “This special issue of the ASIS&T Bulletin, compiled by SIG/VIS, is a varied, high-quality synopsis of major issues in the field of visualization. The number of authors enlisted to contribute pieces for this issue obviously required a great deal of effort on the part of the SIG leaders, and the resulting product is valuable for SIG members, members of the society and practicing professionals.” Another juror wrote, “This is incredibly useful as a primer. Now there is a document to which everyone can refer when discussing these issues.” All jury members were impressed with the variety of topics and general quality of the papers. Congratulations to SIG/VIS, and in particular to Diane Neal, guest editor, for publishing the 2009 SIG Publication-of-the-Year.

ASIS&T Initiates New Summit Series
Following on the heels of the successful series of annual Information Architecture (IA) Summits, ASIS&T announces the formation of the Research Data Access and Preservation Summit in cooperation with the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI). The first in this summit series will be held April 9-10 at the Hyatt Regency in Phoenix, Arizona.

The summit is chaired by Reagan Moore with the assistance of an advisory board comprising the following people: William Anderson, Christine Borgman, Hsinchun Chen, Sayeed Choudhury, Michael Lesk, Gary Marchionini, William Michener, Art Pasquinelli, Sudha Ram and Stu Weibel.

This summit will bring together leaders in data centers, laboratories and libraries in different organizational and disciplinary settings to share ideas and techniques for managing, preserving and sharing large-scale research data repositories with an eye toward achieving infrastructure-independent access and stewardship. The summit will engage three kinds of leaders: those from projects with experience in integrating high-performance technologies; those from large scale collaboratories in science, social science and the humanities; and those from institutions coping with the challenges of integrating different technologies and data collections.

Program data and speaker information is available at the ASIS&T website ( and is updated regularly.

News about ASIS&T Members
Hazel Hall has been named IWR Information Professional of the Year for her outstanding contributions to the information profession during the last 12 months. Dr Hall is director of the center for social informatics at Edinburgh Napier University and executive secretary of the Library and Information Science Research Coalition. She is an internationally recognized information professional, best known for her research and teaching of information and knowledge management. She also holds a reputation for her active involvement with information and knowledge management practitioners through work with professional bodies, as well as time spent in industry. The award is organized by IWR magazine and Online Information Conference organizers, Incisive Media, and sponsored by the American Psychological Association.

Ingrid Hsieh-Yee, professor at the Catholic University of America (CUA), has been appointed acting dean of the School of Library and Information Science. Hsieh-Yee joined the CUA faculty in 1990 following a teaching stint at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research and teaching interests include organization of information, metadata, digital collections and information architecture. She was named 2009 ASIS&T SIG Member-of-the-Year at the recent ASIS&T Annual Meeting in Vancouver.