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Vol. 26, No. 2

December / January 2000

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Annual Meeting Draws More Than 1000; New Directors Takes Seats on ASIS Board

Knowledge: Creation, Organization and Use, the just-concluded 1999 ASIS Annual Meeting held in Washington, DC, was a grand success. More than 1000 people attended one or more days of the meeting, and virtually all formal evaluation comments were positive.

Throughout this issue of the Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science, you will find coverage of the meeting. We have overviews of the five tracks into which the meeting was divided; information about all winners of the ASIS Annual Awards and the acceptance speech from the Award of Merit winner; and the inaugural address of the new ASIS president.

As the Annual Meeting ended, so too did the administrative year of ASIS. With that, the ASIS Board of Directors welcomed four new members to the body and said goodbye to those who had faithfully served the Society for the preceding three years.

Joining the Board following their election by the membership-at-large were Joseph A. Busch, vice president, Datafusion, seated as president-elect; and Raya Fidel, University of Washington, and Kristen Liberman, Ernst & Young, directors-at-large. Also joining the Board following election by the SIG Cabinet is Michael Stallings, Microsoft Library, as SIG Cabinet Director.

Moving up to the presidency for the new administrative year was Eugene Garfield, founder and chairman emeritus of Institute for Scientific Information and publisher of The Scientist.

In addition, Gretchen Whitney, University of Tennessee, was elected Deputy SIG Cabinet Director.

Four departing members of the Board were thanked for their efforts on behalf of the Society: Michael Buckland , immediate past president; Merri Beth Lavagnino and Ellen Sleeter, directors-at-large; and Samantha Hastings, SIG Cabinet Director.

The 1999 ASIS Annual Awards

ASIS Honors the Best of Information Science

The 1999 winners of the prestigious ASIS Annual Awards were announced and honored throughout the recent ASIS Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Nominated by practitioners and scholars throughout the information field and selected by juries of their peers, dozens of outstanding representatives of the field of information science were cited for the highest levels of contributions in their selected specialties.

Award of Merit

José-Marie Griffiths, chief information officer at the University of Michigan, is the recipient of the 1999 ASIS Award of Merit, the highest honor bestowed by the American Society for Information Science.

Dr. Griffiths has made significant contributions to information science through research, application of new technologies, academic pursuits and leadership. Her research contributions include the development and extensive application of new methods, measures and models for evaluating a wide range of information services and products. These contributions and the seminal publications they yielded have been recognized widely and garnered Dr. Griffiths the ASIS Research Award in 1990. She was responsible for the design of one of the first truly functional numeric metadata systems. More recently she has successfully led large technology organizations through major change.

Dr. Griffiths, who served as ASIS president in 1993, has demonstrated her leadership skills in numerous capacities, including as commissioner of the U.S. National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS).

Dr. Griffiths is honored with the ASIS Award of Merit for her strong combination of vision, collaboration, communication and advocacy that has become the hallmark of her leadership and her contributions to the information sciences.

Watson Davis Award

The Watson Davis Award, named for the founder of the Society, is given annually to an individual who has shown continuous dedicated service to the membership through active participation in and support of ASIS programs, chapters, SIGs, committees and publications.

The 1999 ASIS Watson Davis Award was given to Jessica Milstead, The JELEM Company, in recognition of her years of service in virtually every type of ASIS activity, from local chapter to SIG leadership, from national committee service to Board membership, from award juror to award winner, and for editorial support of all ASIS publications. Among the many committees she has served are Awards & Honors, Constitution & Bylaws, Education, International Relations and Publications. Jessica is the author of Subject Access Systems: Alternatives in Design, the winner of the 1985 ASIS Best Information Science Book Award, and author of the ASIS Thesaurus of Information Science and Librarianship and the 1974 ARIST chapter on "Document Description and Representation," as well as the compiler of the cumulative index to ARIST volumes 1 to 10.

Research Award

The ASIS Research Award recognizes an individual or organization for outstanding research contributions in the field of information science. The 1999 Research Award is presented to two individuals: Donald H. Kraft and David Blair.

David Blair, previously honored as recipient of the 1980 Best JASIS Paper Award and the 1991 ASIS Best Information Science Book award, has distinguished himself on two fronts that are not usually combined. First, as an empirical researcher he has conducted one of the most heavily cited series of experiments in the information science literature. This was his work with M.E. Maron on the effectiveness of a STAIRS-type full-text retrieval system applied to large document collections for litigation support. Second, and perhaps even more important, he has been concerned for many years with developing information retrieval theory in light of the philosophy of language. He is currently working on his second book, which promises to be a major statement on the relevance to information science of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein.

One referee spoke of "the rigor and passion with which he entwines several, often separate threads of our discipline." Another called him "a person of integrity and vision. . .someone who is able to bring a deeper philosophical dimension to his work," adding that "he writes superbly." Because of the depth and breadth of his communication skills, he has been influential in the larger fields of law, computer science, medicine and business as well as information science. This award reflects David Blair's enduring accomplishments as a researcher and as a writer.

Citations for the second recipient of this year's ASIS Research Award, Donald H. Kraft, current editor of the Journal of the American Society for Information Science (JASIS), invariably note his success in making JASIS the premier English language journal in the field. As editor, he has both broadened its scope and increased its frequency of appearance - surely a great gift to researchers in many disciplines.

However, this citation is awarded for his own published work over the years, in which he brings his stellar knowledge of mathematics and computer science to bear on information retrieval. His early work applied principles of operations research to problems in library management. A referee wrote, "Don was a pioneer, helping demonstrate that mathematics, as a language and as an analytical device, could be of value in understanding library-based problems." His later work has been concerned with fuzzy set theory, probability theory and genetic algorithms in IR. His clarification of contrasts between fuzzy IR and vector-based retrieval models were praised by referees as "immensely valuable" and "likely to have impact in the decades ahead as we invent better techniques for applying these mathematical models to the complexities of human language and thought." Yet another major contribution to the research infrastructure in information science was his involvement in establishing the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group in Information Retrieval.

This award recognizes Don Kraft's multiple contributions in a demanding area of research.

John Wiley and Sons Best JASIS Paper Award

The John Wiley and Sons Best JASIS Paper Award recognizes the best paper published in the Journal of the American Society for Information Science, evaluated on the basis of professional merit, contributions to the field and presentation quality. This year, awards were given for two works: Peiling Wang and Dagobert Soergel were honored for their study in Volume 49, and Paul Solomon received special recognition for a serial work published in Volume 48.

"A Cognitive Model of Document Use During a Research Project. Study I. Document Selection," by Peiling Wang and Dagobert Soergel, appeared in JASIS volume 49, issue 2. The article was selected based on professional merit and contribution to the field. The jury looked for novelty in the contribution and the methodology for the development of theory, or application of theory, in information science. Presentation was a deciding factor as many papers were meritorious.

"Discovering Information Behavior in Sense Making. Parts I, II, III," by Paul Solomon, appeared in JASIS volume 48, issue 12. The longitudinal, ethnographic research on sense making in information behavior has revealed patterns of regularity that will influence theory-building, information organization and management, system design, instructional design and design of information services.

Solomon's fundamental insights on the ubiquitous impact of time, the role of information in work, the evolutionary and social nature of the meaning of particular information and diversity of sense making styles are essential to progress and will guide future work in information science.

ISI Citation Analysis Research Grant

The ISI Citation Analysis Research Grant supports either research proposals or research underway that is based on citation analysis. The 1999 award is given to Ian Rowlands of the Department of Information Science, City University, London.

Dr. Rowlands' research proposal, "Influence Has Width as Well as Depth: Towards a Complementary Journal Impact Factor Based on Diffusion Data," seeks to develop and test two indicators to the ISI journal impact factor - journal diffusion and journal concentration factors. The potential of this research may provide a new source of information on the breath of a journal's influence as well as application for other levels of scientometric studies concerned with understanding the nature of interdisciplines.

This year's honored proposal ranked highest in proposal presentation, organization and clarity. It offers good potential in citation analysis research and evidence of a continuing interest in scholarship.

ISI Information Science Teacher of the Year Award

The ISI Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated sustained excellence in teaching information science. The jury considers, among other criteria, innovative and imaginative use of teaching materials and methods and impact on students, colleagues, administrators and others.

The 1999 Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award is presented to Peter Jacso who has earned a reputation as a diligent, dedicated, innovative, inspiring, elucidating and superlative teacher as well as a productive, outstanding and acknowledged researcher. Dr. Jacso brings out the best in all kinds of students by his passion for his subjects and high standards for the courses. One of his former students writes, "I often hear Dr. Jacso's voice in my head, . . . I find myself able to answer questions I never could have before Dr. Jacso."

His colleagues note "his personable delivery helps people learn painlessly"; students praise him "for his vast knowledge of online resources, his skillful evaluation methods, his innovative teaching methods, his successful integration of ongoing research into his courses, his leading edge grasp of emerging technologies and his unique sense of humor"; "Peter is one of the relatively few people in the field whose work I fully respect."

His teaching extends beyond his formal students to researchers, professionals and practitioners in the field who benefit from his regular columns in such publications as Computers in Libraries, Information Today, Online & CD-ROM Review, Database and Link-up. His numerous journal articles and conference speeches provide current, analytical and insightful information on cutting-edge information technology in the field of information sources and services.

Dr. Jacso has received many honors and awards including the ALISE Pratt-Severn Faculty Innovation Award (1998) and the Louis Shores-Oryx Press Award for excellence in the reviewing of databases in all formats for the library community, ALA (1998).

James Cretsos Leadership Award

The James Cretsos Leadership Award recognizes a new ASIS member who has demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities in professional ASIS activities. Named for James Cretsos, 1979 ASIS president and continuing contributor to the Society, the 1999 award goes to Douglas Kaylor, librarian at the Dunbar Library at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. He has been a member of ASIS since 1992, and his contributions to his local chapter, Southern Ohio Chapter (SOASIS), as well as his contributions on the national level, are extensive. As stated in one of the letters of nomination, "He is a role model for leadership in ASIS - combining the spirit of professional service with dedication, ability and initiative."

On the chapter level, Doug has served as SOASIS Chapter Assembly Representative and SOASIS representative to the Ohio Council for Library and Information Services (OCLIS), both for several years. He has been a member of the SOASIS Membership Committee and planned an innovative chapter program on "Virtual Reality." His contributions on the local level can be summed up by this quote from one of those nominating him: "Doug's leadership for the chapter in the Dayton area and in Ohio's academic library community has contributed significantly to efforts of the SOASIS Chapter to function as a vital organization."

Nationally, Doug has been Deputy Chapter Assembly Director after serving as Chapter Assembly Advisor for three years. He is liaison to the Awards and Honors Committee and serves on the jury for the two chapter publications awards and Chapter Member-of-the-Year award. Doug served on the Leadership Development Committee from 1995 to 1998 and has made numerous contributions to the Leadership Development workshops held at each Mid-Year and Annual Meeting.

Summarizing the comments in the letters of support for Doug's nomination, one writer noted "Doug Kaylor truly exemplifies what this award represents."

UMI Doctoral Dissertation Award

Jacqueline Algon of Rutgers University is the winner of the 1999 UMI Doctoral Dissertation Award for her dissertation entitled "The Effect of Task on the Information Related Behaviors of Individuals in Work-Group Environment."

"Substantial study; realistic setting; task influences information seeking behaviors - is this trivial or groundbreaking? . . . . I'll side with the latter. . . " a jury member wrote.

The study addresses an important question, the influence of task on information-related behaviors, a topic of debate over the past three decades that few have investigated. Another jury member commented, "It tackles a fundamental and continuing question with intellect and appropriate methods." A third juror noted, "This was a solid qualitative study on an important topic. The researcher's approach to task and organizational influences on information behaviors made significant contributions to our understanding of how people seek and use information."

Data collection for this study was based on participant observation and a detailed survey of three project teams in a large pharmaceutical company over a period of three years. It included more than 100 team members and 900 task events. The classifications of task and information related behavior focused on the cognitive aspects of the information gathering process. The longitudinal observation added depth to results. The presentation was clear and well-organized, and the writing was outstanding. Through detailed discussion, the researcher addressed questions raised about the approach, its strengths and limitations.

Dr. Algon's research contributes to a sound theory of information seeking behavior in the context of the "work group" and has practical application for information provision. Her methodology and classifications contribute to the fundamental development of information science and other research.

ISI Information Science Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Scholarship

The ISI Information Science Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Scholarship, a cash award sponsored by the Institute for Scientific Information, fosters research in information science by encouraging and assisting doctoral students with their dissertation work.

The 1999 ISI Information Science Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Scholarship was awarded to Brian Detlor, a doctoral student in the Faculty of Information Studies at the University of Toronto, for his proposal, "Utilizing Web Information Systems for Organizational Knowledge Work: An Investigation of the Information Ecology and Information Behaviors of Users in a Telecommunications Company." Detlor is conducting a case study investigation of Web Information Systems (WIS), such as corporate intranets and the World Wide Web, and their capacity to facilitate organizational knowledge work activity. The study builds upon a model of WIS development and evaluation that focuses on information needs, uses and contexts of organizational participants and will contribute significantly to our understanding of organizational information environments. The proposal reflects Detlor's ongoing work with environmental scanning and information seeking on the World Wide Web and has the potential for important contributions to the field of information science.

Pratt-Severn Student Research Award

The Pratt-Severn Student Research Award recognizes the outstanding work of a current student in a degree-granting program in the information field. Papers are judged on technical competence, significance of findings, originality and clarity of expression. The 1999 award was presented to Kelly L. Maglaughlin, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for "The Use of Relevance Criteria in Partially Relevant Documents."

In describing an empirical study on users' relevance judgments, Maglaughlin's paper addresses the concept of relevance, which has long been acknowledged to be central to information science. The author does an excellent job of supporting and justifying the study based on background literature. As a student, Maglaughlin is particularly commended for the systematic design and execution of the study and for clarity of presentation of methods and results. Although the study was too small for the results to be readily generalizable, the results do suggest a promising avenue for future research.

Chapter Awards

Chapter-of-the-Year Award

The Chapter-of-the-Year Award recognizes outstanding chapters for their participation in and contributions to ASIS and the advancement of information science. For the seventh time in the 1990s, the 1999 Chapter-of-the-Year Award was given to the Los Angeles Chapter of ASIS (LACASIS).

LACASIS submitted an annual report that documented so many achievements that only a selected few are highlighted here. In the area of member retention the chapter excelled as they retained all of their regular and student members; in addition, they added 58 new members. Their successes in retention and recruiting are based on a well-thought-out and proactive approach that recognizes individuals and offers them a rich array of member services. The chapter published four issues of a prize-winning newsletter and organized five meetings, including a resume writing program aimed at students, and a special workshop. The workshop featured 10 speakers, attracted 99 attendees, including 77 non-ASIS members, and netted approximately $1000 for the chapter. This award-winning chapter also hosted the 1999 Mid-Year Meeting and designed a special Web site to help conference attendees plan for the meeting.

Student Chapter-of-the-Year Award

The Student Chapter-of-the-Year Award recognizes the ASIS student chapter that has participated in and contributed the most to ASIS and the advancement of information science.

The 1999 Student Chapter-of-the-Year Award was presented to the Rutgers University Student Chapter.

Chapter Member-of-the-Year Award

The Chapter Member-of-the-Year Award recognizes the service of an individual to a particular chapter. It is given for significant contributions to the membership of the chapter through participation in and support of its meetings and publications; fundraising; recruitment; or other significant activities.

The 1999 award was presented to Linda Rudell-Betts of the Los Angeles Chapter. Linda currently serves as a member of the Chapter Assembly Advisory Committee and is a liaison to several ASIS chapters. Linda has been an active contributor to a wide range of activities in her own chapter as well. She has served as a member of the publicity committee, 1993-94; secretary, 1994-95; chair-elect, 1995-96; chair, 1996-97; and past chair, 1997-98. She currently chairs the nominating committee. One of the letters nominating Linda described her as "a great mentor who has helped turn members into volunteers and chapter leaders." This award recognizes Linda Rudell-Betts' sustained contributions to the Los Angeles Chapter and to chapter governance through the Chapter Assembly.

Chapter Event-of-the-Year Award

The 1999 Chapter Event-of-the-Year Award was given to the Minnesota Chapter of ASIS for the full day professional development program on User Interfaces and Approaches to Managing Information Overload. The timely and relevant topic was identified through both a member survey and feedback from attendees at the chapter's meetings; it was developed into a day-long format. The program was a financial success, because the organizers employed creative approaches to choice of site, publicity and other aspects of planning. The event attracted registrants from the local chapters of ASIS and SLA as well as drawing unaffiliated information professionals to a program that one attendee characterized as "the best ASIS/SLA CE ever." The organizers of the event were Janet Arth and Denise Cumming.

Chapter Print Publication-of-the-Year Award

The 1999 Chapter Print Publication-of-the-Year Award, recognizing the best publication produced by a chapter, was presented to the Los Angeles Chapter (LACASIS ) for its newsletter, OASIS. The newsletter has won this award five times, a testament to the strength and vitality of the chapter that produces it. The four issues submitted for jurying were nicely laid out with good graphics and page design and were impressive in content with news of the chapter, advertising and other articles of interest to the chapter's constituency. Interviews with local leaders provide an opportunity for members to learn more about their colleagues. Articles contributed by a wide range of members describe the content of meetings they have enjoyed and convey a sense of the networking benefits to be derived from in-person attendance at professional events. This chapter has found innovative ways to tap the resources of its membership. Members of the OASIS Editorial Board are Jason Binford, editor; Delia Blanquart, advertising; Tanya Novak , graphic design and type; and Dorothy Fue Wong, writer.

Chapter Electronic Publication-of-the-Year Award

This new award recognizes the changing nature of communications as ASIS increasingly sees chapters using the Web to reach their constituencies. In some cases, home pages are replacing print newsletters.

The first Chapter Electronic Publication-of-the-Year Award was presented to the Los Angeles Chapter for its special Web site created to provide local information for ASIS members attending the 1999 Mid-Year Meeting in Pasadena. This Web site provided many details of local attractions in the Pasadena area; links to related resources enhanced its utility to all who were making plans for Mid-Year. The site was designed and mounted by Eileen Flick with assistance from Bo-Gay Tong Salvador.

SIG Awards

SIG-of-the-Year Award

The SIG-of-the-Year Award recognizes a Special Interest Group's professional accomplishments that reflect a major impact on the field of information science.

The 1999 SIG-of-the-Year Award was presented to SIG/Medical Information Systems (MED).

SIG Member-of-the-Year Award

The SIG Member-of-the-Year Award recognizes the service of an individual to a particular Special Interest Group. It is given for significant contributions to the membership of the SIG through participation in and support of its meetings and publications or other activities. The 1999 SIG Member-of-the-Year Award is given to Robert V. Williams for his continued contributions to SIG/History and Foundations of Information Science (HFIS) and the Society. He has been the solid backbone of the SIG, sparking new and exciting ideas, lining up the players and taking on the lion's share of support for all activities, events and publications. As one of the jurors wrote, "Bob exemplifies the criteria established for this award and is clearly a major contributor to an important area in the work of ASIS."

Best SIG Publication Award

The Best SIG Publication Award recognizes the best publication produced by a SIG during the previous year.

The 1999 Best SIG Publication Award goes to SIG/History and Foundations of Information Science (HFIS), for Historical Studies in Information Science, edited by Trudi Bellardo Hahn and Michael Buckland. The book, part of the ASIS Monograph Series, is based partially on a reprinting of papers contained in recent special issues of information science journals that were devoted to historical topics, as well as new material and an updating of an article originally in ARIST. The book is intended to be an easily accessible preliminary collection of papers for readers from all parts of the information science field that will help begin to provide them with a sense of their own history, and thereby, a better sense of their own identity. The book is an invaluable contribution to the field of information science.


ASIS or ASIS&T: The Debate Continues

by Steve Hardin

Whether the American Society for Information Science should change its name has been a hot debate topic this year.  ASIS members got together at the Annual Meeting in Washington to continue the discussion.

ASIS President Eugene Garfield has argued in favor of changing the Society's name to the "American Society for Information Science & Technology."  He did so again at this session.  From a marketing viewpoint, he said, it's necessary to describe a product if you're going to sell it. Information Science has been trying to do this and it hasn't worked.  In the last five years, Information Technology has "taken off in a crescendo."  If young people can't associate technology with the name of our product, he said, they'll join other societies.  Garfield added the Society has lost membership and faces other problems because its members are unwilling to face change.  As the membership numbers continue to fall, he predicted that if the Society doesn't change, it will become a small, inconsequential group. 

Discussion continued for about an hour.  Most of the attendees seemed to favor the proposed change.  Among the many people who spoke was Bahaa El-Hadidy of the University of South Florida, who noted that all the tasks and activities researchers do in information science are technology based.  "This is what we do," he said.  He added that his experience has been that meeting sessions dealing with technology have always been packed. 

MIT's Louisa Worthington stated she had rejoined ASIS after a membership hiatus when she discovered the technological, practical aspect of ASIS' work.  Adding Technology to the Society's name will help clarify that fact, she said.  Homer Hall of New Hampshire said changing the name won't solve all of ASIS' problems, but it will be an indication of what the Society is trying to do. 

ASIS President-Elect Joseph Busch stated concerns that making the change may not accomplish what the Society wants to accomplish.  It may create more confusion. "I'll probably vote for the change if it comes up," he said, "but there's a clear distinction here, and it happens not to be around words." Saying he enjoys ASIS' diversity, he noted the Society has been a place "where edges can meet and centers can form." Simply having the debate at the and Technology level doesn't deal with the issues, he said. 

At the end of the discussion, moderator Debora Shaw encouraged interested persons to share their views with ASIS officers and Board members. 

Steve Hardin is associate librarian at the Indiana State University Libraries, Terre Haute, IN  47809. He can be reached by phone at 812/237-7685 or by e-mail at


Call for JASIS Referees

Donald H. Kraft, JASIS Editor

As you may have noticed, the Journal of the American Society for Information Science (JASIS) has grown. We come out 14 times per year and the issues are thicker than they used to be. Moreover, we have really neat covers of late. In addition, submissions are at an all time high.

All of this translates into the need for more referees to review all of our submitted articles.  The Editorial Board and the Publisher have authorized me to put out this call for additional referees. We need people who can and will read and critically review articles of scholarly research content in the field of information science. If you are one of those persons, and you wish to help keep JASIS at the top of the field, please do the following:

Contact the editor at the address below, giving me your name, address, e-mail address, telephone and fax numbers, and a list of keywords/descriptors to describe the areas within information science in which you feel comfortable reviewing papers. Because we are rather selective in our use of referees, a brief description of your background would also be useful.

Donald H. Kraft, Department of Computer Science, 298 Coates Hall, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803-4020; 225/388-2253; fax: 225/388-1465; e-mail:; URL:

Please feel free to peruse the JASIS Web site at   Thank you for your consideration of JASIS.

News from ASIS Chapters

The Los Angeles Chapter of ASIS (LACASIS ) will present Alan Kay, Disney Fellow and vice president of research and development at The Walt Disney Co., as speaker at the annual holiday meeting held jointly with the local SLA chapter in mid-December. Kay's topic is The Computer Revolution Hasn't Happened Yet. Earlier in the fall, LACASIS honored former ASIS president and recent ASIS Award of Merit winner José-Marie Griffiths with the annual Contributions to Information Science Award.

For its November meeting, the Central Ohio ASIS (CO-ASIS) chapter featured Erik Jul of the OCLC Institute in a program entitled Knowledge Management: Getting Beyond the Hype.

The New England Chapter of ASIS (NEASIS) scheduled its annual NEASIS Symposium for early December. The program, Open Source and Free Systems/Software: Implications for Libraries, featured Daniel Chudnov, co-founder of OSS4LIB; Eric Raymond, author of The Cathedral and the Bazaar; and Richard Stallman, founder of the GNU project.

News About ASIS Members

Mona Smith, formerly with NTIS, has joined the Patent and Trademark Office as a Technical Information Specialist.

Beverly P. Lynch, professor in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at the University of California – Los Angeles, has been appointed interim president of the Center for Research Libraries' Board of Directors. She will serve for one year, beginning January 1, 2000.

Elizabeth Liddy, professor of information science at Syracuse University, delivered the 1999 Samuel Lazerow Memorial Lecture at the University of Washington School of Library and Information Science. Her talk, Text Mining for Decision Making , in honor of the late librarian, administrator and pioneer in library automation, was sponsored by the Institute for Scientific Information.


Dr. Belver C. Griffith

Dr. Belver C. Griffith, one of the recognized pioneers of information science, died on October 23, 1999 at his home in Philadelphia. He and various colleagues and collaborators contributed significantly to our understanding of the process of scientific communication.  In the 1960s, he moved from experimental psychology to information science in the process of directing, in collaboration with William Garvey, the American Psychological Association's project on scientific information exchange.  This 30-year-old study, as Julie Hurd noted in her introduction to the SIG/STI session on scientific communication at the 1999 ASIS Annual Meeting, "resulted in a model of the scientific communication system that continues to inform our thinking.  While the Garvey/Griffith model was developed in print-on-paper era, it suggests new models emerging during this time of transformation to a digital system."

In 1969, Belver joined the faculty of Drexel's College of Information Science and Technology, where he retired with emeritus status in 1992.  He made significant contributions to bibliometric research -- perhaps most importantly through collaborations with Henry Small (ISI) and Howard White (Drexel) that established co-citation mapping as a major tool for the study of scholarly communication.

Belver received the ASIS/ISI Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award in 1982.  Other awards include the Derek de Solla Price award (1997) and recognition as a pioneer in information science by the Chemical Heritage Foundation.

-Katherine McCain


Pamela Richards

Celebrating the Life and Works of Pamela Richards, 1941-1999

by Betty J. Turock and Tefko Saracevic, Rutgers University

On September 20, 1999, Rutgers University Professor Pamela Richards died after a courageous and hard-fought battle with a malignant brain tumor. For her colleagues and students around the world, Pamela's vibrant spirit and brilliant mind made her a life force. She was a woman of beauty, elegance and charm, renowned for her research and service throughout the nation and around the globe.

Although Pam was a member of a number of professional and scientific societies, ASIS became her professional and intellectual home. Over the years she was an active member of the New Jersey Chapter, where she served on the board and in 1995 as chapter chair. From 1998 to 1992 she was chair of the International Relations Committee and for many years she was an enthusiastic member of SIG/ International Information Issues (III), where in 1996 she was the program chair and in 1997 SIG chair. She was faculty advisor to the Rutgers Student Chapter, where she worked tirelessly with students to bring them into ASIS and to ASIS conferences.

Pam possessed a delightfully wry sense of humor.  She took part in the society's annual organized effort to laugh at itself through SIG/CON, where she spoofed the discipline and profession. Her starring role came in 1991, when as SIG/CON chair she gave an unforgettable performance as a stuffy German professor, complete with appropriate attire, make-up and a thick accent. Her comedic presentation of the pompous in the professoriate brought the house down.

Pam Richards was a true citizen of the world who spent her summers in The Netherlands and traveled to remote places here at home and in far-flung places across the globe, not just the major cities and capitals of East and West, but also the obscure places in Siberia and Kamchatka. An international scholar long before the work held any cache in the university, Pam gave invited lectures around the globe in Paris, St. Petersburg, Vologda, Berlin and Istanbul, among other places.

Pam was a member of the Rutgers faculty since 1977, where she taught a range of courses in the undergraduate, master's and doctoral programs. She earned her bachelor's degree from Harvard University, magna cum laude, her first master's degree in German, and her second master's, then doctorate in library service from Columbia University. After a fallow decade, she was the first woman to become a full professor in Library and Information Science at Rutgers.

It was her love of people and their stories -- the raw material for her passion, history -- that resulted in her internationally renowned research focusing on the exchange of research information through scientific espionage pursued by both sides during World War II and the Cold War. According to a study appearing in Library Quarterly, she was among the most widely published faculty members in programs in library and information science in the United States. At the time of her death she was editing Constructing the Legacies of Cultures: A World History of Modern Librarianship, scheduled for publication in 2000. Her previous book, Scientific Information in Wartime: The Allied-German Rivalry 1939-1945, was published in 1994. She was a member of the editorial boards of numerous publications.

Pam was the recipient of many awards and grants from a diverse array of organizations - a truly remarkable record for a humanities scholar. She possessed amazing skills in dealing with languages, and when she need a new one, she just learned it. Fluent in Dutch, German, French and Russian, she published scholarly works in all four languages. She had an indefatigable dedication to Russian librarianship and was a Fulbright Scholar to Russia in 1997.

Pamela's husband, Wim Smit, holds the Queen Wilhelmina Chair in History at Columbia University. Their union produced two delightful children, Guy, an up-and-coming painter and MTV video designer, who holds an MFA from Rutgers' Mason Gross School of the Arts, and Marijke, a city planner with both bachelor's and master's degree from Columbia.

Pamela Richards was a model for the academic life thoroughly enjoyed and well lived.  Her legacy remains with us in ASIS and with the many lives she enriched throughout the world. A special Pamela Richards Memorial Fellowship has been established in her honor at the Rutgers University Foundation. Tax-deductible contributions may be sent to the Foundation at 7 College Avenue, New Brunswick, NJ 08901.


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@ 2000, American Society for Information Science