of the American Society for Information Science and Technology          Vol. 28, No. 5         June / July 2002


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ASIST President Donald H. KraftPresident's Column

I have always wondered how an information science society differs from other professional societies.  As you should know, ASIST is looking into creating a digital library, consolidating in one Web portal what is already available online and adding more that is not yet available. As envisioned, this library would essentially provide one access point to all of JASIST, ARIST, the Bulletin, and some Proceedings and monographs, for a starter.  One key issue that has arisen is incorporating the ASIST Thesaurus of Information Science and Librarianship, so ably authored by Jessica Milstead, as a controlled vocabulary and keeping it up-to-date.  It seems most critical for an information science society to have rich access to its literature through deep indexing and an excellent controlled vocabulary.  We note with great interest that Information Today, Inc., is using this thesaurus in its Information Science Abstracts in both the print and online versions.

As you may have noticed, we have installed a new computer system at headquarters. Moreover, we have moved the location of our website platform to the University of Maryland. Our e-mail lists are on new software and all have archives as part of that better service. Have a look at http://mail.asis.org/mailman/listinfo. Certainly there have been a few bumps in the road hopefully you haven't noticed too many. All of these information infrastructure changes are expected eventually to bring you better service and greater opportunities for providing input to and control over your Society.

One key issue that faces many of us in ASIST is the accreditation of library and information science schools. As part of the discussions we are establishing stronger relationships with those schools, especially via their deans and directors. The accreditation issue has led to discussions of other areas in which ASIST and the schools can cooperate without duplicating the excellent work done by other organizations.

Moreover, we continue to investigate the possibility of a new ASIST publication, a magazine that would offer articles of interest to our members but with a slant towards the practical. How this new publication would relate to the Bulletin is not yet clear. Bulletin Editor Irene Travis, who has done and is doing an excellent job, is heavily involved in the discussion and you will be kept informed as the options become clearer. Basically, we envision a publication like the Bulletin that would serve practitioners as JASIST now serves research needs.

And it is worth noting here that JASIST currently is suffering something of an embarrassment of riches. In order not to dilute the publication of research, new "Special Topics" issues cannot be scheduled until 2004 at the earliest.

We are still investigating ASIST's relationships with other societies and organizations. We have just established an international liaison to work with members and potential members from other countries and continents. We are also continuing to work with the leaders in information architecture and usability design on how ASIST can assist them in organizing and establishing professional interactions they want and need.

ASIST just held a successful Summit on Information Architecture in Baltimore in March. I had the pleasure of attending my first one, and I was caught up in the excitement of such interesting work. But it does not end there; we will be holding another one next year. Moreover, there will be an exciting first Summit on Content Management in Chicago on June 29 and 30 (see http://www.asis.org/CM). And the beat goes on.

As always, but even more so with all these activities, we need your input as caring, participating members.

Donald H. Kraft
2002 ASIST President
Professor, Department of Computer Science
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-4020

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