Bulletin, June/July 2006

From the Editor’s Desktop  

Irene L. Travis, Editor

Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology


This issue of the Bulletin is largely concerned with the interaction between information systems and information use, as opposed, for example, to articles about institutions or information policy. The core of the issue, though diverse in itself, is our special section, “Vocabularies in Practice” which consists of four papers based on presentations from DC-2005, the 2005 International Conference on Dublin Core and Metadata Applications that addressed the same topic. These papers cover a range of topics from Web services for accessing knowledge organization tools to particular applications. The editor is very grateful to Thomas Baker and Eva Mendez for identifying possible short papers from the conference and contacting the authors. 

Our other feature articles by Gary Marchionini and Stephanie Haas (with her co-authors) are also concerned with human systems interaction. In a version of his Samuel Lazerow Memorial Lecture, given at The Information School, University of Washington, on October 17, 2005, Marchionini reflects on the evolving relationships between humans and information systems: 

Hopes that we can create systems (solutions) that do IR for us are unreasonable. Expectations that people can find and understand information without thinking and investing effort are unreasonable. Therefore, we aim to develop systems that involve people and machines continuously learning and changing together. ..Thus, the more theoretical aim of our HCIR [human computer information retrieval] research is rooted in the view that information interaction is a core life process. It is as important to life in an informated age as food and personal relationships.

Stephanie Haas and her fellow panelists focus on a narrower but related topic: help. Her paper reports the presentations and discussions of panel members at the 2005 ASIS&T Annual Meeting in Charlotte eager to promote improvements in that perennial source of frustration. 

In the last of these discussions Karl Fast, in the IA Column, reflects on the role of research in IA – what it is and is not – and its role at the recent 2006 IA Summit in Vancouver and on the inclusion of such presentations and discussions at future IA Summits.

Finally, we catch up a bit in “What’s New?” with abstracts of papers from JASIST appearing in v.57, issues 3-6.