Bulletin, June/July 2006

Inside ASIS&T

ASIS&T Meeting News

IA Summit Soars

            The 2006 ASIS&T Information Architecture (IA) Summit , held in Vancouver in March, took the field to new heights with record attendance, stellar speakers and presentations and plenty of time for hallway discussions.

            David Weinberger, author of Small Pieces Loosely Joined and co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto, was the keynote speaker. The focus of this seventh annual event was Learning, Doing and Selling IA.

            For a terrific wrap-up of the meeting, read the IA Summit 2006: Gathering of the Tribe, by Laurie Lamar, available at www.uxmatters.com/MT/archives/000093.php/ or by link from the ASIS&T homepage at www.asis.org/index.html (both sites accessed May 3, 2006). In the IA column in this issue of the Bulletin, Karl Fast also addresses some aspects of the recent Summit in his discussion of research and practice in information architecture.

            The 2007 IA Summit is scheduled for March 24-26 in Las Vegas , Nevada .

Annual Meeting 2006 Just Around the Corner

            Information Realities: Shaping the Digital Future for All is the theme for the 2007 ASIS&T Annual Meeting, scheduled for November 3-9 in Austin , Texas .

            Information technology has enabled an expanding digital world, inextricably linked to our physical existence but revolutionary in terms of human creativity and thought. New technologies for mobile communication, massively distributed collaboration and real-time information sharing are radically impacting human expressions, interactions and records. We can anticipate a continuing demand for powerful information organization, aggregation and dissemination tools to harness these new information realities.

            However, the key to understanding these trends must be found at human and social levels. To reflect on and address the challenges ahead, the organizers of the Annual Meeting hope to focus on some of these questions:

  • What are the implications of these digital trends?
  • What opportunities are arising?
  • Are there dangers that we need to prepare for?
  • How will the future information world be shaped and who will shape it?

            ASIS&T 2006 challenges us to explore this moment in the history of information science as people seamlessly move between their physical and digital worlds to create information realities for themselves and others.

            Conference hotel for this year’s Annual Meeting is the Hilton Hotel in downtown Austin , just one block from the famed Sixth Street entertainment area. Look for more Annual Meeting information throughout the summer, and check the ASIS&T website often for updates.


ASIS&T Joins Brief in California in “Single Publication Rule” Case

            The American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) has joined other information organizations in an amicus brief filed in a case pending in the California Supreme Court. California appellate law firm Horvitz & Levy drafted the brief in the Hebrew Academy v. Goldman case.

            In this instance, an oral history was published in 1993, placed in libraries at Berkeley, UCLA and New York Public and made accessible in RLIN and OCLC.  Ten years later a defamation suit was filed, and, on appeal, the Court of Appeals said, in part, that the “Uniform Single Publication Act” was intended to apply only to mass media publications and does not apply here because the oral history could only be found in a limited number of places [emphasis added]. 

In the Hebrew Academy case, the California Supreme Court’s decision will determine whether libraries and archives in the judicial district will continue to benefit from the protections of the Uniform Single Publication Act which codifies the “single publication rule.” Under this rule, in any lawsuit founded upon a publication, the statute of limitations begins running on the first date of the publication, regardless whether the plaintiff was aware of the publication at the time. In effect, the rule narrows the window in which defamation and similar tort claims can be filed based on statements in publications.  Given the paucity of appellate decisions on the topics involved, the decision could also serve as precedent in other jurisdictions.

If the California Supreme Court limits the scope of the single publication rule in the pending case, claims based on publications in library and archive collections could be subject to the “discovery rule,” under which the statute of limitations is suspended until the offending publication is actually “discovered” by the claimant, which would allow such claims to be asserted many years after the original publication date.

In its brief, Horvitz & Levy urges the court to consider the potentially “devastating and chilling effect the . . .decision could have on libraries and archives, the vast majority of which are non-profit organizations whose very existence would be threatened by increased exposure to tort litigation.”   The ASIS&T Board is concerned about the impact of the existing appellate decision on the creation of oral histories and other limited circulation publications, and it sees the court’s recognition of digital archives, online networks and electronic publications as a positive and necessary development.

Among the other organizations whose names have been added to the brief are the American Association of Law Libraries, the Association of Research Libraries and the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association.

News from an ASIS&T SIG

Former ASIS&T director-at-large Kris Liberman announces the creation of a new informal ASIS&T Special Interest Group: SIG/KNIT. Formed at the 2005 ASIS&T Annual Meeting, SIG/KNIT is now planning activities for the 2006 meeting in Austin . Contact Kris at kris.liberman<at>fmr.com to be a part of this group.

News about ASIS&T Chapters

The New Jersey ASIS&T (NJ-ASIS&T) chapter, in conjunction with the New Jersey chapter of SLA, sponsored a March seminar on “Open URL and Link Server Basics” at the IEEE Operations Center in Piscataway . The featured speaker was Eric Hellman, CEO of OCLC Openly Informatics.

            NJ-ASIS&T followed up later in the month with a lunch and networking session featuring Anthony Breitzman, principal and director of research at 1790 Analytics. His presentation was based on his paper, "Automated identification of technologically similar organizations," published in the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIST 56:1015, August 2005). In it, he introduces and validates a method for identifying technologically similar organizations, industries or regions by applying the techniques from information science for term similarity to international patent classifications.

The ASIS&T Student Chapter and The Information School at the University of Washington focused on “Security for Desktop Search in Multi-User Environments” at its March meeting. Charlie Clarke, associate professor, University of Waterloo , and currently on sabbatical as a visiting researcher at Microsoft, discussed a security model for full-text file system search, based on UNIX, and presented two implementations of the model. The first allows an arbitrary user to obtain information about the content of files for which he or she does not have read permission. The second does not share this problem. 

Then in April, the UW Student Chapter and The Information School planned “Does Topic Metadata Help with Web Search?” David Hawking, founder and chief scientist of the enterprise search engine project at the CSIRO ICT Centre in Canberra , Australia , was to report on experiments he conducted to measure the ability of subject and description metadata to improve the accuracy of four types of queries.

The New England ASIS&T chapter (NEASIS&T) homed in on the problems of security in a digital world with an April session entitled “Who Am I and How Do You Know for Sure? Identity Management in a Web 2.0 World.”  Three innovators in the area of identity security, Ben Adida, Dick Hardt and Paul Trevithick, were to discuss the technological, practical and social challenges for individuals and organizations in managing logins and the transfer of sensitive data over the Web.

NEASIS&T scheduled its annual awards dinner for mid-May with special guest Peter Morville on tap to discuss Ambient Findability and such included topics as embedded metadata, ontologies, folksonomies, findable objects and the long tail of the sociosemantic Web.

The Indiana Chapter of ASIS&T turned the heat up for its April meeting held at the Emerging Technologies Center at Indiana University . Under the theme “Hot Topics, Hot Tapas!” participants were to tour the center and learn about five hot topics in information science: human-computer interaction, open access, universal access, digital libraries and information visualization.

Each year, the Northern Ohio ASIS&T chapter (NORASIST) and the local SLA chapter sponsor the George Mandel Technology Lecture. This year, the event was schedule for the new Akron Summit County Public Library in mid-April. Xia Lin, Drexel University , was to speak on "Information Visualization and Information Seeking,” exploring the human's visual intelligence in information seeking...the human computer collaboration.

News about ASIS&T Members

Amanda Spink, professor of information technology at the Queensland University of Technology, has accepted a joint appointment as a senior researcher at National Information and Communication Australia (NICTA) (www.nicta.coma.au). She will conduct research funded by NICTA into information behavior and cognitive information retrieval. NICTA plays a major role in the Australian government’s policy to promote science and innovation and to capitalize on Australia ’s extensive ICT talent through world-class basic and applied research and commercialization. In other news, Amanda is an invited keynote speaker at the AUSWEB'06: 12th Australasian World Wide Web Conference, in July in Noosa Beach , Australia . Her address is titled "Web Search and Web Search Overlap: What's the Deal?"

Peter Ingwersen, formerly research professor at the department of information studies, Royal School of LIS in Copenhagen , Denmark , is now a full professor at the department as of January 2006. He continues to head the TAPIR research team on text access potentials by interactive information retrieval and Webometric and Scientometric analyses. In addition, Dr. Ingwersen is co-author with Kalervo Järvelin, Tampere University , Finland , of the recently published The Turn: Integration of Information Seeking and Retrieval in Context (Springer), a presentation of a detailed research framework for integrating hard-core and more interactive approaches to IR and information seeking in task contexts.

            Former ASIS&T president Bonnie C. Carroll, president of Information International Associates Inc., will present the keynote address at the Eighth International Conference on Grey Literature, to be held in New Orleans in December. This year's conference is titled "Harnessing the Power of Grey." As president of IIa, Carroll supports government and industry in managing information as a strategic resource. She is also secretariat director of CENDI, the federal scientific and technical information (STI) managers' group, and consultant to USGS, supporting the development of the National Biological Information Infrastructure and the OSTP Biodiversity Informatics Working Group to promote interagency coordination of national and international biodiversity informatics initiatives.

Former ASIS&T director Carol Tenopir, professor of information science at the University of Tennessee School of Information Science and interim director of research for the College of Communication and Information, received the Miles Conrad Award given by the National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services (NFAIS). Established in 1965, the Miles Conrad Memorial Lecture recognizes and honors members of the information community who have made significant contributions to the field of information science and to NFAIS itself. Tenopir is also the recipient of the 1993 ASIS&T Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award and the 2002 ASIS&T Research Award.

News about Institutional Members

UW Information School Receives Grant

Researchers from the University of Washington Information School’s Center for Human-Information Interaction have received a $498,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for a three-year study of the use of wireless and mobile technology in Seattle city government.

The goal of the project is to obtain a better understanding of the impacts and use of wireless applications in government. The researchers will develop a model that can guide other governmental organizations in their implementation of wireless, mobile technologies. "The introduction of new technology in any organization creates major challenges both to the work context and to the workers. This project will help facilitate this process for government agencies through defining requirements for wireless applications and workflows and also through outlining which policy choices are available to the government in such situations," says Harry Bruce, dean of the Information School .

Principal investigators for the project are Jochen Scholl, Raya Fidel and Jens-Erik Mai.

Simmons, Harvard, UCLA Help Preserve Iraqi Library Collections

Iraqi librarians will be trained to preserve their nation’s damaged library collections under a National Endowment for the Humanities grant awarded to the Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science, the Harvard University Library and the University of California at Los Angeles.

Thirty-two Iraqi librarians will travel to the United Arab Emirates for courses offered by American faculty via translators. The program builds upon efforts begun in 2004 to help Iraq rebuild and modernize the country’s library collections and address a serious shortage of librarians there. The courses will update librarians from Iraq ’s university and technical libraries, as well as its national library, on current professional practices and allow them to spread that knowledge by training their library colleagues.

Michèle Cloonan, dean of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons and the principal investigator for the $100,000 grant, said emphasis on preserving the Iraqi collections will be woven throughout the curriculum. The program will include courses on digital libraries and automation, which are in their early stages in Iraq .

President Bush Recommends Consolidation of NCLIS into IMLS

            The Bush Administration proposes the consolidation of both the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) and the library survey programs of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) into the Institute for Museums and Libraries (IMLS) by FY 2008.

            The rationale for the action is that consolidating grant making with data collection, along with the NCLIS role in policy advice, will strengthen federal library and information policy efforts and enhance our nation's research capacity on domestic and international library trends. Further, the consolidation of NCLIS and the NCES programs for public and state library surveys into IMLS might create greater efficiency of operations.

            Over the next few months NCLIS will work with IMLS and NCES to evaluate models of consolidation to ensure that the level of public service provided under the current system continues and that all potential benefits of enhanced coordination are maximized in service to the American people.