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Bulletin, June/July 2010

Bulletin Editor, Irene TravisEditor's Desktop

Irene L. Travis, Editor

Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology

The new media, including the 24/7 cable news networks, leave us all uncomfortably aware of the many disasters, natural and otherwise, that occur around the world and of the problems associated with information in such events. We witness the difficulties in sorting fact from rumor or initial impressions when sudden, complex events occur. As first responders scramble to reach victims and determine priorities for aid and assistance, communication and information are critical factors – thus, the emerging field of crisis informatics, which is the subject of this month’s Bulletin.

Our guest editor, Christine Hagar of Dominican University, has assembled a broad spectrum of papers in this area in terms of geography, problems and media studied. From Africa and Indonesia to Europe and the United States, from emergency preparedness to emergency response and from community radio to tweeting and cell phone video, the articles provide interesting examples of both human and the technological challenges. 

We also have two opinion pieces in this issue, one of which has some relationship to the crisis informatics section. Karen Hovde of the Northern Illinois University Libraries is concerned with “slow disasters” and the preservation of our cultural heritage. In another opinion piece, Deanna Hall extends our ongoing discussion of information professionals by considering the corporation as a stakeholder in LIS education. 

ASIS&T President, Gary Marchionini, and IA columnist, Thom Haller, both address recent ASIS&T activities. In “Possibilities Abound,” Thom Haller describes Richard Saul Wurman’s keynote address at the 11th ASIS&T IA Summit held in Phoenix in April, which featured an unusual prop and an inspirational message. However, as Marchionini reports, the IA Summit was not the only one in Phoenix this year, as ASIS&T also concurrently sponsored its first Research Access and Preservation Summit. Marchionini also reviews the discussion from his first “teleconversation” with members, and welcomes an important new member of the ASIS&T Headquarters staff, director of communications Melissa Dawn Weaver.