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Bulletin, June/July 2010

Inside ASIS&T

New ASIS&T Summit Topic Draws Federal Interest

On the heels of the first ASIS&T Research Data Access and Preservation (RDAP) Summit, held in conjunction with the 11th annual ASIS&T IA Summit in April, the National Science Foundation has moved data management up to a higher priority in its grant projects. Reporting to the National Science Board in early May, an NSF official described the agency’s intention to require all applicants for NSF funds to submit a data management plan along with their grant applications. ASIS&T leaders will meet with NSF officials and their constituent communities to see how RDAP can facilitate better data management planning for future grant proposals. In addition, ASIS&T has been invited to brief the National Research Council’s Board on Research Data and Information (BRDI) in June.

Recognition of the value of scientific data management is one of the factors that led to the planning of the first ASIS&T RDAP Summit. Gary Marchionini, dean and Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor at the School of Information and Library Science (SILS), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and current ASIS&T president, organized the summit as an effort to bring together leaders in data centers, laboratories and libraries in different organizational and disciplinary settings to share ideas and techniques for managing, preserving and sharing large-scale research data repositories. 

At the Phoenix summit, Dr. Reagan Moore led the group of international participants in two days of discussion and panel sessions on topics including the following:

Data Life Cycle Management

  • Which phases of the data life cycle are managed by your repository?
  • How do data management requirements differ across the data life cycle?
  • What systems do you use to support the data life cycle?
  • Can you generalize the mechanisms used to migrate data between different phases of the data life cycle?

Promoting Re-use of Scientific Data Collections 

  • How do you handle organization of collections today?
  • What are the biggest issues with building collections for new communities?
  • When new communities access existing data collections, what new access capabilities are required?
  • What level of description is required to meet expectations of new communities?
  • Is long-term sustainability enabled through repurposing of collections?
  • Are their other driving purposes behind promoting re-use of collections?
  • Which institutions can be approached for sustaining re-purposed collections?

Large-Scale Data Management Challenges 

  • What technical solutions exist that meet your academic project requirements?
  • What technical solutions exist that meet corporate requirements?
  • What requirements are unique to the academic environment?
  • What requirements are unique to the corporate environment?
  • Are there common approaches for managing large-scale collections?

DataNet Federation

  • How are challenges addressed by the data management infrastructure?
  • What are the current practices for data management, curation and preservation?
  • What are the interoperability mechanisms for federating registries, ontologies and processing models (workflows)?
  • What are the biggest challenges and opportunities with respect to evolution of a DataNet Federation?
  • What is the vision for a DataNet Federation?

Developing Assessment Criteria

  • Who defines the required assessment criteria?
  • How is a consensus reached on the required assessment criteria?
  • Can an international standard form the basis for assessment criteria?
  • Are assessment criteria dependent upon the organizing community?

Legal and Social Implications of Shared Collections

  • For your domain, what are the legal requirements related to data management (Sarbanes-Oxley, IRB, HIPAA, IP)?
  • What implications does sharing of data impose on data management systems?
  • Can legal requirements be expressed as policies that automate enforcement?
  • What are the issues (legal, proprietary, accessibility) behind internationally shared collections?

Many participants helped develop a list of observations resulting from the speeches and discussions in which they participated at the Summit. The following are among the salient considerations compiled:

  • Institutional repositories are emerging within academia with the goal of building digital reference collections.
  • National scale research projects are also assembling scientific data collections that represent the digital holdings for science and engineering disciplines.
  • The scale of digital collections is increasing beyond the capacity of institutional repositories, with major holdings housed in federal repositories.
  • All three environments need to interoperate (institutional repositories, discipline-specific collections, federal repositories).
  • Initiatives are starting to drive formation of national scale data infrastructure (NSF DataNet, NSF Teragrid, DOE Open Science Grid, DOE Earth Systems Grid, NOAA CLASS system, NASA DAACs). These systems need to interoperate.
  • Standards are being developed for digital data description (provenance, context), digital data representation (structure, processing mechanisms), digital repository trustworthiness (assessment criteria). These standards need to interoperate.
  • An understanding is being developed of the social motivations to encourage data sharing, formation of shared collections, collaborative research. The creation of a shared collection is a social process, requiring consensus on
  • the properties that the digital objects within the shared collection will possess, 
  • the policies that will be used to manage the desired properties, 
  • the procedures that will be executed to enforce the properties and 
  • the assessment criteria that will be used validate the original intent for forming the shared collection.

Next Steps 
Summit participants and ASIS&T leadership agreed at the conclusion of the Summit on several obvious steps that should be taken to further the interest in data preservation:

  • Engage more actively with other groups (e.g., BRDI) to bring together diverse communities of interest. 
  • Work toward greater engagement from the corporate community, which requires identification of appropriate people in their companies. 
  • Leverage ASIS&T members and logistical expertise of ASIS&T headquarters for productive partnerships.

Preliminary plans are underway for a tutorial on data access and preservation at the 2010 ASIS&T Annual Meeting and for a second RDAP Summit in the spring of 2011. 

11th Annual IA Summit
Though enthusiasm for the new RDAP Summit was high in Phoenix in April, it did now overwhelm the excitement that continues to be generated by the ASIS&T IA Summit, which took place concurrently with RDAP. With more than 400 attendees and several high value speakers, the hallways were abuzz with chatter about how far the field of information architecture has come during the last decade and the significant role that the IA Summit has played. 

This year’s Summit featured three keynote speakers, the best known of whom is Richard Saul Wurman, the man who coined the term information architecture. Joining him as keynote speakers in plenary sessions were Dan Roam, founder of Digital Roam, Inc., and Whitney Hess, user experience design consultant.

Plans are underway for the 2011 IA Summit, March 30-April 3, 2011, in Denver, Colorado.

ASIS&T President Initiates Member Conversations
To encourage greater membership involvement in the management of their professional association, ASIS&T President Gary Marchionini invites members to share their thoughts and ideas in a series of conference calls on specific topics. Thus far, two such calls have occurred. The “price” of admission for members is to pose a question in advance that is at least tangentially relevant to the topic. The conference calls are limited to 20 participants to keep the calls manageable. 

The calls have been intentionally structured as conversations, not limited to questions and answers, in order to elicit suggestions as well as concerns. A third opportunity to participate in this new initiative will be held this summer. 

Conversation 1
The topic for the first conversation was framed as, “How can we best collaborate with other professional organizations around the globe?” The conversation ranged from professional audiences ASIS&T should address to those that have fallen out of the ASIS&T environment to ways to address these and other new and emerging subspecialties in the field. The following comments represent segments of the discussion.

The ASIS&T “brand” is becoming largely research and academic. As the organization has shifted toward these audiences, members from several applications-based fields, such as information managers and process managers in corporate, non-profit and government settings, have fallen away. Database and data center operators who need to stay on top of research and theory do not tend to identify with ASIS&T, though their interests are often served by ASIS&T activities. 

Many groups currently working on scientific data – CODATA, CENDI, ICSTI, for example – could be associated with ASIS&T. AAAS has formed a working group on scientific data as has the National Research Council.

Professionals in the corporate world have often looked to ASIS&T for attention to such corporate issues as management and leadership and other application issues, but they have found little reception in the ASIS&T community. While ASIS&T chapters frequently work cooperatively with SLA chapters on practical, applications issues, the effort has not worked its way up sufficiently to the national level.

While ASIS&T presidents often put inter-society relations near the top of their agendas, long-term success might be more likely if we maintained liaisons with appropriate societies. Their terms would outlast the limited tenures of the presidency. Joint workshops or seminars, even sessions at conferences, are ways to begin cross-fertilization.

Among the organizations suggested as likely partners for specific activities were SLA, IAI, ICSTI, ISSI, AAAS Section T, NFAIS, CENDI, AMIA, NISO, NARA and international groups at Wuhan University and Peking University.

With ASIS&T’s success with single focus summits, members discussed the possibility of yet another one – focusing on scientific and technical information. If pursued, ASIS&T would try to cooperate with other groups already considering such a meeting.

ASIS&T has a strong relationship with the user experience and practitioner world, but there is little crossover. There may not be a critical mass of mutual interest.

Conversation 2
The second conversation focused on ASIS&T recruitment and retention and the role of the ASIS&T Annual Meeting and other professional get-togethers in supporting efforts to reach new members and retain current ones. The group discussed how to balance high-quality research sessions with high-impact practical sessions at the Annual Meeting. Leading the conversation, Gary noted the plan for research tracks, with track-based expert reviewers to deepen reviews; the addition of short papers to bridge the gap between full papers and posters; and also the efforts of SIG Cabinet to develop alternative programming to panel presentations (e.g., contests, hands-on activities, debates). We are also exploring ways to extend the meeting with more pre- and post-meeting activities to broaden the experience. Webinars for those unable to attend are also possible.

An end of each day “takeaway summary” session was suggested where individuals (e.g., senior scholars in the area or partners of the authors) get five minutes to address two points: why the paper was significant and what the implications for practice are. In a one-hour session, this could be done for 12 papers presented that day.

The conversation also considered how to attract and support master-level students and practitioners. Among the offered suggestions are inviting student chapter proposals for sessions and speed-dating/mentoring sessions with experienced practitioners and newcomers.

The question of disconnects between what goes on in chapter meetings and ASIS&T summits (often with specific focus, such as IA) and the breadth/diversity at the Annual Meeting was raised. Some people apparently expect national meetings to be like their chapter meetings, but, in fact, they are very different. We need to manage expectations.

The conversation also discussed ways to reach more international audiences, suggesting among other ideas the offering of member rates for people from cooperating societies and sessions devoted to international issues.

Multiple participants encouraged ASIS&T to reach out to digital library and institutional repository managers. The group also suggested a concerted effort to market the ASIS&T Annual Meeting and the new data summit to SPARC and various other organizations.
Finally, the challenge of finding continuity across committees over the years was raised. The group believes an institutional memory for effective and successful procedures and practices is important. 

Mark Your Calendars!

Nomination Deadlines Approaching for ASIS&T Annual Awards
Nominations are now being sought for the prestigious 2010 ASIS&T awards to be presented at the 2010 ASIS&T Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh. Nomination/submission information for all awards can be found at All awards except Best Information Science Book must be submitted electronically. The Best JASIST Paper Award has no deadline date because all eligible papers are automatically considered for the award.

June 1 Deadline

  • Research Award
  • Proquest Doctoral Dissertation (formerly Doctoral Forum)
  • Best Information Science Book Award

June 15 Deadline

  • Pratt-Severn Student Research Award

July 1 Deadline

  • Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award
  • Thomson/ISI Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Scholarship
  • Award of Merit

July 15 Deadline

  • Watson Davis Award
  • Cretsos Leadership Award

History Fund Awards
In addition to the awards noted above, the ASIS&T History Fund Advisory Board is seeking applications or nominations for two competitive awards: the History Fund Research Award and the History Fund Research Paper Award.

The ASIS&T History Fund Research Award will be awarded for the best research support proposal submitted by July 1, 2010. All topics relevant to the history of information science and technology may be proposed. Maximum award is $1,000.

The ASIS&T History Fund Research Paper Award will be awarded for the best paper submitted by July 1, 2010. All topics relevant to the history of information science and technology will be considered. The paper should not have been previously published or submitted to a journal. If an award is made the winner will be expected to present the paper at the 2011 ASIS&T Annual Meeting and give first rights of refusal for publication to the Journal of The American Society for Information Science and Technology. Maximum award is $500.

For specific application guidelines and additional information contact Robert V. Williams at bobwill<at>

News about ASIS&T Members
Gary Marchionini, dean and Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor at the School of Information and Library Science (SILS), and current ASIS&T president, is the winner of the prestigious 2010 Faculty Award for Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Selected from among hundreds of professors on the campus, Dr. Marchionini believes that strong mentoring creates future leaders and scholars and can change the trajectory of a field. His students are well published, very visible at conferences, successful at obtaining external funding and very competitive on the job market. 

Amanda Spink, most recently research capacity building professor of information science at the Queensland University of Technology in Australia, has joined Loughborough University as chair in information science. Spink has been noted as an intellectual leader for library and information science and for having the second highest citation h-index in the field. She has also recently been appointed editor of the Emerald Library and Information Science book series. Her research focuses on developing theories, models and empirical studies of information behavior. Her most recent book, Information Behavior: An Evolutionary Instinct, provides a new evolutionary and interdisciplinary theoretical and research framework for understanding information behavior.

Denise A. D. Bedford, former World Bank information officer, has been appointed the Goodyear Professor in the Information Architecture and Knowledge Management (IAKM) program of the School of Library and Information Science at Kent State University. The professorship was made possible by the generous support of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. Bedford began her teaching and research on the Kent campus during the Spring 2010 semester. Previously, in her World Bank position, which she held from 1997 until she retired in January, she was responsible for management of the World Bank's core metadata strategy, including content type strategy and the various ontologies that support bank metadata. 

News from ASIS&T Chapters
The Los Angeles Chapter of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (LACASIST) presented its annual spring workshop on the topic Size Matters: Engaging Your Users Where They Are @. The workshop examined how libraries and others use large-screen displays and mobile applications to inform users and extend library services by engaging people where they are @: home, on the go, in the library or on their phones.

News from ASIS&T SIGs
Special Interest Group/International Information Issues (SIG/III) has announced the winners of its 2010 InfoShare awards, presented to selected information professionals from developing countries where the cost of ASIS&T membership is a burden. SIG/III officers vote on a roster of candidates nominated by ASIS&T colleagues or others. These memberships are funded by monies raised at the International Reception during the ASIS&T Annual Meeting. 

Memberships for 2010 were awarded to six professionals and two students. To learn more about the award program and the 2010 winners, please visit the InfoShare page of the SIG/III website: