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Bulletin, June/July 2010

ASIS&T President, Gary MarchioniniPresident's Page

Gary Marchionini
2010 ASIS&T President

In my previous column I invited ASIS&T members to reflect upon and share strategies for managing opportunity overload. Since then, I hosted our first teleconversation with members, two summits were held and our new communications director, Melissa Dawn Weaver, has come aboard. Brief highlights follow.

Fifteen people participated in the conversation held in March. The discussions revolved around two themes: ASIS&Ts brand, vis--vis research and practice, and partnerships with other professional organizations and societies. Several participants suggested that ASIS&T has not paid enough attention to practitioners. Ideas on how to increase participation of information professionals in ASIS&T are welcome. The Summits, the Bulletin and our chapter events aim to do this, whereas JASIST aims to serve research interests, and the Annual Meeting aims to bring the two kinds of interests together. Expanding the range of efforts and finding ways to integrate research and practice at the Annual Meeting are high priorities for the coming year. Balancing research and practice is a long-standing challenge for ASIS&T, and I hope that each member can take some action to bridge the divide. If you are a researcher, talk to practitioners about ways that research can help solve immediate or short-term problems either directly or by modeling the research process to solve practical problems. If you are a practitioner, talk to researchers about your key challenges and what kinds of solutions would help you in your work. Best of all, regardless of your role, team up with others to find common ground.

The second theme of the teleconversation revolved around partnerships, and many good suggestions for creating liaisons with governmental, professional and international organizations were made. We need people who are willing to step forward and volunteer to serve as links to other organizations and societies. These can be formal or informal. By the time you read this, another teleconversation will have been held, and I hope you or a colleague were able to participate.

The 11th Information Architecture Summit was held April 7-11 in Phoenix. It was another great success, with about 400 participants. The keynoters (Dan Roam, Richard Saul Wurman and Whitney Hess) were thoughtful and provocative, and the theme of hallway conversations was taken in digital directions via the hyperactive Twitter stream (hash tag #ias10) that scrolled by continuously in the common area, at times reaching rates of 400+ tweets per hour! This Summit series has become one of the key venues for the field and is a fun idea fest for practitioners and theorists alike.

Concurrent with the IA Summit, the first Research Data Access and Preservation Summit took place. About 80 participants from research groups, university libraries and archives, government agencies and corporations in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia participated. As an organizer and participant, I was impressed by the frank and cordial interactions among these diverse cultural perspectives. The tweet stream (hash tag #rdap10) was much less active than the one associated with the IA Summit, but the posts were just as prescient. The slides and portions of the tweet stream are available on the conference page off the ASIS&T website. A report from this summit will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Bulletin. Those interested in participating in a second summit should raise voices and get involved. 

Finally, I want to welcome Melissa Dawn Weaver as director of communications. Melissa is a long-time information architecture participant and was actively retweeting and interviewing people at the two Summits. I encourage ASIS&T members to send Melissa ideas and news to share. She will be looking for ways to broaden our reach across a variety of channels and to promote the ASIS&T brand.

With summer upon us, it is time for enjoying the fruits of our spring labors and planning new initiatives for the year ahead. I hope that everyone is able to squeeze a bit of ASIS&T participation into your schedules and continue to make ASIS&T the lead society in information science research and practice.

Gary Marchionini is the 2010 ASIS&T president and the Cary C. Boshamer Dean, School of Information and Library Science, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He can be reached at march<at>