Bulletin, June/July 2011

Bulletin Editor, Irene TravisEditor's Desktop

Irene L. Travis, Editor

Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology


This issue is the first to follow the 2011 ASIS&T Information Architecture (IA) and Research Data Access and Preservation (RDAP) Summits. Our thanks to Joe Hourclé and Melissa Weaver for agreeing to cover the RDAP2 Summit for us with a collection of summaries and opinions from the event. In addition we have an RDAP-related opinion piece by Marisa Ramírez, “Whose Role Is It Anyway? A Library Practitioner’s Appraisal of the Digital Data Deluge.” In it she discusses the roles various information professionals may play in the RDAP process as it relates to university-based information repositories. IA and the IA Summit will be our focus in the August/September issue of the Bulletin.

One of the best features of the Bulletin is that we can publish a wide variety of material that has no home in JASIS&T or other ASIS&T publications, including opinion pieces. We have taken full advantage of that flexibility in this issue. Indeed, beyond our RDAP coverage, there is no special topic or focus in this issue, although many of the articles relate to improving communication of information in one way or another. We thank all the authors for sharing their insights and discoveries with us. 

In addition to the Ramírez contribution and our regular President’s Page and IA Column, we have six other articles: 

  • Trudi Bellardo Hahn, Mariann Burright, and Heidi Nickisch Duggan consider scholarly communication, including the institutional repositories also important in RDAP, as they ask: “Has the revolution in scholarly communication lived up to its promise?” They review whether publication models have changed in recent years, whether authors have more legal options to disseminate their works (and, if so, whether they are taking advantage of these options) and whether access to scholarly materials by the general public has improved. 
  • Could libraries be more relevant in emergency situations? In “Embracing Lossy: Sacrificing Metadata to Gain Agility,” James Powell, Tamara M. McMahon and Linn Collins from Los Alamos National Laboratory make a plea, backed by their own research, for libraries to be more willing to contribute metadata to Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) services, even though the contributed format loses information relative to MARC records. They argue that the data can then be processed in novel and powerful ways with many other diverse contributions to make it easier for users to put together special collections of high quality material on narrow and timely topics. That facility will allow greater exploitation of library resources, especially in national security emergencies such as a bio attack.
  • Also relating to cataloging practice, in “2010, Year of Cataloging Research in Review,” Jimmie Lundgren summarizes the activities and results of a year dedicated to honoring cataloging research.
  • Interested in medical informatics, health informatics, bio-medical informatics? Want to be an informatician, an informaticist? Do you need a guide for this maze? Prudence Dalrymple is conductor. Her article “Data, Information, Knowledge: The Emerging Field of Health Informatics” elucidates confusing terminology and field relationships and provides valuable advice to anyone thinking of pursuing a career in the healthcare-related information professions.
  • Our final article in the feature section also deals with barriers to communication. In “Information Overload, Reloaded” Nathaniel Davis looks at the role of information architecture in ameliorating the problem of information overload.
  • And then we conclude this eclectic and interesting issue with an Opinion column, “Information Science as Knowledge Translation,” by Alex Garnett, who takes a look at the communication practice that seeks to bridge the gap between health care practitioners and researchers and considers how it relates to information science. 

We hope you enjoy the range of views and information shared here.