of the American Society for Information Science and Technology    Vol. 29 No. 1     October / November 2002

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ASIST President Donald H. KraftPresident's Column

Donald H. Kraft

I don't know why the Chinese "interesting times" curse always comes to mind when I start these columns, but there it is. The issues raised by the September 11th attack, our current economy and the ever-changing information science and technology field are facing ASIST and with a vengeance. As I said in my last column, my thought is that ASIST, with its cutting-edge technical programs at conferences and summits, employment placement mechanisms, publications and services all leading to an integration of theory and practice in a plethora of information disciplines, is more important than ever. I strongly believe that one of the great strengths of ASIST is its openness to new ideas in many, many different disciplines.

On a lighter note, and for what it is worth, ASIST was contacted by Hollywood! Dick Hill was asked to send the producers of a movie some ASIST publications for background shots in a movie, which he did. Personally, I was hoping for a cameo plus having Tom Selleck play the JASIST editor with Michelle Pfeiffer as the romantic interest, but I don't think that will happen. But, maybe we can have our people call their people, do a lunch, whatever.

On a more serious note, ASIST is again a cooperating society for the ACM/SIGIR conference to take place in 2003 in Canada. This means that ASIST members can get the reduced registration rate that ACM/SIGIR members and other cooperating societies get.

We are moving deliberately ahead with plans for the ASIST digital library. Such a project necessarily involves a host of issues, including how to update and maintain a proper thesaurus for the information society. Moreover, we are starting to move toward a proposal for a new applications magazine.

The ASIST Board met earlier this month, conducting normal society business, such as committee reports, budget reports, and such. However, our president-elect, with the support of our executive director, put together a superb retreat, where the most critical issues facing our society were discussed and action begun in many cases. We considered issues that ranged from recruiting and retaining members, mentoring new members, conducting annual meetings, and keeping our SIGs and chapters vital and active participants in ASIST. We established task forces on awards and conferences, on virtual continuing education, the ASIST thesaurus project and membership benefits.

Let me remind you that in 2000 ASIST adopted the following mission statement:

    The American Society for Information Science and Technology connects information professionals and organizations who develop, use or study information. The Society fosters research and development, provides an effective communication channel, supports education and contributes to the formulation of national and international standards and public policy that advances information science and related applications of information technology.

Moreover, ASIST adopted the following vision statement:

    Establish a new information professionalism in a world where creating and communicating information is of central economic, social and political importance by

    • Advancing knowledge about information, its creation, properties, and use.
    • Providing analysis of practices and technologies.
    • Valuing theory, research, applications, and service.
    • Nurturing new perspectives, interests, and ideas.

It was also felt that as a statement of value propositions, ASIST members will

  • Learn about the state-of-the-art and cutting edge theories, practices and technologies.
  • Gain new points of view, directions for their research and product development.
  • Learn about industry trends.
  • Get research and product ideas.
  • Discover new approaches and methodologies.
  • Validate their research and product development activities.
  • Learn about new products and services.
  • Be able to tell members about their products and services.
  • Have venues to present and discuss their ideas, research and work.
  • Have the opportunity to form and participate in groups with shared special interests.
  • Have the opportunity to join with other information professionals in their region.
  • Meet smart people they don't already know.
  • Meet and interact with important scientists.
  • Hear and meet young researchers.
  • Identify potential hires and recruit them to work for their organization.
  • Have an opportunity to develop their leadership skills.
  • Influence standards and policies.
  • Participate in standards making and policy development.

As always, but even more so with all these goings-on, we need your input as caring, participating members more than ever. Volunteers are completely welcome and encouraged; simply contact our executive director, Dick Hill, at rhill@asis.org.

Donald H. Kraft
2002 ASIST President
Professor, Department of Computer Science
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, LA 70803-4020

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