Bulletin, October/November 2006

Editor's Desktop

Irene L. Travis, Editor

Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology


Cognitive work analysis (CWA) is a method – as the name implies – for studying cognitive work. The framework was developed by Danish researchers at Risoe National Laboratory in the early 1980s and has already been applied to the design of technology in various work environments, such as nuclear power plants, hospitals and manufacturing. Annelise Mark Pejtersen, who is one of the developers of CWA, was the first to apply it to the design of information systems when she developed a system for fiction retrieval called “Book House.” Working with Pejtersen, Raya Fidel and her colleagues at the University of Washington have pioneered the use of these techniques in the United States for information systems applications and for information science research. Our special section in this issue describes CWA methodology and gives examples of its application for looking at information in the context of work environments.

We also have two columns in this issue. Karen Loasby, information architecture team leader for the BBC, describes the evolution of metadata use at that organization in our IA column, while Phillip Edwards, a doctoral student at the University of Washington and one of the student members of the Bulletin Advisory Board, reports the results of his investigation into the level of student member participation in ASIS&T leadership activities.

Finally, Trudi Hahn, a past-president of ASIS&T and recent executive director of the U.S. National Commission on Library and Information Science (NCLIS), presents highlights from “Scholarship and Libraries in Transition: A Dialogue about the Impacts of Mass Digitization Projects,” a symposium presented by the University of Michigan Library and NCLIS in May 2006. The University of Michigan is one of the libraries participating in the Google mass digitization effort. It and similar projects raise many complex questions about such issues as copyright, the future of libraries and patterns of information use.