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Bulletin, October/November 2010

Inside ASIS&T

2010 ASIS&T Annual Meeting

Suchman to Keynote Annual Meeting

Lucy Suchman Lucy Suchman, professor of anthropology of science and technology and co-director of the Center for Science Studies at Lancaster University, United Kingdom, will headline the 2010 ASIS&T Annual Meeting with a talk on Restoring Information’s Body, building on her research into ethnographic studies and interdisciplinary and participatory interventions in information technology design. The presentation will set the stage for dozens of panels, papers and posters to be offered on the meeting theme of Navigating Streams in an Information Ecosystem.

Meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 22-27, ASIS&T Annual Meeting participants will be a part of a re-engineered meeting format focusing on more interaction, more discussion and more acknowledgement of the spectrum of information science, practice and technology in the second decade of the 21st century.

Technical sessions are grouped within six broad tracks, each guided by a committee of topic experts. The tracks are Information Behavior, Knowledge Organization, Interactive Information and Design, Information and Knowledge Management, Information Use and Information in Context: Economic, Social and Policy Perspectives

Several new features have been added to the Annual Meeting format this year. Themed workshops, many sponsored by ASIS&T Special Interest Groups (SIGs), will be held on Wednesday, October 27. These sessions, which require separate registration, will permit more focused and in-depth looks at topics touched upon during the meeting’s technical sessions. Also new this year is a Student Design Competition. Students attending the conference will be grouped into cross-institution design teams who will work together for a couple of days to come up with solutions to an assigned design problem. The work will be judged by industry and academic experts who will announce the winners at a special session on Tuesday, October 26. 

For full information on the ASIS&T 2010 Annual Meeting, including registration materials and other new meeting features, check your mail for the printed version of the ASIS&T Annual Meeting preliminary program or visit the ASIS&T website.

News from ASIS&T SIGs
SIG/Metrics, founded as a virtual SIG in 1999, has begun the process to become an active SIG within ASIS&T. As a virtual SIG, SIGMETRICS is a listserv discussion group that covers bibliometrics, scientometrics and informetrics, webometics, as well as metrics related to the design and operation of digital libraries and other information systems. The group’s leadership, led by Cassidy Sugimoto and Staša Milojevic, now seeks endorsement from 50 ASIS&T members who say they would like to join SIGMETRICS as an active group. To commit your signature to the petition for SIG status, send an email to cassidysugimoto<at>

SIG/III Announces Paper Contest Winners
ASIS&T Special Interest Group/International Information Issues (SIG/III) has announced the winners of the 2010 SIG/III International Paper Contest. Mirroring each year’s ASIS&T Annual Meeting theme, the annual contest invites research papers from individuals in developing countries on topics at either the country or regional level. 

Winning first place in the 2010 contest is Angelina Totolo of the University of Botswana for her paper entitled Adoption and Use of Computer Technology among School Principals in Botswana Secondary Schools. Second place winners are Farzana Shafique, Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Pakistan, and Khalid Mahmood, University of the Punjab, Pakistan, for their paper The Role of Educational Information Systems for Survival in Information Society and the Case of Pakistan.

The paper review committee, chaired by Michael Zimmer, also included Johannes Britz and Maria Haigh, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; Catherine Johnson, University of Western Ontario; Anindita Paul and Borchuluun Yadamsuren, University of Missouri; and Hong Xu, University of Pittsburgh.

News about ASIS&T Members
Don A. Wicks is the interim director of Kent State University’s School of Library and Information Science. He succeeds Richard Rubin, who is now associate provost for extended education at Kent State.

Louise Spiteri is the new director of the School of Information Management (SIM) at Dalhousie University. She has been a SIM faculty member since 1998 and served as academic director of the MLIS program at SIM for the last year.

News from ASIS&T Institutional Members
Kent State University’s School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) has added five new full-time faculty members to its lineup. Michael Bice, most recently teaching graduate level courses in the University of Florida’s College of Public Health and Health Professions, joins Kent State as a professor charged with further development of a concentration in health information management. Rosemary Du Mont will return to SLIS in the spring as a professor, following recent stints in a variety of Kent State administrative posts. She first joined Kent State in 1986.

Kiersten F. Latham, with more than 20 years of experience working in museums, in addition to teaching experience in several universities, joins Kent State as assistant professor. Nancy Lensenmayer has joined SLIS as a full-time faculty member at the Columbus site where she will teach core curriculum courses. Catherine L. Smith, most recently a post-doctoral research associate at Rutgers University, joins Kent State as assistant professor. Among her academic interests are the design of adaptive search systems and search expertise.

ASIS&T Member Receives Two Google Grants
Miles Efron, assistant professor in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, received two major Google research grants over the summer. With the latest grant, Efron will address current problems in microblog search. This grant follows on the heels of a Digital Humanities Research Award for his project, "Meeting the Challenge of Language Change in Text Retrieval with Machine Translation Techniques," which will enable him to develop software that will let people enter a query in contemporary English and search over English texts throughout history – from Medieval times to the present day. 

In the first project, Efron says he is "looking at language change as a translation problem." In order for older texts to be searchable, contemporary English needs to be translated into language from various historical timeframes. "For this problem we can think of English at different slices of time as different languages," said Efron. "The project will mostly involve training statistical models that assign probabilities of the translation to a word or phrase in a target English language."

In the microblog search project, Efron will look at information management and organization problems that people will face as microblogging services such as Twitter take on a larger role in their day-to-day activities. "Search engines are very good at what they do. But it's not clear that the standard search model works well for microblog data. . . . An individual tweet may or may not be of interest. But by intelligently connecting these short texts we can deliver information such as consensus, debate, open questions, recommendations – all in the scope of a particular information need," said Efron. 

Efron notes that "the unifying thread between the two projects is the relationship between search problems and information that has an inherently temporal nature."