Bulletin, October/November 2011

Bulletin Editor, Irene TravisEditor's Desktop

Irene L. Travis, Editor

Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology


Want to go mobile? No money? The libraries in our special section share how they have managed this feat in these difficult times. In “Libraries, Librarians and Mobile Services,” guest editor Lisa Carlucci Thomas and her six authors (Dan DeSanto, Michael Whitchurch, Edward Iglesias & Wittawat Meesangnil, Tiffini Travis & Aaron Tay, and Jeff Wisniewski) offer useful ideas through case studies in academic libraries and more general advice relevant to many settings. They also review the kinds of mobile websites and mobile apps that libraries are creating as they add this latest wave of new and/or value-added services to their outreach.

Looked at from a different perspective, we could say our special section is also about information architecture (IA). Although the authors rely heavily on tools and prototypes that already exist, they urge local customization, usability testing and adherence to standards. In fact, Travis and Tay even provide guidelines for evaluating websites. In this light, Tibor Koltay and Thom Haller, the Bulletin’s associate editor for information architecture, each contribute to the discussion at a more general level. Koltay references a recent Bulletin article by Nate Davis on information architecture (IA) and its role in reducing information overload (IO) (www.asis.org/Bulletin/Jun-11/JunJul11_Davis.html). He discusses the various literacies associated with information, but particularly digital literacy (DLi), its role in managing IO and its relationship to IA. In his regular IA Column, Haller, asks, “Is IA dead?” He maintains that despite the cost considerations in building and testing a well-structured website, it saves users time, money and a great deal of frustration, a goal all our authors, whatever their means, vigorously endorse. 

Career doldrums? Sherrilynne Fuller should inspire you. As the first presenter in the new ASIS&T Award Lecture Series, she urges increased development of proactive, prevention health informatics systems. These systems buttress public health – an under-developed area compared to the clinical systems aimed at supporting intervention in individual cases – and one that presents unique challenges. In “From Intervention Informatics to Prevention Informatics” she notes that the gap between prevention and intervention persists despite the much-increased threat posed by how quickly disease can spread in the modern era. Here, again, mobile technologies, especially cell and satellite phones, are playing a large role in gathering and transmitting data as well as communicating it. For a very helpful general overview of health informatics as a career field, please see our recent guide through the maze by Prudence Dalrymple, “Data, Information, Knowledge: The Emerging Field of Health Informatics” (www.asist.org/Bulletin/Jun-11/JunJul11_Dalrymple.html).

Finally, in her President’s Page, outgoing ASIS&T president Linda Smith discusses aspects of ASIS&T’s communications structure and the role of its various publications and urges our readers to contribute to them. Hear ye! Hear ye!