Newsletter

Indiana Chapter of the Association for Information Science
December 1997 Issue

Contents:
IASIS Winter Meeting Report | ASIS 1997 Annual Meeting | IASIS Spring 1998 Meeting Announcement | Calling All Indiana "ACES"

IASIS Winter Meeting Report

by Steve Hardin

Members of the Indiana Chapter of the Association for Information Science enjoyed meeting each other and learning more about each other at a dinner meeting in Bloomington December 3. Chapter Chair Jim Morgan suggested the twelve persons attending the gathering at Michael's Uptown Cafe introduce themselves and provide a few biographical details. Several persons noted it was interesting that a majority of those in attendance credited ASIS Past President Debora (Ralf) Shaw with introducing them to the Society. Chapter Program Chair/Chair-Elect Patsy Allen received congratulations on her election to that post.

ASIS Director-at-Large Steve Hardin read a report summarizing the 1997 ASIS Annual Meeting, held in November in Washington, DC. (See separate story.) Other Indiana Chapter members who had also attended the meeting supplemented his remarks. Of particular note was Clinton administration advisor and ASIS keynote speaker Tom Kalil's refusal to answer questions about whether the administration would back off its support of escrowed encryption keys. The traditional wine exchange ceremony between the outgoing and incoming ASIS presidents merited particular attention this time as well, as Indiana's own Ralf Shaw was a participant. After presenting incoming president Michael Buckland with a bottle of Indiana vintage, Ralf was treated to an explanation of how Michael tried unsuccessfully to give her garlic wine or a bottle of Chateau Shaw. He did manage to provide a bottle from the Davis winery in California, in acknowledgment of Ralf's connection to another ASIS Past President, Chuck Davis.

All in all, those who attended enjoyed an interesting meeting, great food, and delightful companionship. Planning is already underway for the next Indiana Chapter meeting, probably in February. It promises to be a great evening as well. Plan now to attend!

ASIS Annual Meeting 1997 Summary

by Steve Hardin

About a thousand persons attended "Digital Collections: Implications for Users, Funders, Developers and Maintainers," the 1997 Annual Meeting of the Association for Information Science. The meeting, held in Washington, DC, featured experts leading interesting discussions on a number of the issues and research surrounding digital collections.

Clinton administration advisor Tom Kalil delivered an overview of the administration's networked information policies during the keynote address. Kalil -- Senior Director responsible for Science and Technology Issues to the National Economic Council, the White House, and the U.S. National Coordinator for the G7 Global Information Association pilot projects -- told the hundreds of persons in the audience "This is a fun and exciting time to be working" on the issues surrounding networked information."

Some of the factors he gave in support of his position include the declining costs of storing, transmitting and processing information, information technology's increasing sophistication and ubiquity, information's increasingly important role in the economy and society, and the intellectual ferment and experimentation accompanying these developments. He noted an example of how important information is in developing countries. In Sri Lanka, farmers were able to get higher prices for their crops because of the wider availability of pricing information. The impact of newly-available information, he said, is greater in the developing world than in the industrialized world.

Kalil also discussed several Clinton administration initiatives. He said one top priority is ensuring meaningful access to information technology for every student. He added the information scientist's expertise is "desperately needed" to make the Internet's content more usable. The "next generation Internet" is another Clinton administration initiative. Its goals include developing long-term research capabilities. He hopes we'll soon see network lines running 100 times faster than today's Internet, with a few institutions able to run things 1,000 times as fast.

Another lively session featured attorneys representing publisher and library interests discussing copyright and fair use. The American Library Association's Washington Office's Legislative Counsel, Adam Eisgrau, spoke about why he and the ALA favor a broad interpretation of the copyright exceptions contained in fair use. He said it was basic for "the flow of information in a democracy." On the other hand, Association of American Publishers attorney Allan Adler argued for a more restrictive understanding of fair use to permit greater protection of intellectual property rights. He said that if those rights are not protected, the people who provide the information will stop doing so, and information consumers will lose. Jeff Rosedale, the Acting Director of Access Services for Columbia University Libraries, discussed common ground between Eisgrau's and Adler's positions. He said we should think of intellectual property more than in terms of dollars and cents.

A third session dealt with Uniform Resource Identifiers and metadata. Former ASIS President Clifford Lynch of the Coalition for Networked Information began with a discussion of naming systems. Naming systems are useful, he said, in part because of the problems we have with URLs, which tend to rot over time and be dependent on format. We're at the point, he said, where we need to consider why we need naming systems and what their properties should be.

Rebecca Guenther gave a history of the Dublin Core and its relationship to MARC. MARC can be used to catalog the Web, especially with the recent changes in the 856 field. On the other hand, the Dublin Core is a much simpler approach to providing metadata for an item on the Web. Its original version had only 13 elements. Work has been done in converting Dublin Core records into MARC. It's possible conversion of MARC to Dublin Core would be useful, too, she said. DC is seen as the lowest common denominator for metadata.

There were dozens more sessions, but, of course, not enough space to consider them all here. More in-depth information is available at the ASIS Web site at http://www.asis.org or by looking through the Proceedings. The 1998 ASIS Annual Meeting is scheduled for October 26-29 in Pittsburgh. The 1998 MidYear Meeting is scheduled for May 18-20 in Orlando.

IASIS Spring Meeting and Program

Martha (Marti) Montague Smith, will present "Ethics for Information Professionals: Neutrality or Advocacy?" at the IASIS Winter Meeting and Program on Thursday, March 5, 1998.

An Assistant Professor with the IU School of Library and Information Science, on the campus of IUPUI, Smith is author of "Information Ethics," a chapter in the soon-to-be published "Annual Review of Information Science and Technology (ARIST), Volume 32, 1997. Also, Smith serves as one of the selected expert participants in VF-INFOethics, a global discussian forum whose "main objective is to augment knowledge and public awareness in information ethics' topics and to provide UNESCO [United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization] with recommendations for further actions in the field of information ethics" (for more information point your browser to: http://www.de3.emb.net/infoethics/).

The meeting will be held at the Airport Holiday Inn in Indianapolis, and will include an Executive Board meeting, social time (with cash bar), business meeting, dinner and our guest presenter. For more information or to register online, visit the Indiana ASIS March 1998 Meeting and Program page at the IASIS website.

Do you know the answers?

Attendees of the IASIS Winter Meeting and Program will have the opportunity to take an Information Ethics Quiz which is part of an upcoming publication by Martha Montague Smith. Following are just three of the challenging and thought-provoking questions.

In the course of your duties managing a large database, you have found several serious problems that need correcting. However, your colleagues (who were responsible for the design of the database before you came to work there) don't like to "rock the boat" and would be angry if the "new kid" did. You believe that the problems could cause a major failure in the operation of the company. Do you:

  1. Keep quiet and maintain your relationship with your colleages?
  2. Take the matter up with senior management?
  3. Talk with your colleagues and tell them that if they don't help make adjustment then you will go to senior management?

A friend has been offered a job by a competing firm. Part of the lucrative package includes the disclosure of proprietary information. When asked for your advice, you tell your friend to:

  1. Take the offer only if assured that no breach of confidentiality with the proprietary information is involved?
  2. Take the job and ask for a bonus to disclose the valued information?
  3. Tell the current employer what is going on and refuse the job?
  4. Refuse the job.

While you are on duty at the reference information desk, someone asks you for information about how to break into a computer system. Do you:

  1. Ask the person why he or she wants the information?
  2. Suggest a more technical library?
  3. Call a friend for the information needed?
  4. Call the FBI?

Calling all Indiana "ACES"

When the room-rental contract for the next IASIS meeting arrived addressed to "Indiana ACES," we had to laugh. After sharing the story with fellow IASIS members, we heard more humorous tales of misunderstandings and mispronunciations of the IASIS and ASIS acronyms.

Do you have any tales to share?

We're calling on all of you "Indiana ACES" to share any stories you have relating to the names of the national organization or our chapter. Your responses will be printed in an upcoming edition of the IASIS newsletter.

Please share your humorous anecdotes by sending them to:

Patsy Allen at pallen@alleninfo.com

or

Allen Information Consultants, Inc.
PO Box 501633
Indianapolis IN 46250-1633

We look forward to hearing from you!

For more information about Indiana ASIS please visit us at: http://www.asis.org/Chapters/IASIS/index.html


Questions? Please write to Allan R Barclay (abarclay@iupui.edu)
URL:http://www.asis.org/Chapters/IASIS/dec97news.html