ASIS&T SIG HFIS : History & Foundations of Information Science

Association for Information Science & Technology :


ASIST Membership

SIG HFIS is a Special Interest Group of the Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T). To join SIG HFIS you should select it as one of your SIGs when joining ASIS&T or renewing your membership. Note that ASIS&T no longer charges an additional fee to join more than one SIG.

Email List

ASIS&T administers an email list, SIGHFIS-L (, for the benefit of people with an interest in the SIG and its activities. SIG members are not automatically enrolled in the list. To join the list or view its archives go to


The current SIG Bylaws are here. They are based on the ASIS&T model SIG bylaws.

ASIST History Fund

Under the leadership of Robert V. Williams and Boyd Rayward the History of Information Science and Technology Fund was approved by the ASIS&T directors in 2000.  It has been supported with royalties from several books and by further donations. The purpose of the fund is to support and encourage research and publication in the history of Information Science and Technology. In 2007 the amount of the fund passed $10,000 making its income available for support of the SIG’s activities. In 2009 a further matching grant from Eugene Garfield brought the total to around $18,000. Contributions to the fund would qualify for tax-deductible contributions as a result of the ASIS 501-c-3 status.

The fund is being used to support two new initiatives:

Research Paper Award
An award of $500 for the best unpublished paper on information history received by the committee.

  • 2009 (inaugural award): Rachel Plotnick, doctoral student in Media, Technology and Society at Northwestern University, for “Computers, Systems Theory and the Making of a Wired Hospital: A History of Technicon Medical Information System, 1964-1987.”
  • 2010: Sarah Buchanan, UCLA, for “‘Name’s the Same?’: The Los Angeles Chapter of ASIST upon its Semicentennial”
  • 2011: No Award
  • 2012: No Award
  • 2013: Xiaohua Zhu, University of Tennessee, for “Who Had Access to Juris?: A Failed Case of Open Access”
  • 2014: No Award

Research Grant
An award of a maximum of $1,000 will be awarded for the best research proposal submitted to the committee.

  • 2009 (inaugural award): Charles Meadow, Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto, to study the digital divide historically.
  • 2010: Andrew Russell, Asst. Prof., Stevens Institute of Technology, for his proposal, “An open world: ideological origins of network standards”
  • 2011: Trudi Bellardo Hahn & Diane Barlow, University of Maryland, for their proposal “Research on the NSF, information science, and Helen Brownson”
  • 2012: No Award
  • 2013: Kalpana Shankar & Kristin Eschenfelder, University College Dublin and University of Wisconsin-Madison, for their proposal “Social Science Data Archives: A Historical View of Sustainability, Access and Use”
  • 2014: No Award

Information & Culture: A Journal of History

ASIS&T SIG HFIS has accepted an invitation to have a representative on the editorial board of Libraries & the Cultural Record; note that the journal’s name changed to Information & Culture: A Journal of History in January 2012 (see website). The representative will normally be the current Chair of SIG HFIS, and, accordingly, the first representative is Kathryn La Barre, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2011). See also

Session Sponsorship

As an ASIS&T SIG, SIG HFIS organizes and sponsors sessions for the annual meeting of the society. If you are interested in taking part in such a session or organizing one please contact the SIG chair. The meetings are held in the fall, but deadlines are around January so it is necessary to plan well ahead. Sessions held in previous meetings can be seen here.


CALL FOR PAPERS [now passed]: “Stories of Information Science / Information Scientists”
Do you have a story of information science and/or information scientists to share with the ASIS&T community?  If so, please consider submitting a short story (~300-800 words) to be included in the HFIS newsletter. A gift card of $30 will be awarded if your story is selected!
What are we looking for?  A tidbit of history of your SIG/Chapter/School/Department and/or a story of an information scientist and/or educator.
Authors interested in contributing should contact newsletter editor Lai Ma. Submissions should be sent to Lai Ma ( ) by May 1, 2014.