Bulletin, April/May 2006

Editor's Desktop

Irene L. Travis, Editor

Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology


For this issue’s special section Guest Editor Glynn Harmon has put together a series of reports and observations from some of the deans and faculty closely involved in organizing the First I-Conference of the I-School Deans’ Community, which was held September 28-30, 2005, at the School of Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State University. Since Dr. Harmon provides an extensive introduction to his section, I will not discuss the specifics of it here. I did not attend the conference myself, but after reading these very informative pieces, I understand why it was organized, what was discussed, what it accomplished and the interest and excitement it generated. I am sure Bulletin readers, many of whom attended the conference or share an interest in the I-School movement, will find this section valuable. I am very grateful to the guest editor for his dedication to reporting this event for the Bulletin.

For my own part, I was particularly intrigued by the article Anthony Debons wrote with Glynn Harmon comparing this conference to the NATO Advanced Study Institutes in Information Science of the early 1970s (“The I-Conference in Retrospect”). Those events occurred as I was finishing my Ph.D. in information science (according to me, not according to my diploma). Naturally, as I view my graduate-school cohort rapidly becoming emeritus professors of information science programs, there is a tendency to ask whether there is anything new here. But the authors, who were honored for their pioneering work in information at the conference, point to some distinct differences, and they are among the best qualified to observe them. In particular, they (and others) note that the I-Schools view themselves not as a new science trying to find a home, but as institutions providing a home to a wide variety of information-related disciplines in the hope of improving the synergy, collaboration and identification of the information field.

Synergy and collaboration are also the theme of this month’s President’s Page, as Michael Leach outlines the advantages of greater interaction between the chapters and the SIGs in creating event programming.

In another sign of changing times, we carry our first article on video games – or at least the first under my editorship – following the groundbreaking Gaming, Learning and Libraries Symposium, held in Chicago in December. Christy Branston, one of the speakers on that occasion, discusses the potential of video games in library collections and for bibliographic instruction. My thanks to BulletinAdvisory Board member Linda Rudell-Betts for championing this subject and finding an author who could address it so well.

Finally, in the IA Column, Thom Haller provides a case study of the redesign of www.plainlanguage.gov, the U.S. Government website devoted to improving the clarity and readability of communications, and our fairly regular item “What’s New?” appears in this issue featuring practitioner-oriented summaries of JASIST articles.