Bulletin, April/May 2013

Bulletin Editor, Irene TravisEditor's Desktop

Irene L. Travis, Editor

Bulletin of the Association for Information Science and Technology


Welcome to the inaugural issue of the Bulletin of the Association for Information Science and Technology. ASIS&T has just changed its name from American Society for Information Science and Technology to the Association for Information Science and Technology, while keeping the ASIS&T acronym. This move reinforces the Association’s focus on becoming a truly international organization. The Bulletin will continue to play its part in covering international developments and publishing contributions from our worldwide ASIS&T community. For additional information, please see the President’s Page, where ASIS&T President Andrew Dillon discusses the name change as well as the ongoing review of our online presence and our efforts to enhance the visibility and understanding of the information professions.

The international theme is also primary as Michael Buckland discusses the reputation of French information scientist Suzanne Briet (1894-1989) in the United States. Because only a small part of her work had been translated into English, she was not well known among U.S. information scientists and librarians when she visited in 1951-52, but historians of information science, particularly ASIS&T members, have worked successfully in recent years to expose many in the field to the writings and ideas of “the antelope lady.” 

Altmetrics is the subject of this issue’s special section assembled by guest editor Heather Piwowar. Altmetrics are alternative measures that can supplement citation counts and journal impact factors as measures of the impact of scholarly communications. Such measures are generally derived from online activity such as mentions, downloads, tweets, blog posts, Facebook “likes,” bookmarking and other similar evidence of attention. Some of the altmetrics services also allow readers to follow links back to actual events to determine the context and tenor of comments or actions. Altmetrics are especially important as article-level measures for material posted to open access journals or journals in developing countries or emerging disciplines, for scholarly communication generating public discussion and for measuring the impact of alternative types of scholarly activity such as datasets, software or performances. The section covers the topic from many different perspectives, including those of repositories, open access publishers, third world scholars and leading developers of altmetric services.

In our other regular columns, guest RDAP columnist, Kirk Borne, professor of astrophysics and computational science at George Mason University, advocates human computation, utilizing humans in the ways they can be uniquely effective in partnership with computing machines. The focus of his attention is on the use of human computation in collaborative annotation of large datasets. Thom Haller, associate editor for information architecture, examines models for the search process in the IA Column