Bulletin, April/May 2006
and synergy. Buzz words? New/old paradigms? The latest business trend?
When it comes to organizations and their success, we hear this phrase a lot –
in professional literature, in newspaper articles, on the radio/TV talk shows
and elsewhere. But what does
“collaboration and synergy” mean for us in ASIS&T? A lot. Let’s look
at some examples.
has some really strong chapters – and some really weak ones. The same goes for
our special interest groups (SIGs). Some of our chapters hold half a dozen or
more programs a year. Others hold none. Our SIGs have traditionally focused
their programs at the Annual Meeting, but more and more are holding
pre-conferences – or want to. A conundrum arises – we end up with
“program-rich” and “program-poor” chapters and SIGs. How do we share and
distribute this wealth? I’m sure you see the direction in which I am heading:
collaboration and synergy.
first question to you: Why can’t our chapters and SIGs collaborate to create
local programs? You would be surprised at how little has been done in this area.
Why? Many reasons, but I won’t go into those. Rather, I ask, Why not?
What would facilitate this collaboration? How can we put the leaders of these
groups together? Similarly, why can’t chapters collaborate on producing
programs – a strong chapter helping a weaker one? What is keeping us from
accomplishing these collaborations?
we need new communication tools to support collaborations? Clearly electronic
discussion lists are not the answer, as we already have a SIGs-l and a
Chapters-l. How about one or two conference calls amongst interested SIG and
chapter leaders? Would this form of communication help? Another perspective –
do we need to restructure Chapter Assembly and the SIG Cabinet at the Annual
Meeting? Do we need other face-to-face opportunities to create synergy?
can tell you that your Board of Directors and a number of Standing Committees at
the Society level are already addressing some of the questions I’ve raised. We
are currently examining ways to “take programs on the road” – that is, to
develop program modules that can be used by more than one chapter. The local
chapters just provide the logistical support. With a good program, one can then
recruit new members and leaders. Similarly, we have already supported one
SIG/Chapter collaboration, the DASER (Digital Archives for Science &
above initiatives are only part of the answer toward leveraging our
collaborative and synergetic/synergic (yes, both are correct adjectival forms) potential. Chapter & SIG
leaders must step up and take an active role in this process. And each of us
must be willing to communicate with our respective leaders, at the SIG, chapter
and Society levels – tell us what you think and share with us your new ideas
for facilitating collaboration and synergy. Please, don’t keep your ideas to
yourself – share them. If you are not sure to whom to talk, then just email me
(mrleach<at>fas.harvard.edu). I’ll be happy to facilitate your
collaborative effort. So, let’s not make collaboration and synergy
buzzwords; rather, let’s make them an integral part of our leadership style
and planning processes.
Director, Physics Research Library, and Head of Collection Development, Cabot Science Library
Articles in this Issue