of the American Society for Information Science and Technology   Vol. 27, No. 6    August / September 2001

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Joseph A. Busch President's Page

by Joseph A. Busch, 2001 ASIST President

No matter whose numbers you choose, unstructured content makes up at least 80% of digital information, and it's growing fast. In the May 2001 issue of Scientific American Tim Berners-Lee, the recognized inventor of the World Wide Web, has an article co-authored with James Hendler (www.scientificamerican.com/2001/0501issue/0501berners-lee.html). In this article intended for the general public, they describe their vision for the Semantic Web. This vision is of a rich web of linked information, with markup allowing machines to route relevant information to the audiences that value it most. To accomplish this vision, a great amount of metadata will need to be added to content. This metadata will need to be complete and consistent, the metadata will need to be kept up-to-date, and this will need to be done without adding an army of human indexers. Semantic information management systems will be needed to compile and maintain schemas and the controlled vocabularies for filling them and to automatically process content at any time during their life cycles from creation through purging to apply and update rich metadata. When content has been labeled with rich, accurate metadata we can call this content intelligent in the sense that it has been prepared to be used by all sorts of applications.

Understanding the need for and value of rich metadata is not new. Consistent, in-depth indexing has been the business of information professionals for many years. What is new is the scope and scale of the application of rich metadata to a much wider variety of content objects intranets, extranets and even the Web. Clearly, this requires automated tools that can readily mobilize controlled vocabularies and more complex knowledge representation schemes. Semantic information management will require a new focus on content preparation, making content more intelligent so that applications that use content work better. This is a huge opportunity for all of us, and I'm happy to report that the ASIST 2001 Annual Meeting addresses this topic.

Harnessing the Flow

Information in a Networked World: Harnessing the Flow is the theme of the ASIST 2001 Annual Meeting. The meeting will be held at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Washington, DC, on November 3-8. Internet infrastructure pioneer Brewster Kahle, inventor of WAIS (Wide Area Information Server) system and founder of Thinking Machines, the Internet Archives and Alexa, will be the keynote speaker opening the meeting on Sunday afternoon, November 4. A debate on the semantic web between Ben Schneiderman and James Hendler will be featured in a second plenary session closing the meeting on Thursday morning, November 8. Some 65 sessions are scheduled from Sunday afternoon through Thursday morning. The extensive program also includes 38 Special Interest Group (SIG) sessions, nine invited panels, 48 refereed papers in 16 sessions, 34 posters and seven receptions.

Scanning the preliminary program, it is not surprising that the majority of papers and sessions delve into some of the core issues related to enabling the semantic web. The topics of categorization, digital libraries, information theory, knowledge management and usability are addressed by half the sessions on the program. Table 1 summarizes the topics of the 65 sessions in the four-day Annual Meeting program.

ASIST Special Interest Group or SIG sessions provide a major contribution to the Annual Meeting program. The proposals for these sessions are refereed, but the individual presentations are not. The intention of SIG session presentations is to focus on the most current developments in their fields. Table 2 summarizes the roster of programs prepared by the ASIST SIGs for the 2001 Annual Meeting. (Note that seven sessions are co-sponsored by two SIGs.)

ASIST Annual Meetings provide a unique intellectual and social experience that sprawls across a big landscape of federated interests. You will benefit from the content of technical program and make friendships that will change your life. Do not miss this meeting. Please see www.asis.org/Conferences/ for program and registration details.

Joseph A. Busch, 2001 ASIST President
jbusch@interwoven.com

Table 1.  ASIST 2001 Session Topics

Topics

# of Sessions

Bioinformatics

1

Cataloging

1

Categorization, classification, and indexing

4

Data mining

1

Digital libraries

4

Education

2

Globalization

2

Imaging & visualization

3

Information architecture

2

Information policy

3

Information retrieval

3

Information science theory & history

5

Instruction

2

Knowledge management

7

Portals

1

Privacy

3

Technologies

4

Usability, user studies, & interface design

10

 

Table 2.  SIG Sessions scheduled for 2001 ASIST Annual Meeting

SIG Special Interest Groups

# of Sessions

  CR      Classification Research

4

  DL      Digital Libraries

2

  ED      Education

4

  HCI    Human-Computer Interaction

1

  HFIS  History and Foundations of Information Science

6

  IA       Information Architecture

2

  IFP     Information Policy

2

  III       International Information Issues

6

  KM    Knowledge Management

3

  LAN   Library Automation and Networks

1

  MED  Medical Informatics

1

  MGT  Management

3

  MGT  Management

2

  PUB   Information Generation and Publishing

2

  STI     Scientific and Technical Information Systems

1

  TIS     Technology, Information and Society

4

  VIS    Visualization, Images and Sound

2

Plenary

2

SIG Sessions

38

Invited & Panel Sessions

9

Refereed Paper Sessions

16

Posters

34

Receptions

7

Figure 1. Types of Program Sessions at 2001 ASIST Annual Meeting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joseph A. Busch, 2001 ASIST President, is affiliated with Interwoven, 101 Second Street, Suite 499, San Francisco, CA 94105; telephone: 415/778-3100; fax: 415/778-3131; e-mail: jbusch@interwoven.com

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