From the Editor


Coverage of ASIS Annual Meeting

In this issue of the Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science, we will sample some of the excitement of the recently concluded 1997 ASIS Annual Meeting held in Washington, DC. Though nearly 1000 people were in attendance, none of them could possibly experience all of the substantive and social opportunities available. And, more importantly, several thousand ASIS members did not attend the meeting at all, so for them everything we choose to cover is news.

As always, we begin our coverage in Inside ASIS, with a quick review of meeting highlights and full coverage of the 1997 ASIS Award winners. Following that, we begin our feature coverage of some of the activities.

Upon receiving the ASIS Award of Merit, Professor Dagobert Soergel delivered a thoughtful speech in which he discusses his views on information science and, in particular, two ingredients to success: knowledgeable systems and knowledgeable users. His remarks are included in this issue.

In addition, the Bulletin has experimented this year with asking volunteers to report on the Technical Sessions at the Annual Meeting. For these sessions, speakers are not asked to produce a written version of their talks, so the valuable and timely information presented in them is not widely disseminated.

Generally, complete coverage of these sessions is too lengthy for the print version of the Bulletin, but in this issue we have provided reviews of two sessions. Several others will be included on the Bulletin Web site.

The two sessions in the print edition are Classification and Indexing for Image Collections: Theory and Practice, (SIGs/CR & VIS), reported by Ernie Dornfeld of the city of Seattle, and Clash of Stakeholders on the Information Superhighway, (SIGs/ PUB, HFIS & IFP), reported by Steve Hardin, Indiana State University. Papers from two other sessions, Strategic Transformation of Information Services (SIGs/MGT, III & FID) and International Assistance for Networking in Less-Developed Countries (SIG/III) will appear in future issues of the Bulletin.

Among the sessions for which reports had been received by the time this issue went to press and which will be placed on the Web site are the following:

Keynote Session: Clinton-Gore Policies and Networked Information. Speaker: Tom Kalil, the White House. Reported by Steve Hardin, Indiana State University

Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) – Future Access Tool Now Being Designed. (Invited Session) Reported by Irene Travis, Bulletin Editor

Electronic Publication in the Sciences: An Examination of Production, Distribution and Use (SIGs/STI & MED). Reported by Karla Hahn, McKeldin Library, University of Maryland

Globalization: Shaping Organizational Strategies, Building Partnerships and Enhancing Information Exchange in the Information Age (SIG/ III). Reported by Heather Hall, Interdisciplinary Program in Information Science, University of North Texas

Linking Government Data Producers to the Intermediary User Communities (sponsored by the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Reported by Susan Turner, International Monetary Fund

Time as a Factor in the Evaluation of Information Quality (SIGs/HFIS & IAE). Reported by Steve Hardin, Indiana State University

Theories in Information Science (SIGs/HFIS & ED). Summaries provided by the speakers.

I wish to thank all those who participated in this effort under tight deadlines. Comments on whether this service is useful would be very welcome. I am also particularly grateful this year to the members of SIG/III for providing coverage of so many of their sessions. Congratulations to them on winning the "ASIS SIG-of-the-Year" Award. It is well deserved.

Digital Object Identifiers

In the fall of 1997, the Association of American Publishers and international publishing groups announced their intention to implement a system of Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs), primarily for networked information. The project has drawn much attention and is considered an important development in supporting publication of copyrighted works on the Internet. Digital objects are packages or containers of information on a network. DOIs are a proposed system for assigning unique and persistent names to such objects.

Digital objects and DOIs are primary subjects of two feature articles in this issue. First, Clifford Lynch provides an overview of identifiers in general and their function in a networked environment, with particular emphasis on DOIs. Next, attorney Patrice Lyons discusses the copyright status of "original works of authorship structured as digital objects." A report on the ASIS Annual Meeting Invited Session on DOIs will also be available on the ASIS Bulletin Web site (www.asis.org).

Database Protection

The issue of whether databases need additional protection and, if so, what form that protection might take continues to be of great importance and interest to the information science community. We reproduce in this issue extensive excerpts from the Executive Summary to the U.S. Copyright Office’s recent report to Congress on Legal Protection for Databases. The summary provides an excellent overview of the area.


Irene Travis, Editor
Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science