of The American Society for Information Science

Vol. 26, No. 5

June/July 2000

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President's Page

Eugene Garfield, President of the American Society for Information Science

In my "President's Report" of March 2000 (www.asis.org/garfield.html), I covered membership, meetings, JASIS , ARIST, finances and the name change.  An update on these topics as well as SIG activity follows.

Membership

Whereas net individual membership in January 2000 was 3101, due primarily to the success of our Boston meeting, net membership as of April 30 was 3247, an increase of 4.7%!  Most of the new members are information architects (IA).  Hopefully, the formation of a new ASIS SIG/IA will help insure that these members renew next year. 

Our institutional memberships as of April 30 stand at 262.  ASIS is making a special effort to recruit new institutional members.  Potential institutional members may be found among former library subscribers to JASIS.  Institutional members receive JASIS in print, and if they wish to have electronic access, they can purchase that from Wiley for the difference between ASIS institutional membership and the John Wiley license fee for the level of access desired. (The Individual Representatives of institutional members continue to receive full regular member benefits, which includes the option of personal print or electronic access.)  If we can recruit these libraries as institutional members, they may eventually adopt site licenses to the electronic JASIS archive.

Meetings

The ASIS summit meeting on information architecture was a huge success.  It was attended by Past President Candy Schwartz, myself and President-Elect Joe Busch, as well as several other ASIS Board members, including Guy Marchionini, George Ryerson, Kris Liberman and Victor Rosenberg.  An informal meeting of this group was held to discuss a number of outstanding issues.

Registration for the IA meeting was 375.  Of these, only 72 were existing ASIS members.  Of the remaining attendees, over 50 have already signed up as new ASIS members.

We are indebted to Victor Rosenberg for suggesting this topic and to Lou Rosenfeld and Gary Marchionini for their help in making it a success.  ASIS Headquarters staff did an excellent job in promoting the meeting and organizing the local facilities.

When I first joined the Board, I naively asked why don't we have a SIG for "webology" to serve the needs of applied information scientists like webmasters and web designers.  Information architects are heavily involved in these activities, hence the need for our society to be more closely identified with information technology.  The Boston summit on Defining Information Architecture helped to build bridges between library and information science theory and "information architect" practice.  See the meeting Website to view some of the presentations and material distributed by the speakers:

www.asis.org/Conferences/Summit2000/Information_Architecture/index.html.

JASIS Online

The most newsworthy event was the implementation of the JASIS electronic Website.  All regular and student members who signed up for the electronic edition should already have a password. If you have any difficulties, let headquarters know.  Suggestions for improving the site will be passed along to Wiley.  It is wonderful to be able to access 14 years of JASIS online.  The next step is to increase the coverage of the remaining 35 back years of material.

ARIST

As I reported earlier, Martha Williams has retired as editor of the Annual Review of Information Science and Technology (ARIST) after 25 years of remarkable service.  Blaise Cronin and Debra Shaw of Indiana University are now serving as editor and associate editor of ARIST.  Continuing its past tradition, ARIST aims to be authoritative, accessible and analytic.  It succeeds, in no small measure, thanks to the dedication and commitment of its advisory board.

The aim of the new editors is to maintain the integrity of the annual volume, while gradually broadening the scope of ARIST to cover emerging topics of interest to an expanded readership.  That audience will be found within the broadly defined domains of information science and technology. Blaise plans to introduce some changes, without compromising the integrity or essential features. Future chapters will be somewhat shorter, in the 8 -10,000-word range, with a capped bibliography of 75-100 items. In this way, we can increase the number of chapters per volume and thereby expand ARIST's footprint. Authors will be encouraged to write evaluative reviews which reflect their personal voice, while providing balanced coverage of the issues, a summary of recent work in the area and a sense of the important questions to be addressed.

Finances

The Annual Meeting, as reported earlier, produced a profit of $75,000, a much-needed boost to ASIS reserves.  We are still a long way from sufficient reserves to be comfortable.  However, the outstanding success in Boston has produced a further contribution of around $50,000 to the ASIS bottom line.

About 524 library subscribers have renewed JASIS for the year 2000.  This means that our forecasted royalty of $120,000, payable in early 2001, will be realized. 

As I have stressed above, institutional members are a very cost effective way for us to improve the ASIS financial picture, but it is too early to forecast where that might end up this year.

We must emulate the success in promoting the Boston meeting, which relied almost exclusively on internet promotion, to stimulate interest.  However, signing up new institutional members also requires in-person contact.  Please discuss ASIS membership at your institution or company.  You can help your society by contacting the key people.  Headquarters can provide appropriate membership literature that will explain the benefits of institutional membership.

SIGs

We have made excellent progress in the area of SIG revitalization.  Mike Stallings and Gretchen Whitney have provided invaluable leadership.   We now have a new SIG in Knowledge Management, and SIGs are being organized for Digital Libraries and Information Architecture.

In February, I addressed a joint meeting of the Indiana and Southern Ohio chapters of ASIS in Indianapolis.  Thanks to the help of Allison Kopczynski and Jim Cretsos, the meeting was a great success.  A direct outcome of the meeting was an agreement to form SIG/Digital Libraries, with Allison as chair.  She is supported by Suzie Allard as chair-elect. This new SIG will participate in the national meeting program in Chicago. 

Mike Buckland and others took the lead several months ago in establishing the new SIG in Knowledge Management.

Our virtual SIG for Metrics has been in steady operation for over six months. We already have over 200 members.  Gretchen Whitney does a magnificent job of monitoring and maintaining the listserv.

As a result of the Boston meeting, Marla Gunasegaram of the LA Chapter and Ed Housman of the Boston Chapter volunteered to move forward on creation of a new SIG/IA.  They have already created a Website and a listserv and will be proposing sessions for the Annual Meeting in Chicago, November 13-16.

Following the example of SIG/MED, which changed its name last year to Medical Informatics, it has been recommended that SIG/STI change its name to SIG/SciTech Informatics.  This should make ASIS more hospitable to the burgeoning field of  bio-informatics.  Regardless, ASIS must push ahead aggressively to recruit members from the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. 

Constitutional and Name Change Ballots

One of the most significant events in our history occurred on April 28th.  Under the supervision of past president Gerry Sophar, ballots were counted at ASIS Headquarters.  A significant majority, 69.7% of 1007 ballots, voted in favor of changing the name of our society to the American Society for Information Science and Technology. 

The second ballot issue, concerning future changes to the Constitution, was approved by 85%.  Any changes to the Constitution now only require 66.7% of those voting. Based on consultation with our parliamentarian Gerard Platau, the name change and its implementation will be discussed at the next Board Meeting on May 21-22.  This is an important event in our history and I believe it will enable us to reach out to greater numbers of information professionals.

Eugene Garfield is chairman emeritus of ISI and publisher of The Scientist. He can be reached at 3501 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA  19104; by telephone at 215/243-2205; by fax at 215/387-1266 or by e-mail at garfield@CODEX.cis.upenn.edu. His home page is at  http://www.eugenegarfield.org.


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