Bulletin, February/March 2011
2010 ASIS&T Award Winners
Each year at the ASIS&T Annual Meeting, the Society honors the winners of the prestigious ASIS&T Annual Awards. This year’s winners are featured in this section.
Award of Merit
Linda C. Smith, professor and associate dean at the University of Illinois, is an extraordinary leader in our field. As her nominator for the award summarized, “Linda Smith’s career has exemplified the theory, the practice and the ethos of access of information in library and information science. Her research has spanned the areas of artificial intelligence, information retrieval, library automation and education. Her work in reference librarianship has made information more accessible to users everywhere, and she has developed and directed an award-winning online education program that has made LIS education accessible to many who would not otherwise have had that opportunity.
“As a mentor and teacher, she has had a lifelong impact on countless students, colleagues and practitioners. In all of these activities, Linda Smith has been unstinting in generosity, unassuming in leadership and unequalled in dedication to her profession…. Her dedication to students is legendary, and she’s been recognized with numerous awards for teaching and mentoring, including the 1987 ASIS Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award.”
Dr. Smith is a prolific author of journal articles, conference presentations and invited talks, as well as one of the field’s standard textbooks. She holds memberships in a wide range of organizations, and is a dedicated leader within organizations such as ALISE and ASIS&T. Despite all of these accomplishments, and her profound influence, Dr. Smith remains one of the field’s most humble servants.
Because of Dr. Smith’s extraordinary range of contributions to scholarship, teaching and service, we are delighted to award her our highest honor, the 2010 ASIS&T Award of Merit.
Watson Davis Award
The 2010 Watson Davis Award goes to Barbara Wildemuth, a tireless advocate of the Society and its members since she first joined ASIS&T in 1976. She has served continuously over the years on numerous committees, award juries and boards, most recently serving on the Board of Directors in the position of director-at-large. She has co-chaired the Annual Meeting and the technical program of the Mid-Year Meeting. She was one of the founders of SIG/USE in 1999 and has continually contributed to its growth and strength, including initiating the first SIG/USE Research Symposium, which has become an annual event.
Another of her significant contributions to ASIS&T is her work on behalf of doctoral students. After winning an ASIS&T scholarship in support of her own doctoral work, she has reciprocated by leading and championing specific ASIS&T programs in support of emerging scholars and new members of ASIS&T. For the ASIS&T Doctoral Seminar, just one example of programs designed for students, she uses her extensive professional network and gentle and good-humored pressure to put senior and distinguished faculty in the same room with the next generation of ASIS&T members for an afternoon of mentoring. She has given great amounts of time and effort to ASIS&T with no diminution of her impressive scholarly activity. Barbara Wildemuth’s leadership and dedicated service to ASIS&T make her an exemplary recipient of the Watson Davis Award.
Susan Leigh Star, faculty member at the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh at the time of her sudden death earlier this year, is the recipient of the 2010 ASIS&T Research Award. During her 15-year career, Susan Leigh Star made incredible contributions to research in information science. Among her successes were two key monographs – Sorting Things Out: Classification and Its Consequences (1999) and Standards and Their Stories: How Quantifying, Classifying and Formalizing Practices Shape Everyday Life (2009). Her scholarly work and leadership in the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S) led to an outstanding national and international reputation. Her work couples a profound understanding of technology with a humanistic perspective.
Of greatest relevance to information science is her research centered on the social and organizational aspects of large information systems, including digital libraries and medical classification. She was a key figure in a socially grounded approach to investigating information systems, drawing on social studies of science, information science, workplace studies and technological design. She undertook empirical studies of knowledge creation and use with methods informed by her PhD studies in sociology, including social networks, grounded theory and ethnography.
In the area of social informatics and infrastructure, Susan Leigh Star’s significance lies in being among the first to bring an ethnographic approach to investigating emerging cyber infrastructure. In the area of classification and standards, the chief strength of her work is its capacity to bring an almost invisible aspect of social life to the forefront of analytic treatment. Through her original and groundbreaking work Susan Leigh Star brought new insights and methods to research on questions important to information science. For her significant body of work she is richly deserving of (posthumous) recognition with this year’s ASIS&T Award for Research in Information Science.
Best Information Science Book Award
Two works in the field of information science are honored in 2010 with Best Information Science Book Awards.
Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates by Adrian Johns and published by The University of Chicago Press, is an elegant, astute and learned examination of piracy, in the sense of unauthorized reproduction of intellectual material. The book is an excellent example of how meticulous, wide-ranging historical research can form part of the interdisciplinary universe of information science. The book not only contextualizes piracy in time, place and social context, it uses that subtle understanding to illuminate current and future issues in the world of content distribution. Notably, the book moves beyond simplistic perspectives on piracy as good or bad, showing the variety of effects of piracy in an even-handed manner. Moreover, the book's clear, engaging writing style makes it accessible to the public as well as worthwhile for the scholar.
Encyclopedia of Library and Information Sciences, edited by Marcia J. Bates and Mary Niles Maack and published by CRC Press, is an extraordinary achievement. This comprehensive treatment of the major ideas in LIS will remain a lasting resource for the information disciplines. The editors have remapped and restructured the field, revealing its inner structure and multifaceted connections to cognate fields. While mapping an evolving field and exploring its trans-disciplinary connections, the various traditions within LIS and the duality between the scientific and the humanistic traditions is well balanced. ELIS addresses the informatics turn, and it builds bridges to domains, such as digital humanities, museum studies and book history. The integrative nature of the information disciplines is exposed and explored in depth. The scope is international, and the quality of articles is generally high. Multifaceted and authoritative, it provides a map to our field, revealing its vitality and growth but also its depth and emerging tradition
John Wiley & Sons Best JASIST Paper Award
The 2010 John Wiley & Sons Best JASIST Paper Award goes to Max L. Wilson, M.C. Schraefel and Ryen W. White for their article, “Evaluating Advanced Search Interfaces Using Established Information-Seeking Models,” Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 60, 7, July 2009, pp. 1407-1422.
The paper addresses situations in which users have poorly defined or complex information search goals. Search interfaces that offer only keyword-searching facilities provide inadequate support to help these users reach their information-seeking objectives. The emergence of interfaces with more advanced capabilities, such as faceted browsing and result clustering, can assist such users. The evaluation of these interfaces is challenging because they generally offer diverse and versatile search environments that introduce overwhelming numbers of independent variables to user studies. The article presents a formative inspection framework for the evaluation of advanced search interfaces.
In terms of professional merit, the paper is both systematic and articulate in its presentations. Three aspects are particularly noteworthy: (1) the paper contains a detailed literature review and a synthesis of information seeking behavior models; (2) it introduces three faceted browsers and the evaluation framework used in the experiment; and (3) the contribution of the paper emerges from its theoretical base in human-computer interaction and resides in its breadth and in its application of user-models of search interaction to evaluation of rich faceted search user interfaces. It is systematic in its approach. The paper is well presented, clear, direct and understandable, and the argument and empirical content are well delineated.
James M. Cretsos Leadership Award
Crystal Fulton, an ASIS&T member since 2004, is the recipient of the 2010 James M. Cretsos Leadership Award recognizing new members who have demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities in professional ASIS&T activities.
As soon as she joined ASIS&T, Crystal became active in Special Interest Group/Information Needs, Seeking and Use (SIG/USE). In the ensuing years she has served in all of the SIG’s major offices, helped with all SIG symposia and led the development of a variety of innovative projects to celebrate the SIG’s 10th anniversary year. Among her successes for SIG/USE are the development of the Academy of SIG/USE Research Fellows and the incorporation of Second Life into SIG/USE events at the ASIS&T Annual Meeting.
In addition, Crystal has enthusiastically supported other SIGs and all ASIS&T activities in general.
Thomson-Reuters Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Scholarship
Jaime Snyder of Syracuse University is the winner of the 2010 Thomson-Reuters Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Scholarship for
Image-Enabled Discourse: An Investigation of the Creation of Visual Information as Communicative
Practice. This dissertation will explore the role that the creation of visual information, such as sketches, plays in face-to-face conversations. It will provide empirical evaluation for a new model of image-enabled discourse built on William Hanks' concept of communicative practice. Human abilities to use images for communication are far more nuanced than technology-enabled tools currently support; this research will provide affordances for improving such technologies.
ASIS&T/ProQuest Doctoral Dissertation Award
The 2010 ASIS&T/ProQuest Doctoral Dissertation Award is presented to Alberto Pepe, student at the University of California at Los Angeles, for Structure and Evolution of Scientific Collaboration Networks in a Modern Research Collaboratory. This exemplary, innovative, pioneering and potentially highly influential dissertation addresses an increasingly important area of study in information science – scientific collaboration throughout the world and across disciplines. Pepe investigated collaborative ecology of a multidisciplinary and distributed science environment, the Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS). Using survey research and network analysis, this dissertation focused on three aspects of network interactions: co-authorship of professional publications, scholarly communication via network mailing lists and interpersonal acquaintanceship patterns. Pepe’s work explored social/scientific network analysis theories and concepts and examined the topology, structure and evolution of these networks in relation to the disciplinary and institutional arrangements of CENS.
Pepe’s research methodology and data analysis were well designed, logically organized, thoroughly explained and comprehensively documented. This dissertation provides insights into how scientists communicate with each other on a day-to-day basis and how they negotiate the distribution of tasks and evaluate the contributions of one another to the project as a whole. As scholarly publishing and science itself adapt to the Internet age, Pepe’s work will stand as a model for information scientists studying these important developments.
History Fund Research Paper Award
The winner of 2010 ASIS&T History Fund Research Paper Award is Sarah Buchanan, University of California at Los Angeles, for her paper: “Name’s the Same?: The Los Angeles Chapter of ASIS&T Upon Its Semicentennial.” The award carries a $500 prize.
History Fund Research Grant Award
The 2010 History Fund Research Grant Award goes to Andrew Russell, assistant professor, Stevens Institute of Technology, for his proposal, “An Open World: Ideological Origins of Network Standards.” The award is a $1,000 grant.
The 2010 Chapter-of-the-Year Award goes to the Los Angeles Chapter of ASIS&T (LACASIST). The chapter is commended for its exceptional recruitment efforts and utilization of new members, timely and informative programs, projects and services that serve both current and future members, and use of technology to advance chapter business and events. The award jury noted that the chapter has an impressive array of meetings, both social and informative, which keep members engaged. The chapter continues to support projects and services that address member needs, including providing travel scholarships to the ASIS&T Annual Meeting and sponsoring annual memberships for student members via the Margaret McKinley Scholarship. The chapter has embraced technology for efficient communication with members, for board interaction, and to record and share program content for chapter members unable to attend as well as for information professionals around the world.
Student Chapter-of-the-Year Award
The 2010 Student Chapter-of-the-Year Award goes to the Simmons College ASIS&T Student Chapter which engaged in a number of significant programs throughout the year on an impressive list of topics. Among the activities cited by the award jury were two placement events – alumni speed networking and an online career fair – designed to help student members find work in our harsh economy. The chapter also continued its noteworthy and impressive work on member recruitment and retention with the use of attractive publications and social media. In addition, the chapter showed its ingenuity with the establishment of an award to recognize contributions by a member of the student chapter. All in all, the chapter’s efforts resulted in an end-of-year membership count of 279 members and recognition by ASIS&T as the Student Chapter-of-the-Year.
The 2010 Chapter Member-of-the-Year Award goes to Susan Fensore of the Northern Ohio Chapter of ASIS&T (NORASIST). Susan has gone “above and beyond” for her chapter by stepping up “to fill her chapter’s need for leadership and recruitment in a significant way” (noted one judge). The judges were particularly impressed by Susan’s emphasis on outreach through such efforts as representing NORASIST at job fairs, classroom visits and orientation events for the local library science graduate program. This type of outreach is an exemplary act of service that promotes both the local chapter and the national association.
Both the Central Ohio Chapter and the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Society for Information Science and Technology are recipients in 2010 of Chapter Publication-of-the-Year Awards, and in both cases, their websites earned the citations.
As noted by one of the judges, the Central Ohio Chapter website “is very well done and exhibits excellent technological implementation and high-quality design.” New functionality of the website includes a search feature, an interactive calendar of posts, a dynamic tag cloud of site content and a clean version for mobile devices. The website is also highly integrated with other methods of chapter information dissemination, such as Facebook and twitter.
The Los Angeles Chapter (LACASIST) website, which was first launched in 1996, was redesigned this year on a new open-source content management system (Drupal). Since launching the new website, the site has seen a 527% increase in traffic. Though the redesign focused on a number of basic site elements, the judges particularly liked the emphasis placed on membership recruitment and retention. A dedicated section of the website provides prospective and existing members up-to-date and accessible information on getting involved in the chapter.
Chapter Event of the Year
Two Chapter Event-of-the-Year Awards are presented this year for two events: one developed by the Los Angeles Chapter; the other by the Carolinas Chapter and the UNC Student Chapter.
The Los Angeles Chapter is honored for its fall event, Collaboration Tools: Best Practices and New Trends, which brought academics and practitioners together to discuss ways to work more productively, benefits of cloud computing, state-of-the-art in collaborative work and how teams communicate across geographic distances. This event was held in cooperation with the Los Angeles user experience group and provided outstanding visibility for both ASIS&T and the Los Angeles Chapter.
The Carolinas Chapter of ASIS&T and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Student Chapter are awarded the 2010 Chapter Event-of-the-Year Award for Information Design Workshop which focused on information visualization and design for academic posters and presentations. The event, led by UNC doctoral candidate and designer Songphan Choemprayong, featured a stunning slideshow as it walked students through various aspects of designing and presenting information. The judges were particularly impressed with the collaboration between the chapters, as well as the large number of non-ASIS&T members who attended this event.
The 2010 SIG-of-the-Year is SIG/Information Needs Seeking and Use (SIG/USE). SIG/USE celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2009 with a special workshop and reception, publication, a promotional poster, conference swag and multiple contacts with members through traditional publications and a variety of online choices, including web 2.0 platforms and a Second Life presence. One of the jury members said it best: “This SIG leveraged the opportunity offered by the 10th anniversary year to aid in recruitment and retention of members, to publicize the SIG, to celebrate its members and to promote awareness of its activities... Their summary of their annual activities sparkles with energy and enthusiasm, and ASIS&T is fortunate to have SIG/USE as one of its constituent bodies.”
The 2010 SIG Member-of-the-Year is Barrie Hayes, chair of SIG/Digital Libraries (SIG/DL). Barrie continued her enthusiastic approach toward developing and expanding the SIG, as well as her dedication to providing a home for data-oriented practitioners within the Society as a whole. Barrie has been an exemplary chair from a governance perspective; she is one of the few to consistently manage SIG business with a keen eye for detail and deadlines. Under Barrie’s leadership the SIG held several Skype calls among the SIG leadership and with interested members, developed an excellent post-conference workshop for the 2010 Annual Meeting and made a concerted effort to grow the SIG through involving both the official members and those who had joined the Facebook and LinkedIn pages.
The 2010 SIG Publication-of-the-Year Award goes to “A Decade of SIG/USE: Celebrating SIG/USE and Information Behavior Research,” the special section of the February/March 2010 Bulletin of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. Edited by Crystal Fulton and containing five articles by nine eminent members of the SIG, this special section demonstrates the breadth and depth of the history, subjects and activity of the SIG and the field of information behavior research. The section will hold up for years as an introduction to researchers, students and practitioners of both the field and the SIG.
Articles in this Issue
2010 ASIS&T Award Winners