2016 Candidate for Director-at-Large
Naresh Agarwal is an Associate Professor at the School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College, Boston. He earned his Ph.D. from the National University of Singapore (NUS)’s Department of Information Systems, School of Computing. His teaching areas are technology and web development, evaluation, knowledge management and information science theories. Agarwal’s research area is Information behavior and knowledge management – the way people look for information and the contextual factors that impact their choice of information sources. He seeks to understand and synthesize the apparent contradictions in this phenomenon and tries to reconcile multiple perspectives. His publications span these areas. Prior to entering the doctoral program at NUS, he worked for six years in technology roles in the voice-over-IP, bioInformatics and digital cinema industries. Over the years, Agarwal has held various leadership positions at ASIS&T, and is currently Chair of the Membership Committee. He has also participated in a variety of ASIS&T panels and presentations, while contributing to ASIS&T publications as author/reviewer. In 2012, he was awarded the ASIS&T James M. Cretsos Leadership Award.
Agarwal joined ASIS&T as a student member in 2008. At his first ASIS&T annual meeting, he inquired how he could get involved. By 2009, Agarwal was the Vice Chair of SIG/SI, Chair-Elect/Vice Chair of SIG/HLTH, an Alternative Assembly Representative to the Chapter Assembly, and a Co-Faculty Advisor to the Simmons student chapter. In 2010, he became the Student Chapter Representative to the Chapter Assembly, the Chair of SIG/HLTH, and Chair-Elect of SIG/ED. In 2012, Agarwal led SIG/ED to win the SIG of the Year. From 2012-2014, he served as the Deputy Director and Director of the Chapter Assembly. Agarwal worked hard to strengthen collaboration among Chapters and between Chapters and SIGs. His initiatives included changing judging criteria to promote collaboration, sharing winning reports, organizing virtual meetings, creating online collaborative spaces, simplifying annual reports, and bringing student and regional chapters on par. As Board Member, he actively contributed to board meetings/discussions. In 2015, Agarwal served in the Nominations Committee and the ASIS&T Strategic Planning Group. He organized the New Members’ Brunch at the annual meeting in St. Louis. As the current Chair of the Membership Committee, he hosts regularly online meetings and is leading a number of initiatives – soliciting, collating and prioritizing ideas for member recruitment and retention, including surveying members and looking at the work done by sister societies; looking at patterns of membership data; collecting/aggregating data of ongoing events by student chapters, regional chapters and SIGs into a common monthly calendar; inviting doctoral students to submit their videos for the ASIS&T website; among others.
I envision ASIS&T as a dynamic, thriving association, and foresee a lifetime of association and contribution to ASIS&T. Over the past few years, I’ve been working to promote ASIS&T, its SIGs/chapters, and to encourage new members. My quest is to continue to connect different SIGs, regional and student chapters for greater knowledge sharing. My thoughts on ASIS&T are summarized in my two ASIS&T bulletin articles – 1) Strengthening ASIS&T’s chapters by enhancing communication between Chapters and with SIGs. 40(5), 17-22, Jun/Jul 2014 (https://www.asis.org/Bulletin/Jun-14/JunJul14_Agarwal.pdf); and 2) James Cretsos leadership award: What ASIS&T means to me. 39(3), 19-23, Feb/Mar 2013 (https://www.asis.org/Bulletin/Feb-13/FebMar13_Agarwal.pdf).
If elected Director-at-large, I look forward to implementing some of the ideas for member recruitment and retention and the work of the Membership Committee this year at the Board level. I list two major themes below:
- Implementing Knowledge Management (KM) across all levels of the Association: A constant theme over the years has been one-way communication to members with not enough conversation. SIGs and Chapters don’t learn from or collaborate enough with other SIGs/Chapters. New officers often need to reinvent the work done by past officers. KM mechanisms can help in knowledge capture, creation, sharing, transfer and reuse across all levels of ASIS&T. KM was also a major theme in the ASIS&T Strategic Planning Report of 2015. I hope to bring my research and teaching experience in KM towards identifying and implementing these mechanisms. We need to reach a stage where each member feels not just a recipient, but a stakeholder, participant and co-creator of ASIS&T initiatives.
- Creating more incentives for new members to join and for current members to remain with ASIS&T: There is not enough incentive for student members to continue beyond graduation, and for members in remote locations or other countries to get value when they cannot attend the annual meeting. I hope to help create incentives by: 1) promoting a virtual option for the Annual Meeting for those who cannot participate in person; 2) making it easier for international members to join, including the option to pay membership dues without a credit card; 3) aggregating the good work being done by ASIS&T, its SIGs and Chapters by collecting them in a common monthly calendar; 4) inviting people who submitted to the Annual Meeting but were not accepted to join as members with a discounted rate; 5) helping start student new chapters, especially in South Asia and Africa; 6) enhancing two-way and multi-way communication at all levels.