ASIS&T President’s Page
This column is featured in the ASIS&T Bulletin June/July Issue
by Lynn Silipigni Connaway
Lynn Silipigni Connaway is the 2016-2017 ASIS&T President. She is Senior Research Scientist and Director of User Research at OCLC Research. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have so many great developments to share with you in this issue of my column. Top on my list is the hire of ASIS&T’s new Executive Director – Lydia Middleton . I am thrilled to welcome Lydia as the new Executive Director of ASIS&T. Lydia’s first day with ASIS&T was on May 8. I have had the opportunity to orient Lydia with ASIS&T and to work with her in the ASIS&T office in Silver Spring, MD, in May, and it has been a fulfilling and worthwhile experience.
Lydia joins ASIS&T at a critical juncture in our history – the 80th anniversary and the end of Dick Hill’s 27 years as Executive director, which brought growth and financial stability to the Association. She is poised to lead and manage ASIS&T, being guided by its strategic plan, which includes membership growth, a stronger global presence, greater opportunities to connect academic and professional interests, pursuit of new sources of revenue, and implementation of new modes of communication and engagement with technology to support member interests. Lydia not only values the diversity of ASIS&T staff and members, but also looks forward to enhancing the Association’s value to its members, and its presence in our professional and academic communities.
As a member of the ASIS&T Executive Director Search Committee, I want to take this opportunity to thank Sandy Hirsh and Clara Chu, Co-chairs of the Search Committee; the other Search Committee members – Jamshid Beheshti, Nadia Caidi, Lisa Given, and Marjorie Hlava; and the executive search firm, Isaccson Miller, whose expertise and excellent service throughout the search was key to our success in identifying qualified candidates and in hiring Lydia. The Committee thanks the ASIS&T staff and members for their valuable input during the search process. Two hundred fifty-two individuals were considered in the search either as sources or as candidates. This appointment may be one of the most critical decisions of my presidential term and I feel privileged to have been a part of this important hire.
I also have had the opportunity to work with our ASIS&T Annual Meeting co-chairs and 80th Anniversary Advisory Group members. We are very excited to announce our two keynote speakers for the Annual Meeting – Richard Marks and William Powers. Richard Marks is the Head of Playstation Magic Lab at Sony Interactive Entertainment. His area of expertise is social aspects of virtual reality and augmented reality. William Powers is the best-selling author of Hamlet’s Blackberry and Research Scientist at MIT Media Lab. His area of expertise is work-life balance in a technologically-connected world.
The members of the 80th Anniversary Advisory Group have been busy planning for the Annual Meeting. This group is chaired by Kathryn La Barre, and members include Michael Buckland, Toni Carbo, Ken Herold, Dania Bilal, Javed Mostafa, Nouf Khashman and Tatjana Aparac. Details about our invited 80th Anniversary-themed panel session will be available soon, and the plans for the 80th Anniversary-themed Welcome Reception are ongoing. Please forward names of ASIS&T friends and members who have died recently to Kathryn at email@example.com, to be honored with a moment of silence at the reception. Time will be devoted during the reception to honor Gene Garfield’s contributions to ASIS&T. Kathryn also is facilitating efforts to create an interactive exhibit honoring 80 years of ASIS&T, to debut at the reception and to be available throughout the conference. If you have images, videos, or audio you would like to share, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our ASIS&T members in Asia also have been quite busy. I was invited to spend two-weeks (26 March-7 April) at the University of Hong Kong as a Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Education, working with the Master of Library and Information Management (MLIM) Program faculty and students. I began my visit by participating in the two-day Symposium on Research Design, Paper Writing, and Publishing in Information Science that was hosted at HKU and sponsored by the ASIS&T Asia Pacific Chapter (Christopher Khoo, Chair) and the Taipei Chapter (Ming-Hsin Phoebe Chiu, Chair, and Tien-I Tsai, Vice Chair), and Sam Chu (Paper Co-chair for the ASIS&T 2017 Annual Meeting). I discussed qualitative research methods and also had the opportunity to lead a break-out session with students. The students discussed their research, and I provided feedback on how to make the paper publishable in the ASIS&T journal, JASIST, and/or to submit a paper for review for the ASIS&T 2017 Annual Meeting. I am thrilled to report that one of the doctoral students in my break-out session did submit a paper proposal for the ASIS&T 2017 Annual Meeting. I hope it gets accepted! Javed Mostafa, the editor of JASIS&T, also attended the symposium and advised students and faculty on preparing and submitting papers for review for publication in JASIST.
During my two-week visit, I met with many students, faculty, and practicing professionals in Hong Kong and Macau. Dr. Chu made sure I worked and played hard. He scheduled hikes with students and faculty so I was able to work in a beautiful outdoor environment with stimulating discussions. I am honored to have had the opportunity to spend time working with the students, faculty, and practitioners in Hong Kong and Macau. I learned so much from everyone and got to do so with wonderful colleagues in a gorgeous setting while eating delicious food!!
When I returned from Hong Kong, Nadia Caidi, ASIS&T Past President, and I attended the Council for Scientific Society Presidents meeting in Washington, DC, 6-8 May. This meeting is an opportunity for ASIS&T presidents to meet with presidents and executive directors of other scientific associations. It’s good to share challenges and opportunities and learn about different ways to lead change. The speakers are excellent, and this year we heard speakers from Harvard, Yale, Rutgers Universities; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California, Berkeley, National Public Radio, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Agriculture, and the National Institutes of Health, as well as other government scientific agencies. The speakers introduced such diverse topics as the factors that count as evidence in the world of fake news, the current challenges facing the sciences, building with 3-D printed renewable resources (building with recycled tires), 3-D cell neurobiology and gene editing, computer models, the national strategy to improve safety testing (addressed testing skin lotions, perfumes, and so forth), and data-driven public engagement initiatives. Nadia, Lydia, and I attended the Kavli Lecture to hear George M. Church, professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and professor of Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He also is director of the U.S. Department of Energy Center on Bioenergy at Harvard and MIT and director of the National Institutes of Health Center of Excellence in Genomic Science at Harvard. We even had a photo op with Dr. Church!
Since ASIS&T is a prominent society for the advancement of information science and technology, we officially partnered with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Earth Day Network for the March for Science. Check out the story, videos, and photos of ASIS&T member participation in the March Inside ASIS&T, Volume 1, Issue 2. Don’t miss the events that are available to you as ASIS&T members since several important deadlines are approaching.
One deadline of critical importance is for the ASIS&T awards. The award descriptions and deadlines are available at https://www.asist.org/about/awards/. These awards provide the ASIS&T membership an opportunity to nominate and honor fellow members for their professional and scholarly work and contributions to ASIS&T and the information science community. I encourage you to nominate colleagues for these prestigious awards.
The Member-Get-A-Member Recruitment Drive ended June 1st with 54 new members! We want to thank all the members whose dedication and loyalty made this campaign a success. For their efforts, they will receive a membership renewal discount and a chance to win a free registration to the 2017 Annual Meeting. There also will be 2nd and 3rd place prizes of a gift basket containing limited edition 80th anniversary merchandise. Thanks to all those who participated!
And, for the Annual Meeting, you still have time to submit your visual presentations, formerly known as posters! The deadline is 23 June and we are encouraging different types of visualizations in addition to traditional posters.
I also want to encourage each of you to share your accomplishments with ASIS&T so that we are able to celebrate with you. Please send your news to email@example.com or use the website feedback form. And, speaking of sharing news, please remember to schedule your summer professional activities that are of interest to the membership on the Events Calendar that is available to all members on the homepage of the ASIS&T website. To add an event, simply login using your ASIS&T account information and click on the “Add Event” icon.
Remember, you are ASIS&T. Make it the association that meets your professional and scholarly interests and ambitions!