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February 2021 President’s Column

Hello ASIS&T members. It is so very good to have this opportunity to touch base with the ASIS&T community and share news about what is happening in our amazing association. Lots of activity is going on and we are making great strides already in terms of carrying out the 39 tactics outlined in our strategic plan. Importantly, ASIS&T headquarters has developed a performance measurement dashboard to monitor how well things are proceeding in terms of each of these 39 tactics and we will be regularly sharing high-level reports on our website to give members a quick snapshot on the status of things.

As mentioned in my last President’s Message, I feel the following strategic tactical items are particularly noteworthy: bringing back the Annual Review of Information Science and Technology (ARIST); launching marketing campaigns; increasing and engaging the membership; creating new publication outlets (e.g., Information Matters); and developing opportunities to generate new funds. I am happy to report that ASIS&T has made two recent hires that will help us achieve success in these areas. One of these hires is Garrett Doherty. He will serve as Managing Editor of the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST) and eventually will serve as Managing Editor of our new Information Matters publication outlet once that publication is off the ground. The other hire is Pamela Yonker. She will serve as Director of Marketing and Communications. Her help is greatly needed in promoting ASIS&T to others. This will help increase membership. Welcome Garrett and Pamela!

Great progress has been made on the ARIST front. The Publications Committee has identified potential publishers and the Board has indicated its preferred choice. Once finalized, we will seek out an Editor-in-Chief for ARIST. So exciting to see progress in this area. Soon, we will be also advertising for an Editor-in-Chief for Information Matters.

These two Editor-in-Chief positions will come along with stipends to ensure those who take up these important positions are compensated for their time and energy. Some members may have concerns about all this spending and hiring. However, members should be rest assured that the financial position of ASIS&T is quite healthy. We have a very large reserve to draw from and this reserve is growing in size. The Budget and Finance Committee met recently to review our finances (which include the costs of hiring new staff and Editors-in-Chief) and were well-satisfied with the financial position of the Association. Likewise, at February’s Board of Directors Meeting, board members were positive and in-support of ASIS&T’s finances, recent hires, and planned Editor-in Chief positions. As mentioned in my last President’s message, I believe we need to use our reserves to invest in our organization.

One of our strategic goals is to promote collaboration with other information associations. Great progress has been made in this area, particularly with the Association for Library and Information Science (ALISE) and the iSchools organization. For example, we held a joint ASIS&T/ALISE virtual meet-up in January where members of both organizations had an opportunity to virtually “Meet-the-Editors” of the two associations’ journals: JASIST and the Journal of Education for Library and Information Science (JELIS). Several joint iFederation events are planned for 2021. The iFederation comprises three information associations: ASIS&T, ALISE and the iSchools. An iFederation panel on the topic of “online education” will be presented on March 30th at 12:30 pm Eastern Standard Time. An iFederation virtual meet-up will be held in April/May on the topic of “iFederation collaborations.” During this virtual meet-up, the three organizations wish to hear from their memberships on what future collaborations between these three associations should look like. Another iFederation virtual meet-up will be held in July. An iFederation panel presentation will occur during the ALISE conference in September. Last, but not least, an iFederation panel presentation will occur during ASIS&T’s Annual Meeting in October.

On another matter, our long-time and dedicated Parliamentarian, Steve Hardin, has decided to resign. It is with mixed emotions that I accepted Steve’s resignation. He has done an excellent job serving as Parliamentarian over many years. Steve has been a member of ASIS&T since 1987 and has served as Parliamentarian since 2007. He was a Board member between 1997 and 1999. Steve has done stellar work for the Association. He is a trusted resource and has helped the Board navigate difficult decisions over the years. He will be truly missed. To find a replacement for Steve, a call for volunteer for this position has been issued. Hoping someone within the membership will take up this charge!

Before I sign off, I wish to express my sincere thanks to our Executive Director, Lydia Middleton, for all her great work in moving the Association forward. Over the last few months, she has been very busy serving as pseudo Managing Editor of JASIST. As well, she has coordinated and administered many tasks, including the start-up of a new Special Interest Group in Artificial Intelligence, hosting an ASIS&T awards ceremony and a Past-Presidents’ reception in January that traditionally would have been conducted at the Annual Meeting last Fall.

Last, but not least, I hope everyone is handling the COVID-19 situation well. Although promises of vaccines offer hope to ending this global crisis, there are disparities among nations on access to vaccinations. Wishing everyone stays safe and healthy!

Best regards,