Candidate for Member-at-Large
Joan C. Bartlett is Associate Professor in the School of Information Studies at McGill University. She holds a Ph.D. in Information Studies, and a Master of Library Science from the University of Toronto. Her research perspective integrates task analysis approaches with information behaviour and information interaction, particularly in the areas of health sciences and bioinformatics. Her current research program is focused on the information behavior and information literacy of young adults in the context of health and well-being.
Joan has taught in the areas of health sciences information, bioinformatics, and information literacy at McGill for almost two decades. Her professional practice includes five years working as a medical librarian at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. There, she was actively involved in the early years of teaching information literacy in support of evidence-based practice (medicine and healthcare) within the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. Her extensive professional experience in information literacy instruction, as well as helping people solve information problems, are foundational to her ongoing research and teaching.
Joan has been active in ASIS&T since attending her first conference as winner of the SIG-STI BIOSIS Student Travel award in 2000, followed by the Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Scholarship in 2002. More recently, she served as co-chair for the Panels and Alternative Events section of the 2019 Annual Meeting, and is currently chair of the Awards and Honors Committee. She also currently serves as the North American editor for Information Research.
The breadth and variety of interests within ASIS&T are among its great strengths. As information science research and practice become increasingly more specialized and fragmented, it is extremely important for there to be a place where everyone can come together – ASIS&T is this association. It is a venue for people from the many different silos within information science, and provides an opportunity for interaction and exchange of ideas across a wide range of disciplines and subjects. It is essential that ASIS&T remain an association where anyone in information science -- be they academics, practitioners, students, or from industry – feel welcome, and that the association offers value and benefit.
However, this breadth and diversity of perspective are also challenging to support and maintain. ASIS&T must continue to support this breadth, providing relevant experiences for not only academics, but also specialists from industry, information professionals, and students. SIGs and regional chapters provide a structure to support specific interests and needs, and help ensure the value of ASIS&T to their respective disciplinary and geographic communities. By continuing to strengthen and support SIGs and chapters, ASIS&T members will be able to benefit from the breadth of the association’s scope, while still finding their own niche within it.
The more recent initiatives within ASIS&T to become more globally oriented are positive, and should continue to be supported and encouraged. After over a year of adjusting to working remotely, there is an opportunity to keep those aspects of remote working and virtual meetings that are successful. While virtual events cannot completely replace the value of in-person events, maintaining some virtual elements to meetings, and supporting remote access will allow for increased attendance and participation, removing the barriers of geography, and encouraging broader participation in the Annual Meetings and other events.
Another important area of focus is outreach. ASIS&T has a long history of supporting new student members – I have personally benefited from this support, both in terms of awards and incentives to attend the annual meetings, and mentorship in becoming involved and active in the association. Mentorship and support of student members, both at the master’s and PhD level should remain a priority. In particular, increased outreach to professionally oriented master’s students could encourage them to continue membership and activities within ASIS&T in their professional careers. ASIS&T can provide an ideal venue for the academic and practitioner communities, sometimes viewed as “two solitudes”, to share their complementary perspectives to information science. ASIS&T is also very well suited to support and facilitate the translation of research into practice, by facilitating connections between researcher and practitioners.
I look forward to the opportunity to serve our association as a Director-at-Large.