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President’s Column, November 2022

As I write my first Inside ASIS&T column as President, I feel honored and privileged to lead our great association that has been going strong for over 85 years. If you were expecting to see beautiful paintings and inspirational poems at the end of the President’s column, you are in for a huge surprise. I cannot paint, nor can I write inspirational poems. Like you, I will miss not just our immediate past President Naresh Agarwal’s colorful and beautiful columns but also his leadership, which he delivered with a smile and happiness. It takes leaders like Naresh, past presidents, current and past board members, and the entire membership to build and sustain a global association like ASIS&T.

It feels like yesterday when you all honored me by electing me to the President-Elect position in July 2021. I hope to live up to your expectations. I know I will, not because I have special powers or wisdom, but because we are fortunate to have a diverse and dedicated board of directors; an excellent Headquarters staff with an energetic and dynamic executive director; SIG and Chapter officers as well as committee chairs and leaders who care about ASIS&T members; and all of you, the ASIS&T membership, and global ambassadors. With Lydia Middleton at the helm of the ASIS&T Headquarters operations and her excellent team, including Cathy Nash, Pamela Yonker, Garrett Doherty, and Aminta Dawson, handling their responsibilities with dedication and passion, I believe the Board and I will have the competent support to implement initiatives that will benefit ASIS&T members and help us meet our strategic goals and objectives.

It is a cliche, but Rome was not built in a day. A lot of strategic planning, effort, and hard work went into building a solid foundation for ASIS&T. Together, we will build on the strong foundation laid in the last 85 years with initiatives that will advance ASIS&T membership success; leverage strategic collaborations with various groups and associations, including ALISE and the iSchools Organization through the iFederation; and elevate ASIS&T to new heights. Our initiatives for the next 12 months will fit into the theme “Membership and Collaboration.”  I believe an association that works hard on its members' recruitment, retention, and development is a strong association. In other words, to keep ASIS&T strong, we must put members at the center of our activities, events, and initiatives. We have done recruitment well. That is why ASIS&T added over 1,200 members last year, becoming an even more global association. We must do more to retain our current members and grow the ASIS&T membership. Our efforts around retention will include creating an endowment fund and introducing a lifetime membership program which the Board approved and Lydia outlined in her remarks at the 2022 annual business meeting in Pittsburgh.

We also need to create value for our members through professional and leadership development opportunities, recognition for their contributions, and engagement at the local level. The new leaders program and proposed mentoring program, in addition to local events organized by chapters and SIGs, will help us create more value for members. Finally, we will encourage collaboration among ASIS&T groups and collaborate with ALISE and the iSchools Organization to forge closer relationships that will benefit members of the three associations. A perfect example is last month’s Information Science Summit. I want to thank Lydia Middleton, Anthony Chow, Sanda Erdelez, and everyone who made the Summit a huge success.

While the initiatives I outlined above focus on membership recruitment, retention, development, and collaboration between its various groups and collaboration with other associations and outside groups, it is vital that diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) remain the driver of everything we do. We need to hear from various voices to keep ASIS&T a global association with a worldwide reach and impact.

Seeing several of you at the Annual Meeting and the Information Science Summit in Pittsburgh was great. The 2022 conference program committee and its chair, Dirk Lewandowski, did a fantastic job! We thank Ian Ruthven, Heather O’Brien, and track co-chairs for leading the 2023 conference program committee. We couldn’t have asked for a better team. The committee chose an excellent theme, “Making a Difference: Translating Information Research into Practice, Policy, and Action.” We can’t wait to receive your submissions and see you in London! We also have an excellent program committee for the 2023 Mid-Year Conference, with Hemalata Iyer and Imane Hilal co-chairing the conference committee with track chairs who are leaders in the field. Submissions for the Mid-Year Conference, with the theme “Expanding Horizons of Information Science and Technology and Beyond,” are due on December 13, 2022. Please consider submitting your excellent work and encourage your colleagues to do the same.

In conclusion, we need your help in forging a productive and successful year for ASIS&T. Please reach out to me, members of the Board, Lydia, and headquarters staff with any questions, feedback, and suggestions. We are committed to working hard to help you derive the maximum benefits from your ASIS&T membership. I look forward to meeting you at various ASIS&T events, including SIG and chapter meetings, over the next 12 months to hear about your excellent projects and successes and listen to your great ideas on how we can support you and you us - the ASIS&T board and staff. Thank you for everything you do to support and promote ASIS&T worldwide. With your help, we will deliver on our promises to make ASIS&T a more global, diverse, and inclusive association worthy of its membership, name, and reputation!