Member Spotlight, January 2023
In each issue of Inside ASIS&T, we ask a different member questions about their perspectives, advice, and experiences in the field of information science and technology. If you would like to be a featured member, email Pamela Yonker at email@example.com.
Jesse Dinneen, PhD
Berlin School of Library and Information Science
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany
How long have you been an ASIS&T member?
For ten years, since 2013.
Why did you decide to join ASIS&T?
My introduction to ASIS&T was through McGill Uni's student chapter, who regularly offered great events and a supportive intellectual culture, so in part I joined ASIS&T to join them. And later that year the annual meeting came to Montréal, and so by joining I got to meet the international information science community, attend a workshop relevant to my dissertation, and even contribute back by helping to organise the board retreat.
How have you benefited from being an ASIS&T member?
Membership at ASIS&T regularly provides me opportunities to engage other information researchers and practitioners, to maintain connections with international colleagues, and to give back in a way that sustains the community (e.g. organising events or jurying awards). Utilising these opportunities has enriched my work, and I'm grateful for them.
Do you have any advice for new ASIS&T members?
ASIS&T is a welcoming community that is as active as we make it. So if/when you have the capacity, don't wait to join the many SIGs and chapters to begin helping out and making contact with the people whose work you admire.
What parts of information science give you the most joy and motivate you to continue your work?
As an educator I take great joy in seeing students -- future leaders of information institutions -- learn and get motivated about the enormous challenges that face the information society. Over the semester the severity and complexity of the issues around data and information become undeniable, yet the students invariably maintain their intellectual curiosity and show an incredible capacity to find new ways to face such challenges. I'm excited to see what the incoming generation of information practitioners will achieve.
Have you witnessed any noticeable shifts in the greater information science community?
The wide range of ethical and social concerns related to information are absolutely not new to information scholars nor practitioners, but I am nonetheless seeing them receive more attention and action every year. My hasty search of a bibliographic database aligns with my perception: there appears to be more publication growth over the last two decades at the intersection of information science with topics like ethics or feminism than in our (seemingly) apolitical topics. The works, at least those that I've read, reflect that the field is responding to contemporary global issues like inequity and injustice, censorship, surveillance, the challenges of AI and digitality, and challenges to digital sovereignty. Even within topics that focus on acute practical matters, like personal information management, discussions and works are emerging that reconsider our role in these issues and ask who the research and systems really (should) benefit. Overall I have the impression that information scholars and practitioners are increasingly drawing on our unique perspectives, skill sets, and awareness (e.g. of our positionality and professional values) to engage these important topics. In doing so we further develop and promote our contributions to the information society.