SIG-III wins SIG-of-the-Year award!

Party hamsters

Image by Lulu_witch, used under the Creative Commons license.

I’m with the hamsters — we have reason to celebrate! I’m glad to announce that SIG-III has won the SIG of the year award for 2008-2009. The following is from yesterday’s official announcement from ASIS&T:

The 2009 SIG of the Year is SIG International Information Issues (SIG III). One of the jury members summed up the appeal of SIG III very well: “SIG-III has a well-established pattern of service to the international community as well as to the Society. Their membership makes up in enthusiasm what it may lack in size, and they have a large and very task-oriented executive committee. They communicate effectively with their membership through a bi-monthly newsletter, alternating with one to the executive committee. They bring new members into the association through their InfoShare program, and their paper competition is an excellent mechanism for bringing scholars to the conference who would be otherwise unable to attend. Their international reception is one of the highlights of the annual conference, and they make good use of the event as a venue for fundraising for their many awards. As a SIG, they have very high visibility and as a consequence they make all members, not just their own SIG, aware of ASIS&T’s potential role in international scholarship.” Unlike many other SIGs, III recognizes that the work of this society is not solely accomplished at this annual meeting, but consists of small activities throughout time and space and across national, cultural, and linguistic boundaries. Congratulations to SIG III, and particularly to Aaron Bowen, chair, and all the other officers of SIG III, for being this year’s ASIS&T SIG of the Year.

Also, in an informal e-mail, SIG Cabinet Director KT Vaughan let me know that this is the fifth year straight our SIG has won this award. Thank you all for a wonderful and productive year!

With this announcement, I would also like to pose a challenge for you all. The challenge is two-fold:

One, I would like to call upon everyone to introduce the SIG to any of your colleagues interested in international information. In our current world of ubiquitous information, it is easy to have less familiarity with a body of research, with a current trend, or with a professional organization than we would like — being in the same boat myself, I’m all too familiar with this issue. I find that when I have a personalized introduction to a body of scholarship, trending topic, or professional society, I have more incentive to pay attention to it, and I remember more about it. With that in mind, I invite you to introduce SIG-III (and ASIS&T more broadly) to any of your colleagues who either aren’t yet familiar with the organization, or have only a passing familiarity.

Two, my fellow SIG Officers any myself would love to hear about your research and conference presentations. If you are publishing a paper or giving a presentation on an international information-related topic, tell us about it! We are always glad to know about our members research endeavors, and to facilitate connections between researchers where they have common research interests. You can let either me or incoming Chair Kate Johnson (cjohn24 [at] uwo [dot] ca) know about your work.

Beyond that, if you will be at this year’s ASIS&T Annual Meeting, I look forward to seeing you in Vancouver!

Contributed by Aaron Bowen

ICTs and Development: March 11-12, 2010 in New Delhi

ICTs and Development: An International Workshop for Theory, Practice, & Policy. 11-12 March 2010 | New Delhi.

Unpublished, original empirical papers are invited for the forthcoming international workshop on ICTs and Development: An International Workshop for Theory, Practice, & Policy to be conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), New Delhi, India, during 11-12 March 2010.

The workshop aims to provide a forum for scholars to share their empirical research with academic experts, policymakers, and activists from the regional and international development community. Papers should examine how mobile phones, computers, and the Internet influence the empowerment of marginal individuals and communities, including whether ICTs create and enhance livelihood opportunities for people in the developing world.

Papers should be in the range of 5,000-8,000 words (including abstract and bibliography) and should include a clear discussion of the implications of the findings for development policy and/or practice.

No more than twelve papers will be selected by the workshop organizers for presentation.The first author of each paper chosen will be given air fare and lodging/meals.

The workshop is part of the project, ICTs and Urban Micro Enterprises: Identifying and Maximizing Opportunities for Economic Development, and is supported by the International Development Research Centre, Canada.

The organizers are committed to finding an appropriate publication venue for all papers accepted for the workshop.

The conference website is here.

Submission of manuscripts: 1st October 2009
Announcement of results: 1st December 2009
Submission of final version of the paper: 1st February 2010

For submission of manuscripts and other enquiries, please write to ICTD2010 [at] gmail [dot] com


Workshop Organizers:

Dr. P. Vigneswara Ilavarasan
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi

Prof. Mark R. Levy
Michigan State University

International Reception Announcement

Party food

Image by Josh Bancroft, used under the Creative Commons license.

This year’s International Reception will be held on Monday, November 9, 2009, at 8pm. At the reception you will be able to meet and congratulate this year’s International Paper Contest winner and mix with colleagues from all over the world.

This year’s contest winner is Muhammad Rafiq, from Pakistan. His paper is titled “[The] LIS community’s perceptions towards open source software adoption in libraries,” and is set to be published in the September, 2009 issue of the International Information and Library Review, edited by Toni Carbo. Come meet with Muhammad Rafiq, and pick up one of the copies of IILR that Elsevier has generously donated to the event.

SIG-III will hold its annual InfoShare Silent Auction at the event. If you have items you would like to donate to the Silent Auction, please contact InfoShare Officers Abebe Rorissa (arorissa [at] albany [dot] edu) or Sarah Emmerson (saemmerson [at] yahoo [dot] com), and bring your items to the conference with you.

We will also have our annual Raffle Ticket Sale at the Reception. The prize in the Raffle is a gift basket put together by the local chapter of ASIS&T, with locally produced products and goodies. If you have something small and new that you could contribute for the basket, please contact Abebe or Sarah and bring it to the conference as well.

All proceeds from the Silent Auction and Raffle Ticket Sale will go to the SIG-III InfoShare Fund, which offers ASIS&T memberships to information professionals in developing countries for whom the cost of membership would otherwise be a financial burden.

Thank you for your support! Come enjoy yourself at the International Reception! International attire is encouraged!

Aaron Bowen
Chair, SIG-III

New SIG-III Newsletter published!


Image by Adrianne Lacy, used under the Creative Commons license.

The SIG-III Officers are pleased to announce the publication of the July, 2009 edition of the SIG-III Newsletter. The Newsletter is our formal record of the activities in which the SIG partakes, and the new edition represents the latest chapter in the chronicle of the SIG’s history. The contents of the new edition are

– ASIS&T Annual Meeting
– InfoShare Recipients
– International Reception
– International Paper Contest Results
– Published/Accepted International Paper Contest papers in IILR
– International Conferences Calendar in 2005 and 2009 — a comparison
– Updates to the SIG-III Website and Blog
– 2008-2009 SIG III Officers
– SIG III Listserv and Web Site

You may download it here, or visit the SIG-III homepage and click on “Newsletter” in the left-side nav bar.

Contributed by the SIG-III Officers

Mapping the Arabic Blogosphere: Politics, Culture, and Dissent

It’s a little over a month old, but I’ve not yet posted about the following report by Bruce Etling, John Kelly, Rob Faris, and John Palfrey, so I will do so now. It is titled Mapping the Arabic Blogosphere: Politics, Culture, and Dissent, and is published by Harvard’s Berkman Center for the Internet and Society.

Arabic Keyboard

Image by dweekly, used under the Creative Commons license.

I’m being kicked out of my office this afternoon while some of my university’s tech people work on my Internet connection. While I am without my computer I will work on SIG-III’s annual report, but I hope to be able to steal a bit of time away to read this report as well. If you’ve read it and have any thoughts or reactions, leave a comment below — I’d love to hear what you think.

On the same topic, I’ll also point to Nasrin Alavi’s We Are Iran. As with Etling et al’s report, I’d love to hear any thoughts you have on Dr. Alavi’s book. She’s even put a sample chapter online as well.

Contributed by Aaron Bowen

In the news this week: the Question Box

Chalk drawing of a question mark

Image by SlinkyDragon, used under the Creative Commons license.

Ken Banks at IT World writes about the Question Box — a service allowing a person to ask a question through a telecom box placed in a village, and then receive a response from someone on the other end of the line who has a computer in front of him/her. Banks explains:

It works like this: A villager presses a call button on a physical intercom device, located in their village, which connects them to a trained operator in a nearby town who’s sitting in front of a computer attached to the Internet. A question is asked. While the questioner holds, the operator looks up the answer on the Internet and reads it back. All questions and answers are logged. For the villager there is no keyboard to deal with. No complex technology. No literacy issues. And during early trials at least, no cost. Put simply, Question Box, as it’s called, provides immediate, relevant information to people using their preferred mode of communication, speaking and listening.

You can see photos of the Question Box and of people using it on the Question Box Project’s Flickr photostream.

Banks also notes that the Grameen Foundation this week launched its AppLab initiative in Uganda. (AppLab stands for application laboratory, and is essentially a project to get people in different locales around the developing world building information access applications for mobile devices such as cellphones. Their about us page has more detail). Kiwanja posts an insider’s view of the project’s rollout in Uganda to his blog.

August message from the SIG-III Chair in July

Hello everyone,

Yes, I realize I’m very early with this message, but enough has been going on over the past week that I want to share it with you all now.

The most important piece of news is that we have three winners for the International Paper Contest. Please congratulate Muhammad Rafiq, Muhammad Arif, and Saima Kanwal on their winning papers! I have announced them over the SIG-III Blog.

This post provides the perfect transition to my next topic: the SIG-III Blog’s new look. You will see that I’ve updated the layout and graphical content of the blog. I’m very excited about its new appearance, and I hope you all will stop by, leave a comment on one of the posts, and/or subscribe to the blog’s RSS feed.

Last but not least, InfoShare Officer Sarah Emmerson and I have developed a Facebook page for the SIG, which will serve as a useful compliment to the blog. If you are on Facebook, we would love to have you join our group! You may find it here.

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thanks everyone, and enjoy the weekend!

Aaron Bowen
Chair, SIG-III

Ajit Pyati, SIG-III Officer, in First Monday

Ajit Pyati

SIG-III’s Ajit Pyati (above) has just published an article titled “Public library revitalization in India: Hopes, challenges, and new visions” in First Monday. Here is the abstract:

With India’s growing economy and status as an emerging world power, a new consciousness is developing in the country about the need to reinvest in public services. The National Knowledge Commission (NKC) is an advisory body constituted by the Prime Minister to provide recommendations for improving India’s knowledge infrastructure. As part of this Commission, a set of recommendations has been developed to improve India’s long neglected library system. This article explores the implications of these recommendations, with a specific focus on India’s public library system and the social development gains that are often associated with public libraries. The potential of India’s public libraries to serve as community information centres (CICs) is highlighted, as well as the challenges that lie ahead in implementing a new vision for public library revitalization. The article serves as an invitation for concerted action, reflection, and dialogue with regard to this important and pressing issue.

The full article may be found here.

Article by Ajit Pyati. Blog post contributed by Aaron Bowen.

SIG-III panels at the 2009 ASIS&T Annual Meeting

ASIS&T 2009 meeting logo

SIG/III will sponsor or co-sponsor four panels at the 2009 Annual Meeting:

Free Access to Computers and the Internet at Public Libraries: International Reflections on Outcomes and Methods

International Partnerships in Developing and Deploying Health Open Educational Resources

Globalization of Intellectual Property Rights: Implications of the TRIPS Agreement for Access to HIV/AIDS Drugs in Africa

International Implementation of Digital Library Software/Platforms

In addition to these panels, there are additional panels and contributed papers relating to different aspects of international information:

The Impact of ICTs on Politics in Uganda: The Convergence of Radio and Telephony in the Power Contest between the Resurging Buganda Nationalism and the Central Government

Documentation and Communication in Aboriginal/Indigenous Cultures

Nationality in information behavior: Comparing Koreans and Japanese

Information Access across Languages on the Web: from Search Engines to Digital Libraries

Last but not least, we would love to see you at the 2009 International Reception!

Contributed by SIG-III Blog administrator