International Paper Contest winners

Muhammed Rafiq

SIG-III is pleased to announce two winners for the 2009 International Paper Contest. The first place award goes to Muhammad Rafiq (pictured above), from Pakistan, who will be awarded a two-year membership to ASIS&T, as well as funding to travel to this year’s annual Meeting. His paper is titled “[The] LIS community’s perceptions towards open source software adoption in libraries.”

The second place award goes to Muhammad Arif and Saima Kanwal, both from Pakistan as well. Their paper is titled “Acceptance of digital library among female students and effects of limited access of digital library on their performance in research work: a case of International Islamic University.” As principal author, Dr. Arif will be awarded a two-year membership to ASIS&T.

Both papers will be considered for publication in the International Information and Library Review.

Please join me in congratulating our 2009 Contest winners! We hope you will come meet them at the International Reception at this year’s ASIS&T Annual Meeting.

Contributed by Aaron Bowen

June message from the SIG-III Chair

Greetings everyone,

I just wanted to take a moment to update you all about what has been going on in SIG-III for the past two months. I (Aaron) have been working on the SIG-III website, examining each of the site’s pages for currency and focus. I’m pleased to announce that I’ve completed my refresh of the website, and each page that required revision (which translated to every page on the site except one) is up to date. You can see it here.

This however is only phase one of the project to redo the SIG’s website. I have begun a conversation with the SIG Advisory Committee on phase two, which consists of a redesign of the site’s graphical appearance. The Advisory Committee has offered some excellent ideas and suggestions for accomplishing this task, but they have also indicated a need/desire for some additional elements to the site to archive the history and activities of the SIG. At the Committee’s request, I have added a discussion item to the agenda for considering this archival project, and how to integrate it into the existing components of the site. I will keep you all posted of the results of this discussion – I mention it here because it is a discussion that needs to take place before I can pursue options for redoing the site’s graphical interface. (We need to know what elements out site will have and how they will be arranged before we can consider how they will appear graphically).

Beyond that, Hong Xu reports that the current International Paper Contest (for which she is Chair) has received eleven paper submissions. She will send them out to the Contest reviewers shortly, and the reviewers will begin the process of selecting a Contest winner. We should be able to announce a Contest winner in my next message!

Last but not least, I encourage you to contact me if you have any questions, or if you have facilitated or partaken in any activities on behalf of SIG. My fellow officers and I would love to hear about anything you have done as a SIG member!

Thank you, and enjoy the remainder of the week,

Aaron Bowen
Chair, SIG-III

Announcement of the 2009 International Paper Contest

The Special Interest Group on International Information Issues (SIG-III) of the American Society for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T) is pleased to announce its tenth competition for papers to be submitted for the 2009 Annual Meeting, which will take place in Vancouver, BC, Canada, November 6 -11, 2009.

The theme of this year’s paper contest is: “Thriving on Diversity – Information Opportunities in a Pluralistic World”.

The theme may be addressed at either the country or regional level issues. Papers could discuss issues, policies and case studies on specific aspects of the theme, such as, but not limited to the following (mainly adopted from the conference theme):

* Multilingual information systems
* Cross-language information retrieval
* Accessibility and cultural factors in system design and information services
* Cross-border data flows
* Open access and cultural diversity
* Information literacy and challenges of harmony versus hegemony
* The role of international organizations in building on diversity
* Digital inclusion
* Social networking in a linguistically and culturally rich environment
* Information behavior in diverse contexts
* Knowledge management in diverse contexts
* Information policy

There will be up to six winners who will be selected by a panel of judges including Hong Xu (Chair), Jonathan Levitt (Co-Chair), Aaron Bowen, Nadia Caidi, Yunfei Du, Daqing He, Macia Lei Zeng.

Selection Criteria

Papers will be selected through a peer review process. The judging criteria will be based on:

* Originality of paper in the developing world environment (originality of the project described, etc.)
* Relevance to the Paper contest.
* Presentation and organization.
* Style. The international paper contest committee requires that submissions follow the International Information and Library Review instructions to authors.

The prize for each winner is a two-year individual membership in ASIS&T. In the case of multiple authors, the principal author will be awarded the ASIS&T membership. In addition, depending on SIG III fundraising for this competition, the first place winner will be rewarded a minimum of $1,000 toward travel, conference registration, and accommodations while attending the ASIS&T Annual Conference in Vancouver, BC, Canada, November 6 -11, 2009.

Publishing opportunities

Submitted papers will be considered for inclusion in a special issue of the International Information and Library Review, subject to the usual peer refereeing process, for that journal.

Information for authors

Only papers by a principal author who is a citizen of, and resides in a developing country are eligible. Winners in the 2005-2008 contests are not eligible. The papers should be original, unpublished, and ONLY in English. We encourage submissions from librarians, information and network specialists, and educators involved in the creation, representation, maintenance, exchange, discovery, delivery, and use of digital information.

ASIS&T Copyright Policy

ASIS&T will have the non-exclusive right to publish any of the papers submitted on its web site or in print, with ownership and all other rights remaining with the author.

Deadline for submission of full papers

Authors are invited to submit manuscripts, not to exceed 5,000 words, by May 31, 2009, to hgxu [at], preferably as Microsoft Word attachments.

Please check the SIG III website for more information about the SIG III International Paper Contest, including frequently asked questions, past CFPs and previous winners.

UNESCO and the Library of Congress partner to launch the World Digital Library

Book by sculptor Walter Kirtland Hancock

Image by takomabibelot, used under the Creative Commons license.

The following announcement comes from the Knowledgespeak newsletter:

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and 32 partner institutions will launch the World Digital Library, a web site that features unique cultural materials from libraries and archives from around the world, at UNESCO Headquarters on April 21. The site will include manuscripts, maps, rare books, films, sound recordings, and prints and photographs. It will provide unrestricted public access, free of charge, to this material.

The launch will take place at a reception co-hosted by UNESCO Director-General, Koïchiro Matsuura, and US Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington. Directors of the partner institutions will also be on hand to present the project to ambassadors, ministers, delegates, and special guests attending the semi-annual meeting of UNESCO’s Executive Board.

In addition to promoting international understanding, the project aims to expand the volume and variety of cultural content on the Internet, provide resources for educators, scholars and general audiences, and narrow the digital divide within and between countries by building capacity in partner countries.

The WDL will function in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish, and will include content in a great many other languages. Browse and search features will facilitate cross-cultural and cross-temporal exploration on the site. Descriptions of each item and videos with expert curators speaking about selected items will provide context for users, and are intended to spark curiosity and encourage both students and the general public to learn more about the cultural heritage of all countries.

The WDL was developed by a team at the Library of Congress. Technical assistance was provided by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina of Alexandria, Egypt. Institutions contributing content and expertise to the WDL include national libraries and cultural and educational institutions in Brazil, Egypt, China, France, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, Qatar, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovakia, Sweden, Uganda, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Current research on digital divides at the University of Washington


Image by Mulya_74, used under the Creative Commons license.

My friend and colleague Karine Barzilai-Nahon recently posted a synopsis of digital divide-related research at the Hawaii International Conference of System Sciences, or HICSS. She notes different papers on different aspects of the divide, as well as on telecenters and information and communication technologies, including a paper co-written my another of my collleague friends, Chris Coward. These papers all look very compelling, and will provide some interesting reading in the coming evenings.

Karine also notes the work of the Center for Information and Society, part of the University of Wasington’s Information School. I am particularly intrigued by the landscape study that she, Ricardo Gomez, and Rucha Ambikar did — their methodology is here, and the actual study is here.

(Disclosure: I should point out that I am an alum of the University of Washington, which is where I met both Karine and Chris. This is why I am as familiar with the UW’s work on the globalization of information as I am).

I am definitely excited about delving into this research, and to incorporating it into discussions of international information on this blog!

Contributed by Aaron Bowen