Congratulations to Caroline Haythornthwaite, the 2017 recipient of the ASIS&T Research in Information Science Award. The purpose of the award is to recognize an individual or individuals for an outstanding research contribution in the field of information science and is intended to be for achievements that have significant impact in the field. The award is for a systematic “program of research” in a single area at a level beyond the single study.
Haythornthwaite’s outstanding contribution to social network and e-learning research, especially her ground-breaking work on latent ties and learning networks, has had a great impact not only in information science, but also in computer science, communication, sociology, psychology, education and management.
Her work on latent ties, defined as potential and unfilled relations between two or more people, and the development of her latent tie theory, focuses in on the very beginning of the formation of social networks. Haythornthwaite’s findings indicate that a new networking technology or medium creates new latent ties, recasts weak ties in an already established network, but has minimal impact among individuals with already strong ties. Her latent tie theory has far reaching implications for conceptualizing, planning and implementing Internet-based information flows within organizations, and between governments and their citizens.