2017 ASIS&T President
Senior Research Scientist and Director of User Research
ASIS&T president Lynn Silipigni Connaway announced the new executive director of ASIS&T, Lydia Middleton. Lydia joined ASIS&T ready to lead after Dick Hill’s 27 years of service as executive director. Also announced are the keynote speakers for the 2017 Annual Meeting: Richard Marks, head of PlayStation Magic Lab at Sony Interactive Entertainment, and William Powers, best-selling author and research scientist at MIT Media Lab. The Annual Meeting will also have an 80th Anniversary Welcome Reception and panel session, and work is underway for an interactive history exhibit at the meeting, coordinated by Kathryn La Barre. Lynn Silipigni Connaway was invited to spend April 26 through May 7 in Hong Kong as a visiting professor working with the master of library and information management program at the University of Hong Kong. Connaway and past president Nadia Caidi also attended the Council for Scientific Society Presidents in Washington, D.C., May 2017, and ASIS&T partnered with the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Earth Day Network for the March for Science.
Association for Information Science and Technology
by Lynn Silipigni Connaway
I have so many great developments to share with you in this issue of my column. Top on my list is the hire of ASIS&T’s new executive director – Lydia Middleton (www.linkedin.com/in/lydiamiddleton/). I am thrilled to welcome Lydia to ASIS&T. Lydia’s first day with us was on May 8. I have had the opportunity to orient Lydia with ASIS&T and to work with her in the ASIS&T office in Silver Spring, Maryland, in May, and it has been a fulfilling and worthwhile experience.
Lydia joins ASIS&T at a critical juncture in our history – the 80th anniversary and the end of Dick Hill’s 27 years as executive director, which brought growth and financial stability to the Association. She is poised to lead and manage ASIS&T, being guided by its strategic plan, which includes membership growth, a stronger global presence, greater opportunities to connect academic and professional interests, pursuit of new sources of revenue, and implementation of new modes of communication and engagement with technology to support member interests. Lydia not only values the diversity of ASIS&T staff and members, and but also looks forward to enhancing the Association’s value to its members and its presence in our professional and academic communities.
As a member of the ASIS&T Executive Director Search Committee, I want to take this opportunity to thank Sandy Hirsh and Clara Chu, co-chairs of the Search Committee; the other Search Committee members – Jamshid Beheshti, Nadia Caidi, Lisa Given and Marjorie Hlava; and the executive search firm, Isaacson Miller, whose expertise and excellent service throughout the search was key to our success in identifying qualified candidates and in hiring Lydia. The committee thanks the ASIS&T staff and members for their valuable input during the search process. Two hundred fifty-two individuals were considered in the search either as sources or as candidates. This appointment may be one of the most critical decisions of my presidential term and I feel privileged to have been a part of this important hire.
I also have had the opportunity to work with our ASIS&T Annual Meeting co-chairs and 80th Anniversary Advisory Group members. We are very excited to announce our two keynote speakers for the Annual Meeting – Richard Marks and William Powers. Marks is the head of PlayStation Magic Lab at Sony Interactive Entertainment. His area of area of expertise is social aspects of virtual reality and augmented reality. Powers is the best-selling author of Hamlet’s Blackberry and research scientist at MIT Media Lab. His area of expertise is work-life balance in a technologically connected world.
The members of the 80th Anniversary Advisory Group have been busy planning the Annual Meeting. This group is chaired by Kathryn La Barre and members include Michael Buckland, Toni Carbo, Ken Herold, Dania Bilal, Javed Mostafa, Nouf Khashman and Tatjana Aparac. Details about our invited 80th Anniversary-themed panel session will be available soon, and the plans for the 80th Anniversary-themed Welcome Reception are ongoing. Please forward names of ASIS&T friends and members who have died recently to Kathryn at klabarre<at>illinois.edu to be honored with a moment of silence at the reception. Time will be devoted during the reception to honor Gene Garfield‘s contributions to ASIS&T. Kathryn also is facilitating efforts to create an interactive exhibit honoring 80 years of ASIS&T to debut at the reception and to be available throughout the conference. If you have images, videos or audio you would like to share, please contact her at klabarre<at>illinois.edu
Our ASIS&T members in Asia also have been quite busy. I was invited to spend two weeks (March 26-April 7) at the University of Hong Kong as a visiting professor in the Faculty of Education, working with the master of library and information management (MLIM) program faculty and students. I began my visit by participating in the two-day Symposium on Research Design, Paper Writing, and Publishing in Information Science that was hosted at HKU and sponsored by the ASIS&T Asia Pacific Chapter (Christopher Khoo, chair) and the Taipei Chapter (Ming-Hsin Phoebe Chiu, chair, and Tien-I Tsai, vice-chair), and Sam Chu (paper co-chair for the ASIS&T 2017 Annual Meeting). I discussed qualitative research methods and also had the opportunity to lead a breakout session with students. The students discussed their research, and I provided feedback on how to make the paper publishable in the ASIS&T journal, JASIST, and/or to submit a paper for review for the ASIS&T 2017 Annual Meeting. I am thrilled to report that one of the doctoral students in my breakout session did submit a paper proposal for the ASIS&T 2017 Annual Meeting. I hope it gets accepted! Javed Mostafa, the editor of JASIST, also attended the symposium and advised students and faculty on preparing and submitting papers for review for publication in JASIST.
ASIS&T leaders in Hong Kong, April 2017. Left to right, Tien-I Tsai, vice-chair of the Taipei Chapter; Lynn Silipigni Connaway, ASIS&T president; and Javed Mostafa, editor, Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology (JASIST).
During my two-week visit, I was honored to meet with many students, faculty and practicing professionals in Hong Kong and Macau. Dr. Chu made sure I worked and played hard. He scheduled hikes with students and faculty so I was able to work in a beautiful outdoor environment with stimulating discussions. I learned so much from everyone and got to do so with wonderful colleagues in a gorgeous setting while eating delicious food!
When I returned from Hong Kong, Nadia Caidi, ASIS&T past president, and I attended the Council for Scientific Society Presidents meeting in Washington, D.C., May 6-8. This meeting is an opportunity for ASIS&T presidents to meet with presidents and executive directors of other scientific associations. It’s good to share challenges and opportunities and learn about different ways to lead change. The speakers are excellent, and this year we heard speakers from Harvard, Yale, Rutgers Universities; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California, Berkeley, National Public Radio, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Agriculture and the National Institutes of Health, as well as other government scientific agencies. The speakers introduced such diverse topics as the factors that count as evidence in the world of fake news, the current challenges facing the sciences, building with 3-D printed renewable resources (building with recycled tires), 3-D cell neurobiology and gene editing, computer models, the national strategy to improve safety testing (addressed testing skin lotions, perfumes and so forth) and data-driven public engagement initiatives. Nadia, Lydia and I attended the Kavli Lecture to hear George M. Church, professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and professor of health sciences and technology at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He also is director of the U.S. Department of Energy Center on Bioenergy at Harvard and MIT and director of the National Institutes of Health Center of Excellence in Genomic Science at Harvard. We even had a photo op with Dr. Church!
At the Council for Scientific Society Presidents in Washington, D.C., May 2017. Left to right, Kavli Lecture speaker, George M. Church of Harvard; ASIS&T past president Nadia Caidi and 2017 president Lynn Silipigni Connaway
Since ASIS&T is a prominent society for the advancement of information science and technology, we officially partnered with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Earth Day Network for the March for Science. Check out the story, videos and photos of ASIS&T member participation in Inside ASIS&T, Volume 1, Issue 2. Don’t miss the events that are available to you as ASIS&T members since several important deadlines are approaching.
One deadline of critical importance is for the ASIS&T awards. The award descriptions and deadlines are available at www.asist.org/about/awards/. These awards provide the ASIS&T membership an opportunity to nominate and honor fellow members for their professional and scholarly work and contributions to ASIS&T and the information science community. I encourage you to nominate colleagues for these prestigious awards.
The Member-Get-A-Member Recruitment Drive (www.asist.org/8-for-our-80th-anniversary/) deadline also is approaching, but there’s still time to recruit members and receive a membership renewal discount and a chance to win free registration to the 2017 Annual Meeting. Please take this opportunity to introduce the many opportunities available through ASIS&T to students and colleagues. Based on a survey of more than 1,000 associations in the United States and Canada, Growth Zone reports that the best recruitment tool is existing members’ referrals/word of mouth (https://info.memberzone.com/acton/attachment/12395/f-030f/1/-/-/-/-/GrowthZoneSurveyInfographic.pdf). Please do your part to make ASIS&T stronger and more diverse!
And, for the Annual Meeting, you still have time to submit your visual presentations, formerly known as posters! The deadline is June 23, and we are encouraging different types of visualizations in addition to traditional posters.
I also want to encourage each of you to share your accomplishments with ASIS&T so that we are able to celebrate with you. Please send your news to firstname.lastname@example.org or use the website feedback form at www.asist.org/new-site-feedback/. And, speaking of sharing news, please remember to list your summer professional activities that are of interest to the membership on the Events Calendar that is available to all members on the homepage of the ASIS&T website (www.asist.org/asist-events-calendar/.) To add an event, simply login using your ASIS&T account information and click on the “Add Event” icon.
Remember, you are ASIS&T. Make it the association that meets your professional and scholarly interests and ambitions!