Inside ASIS&T, September 2018
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Lisa M. Given, PhD
While September heralds the start of a new academic year for those of you in the north, here in Australia we are celebrating spring and looking ahead to summer holidays at the end of the year. This also means that final preparations are underway for the Annual Meeting (AM) in Vancouver, from the 10-14th of November. The program is now online and the conference app will be launched very soon. This year, the 14th International Conference on Knowledge Management is running alongside the AM and with a special joint conference rate. Early bird registration for both events closes on October 1st, so be sure to register soon for these special rates.
While you’re marking dates in your calendar for the AM, be sure to consider submitting a paper, panel, visual presentation, or workshop for the Asia-Pacific Regional Conference at the University of Cambodia (January 3-4, 2019). Long and short papers are due 6 October, with all other submissions due 22 October. I will be speaking at this event, alongside Professors Javed Mostafa (Editor-in-Chief of JASIST) and Gary Burnett (Florida State University). The conference theme is “Effective Learning in Low-Tech Information Environments,” which will explore issues faced (for example) in areas with little or no internet access, or where institutional cultures and mindsets may not readily support the use of new learning technologies. Submissions may explore pedagogical issues, demonstrate case studies, examine research methods, discuss future trends, or present other topics to help us best understand effective learning practices in low-tech information environments. Consult the website for more information and I hope to see you there!
I am also very excited to announce that the Board has approved a new structure for ASIS&T’s committees, which will be shared with the membership in the coming weeks. At last year’s AM, and in my President’s Column in January, I mentioned that I would be working with a small group to guide the development of a new committee structure to foster alignment with the strategic plan. Over the past several months, and with ongoing advice and guidance from the ASIS&T Executive Committee and the ASIS&T Board, we have now finalized Terms of Reference for nine committees. This not only streamlines our previous committee structure (e.g., by reducing duplication of activities), but – more importantly – it sets a vision for the future of the Association’s work and how we will achieve our strategic goals. While some of the committees will be quite familiar in focus (e.g., the activities of the Membership Committee), others reframe our work in new and innovative ways or fill gaps to connect with ASIS&T’s strategic plan. For example, the new Research Engagement Committee expands our research focus beyond just “publications” to address our needs across the research life-cycle. This focus includes fostering engagement with beneficiaries of research, as well as mentoring ASIS&T members in grant-writing and publishing, and to facilitate collaboration between academics and industry professionals.
We rely heavily on the good will and innovative thinking of our committee volunteers and this new structure will offer many opportunities for leadership and engagement opportunities within ASIS&T. The new committee structure includes “Chair/Vice-Chair” roles, for example, which will enable mentoring of new leaders and also provide continuity from year to year. The larger committees include a formalised sub-committee structure, to enable small working parties to focus on particular areas of work. Also, by introducing Terms of Reference for our committees (which serve as overarching reference documents, alongside the annual “charges” of work), we gain a strong and unified approach to how our committees complement one another. The Terms of Reference outline membership term limits and structural details for each committee, including key goals and deadlines.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the President’s Working Group (Sandy Hirsh, Heidi Julien, Javed Mostafa, Sam Oh, Saguna Shankar, and Lydia Middleton) for their thoughtful advice over the past year, as we explored possibilities for the new committee structure. They have played an instrumental role in shaping the structure and helping me to turn a general vision into a specific set of committees and documents to support ASIS&T’s work in the coming years. Many thanks, as well, to the ASIS&T Board, which played a key role in shaping the draft plans into their final form.
Please watch your email for news of the new committee structures in the coming weeks; if you would like to get involved with ASIS&T by serving on a committee or volunteering in other ways, please fill out the online form
Finally, to those of you who will be attending the AM this year – safe travels to Vancouver. I look forward to seeing you there!
Letter from the Executive Director
Lydia S. Middleton, MBA, CAE
Greetings members and colleagues,
I hope that as I write this column, you are all well and enjoying a lovely fall / spring, depending on what part of the world you are in. This is always my favorite time of the year as I love the colors and the cooler weather. This time of year also brings with it a lot of stress for those of us that work at ASIS&T headquarters as we prepare for the Annual Meeting and are hard at work creating the most delightful and engaging experience possible for all of our attendees.
Continuing along my recent theme of taking a pragmatic look at the association and its infrastructure and finances, I thought now might be an opportune time to share with all of you a bit more information about the fiscal realities that we face as a Board and staff in the hopes of helping you better understand why it is that we occasionally make decisions that you might find too pragmatic. To that end, I would like to take a deep dive with you into the revenue model for ASIS&T so that you might better understand how it is that we fund our activities and why it is that we need our activities to be self-supporting.
Across the association sphere, there are no two identical revenue models. However, there are some typical consistencies across associations and professional societies that look like ours that allow us to benchmark our own fiscal situation. Typically, in an association of our size and scope, membership would make up between 30 and 45% of total revenue. In ASIS&T, membership makes up 8% of our total revenue. While membership ebbs and flows over time, it is generally a consistent and reliable source of revenue for any association and should make up a greater percentage of ASIS&T revenue than it does at the current time. There are two ways to remedy this situation. One is to increase the number of members in the association. The other is to increase member dues. In a perfect world, the former solution would be adequate. However, that is a long-term objective and does not pay immediate results. What this means for ASIS&T is that, at some time in the next several years, we may need to take a hard look at our membership financing structure and assess whether our member dues are adequate to meet our financial needs as well as to adequately reflect the value of membership.
A second significant source of revenue in most associations is their annual meeting. In past years, I understand that the ASIS&T’s annual meeting was a revenue producer. However, in reviewing the last several years’ audits it is clear that the annual meeting is no longer a revenue center, it has become a cost center. The last three annual meetings produced a negative bottom line. In 2017 the meeting lost more than $20,000. There are a few reasons why we are experiencing losses in the annual meeting that I want to share with you. The first is that we have not had as much success as I would like to see us have in the area of soliciting sponsorships and exhibitors for the meeting. We have yet to identify a pool of vendors that find our attendee profile sufficiently compelling to invest significant resources in marketing to our constituency. I refuse to believe that these groups aren't out there, as I am sure all of you interact with them on a regular basis. I therefore encourage anyone who thinks they might know of a sponsor or exhibitor prospect to reach out to us as soon as possible with that information.
Another consideration on the revenue side of our annual meeting is the registration fee. Long ago, the board decided that our annual meeting should operate as a break-even enterprise, with any additional revenue coming from workshops and tutorials held pre- and post-conference. However, it is difficult to price those events at a level sufficiently high to cover the cost of the workshops and attendant audio-visual and food & beverage expense. By the time we have covered those cost, the registration fee for those events produces a very small margin. As a result, if we do not have adequate registrants for a workshop or tutorial, we are forced to cancel it if it won't break even. Those workshops and tutorials that attract many attendees do indeed produce revenue for both their sponsors (SIGs) and ASIS&T.
On the expense side of the annual meeting, the most significant outlays go to audio visual and food & beverage expense. Our attendees expect to be well fed and socialized at our meeting. However, all those activities come at a significant cost. In addition to the cost of, for example, a continental breakfast (typically about $35 per person), we are then charged a tax and service fee in excess of 40%. So, while it may seem like the registration fee is high, in reality it only covers our cost for a full registration. We take a loss on discounted registrations for students and retired members.
There are, of course, many other significant expenses related to the meeting that also must be covered by registration fees and sponsor / exhibitor revenue. The more people we have at the meeting, the more we can offset expenses. But similarly, the more people we have at the meeting, the more expenses we have. Other meetings that ASIS&T has run in the past (IA Summit and EuroIA for example) had registration fees in excess of $800 for an early bird member. This is typical in the industry. However, we recognize that we are an association made up largely of academics (who make up the majority of those that attend the annual meeting) and registration fees at that level would not be sustainable for our members. Therefore, we do our very best to set registration fees where we can cover our costs without unduly burdening the attendees.
As we plan the annual meeting budget each year, we try very hard to assess the number of attendees, the potential revenue, and the expenses. What is harder to account for, however, are the many unfunded attendees that come to the annual meeting. For example, this year ASIS&T is hosting 18 doctoral students through the doctoral colloquium. Full student meeting registration is covered for each of these attendees. The student design competition winners from last year's annual meeting will also attend the meeting at no cost. And we will have 10 student volunteers who will not be required to pay registration in exchange for their help with the meeting. While it is important that ASIS&T provide these opportunities, particularly to our students, these are still individuals that have the same attendee expectations as a paid registrant.
This is been a lengthy explanation, I realize, but I think it is important that our members understand the financial realities facing this organization. This is why, when a member calls to ask if they can bring their spouse or child to a reception or other cost-center event at the annual meeting, we tell them that this requires the purchase of an additional ticket which is priced at our cost. And when people ask if we’ll waive that requirement for them we have to say no. Because if we say yes to one, we have to say yes to all of them, and that is ultimately money out of our already negative bottom line.
It has been suggested to me more than once that because ASIS&T has more than 2 million dollars in the bank, now is not the time for belt-tightening. That $2 million (which was significantly depleted after the 2017 fiscal year) is the reserve fund which is intended for two purposes. One purpose is to shelter the organization from immediate bankruptcy were something significant to happen to us. For example, if we were to have a disastrous annual meeting or a significant change in the profession that resulted in a massive loss of membership, we could continue to operate for a period of time without any new revenue. Two million dollars is just a bit over one year's operating expense. Best practice in the association industry is to hold at least a year’s operating expense in reserve. The second purpose of the reserve fund is to support growth and development of the association, its infrastructure, and programs. For example, the ASIS&T Board recently voted to make an investment this year in securing a new database and website platform that will significantly add value to membership in the future. Those funds will come out of the reserves. However, the reserve fund is not intended to simply be a cushion so that in a year with a negative bottom line we can continue to operate. We do not want to get ourselves into a habit of deficit spending every year, because that fund will rapidly disappear. So again, it is absolutely critical that we operate, at a minimum, at break-even on all of our programs and services. If we do not then we will slowly chip away at that fund and find ourselves, when the rainy day does come, without a backup plan.
I'm sure that this is far too much information about ASIS&T finances for many of you. However, for those of you that have read this far, I hope that it has helped you better understand why we cannot always say yes to every request. However, if we follow these more prudent and pragmatic policies, one day perhaps we will be able to say yes to those requests. I do hope to see many of you at annual meeting, where I'll be happy to chat further with you about this or any other topic. In the meantime, I'm always here at the end of the phone or email, and eager to hear your thoughts about how you think ASIS&T is doing.
The Board of Directors met on September 5, 2018, via video conference. In attendance were Lisa Given (President); Lynn Silipigni Connaway (Past President); Elaine Toms (President-elect); June Abbas (Treasurer); Dania Bilal; Emily Knox; Kathryn La Barre; Heather O’Brien; Soo Young Rieh; Abebe Rorissa; Lydia Middleton (Executive Director); and Steve Hardin (Parliamentarian). The following issues were discussed and/or decided:
Year-End Financial Statements
The treasurer presented the year-end financial statement, noting that we are currently projecting a positive bottom line.
Committee Terms of Reference
The Board of Directors reviewed nine policy documents that outline the terms of reference for the revised ASIS&T Committee Structure (see President’s Column for more information). The following Committee Terms of Reference were discussed and approved:
Each policy document is linked above. These documents also make reference to ASIS&T Committee Guidelines.
South Asia Chapter
The Board voted unanimously to approve the application for a South Asia Chapter of ASIS&T.
Executive Director’s Report
Lydia Middleton reported on new staff hires at ASIS&T (see New at Headquarters). She noted that the bylaws revisions have been sent to the ASIS&T attorney as well a to Steve Hardin for review. Once that process is completed they will be shared with the Constitution and Bylaws Committee.
Jamie Rogers, MSMIS
Florida International University
What attracted you to information science as a profession and field of study?
I was initially attracted to the field of information science because of what I perceived as an underlying goal of ubiquity of access to information. After being involved in the field for a number of years, I have come to realize that accessibility is only one component of the meaningful work that is done in the application of information towards development of individual and community knowledge. By providing tools for the contextualization and re-contextualization of information, creation of learning resources, preservation (both physical and digital), as well as safeguarding intellectual freedom, we are contributing to the greater good of our society.
In what area of information science do you practice, teach or do research? What about that area of practice/study made you choose it?
Digital scholarship in academia is ever-changing, which provides for some fluidity in the work performed by academic libraries in support of students and faculty. In my current position, I work in the areas of Digital Collections, Digital Scholarship, Research Information Management, and Data Management. My work also has a large community engagement component, often partnering with local libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural heritage organizations to develop community-based digitall initiatives.
I chose Digital Collections because the work resonated with my philosophical views in two ways: 1) materials that are digitized and made accessible online are often unique/rare and hidden or otherwise difficult to access as physical objects; 2) materials that are digitized are often primary sources, which once digitized, become available to new interpretations and historical narratives. Both of these aspects of digitization lend themselves to empowering individuals and our community through the democratization of information. I continue to work in Digital Collections because of the fluidity of digital scholarship that comes with technological advancements and new methodologies for analyzing, re-configuring, and visualizing information. There are endless opportunities for partnering across disciplines on new and exciting projects.
Why did you join ASIS&T and what does your membership in ASIS&T do for you?
I recently joined as a member of ASIS&T in order to expand my professional network, engage in conversations, and share knowledge with colleagues, nationally and internationally, who have similar subject area interests. ASIS&T is an appealing organization to participate in because of its long-standing reputation as a resource for the intersection of information science and technology, through research, professional development, as well as opportunities to connect at conferences and member meetings.
What advice would you give to young people contemplating information science as a potential profession or field of study?
I would encourage those contemplating a profession in information science to explore the things that fascinate and challenge them. This is a career path with lots of potential in a variety of disciplines. My own path was by no means a direct line. With a background in fine art, it wasn’t until I had been working in an academic library that I chose to pursue a degree in Management of Information Systems. Although an unlikely pairing, the analytical skills I developed in the arts has suited me well in moving towards a more highly technical field of study and profession.
What do you think will be the biggest challenge for those working in information science in the next decade?
I anticipate that those working in information science will encounter a number of challenges over the next ten years. Although, if I had to choose one, I would focus on stewardship of technologies and applications. As new technologies for creating, accessing, and interacting with digital artifacts and data come into existence, evolve, and perish, it isn’t enough to simply archive these digital artifacts and data. We will need to come up with new methodologies for documenting processes and systems. This has been a growing challenge with digital scholarship technologies and data visualization across a variety of fields, academic and commercial. The effects of which can be seen in academia as we struggle to continually support or migrate homegrown digital projects and in commercial fields, including journalism, where online news stories as well as associated interactive media, images, and data visualizations are proving to be ephemeral.
ASIS&T turns the spotlight on members to highlight how they are making a difference and how they have benefited from ASIS&T membership. It offers an opportunity for you to share your story with your colleagues, inspire future information science professionals, and strengthen awareness of the profession and association. To nominate another member or yourself, submit your nomination here.
Chapter and SIG News
“ Celebrating Year 2 of SIG InfoLearn with a New Pre-Conference Workshop Topic: “Searching as Learning”
Saturday November. 10, 2018, 8:00am – 12:00pm, Hyatt Regency, Vancouver, BC.
Distinguished Scholar Keynote
Dr. Dan Russell, Google
This year we will host our second pre-conference event at ASIS&T 2018, focused on “Searching as Learning.” This workshop will aim to augment and clarify our community’s shared understanding of what is meant by this nomenclature, and further define this area as a scholarly sub-domain. A featured keynote from Dr. Dan Russell of Google will provide insights on design and development efforts occurring within commercial search services that specifically take into account human learning, cognition and development. Dr. Russell will share how learning is conceptualized within Google from pragmatic design standpoints, and ways in which human learning prioritized as processes/outcomes, are driving new innovations.Further discussion will be made regarding areas of theoretical and methodological opportunity that are present in cross-navigating inter-disciplinary between and among learning and information sciences scholarly domains.
If you have already registered for the main conference, you can simply revisit the registration page and purchase the pre-conference event on its own. More info can be found here.
Registration rate: All ASIS&T members receive a discount! $130 for members, $160 for non-members; includes pastries, coffee break. Optional informal networking lunch to follow. We welcome your participation and look forward to hosting and seeing you soon in Vancouver!
NEASIS&T has had a busy past couple of months!
In May, NEASIS&T connected with ACRL's Michael Rodriguez and co-sponsored a multi-part webinar for the summer, regarding licensing and copyright. The first webinar was in June (Licensing for Openness) and the second webinar was in August (Negotiation for Librarians).
In July, we held our annual summer celebration in Brookline, MA. It was a lovely opportunity to honor our travel award winners, reconnect with current members, meet potential members, and encourage attendees to consider getting involved in NEASIS&T. Among our attendees are current and past board members, award winners, a former Simmons student liaison to the chapter, and several guests who have no affiliation with NE/ASIS&T, but are curious about it.
As for some exciting upcoming news: On October 22-23, 2018 we are collaborating with Brown University Library and the New England Software Carpentry Library Consortium (NESCLiC) on a 2-day Library Carpentry workshop. Library Carpentry workshops are taught by library staff for library staff and focus on teaching technical and software skills including Git, UNIX, and OpenRefine. For more information, including registration, visit our workshop page.
We have also started planning for our popular annual January conference. Keep an eye out for the details in the next issue of Inside ASIS&T.
Announcing 2018 ASIS&T Student Chapter of the Year Award
ASIS&T is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2018 ASIS&T Student Chapter of the Year Award is the University of North Texas (UNT) Student Chapter. In selecting UNT ASIS&T student chapter for the award, the jury considered the chapter’s membership, activities, communications, financial and administrative management, and contributions to ASIS&T and the broader information science community.
The award committee was impressed by the variety and quality of chapter activities, including the Multidisciplinary Information Research Symposium 2018 that attracted more than 80 attendees. The success of this event had galvanized chapter members and other students who attended the event and pledged to get involved with the future chapter events. The chapter uses every opportunity to collaborate with the faculty, staff, and other organizations in order to increase its value for its members. In addition to active student leaders, the chapter enjoys continues mentorship of its faculty advisors, Dr. Daniel Alemneh and Dr. Jeonghyun (Annie) Kim who contribute to the chapter’s success.
We would like to acknowledge the two close contenders for the award: Pratt Institute and European student chapters. These chapters have demonstrated excellence in planning events, chapter governance and membership recruitment and retention efforts.
We would like to congratulate all participating student chapters for continues efforts in providing valuable services to their members!
Please join us in congratulating the University of North Texas chapter on receiving the Best Student Chapter award for 2018!
Announcing 2018 ASIS&T Student Chapter Membership Competition Award
We would like to congratulate the University of Tennessee Student Chapter for receiving the ASIS&T 2018 Membership Competition Award! The award recognizes student chapter efforts in promoting student membership and fostering student engagement in ASIS&T. As the winner, the University of Tennessee Student Chapter will receive a complimentary Annual Meeting Registration to support attending the upcoming meeting in Vancouver, Canada. Please join us in congratulating the University of Tennessee Student Chapter for developing innovative programming and creative initiatives to promote student membership this year!
New at Headquarters
We are pleased to announce the recent hiring of two new employees Cora Arita and Terrence Curtiss in the positions of Director of Finance and Administration and Member Service Associate to the ASIS&T headquarters team.
Our latest hire, Director of Finance and Administration, Cora Arita joined ASIS&T in September 2018. Before joining ASIS&T, Cora served as the Senior Director, Finance & Operations with the Association for Career and Technical Education. She brings over 20 years of accounting, financial and management experience to the company. The ASIS&T Finance Department, which is led by Cora, is responsible for reconciling and reporting all of the financial activities of the organization, administration, corporate policies, and human resources. In addition to her love for finance, Cora enjoys being a mom of three boys, reading, traveling, photography and watching sports.
“I’m eager to support ASIS&T in promoting sound financial decision making.” ~ Cora Arita
Terrence Curtiss joined the ASIS&T team in the role of Member Service Associate earlier this summer. A lifelong resident of New York, Terrence was a double major earning Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Communications from the State University at Brockport. Terrence comes to us from the New York Department of Social Service, where for five years, he distinguished himself as a leader, creating programs and processes to help reduce the number of citizens on public assistance. Terrence has two beautiful puppies; Nilla and Daisy. He enjoys cooking, writing and traveling.
“I’m excited to connect with members and build great relationships as members grow in their careers. ASIS&T is a great association, and I’m looking forward to making a positive impact and meeting the members we serve at the Annual Meeting!” ~ Terrence Curtiss
Annual Meeting 2018
Early Bird Registration for the 2018 ASIS&T Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada, 10-14 November ends on October 1. Register now and SAVE! Take advantage of huge savings through early bird registration ends 1 October.
Members save over 20% on Vancouver- Deadline October 1st, 2018.
Already Registered? Time is running out to take advantage of discounted room rates at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver. Reserve your room by 9 October at the discounted rate. Space is limited so book your accommodations at the rate of $225CAD ($175US).
ICKM Meeting Registration
Registration Is Open! The ICKM Annual Conference the 14th annual conference on Knowledge Management will be held in Vancouver, Canada on 9-10 November 2018. ASIS&T members attending ICKM or both the ICKM & ASIS&T, login ASIS&T to receive member discounts.
Student Design Competition
The ASIS&T Student Design Competition brief has been released. Teams of 2-3 students are encouraged to develop a design and present a prototype tool intended to help a specific user community. All teams must be registered by Sunday, 11 November. The winners of the competition will earn complimentary registration to the ASIS&T 2019 Annual Meeting in Melbourne, Australia. For full details about the Student Design Competition and how to participate, explore the Design Competition Guidelines (as of 2018).
University Tea will not be at ASIS&T 2018….there is something new….have a tabletop at the Student Reception where all the students will be hanging out on Sunday, 11 November at 5 pm and you can still have your tabletop in the registration area. Sign Up today!
Don’t miss your chance to connect with the ASIS&T community at ASIST2018 in Vancouver. We offer a myriad of sponsorship opportunities to meet your marketing needs and budget. Get noticed, get exposure, and get connected. Sponsors will have access to professionals from a multitude of backgrounds, including researchers, developers, students, and information science practitioners.
Details of all sponsorship's and other opportunities are on the ASIS&T AM18 website. Call now to reserve your spot TODAY! Contact DeVonne Parks, Director of Conferences & Events at 301.495.0900 ext. 1500 or e-mail with ASIST2018 Sponsorship noted in the subject line.
Call for Submissions – ASIS&T Regional Meeting
Join us January 3-4, 2018, for the ASIS&T Regional Meeting in Cambodia the University of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia. This regional conference will focus on effective learning in such contexts. We are interested in (but not limited to) the following topics:
- Learning in low-tech information environments across different organizational contexts
- Case studies of information worlds, cultures, social dynamics, and access from the Asia-Pacific region
- Green information systems and learning
- Implementation of high-tech information and technological strategies in low-tech environments
- Pedagogical approaches, models, and theories for effective learning in low-tech environments
- Learning in formal and informal low-tech settings
- Strategies and challenges for learning in low-tech information environments
- Evaluation and assessment of learning in low-tech environments
- Research methods, ethics, and implementation of learning in low-tech environments
- Innovation of learning in low-tech information environments
- The future of learning in low-tech environments
We invite papers, posters, panels and workshop submissions centered on this theme from or relating to the Asia-Pacific region.
- September 28, 2018—Knowledge Transfer as a Defensive Strategy in the War on Talent
- October 2,2018-Vital Roles for Information Professionals in Publicly-Funded, Data-Driven Digital Humanities Project Work
- November 10-14, 2018 — 2018 ASIS&T Annual Meeting – Vancouver, BC
- January 3-4, 2018- ASIS&T Regional Meeting in Cambodia the University of Cambodia, Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia.
- ASIS&T Events Calendar
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