ASIS&T 2014 Annual Meeting SummarySummary of several sessions of the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Association for Information Science & Technology.
Jorge Garcia Highlights 2013 ASIS&T Annual MeetingAt the 2013 ASIS&T Annual Meeting, Jorge García discussed the transformation of new information technologies from imagined abstractions to reality. Through old and current advertisements and interviews with futurist Arthur C. Clarke and communication theorist Marshall McLuhan, García illustrated the progressive revolutions embodied by the telephone, a shift from commuting to communicating, early visions of the Internet, new media and big data. Handling the change requires a continuous process of abstracting reality, augmenting, assimilating and creating models to represent its key features. García recognized data as an asset to be distilled and classified, stored in expanding volumes and transmitted at astounding speeds. Layered with contextual information and supportive technology, data can be used to enhance human intelligence and capability. García closed with an admonition to limit potential negative effects of technology by implementing clear and ethical practices in data and information use.
Restoring Information’s BodyAs plenary speaker for the ASIS&T 2010 Annual Meeting, Lucy Suchman based her presentation on a reference by author N. Katherine Hayles asserting that information has lost its body. Efforts to restore information’s body must recognize the references and context of the information to bring the information back to a point of meaning. In exploring the importance of context for meaningful information, Suchman drew comparisons to the human work behind information, the agent critical to initiate an action, the work meaningful through indirect interactions with an object at a distance. She made further parallels to conversations with a disembodied head, remote control warfare and robotic health care – all interactions with machines, but with humans as invisible agents. Communications research, Suchman indicated, must be mindful of the connection between information and its body in order to fully understand information content.