The plenary sessions at the 2011 Annual Meeting, which are reported here, relate closely to other recent coverage on conservation of information June/July 2011) and biodiversity informatics August/September 2011). T. D. Wilson reflects on attempts to preserve information, past and present, and their likely outcomes while Steve Kelling of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology discusses using crowdsourcing and other information technologies to track, identify and protect birds.
Topics less frequently covered are the focus of our two feature articles. In one of them, Howard Fosdick encourages readers to donate suitable machines to computer refurbishers, where such organizations exist, instead of immediately recycling them, thus providing computers to people who could not otherwise afford them. He also discusses some of the usual methods of recycling and their unfortunate environmental impact as well as how computers are refurbished to add to their useful life. In the other feature article, Jamshid Beheshti tackles the problem of improving the search skills of born-digital teenagers through game-style digital environments – and in particular a virtual library. This topic is closely related to one of our most popular past articles (www.asis.org./Bulletin/Apr-06/branston.html), which was on gaming and libraries. “From Game Studies to Bibliographic Gaming: Libraries Tap into the Video Game Culture” by Christy Branston still draws many readers.
For our special section on Museum Informatics I am much indebted to our guest editor Layna White, who has kept us current in this area over the years. This issue contains her third special section, the previous ones appearing in 2004 and 2008 (www.asis.org./Bulletin/Jun-04/white.html and www.asis.org./Bulletin/Apr-08/AprMay08_White.html). In this effort, Layna focuses on museums making their information available to the public and the scholarly community. There are six excellent articles on a variety of aspects of this challenge, ranging from the development of new collections management systems to the use of particular technologies such as reflectance transformation imaging, video and open source, linked datatsets. For the full list and a detailed discussion of each article, please see Layna's introduction “Museum Informatics: Something New, Something More.”
Finally, in our regular columns, Thom Haller reflects on the quandary of the information architecture professional whose expert advice is not accepted by the client, while ASIS&T president Diane Sonnenwald pays tribute to the efforts of our increasingly international cadre of volunteers as we prepare for our next Annual Meeting.