SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction and Retrospective
  4. The Future of International Information

The 2008 ASIS&T Annual Meeting marks the 25th anniversary of the Special Interest Group for International Information Issues. During this time the global impact of information has grown exponentially, both in terms of available information sources and how people use these sources.

The members of SIG-III will present a panel looking at the past 25 years of international information issues and SIG-III's role in bringing these issues to ASIS&T as a whole for consideration and debate. Toni Carbo, one of the co-founders of SIG-III, will keynote this retrospection.

A look at the past 25 years of international information offers a lens with which to view potential trends and developments in the future. Toni Carbo, Bharat Mehra, Yunfei Du, and Aaron Bowen will present a “state of the union” on aspects of international information and will evaluate trends and developments which may occur during the next 25 years. Toni will examine privacy, security, and trust. Bharat will examine access and development. Yunfei will examine the digital divide and the knowledge gap. Aaron will examine censorship. All presenters will consider the costs and benefits each topic has accrued for different countries, further challenges with respect to each topic, and potential answers countries may apply to these challenges.


Introduction and Retrospective

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction and Retrospective
  4. The Future of International Information

For the past 25 years SIG-III has provided (as described in its mission statement) “a forum for exploring and discussing international information issues and problems.” The members of SIG-III have sought to better understand the global and cultural influences on the generation and consumption of information, and conversely how information influences and informs cultures. In addition, SIG-III has sought to bring the knowledge generated through its own examinations to a broader audience at ASIS&T as a whole and to facilitate information exchange between American and international scholars across ASIS&T.

SIG-III has developed a number of programs to further these goals. It has started two programs - InfoShare and the International Paper Contest - to award ASIS&T memberships to librarians and information scientists from developing countries for whom the cost of membership would otherwise be a financial burden. SIG-III and ASIS&T members have benefited from the knowledge and expertise these scholars bring, and many of them have promoted ASIS&T in their home countries while serving as SIG-III Officers. SIG-III has also started a Mentorship program to build one-to-one collaborative partnerships between Paper Contest winners and U.S.-based information professionals.

SIG-III has also held the annual Global Information Village Plaza for five years at ASIS&T Annual Meetings. The Plaza serves as a forum where an international group of attendees can discuss information issues at professional and personal levels. In recent years the Plaza has incorporated the SIG-III Blog as an ongoing, digital extension of the Plaza discussion.

Toni Carbo, one of SIG's co-founders, will give a retrospective paper on the first 25 years of the SIG.

The Future of International Information

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction and Retrospective
  4. The Future of International Information

In the present day, the deployment of the Internet in particular has created immense new opportunities to access information, but also added new dynamics to the way information travels around the world, how people are able (or unable) to access this information, and how they think about information in a global context.

Following her retrospection, Toni Carbo will present on privacy, security, and trust with regard to digital information. Examples of these issues in the international information context include an ongoing disagreement between the U.S. and the European Union regarding access to airline passenger data on transatlantic flights as well as the collection and sharing of personal data between countries, Internet service providers, vendors, or other interested parties. Issues of this nature will continue to gain in complexity and importance during the next 25 years.

International development has proceeded unevenly, with some countries better able to build institutions supporting a stronger quality of life than other countries. Information services are no exception to these circumstances. There are different levels of access to information (particularly digital information) and different levels of knowledge about how to find and use information in different countries. These digital divides and knowledge gaps can exist among countries and among different population segments within countries, and are frequently based upon a mix of economic, ethnic, social, and cultural factors.

The effects of digital inclusion or exclusion can reinforce social divisions and exacerbate existing tensions between different population segments at local, national, and/or international levels. Bharat Mehra will present a paper on the development of information infrastructures in different countries and the social opportunities and challenges that have accompanied this development. Yunfei Du will present a paper on digital divides, knowledge gaps, and related issues of diversity and multiculturalism. Both of these papers will address potential answers countries may apply to these challenges.

Information access and exclusion can be manipulated for political purposes. Two primary forms of this manipulation are surveillance and censorship. For example the Chinese government monitors and, if it chooses, censors discussion of certain political, social or cultural topics in order to maintain its hold on power and promote its view of what information is morally acceptable to consume. To achieve similar goals certain governments (notably Iran) will restrict Internet access speeds and incapacitate Internet service providers it views as too independent. Aaron Bowen will present a paper on censorship efforts in different countries and further challenges and potential changes affecting these countries with respect to censorship.