FIMS Publications


Profile, needs, and expectations of information professionals: What we learned from the 2003 ASIST membership survey

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Book Review

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Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology

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A survey of American Society for Information Science and Technology (ASIST) members was administered via the Web in May 2003. The survey gathered demographic data about members and their preferences and expectations in regard to conferences and other ASIST products and services. With about a 32% return rate, findings were compared with an earlier survey conducted in 1979, which provides a glimpse of how the Society has changed and what needs to be done to ensure a healthy future development. The gender split has remained the same but members are about 5 years older on average than they were in 1979. A significant shift has occurred in members' institutional affiliations, from the largest group being in the industrial sector to the largest group being in educational institutions. Members on average reported slightly higher incomes (after adjusting for inflation) in 2003 than in 1979. Since 1979, a larger percentage of members have earned a doctoral degree. The most common field of study is library and information science. About half of the respondents reported that ASIST is their primary professional society. Their primary reason for maintaining ASIST membership is "learning about new developments/issues in the field," The most common responses to the question about what factors would make ASIST conferences more appealing related to lowering costs. Other responses related to attitudes about the ASIST Bulletin and the value of other proposed products and services are summarized and reported. Detailed analyses of relationships among different variables made possible a deeper understanding of members' needs and expectations, which provides directions for design of programs and services.

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