ASI conference presentations: a content analysis of major topics, 1997-2012

Jackson: The microeconomics of indexing

environment, we should become more confident in our
ability to put together an offering for which the demand
will increase and not disappear. There is a lot of work to
be done. In addition to our indexing we need to involve not
only publishers but the ultimate consumers of our services,
librarians and academics, as well as technologists. We all
have need of each other. Our job descriptions need to adapt
to the new world and will be enlarged at the same time. This
adds up to increased opportunities.

References
Samuelson, P. A. (1976) Economics. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Schiller, B. R. (2011) Essentials of economics. New York: McGraw-
Hill/Irwin.
Michael E. Jackson is a freelance indexer, and also the North
American reviews editor for The Indexer.
Email: mi rhaba@aol .com

ASI conference presentations: a content
analysis of major topics, 1997-20 12
Catherine Sassen
Catherine Sassen analyzes the content of presentations made at ASI conferences held from 1997 through 2012,
and identifies major topics and trends.

Introduction

Literature review

The American Society for Indexing (ASI) holds annual
conferences to keep members informed of new develop-
ments in indexing technology and the expanding role of
indexing (ASI, 2012). Conferences also facilitate communi-
cation among members, provide educational opportunities,
and raise awareness of quality indexing.
The first annual meeting of ASI was held on the evening
of 16 June 1969 at the Graduate Center of the City Univer-
sity of New York (Harris, 1969: 189-90). The meeting
consisted of reports by officers as well as discussions of old
and new business. Attendees suggested several projects that
ASI should initiate, including a newsletter and 'subject- or
problem-oriented meetings.'
In the early years of ASI, an annual meeting was limited
to one evening (Thomas, 1989: 125). This practice continued
until 1972 when the First Annual All-Day Meeting was
held (Preschel, 1973: 176-9). This meeting consisted of
two sessions on indexing training courses and one session
on the expectations of indexers and publishers. Since that
time, ASI conferences have increased significantly in length
and content. The most recent conference took place in San
Diego, California from 19-21 April 2012. The conference
program included a variety of workshops and seminars,
with themes ranging from 'Getting started in indexing' to
'Taxonomy and thesaurus creation' (ASI, 2012).
The purpose of this article is to identify major topics
discussed at ASI conferences from 1997 through 2012 and to
explore how the topics have changed over time. ASI confer-
ence programs reflect topics of interest to indexers, and thus
provide insight into concerns of the profession at large.

Rowley (1981: 16-18) has written about the value of confer-
ence literature and the ways in which it may be used.
Conference literature may summarize current problems
and solutions in a discipline, offer an understanding of tech-
niques and approaches in use, and provide insight into new
advances and technological developments.
Several research studies in the field of library and infor-
mation science have concerned the content of conference
presentations. Coughlin and Snelson (1983) and Snelson
and Talar (1991) examined the quality of research presented
at selected national conferences of the Association of
College and Research Libraries. Wilson (2010) analyzed
sessions from library conferences in western Canada over
a period of five years to determine their target audiences.
Garner, Davidson and Williams (2008) studied the North
American Serials Interest Group Conference proceedings
from 1986 to 2005 to identify major topics and trends.
Methodology
This analysis of ASI conferences from 1997 through 2012
is based on conference reports published in Key Words, as
well as conference program information accessed through
the 'Past Annual Conferences' page on the ASI website. A
complete preliminary program for the 2007 conference was
not available on the website, but was accessed through the
author's personal collection. All information about the 2006
conference was taken from reports in Key Words because
very little information about that conference was found on
the website.
Reports of presentations and poster sessions were
included in the analysis. Types of presentations have varied

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Sassen, Catherine. ASI conference presentations: a content analysis of major topics, 1997-2012. [Sheffield, United Kingdom]. UNT Digital Library. http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc122177/. Accessed June 2, 2015.