The American Society for Information Science (ASIS) is celebrating its 50th anniversary in Boston this week. It is an appropriate moment, therefore, to emphasize to the scientific community the strategic and growing role that information scientists play in scientific research, in technological advancement and, in broader terms, in the transformation of society. In fact, information and the transformation of society is the theme of this year’s ASIS conference.

Since 1945 our world has undergone enormous change. Most attribute this global transformation chiefly to the discoveries of scientists and the applications of those discoveries by technologists and engineers. We live in a new age—some would say a golden age—of science and technology. Societies the world over understand the increasing unportance of science and technology to economic and social well-being and improvement.

Few recognize, however, how fundamental has been the place of information in these recent scientific and technological developments. Having the...

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