History of ASIDIC 


 ASIDIC was established in September 1968 when professionals from several information centers were brought together in Columbus, Ohio at the invitation of the Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS). The centers were users of CAS magnetic tape resources and other electronic databases.

Discussion of problems and needs, coupled with encouragement from CAS, led to the formation of the Association of Scientific Information Dissemination Centers. Charter members included Eastman Kodak Company, Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) Research Institute, the Universities of Pittsburgh and Georgia, the Dow Chemical Company, and the National Science Library of Canada.

In 1976, ASIDIC changed its name to the Association of Information and Dissemination Centers, and membership was expanded to include database producers as full members. At its height, the association was composed of members representing both public and private organizations across the United States and around the world. Within the private sector, both for-profit and non-profit organizations were included.

ASIDIC was governed by an executive committee composed of a president, past president, secretary, treasurer, and several members-at-large.  Click here to see a list of the Executive Committee members over the years.  A constitution and bylaws governed the operations of the Association.  They were revised several times, as circumstances changed.  The final revised version was enacted and approved by the Membership in 2009.

In addition to an Executive Committee, several standing committees were established, which included:

  • Standards,
  • Finance,
  • Publications,
  • Membership,
  • Long-Range Planning, and
  • Sponsorships.

The major activity of ASIDIC was its semi-annual meetings.  These were held in a variety of venues in the U.S. and Canada.  Topics relevant to the significant industry issues of the day were chosen, and a program chair assumed the primary responsibility of recruiting speakers.  In latter years, a keynote speaker usually opened the meeting.  A local host was responsible for meeting planning and arrangements.

Other activities of ASIDIC included publication of a newsletter, generally following each meeting.  The newsletter reported on the presentations at the meeting as well as actions of the executive committee and the standing committees.  ASIDIC also held a membership in the National Information Standards Association (NISO) and the chair of the standards committee represented the interests of ASIDIC members at NISO meetings.

Operations, assorted secretarial functions, and assistance with meeting planning were performed by a secretariat (later executive secretary).  The initial secretariat was Jeanette Webb of the University of Georgia.  Upon her retirement in 2001, Donald Hawkins of Information Today, Inc. assumed the role of secretariat.  The secretariat's title was changed to executive secretary upon the adoption of an updated constitution in 2009.

ASIDIC enjoyed a long history in the information industry, celebrating its 25th anniversary in 1993 and its 40th in 2008. However, as the information industry changed and the number of conferences increased, membership and attendance at ASIDIC meetings declined, and the long-term financial viability of the Association became doubtful.  After many discussions and a survey of the memberships, the executive committee recommended that ASIDIC should "locate another not-for-profit information industry organization who is interested in and willing to orchestrate a mutually beneficial merger of the two organizations" because:

  • "ASIDIC does not have the financial resources to craft a new mission with new operational procedures. Were ASIDIC to try, it would squander its resources and most likely, not succeed."
  • "ASIDIC lacks the human resources that would be required to manage and conduct a massive change that the committee feels would be needed to create a new and self-sustaining organization."
  • "While all committee members acknowledge that ASIDIC served a very valuable function in the information industry, there now exist many other industry events that strive to meet the same needs as were served by ASIDIC's traditional mission; accordingly, we believe that ASIDIC has outlived its usefulness."

A vote of the then-current members of ASIDIC was conducted and ratified by the executive committee on June 30, 2010.  Effective the following day, ASIDIC ceased to exist and its members became NFAIS members.

--Donald T. Hawkins, September 29, 2010