Dear ASIST members,
You may be interested in the following call for chapter proposals for an upcoming book on adult aging, information, and technology. The deadline for chapter proposals is Dec 10, 2023.
Best wishes,Jesse Dinneen
Publisher: Cambridge Press, early 2025.
We invite proposals for contributing chapters of a book designed to provide special and influential coverage on aging. Across chapters of the book, the focus is on the process of aging and not the state of being "old".1 To live is to age, of course. And a person's needs for supporting knowledge (e.g., skills) and information/information tools will change in ways both abrupt (e.g., with graduation, change of job, marriage, parenthood, divorce, retirement, etc.) and gradual throughout one's adult life.
How can we, as individuals and collectively, in families, organizations and whole societies, age in ways that engage and that make the best use of our diverse talents and abilities? Aging, rather than being regarded as an unfortunate consequence of living, is seen as a lifelong giver of experience, knowledge, and wisdom. How can we thrive in ways that realize these benefits of aging while retaining more youthful benefits such as freshness of perspective and a "raw" capacity to handle new information?
Read on for more information concerning the book's sections, the topics to be covered in each section, and overall schedule.
Interested in contributing? Share your thoughts with us informally via email (our names as the book editors are linked to our email addresses). We can then send you a link to the EasyChair to provide:
Chapter # below whose description best expresses the topics you hope to cover. Or… if you believe your contribution relates to the book's theme but is not well-represented in the listing of chapters below, consider proposing a new chapter, by provisional title and topics to cover, that expresses your contribution.
Outline of 1 to 2 pages expressing your plan of coverage for the chapter you select and its associated topics.
We ask that you send along your proposal on or before December 10, 2023.
The book is in three sections corresponding to the major themes of I. Successful Aging, II. Knowledge ("in the head") III. Information ("out there"). (Note that the book's introduction and its conclusion comprise the first and final chapters of the book).
The book's first section explores ongoing deliberations concerning what it means to age well with a special focus on the concept of successful aging (SA).2 Chapters explore the motivations for and appeal of SA as a concept as well as potential limitations in its interpretation and the need for an inclusiveness in a notion of aging well, whatever its actual label. What does it mean to thrive with age in diverse socio-economic circumstances? ... in different cultures? The book also considers that to thrive with age, is, by no means, merely a matter of individual choices but also depends, critically, on external support e.g., from families, organizations, public policy and, even, in the research and development of supporting tools. Further, how can notions of SA be applied not merely to the "old" (however defined) but to all adults and as matter of concern throughout one's adult life? Chapters, by provisional title and topics, in this section are:
The declines of age (beginning as early as age 20) and the "inclines" of age (with improvements extending possibly into our 60s and beyond).
Fluid vs. crystalized intelligence as a useful distinction but then noting that actual patterns are more complicated.
Cognitive resilience – there is more than one way to complete a real-world task (examples of prospective memory), evidence for the automatic repurposing areas of the brain (to compensate for the gradual loss of brain tissue).
Is it ever too early or late to start aging well?
Contributing factors for aging well; Exercise, social interaction, lifestyle, sense of purpose… meditation?
A possible need to move away from the exclusionary effects of normative models of SA towards more flexible, personalized definitions of what it means to age well.
How can organizations and corporations successfully age? Societies and nations? The world at large?
The social aspects of SA. The differing roles that social media now plays and might play. On the one hand, social media has the potential to bridge generational gaps; on the other hand, it can also foster attitudes of agism that further widen these gaps.
Aging in different cultures. Aging and migration. Cultural and economic differences. Cultural attitudes to information access and use especially as these impact SA.
The book goes on to explore the critical and complementary roles that knowledge "in the head" and information "out there" can play in supporting us as we (all) age.
Chapters in the second section of the book explore the diversity of ways in which what is "in the head" might be expanded to support us as we age. Under consideration are activities ranging from "brain-training" programs to mentally engaging activities such as crossword puzzles, to meditation to, even, the potentially lasting effects of formal education to instill greater resilience to face the physical changes that come with age.
Does formal education earlier in life help to forestall the declines of aging later in life?
What about back-to-school initiatives for people later in life who perhaps didn't have the option in their youth to pursue post-high-school education? Can education, delayed by decades, still have benefit in slowing the declines of age?
Is successful aging more easily attained by "digital natives" as they age?
From https://longevity.stanford.edu/a-consensus-on-the-brain-training-industry-from-the-scientific-community-2/.: "We object to the claim that brain games offer consumers a scientifically grounded avenue to reduce or reverse cognitive decline when there is no compelling scientific evidence to date that they do. The promise of a magic bullet detracts from the best evidence to date, which is that cognitive health in old age reflects the long-term effects of healthy, engaged lifestyles. In the judgment of the signatories, exaggerated and misleading claims exploit the anxiety of older adults about impending cognitive decline. We encourage continued careful research and validation in this field"
From : https://www.cognitivetrainingdata.org/the-controversy-does-brain-training-work/response-letter/ "… dozens of randomized, controlled trials published in peer-reviewed journals … document specific benefits of defined types of cognitive training. Many of these studies show improvements that encompass a broad array of cognitive and everyday activities, show gains that persist for a reasonable amount of time, document positive changes in real-life indices of cognitive health, and employ control strategies designed to account for "placebo" effects."
Can practices of meditation and mindfulness reduce or delay the declines of aging?
Chapters in the third and final section of the book consider the roles that information "out there" can play to complement, overcome the limitations of, and extend our internal knowledge. The information available to us as individuals is considered in the larger context of our personal spaces of information (PSIs) to include the tools for accessing and understanding this information and the channels through which this information is sent and received (including, informal channels provided through family, friends, and colleagues). Chapters explore the metaphor of "cognitive spectacles". Certain "fluid" abilities of cognition are shown to decline gradually with age (starting as early as age 20). But can technologies and tool innovations (the new, such as ChatGPT but also the old such as full-screen editors) work in a manner analogous to eyeglasses and contacts to render these declines irrelevant? This section also explores the critical role that public libraries might play in a person's PSI not only as channels of information but also as means to foster inter-generational knowledge transfer and this in both directions e.g., the older may learn from the younger with respect to the use of new information tools even as the younger learn from the older with respect to "life lessons" including "school of hard knocks" lessons of personal information management (PIM).3
… including a review of past tool innovations, from full-screen editors in the early 1980's to effective direct searching of the Web in the early 2000's, and provisional experimental results to suggest that some innovations may have helped to reduce or even eliminate age-related performance differences. What are the trends? What is the future?
…including explorations of a "meGPT" that might "autofill" to help us complete routine tasks (e.g., routine email correspondence). Further, the tool might help us to detect and avoid attempts to "invade" or steal from our personal spaces of information. Also to explore are the many considerations involved in a tool that might, for example, detect dementia long before others notice and in time for us to take steps to address. How would this information be communicated? Would we even want to know?
A look at platforms and public spaces, virtual and real, as a basis for the exchange of information and, especially, intergenerational exchange where both sides of the exchange benefit. A special focus on libraries as a communal place for education and information exchange.
Managing our personal spaces of information (PSIs) now in support of our older selves later and, later still, in support of our loved ones and our legacy after we're gone. The emotional, psychological dimensions to construction of our PSIs. The use of our PSIs in support of life transitions and in support of remembrance and mourning traditions. Issues, legal, ethical and moral, relating to our "digital information remains".
This book is intended for three categories of readers:
Academics and researchers from the fields of computer and information science who are interested in getting current in this very large and growing area.
Academics and researchers from other disciplines who are interested in understanding successful aging as from the perspective of knowledge and information.
A general public that is interested in the topic whether to support their personal lives or their aging family members.
Our book brings a unique perspective connecting matters of aging, across the decades of a person's life, with the acquisition of knowledge and the ready access to and ability to work with information. An intelligent, strategic ability to manage knowledge and information at a personal level is especially important in a digital world where deep and complex interaction with knowledge and information profoundly shape the quality of our everyday lives. The book focuses on how knowledge and information support successful aging throughout one's life and in the larger contexts of family, workplace, and community.
William Jones, email@example.com, is a Research Associate Professor Emeritus in the Information School at the University of Washington. He continues to work on the challenges of "Keeping Found Things Found" both as a research topic and in his own life. He is recently interested in the relationships between information, knowledge and successful aging. William has published in the areas of personal information management (PIM), human-computer interaction, information retrieval (search), and human cognition/memory. He wrote the book Keeping Found Things Found: The Study and Practice of Personal Information Management and, more recently, the three-part series, The Future of Personal Information: Part 1: Our Information, Always & Forever, Part 2: Transforming Technologies to Manage Our Information and Part 3: Building a Better World With Our Information. William holds six patents relating to search and PIM.
Dr. Jacek Gwizdka, firstname.lastname@example.org, is an Associate Professor and Information eXperience Lab Director in the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin. He investigates human-computer interaction with interests in information search processes and search interfaces, in application of cognitive psychology to interactive information retrieval, and in implicit assessment of cognitive load using neuro-physiological methods. His research interests also include supporting aging with technology, individual differences between humans, search as learning, and reading processes.
Dr Maja Krtalić, email@example.com, is an Associate Professor in the School of Information Management, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Previously, she was an Assistant Professor at the University of Osijek, Croatia (2004-2017). Her research is in the areas of information behavior, personal information management, and cultural heritage preservation, with a special focus on how personal information supports individuals, families, and communities in everyday life contexts. She publishes regularly in information science journals.
Dr. Annie T. Chen, firstname.lastname@example.org, is Associate Professor of Biomedical Informatics at University of Washington (UW) School of Medicine. Her research interests include information behavior, psychosocial and communicative processes in online spaces, and supporting human interactions with digital technologies. More specifically, her research leverages diverse forms of data to improve health management, including data analytic approaches and stakeholder-engaged approaches. With respect to aging, Annie is most interested in the evolution of the relationship between information behavior, knowledge, and belief over time; its influence on behavior in everyday life; how these processes are embodied in physical and digital artifacts; and how to leverage collective experience in online spaces.
Dr. Jesse Dinneen, email@example.com, is a Junior Professor in the Berlin School of Library and Information Science at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. His research interests include information ethics and personal information management, each understood broadly.
Our schedule is aggressive.
Proposals for chapters due
Editors provide feedback on outlines and go/no go.
List of contribution authors is finalized.
Chapter drafts completed and distributed for review and commentary (amongst chapter authors, the book editors, and selected outside subject-matter experts)
Authors receive reviews
Final versions of book chapters due
Editors review revised book chapters to determine and, if needed, request additional changes from chapter authors. (Very short cycle)
Book content finalized. Off to publisher
Questions? Comments? Please directly contact any of the editors listed above (via email).
Jones, W. P., Donner, S., Narayan, B., & Reyes, V. (2023). It's about Time: Let's Do More to Support the Process of Aging (vs. the State of Being "Old"). Extended Abstracts of the 2023 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 1–7. https://doi.org/10.1145/3544549.3582740
Successful Aging: Contentious Past, Productive Future. (2015). The Gerontologist, 55(1), 1–4. https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gnv002
1. (Jones et al., 2023)
2 See the special issue of the Gerontologist, "Successful Aging," 2015. ("Successful Aging," 2015)