It’s so gratifying when a friend makes obvious progess. Dale Thompson is one of my littermates from my PhD program, whom is I regret to say is still working on the dissertation. But he just published his first diss spinoff article, and in JASIST no less! I’m kvelling.

Sensitive information: A review and research agenda
E. Dale Thompson & Michelle L. Kaarst-Brown

Dale used to work for the Defense Intelligence Agency, and he’s a great storyteller, which is a deadly combination since everyone loves a good spy story. Of course Dale was never a spy, but an analyst. But still. The funniest part of some of these stories, I always thought, was that he often had to, well, skip over certain things. I mean, you could practically hear the nondisclosure agreements.

Anyway, Dale’s thing is information security, and how people classify information as, well, classified. The awful thing about this is that September 11 really helped Dale in his research. Before September 11, the faculty at Syracuse didn’t really have a grip on security as a research agenda in information science; they saw it as largely a computer science problem. Then along comes September 11 and the subsequent recriminations about intelligence failures, and the problem of what information is classified and how is thrown into all-to-sharp relief, and specifically as a human rather than an automation problem. And Dale is suddenly able to more easily navigate the politics of the program. So that’s Dale for you: a man ahead of his time.