I’ve had 2 articles published in JASIST in recent months. I say this not to boast, but so that you have the background to what has turned out to be an incredibly confusing editorial snafu.

Pomerantz, J. (2005). A Linguistic Analysis of Question Taxonomies. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 56(7), 715-728.

Pomerantz, J. (2005). A Conceptual Framework and Open Research Questions for Chat-based Reference Service. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 56(12), 1288-1302.

The Bulletin contains a column of abstracts from JASIST: as an author with a paper accepted to JASIST, I’m asked to submit a “practitioner’s abstract” for my paper. In other words, I can submit an abstract for my JASIST paper that will “sell it” to practitioners; it’s ASIST’s way of trying to expand the audience of JASIST, I suppose. Anyway, I submitted an abstract to the Bulletin for the Chat paper, but not for the Taxonomies paper. I just really didn’t think that the Taxonomies paper would be all that interesting to practitioners.

So, in the August/September 2005 Bulletin, in the Selected Abstracts column, there appeared this:

Pomerantz, J. (2005). Impact and relevance of LIS journals: A linguistic analysis of question taxomomies, (715-728).

Study and Results: This paper explores the steps in the process of providing chat reference, as well as issues involved in providing such service at each step. Open research questions at each step in the process of providing chat reference service are presented. The entire process of providing chat reference is viewed as a whole, and an abstract model of the provision of chat reference service is developed.

What’s New? The questions posed in this paper are the most important open questions in chat reference service at this time and may guide future research in this area by both scholars and practitioners. The model developed in this paper may serve as a conceptual framework for identifying additional questions in chat reference service and for development of chat reference software.

Limitations: As chat reference technology develops, some of the questions posed in this paper will be answered and additional questions will be identified. Many of the questions posed in this paper likely have no single, definitive answer but are instead context-dependent.

Stay with me now:

  1. The abstract is for the Chat paper. That much, at least, is correct.
  2. The title is the Taxonomies paper, mostly…
  3. The rest of the title is from a paper by Schloegl & Stock that appeared in JASIST 55(13). That paper had its practitioner’s abstract printed in the December/January 2005 Bulletin.

Heaven knows how all that went wrong. It’s almost too weird to be human error. Dick Hill is listed as the Editor and Publisher of the Bulletin, but mostly I’ve been emailing with Irene Travis. I can see one or the other of them accidentally swapping one title for another, especially since I had 2 papers in JASIST within 6 months of each other. I can see making the typo “taxomomies.” But where did the Schloegl & Stock title come from? And all 3 of these errors together? It strains the bounds of credibility. Personally, I think someone’s computer barfed.

Now, after many many emails trying to (1) pin down what all the errors were, (2) figure out how they happened, and (3) explain it all so that everyone involved understood 1 & 2, we’ve arrived at some consensus. This erratum should appear in the next (Oct/Nov) issue of the Bulletin. That is, it will appear if it’s not too late to go to print. If it is, it will appear in the Dec/Jan issue.

Erratum: We apologize for some serious cut-and-paste confusion in the “What’s New?” column in the August/September 2005 issue of the Bulletin in the summary of an article by Jeffrey Pomerantz. One of his articles did, in fact, appear in volume 56, number 7 of JASIS&T. However, the title of the article in the citation is that of a summary we had previously published by Christian Schloegl and Wolfgang Stock, while the summary itself belongs to one of Jeffrey Pomerantz’s later JASIS&T articles, “A conceptual framework and open research questions for chat-based reference service.” That article will appear in JASIS&T volume 56, number 12. We do not have a summary for his earlier article, the correct title of which is “A linguistic analysis of question taxonomies.”

The erratum is almost as confusing as the error itself. John the Apostle was clearly not looking out for the August/September 2005 Bulletin. (Why John the Apostle? Because he’s the patron saint of editors; don’t ask me why.)

Oh yes, I almost forgot one last piece of confusion. The Chat article has been in press for a while, so it was listed in the Early View section of the ASIST digital library. Perfect timing, the Chat article came to print in the most recent issue of JASIST — which, natch, was released during this whole email exchange. Thus making this all the more confusing for everyone.

As a sidebar, I recently heard this piece on NPR, about editorial errors in obituaries in The New York Times. Apparently the longest length of time a correction was printed in the Times after the original piece was 49 years: correcting an editorial (not an obituary) from the 1920s that argued that Goddard was wrong & a rocket can’t operate in a vacuum. (Appropriately, the correction was printed 2 days after Apollo 11 was launched.) So for my thing to be corrected in the Bulletin so quickly, I guess we’re ahead of the curve. Of course, no one died here. Perhaps my writing is deadly dull? It certainly isn’t rocket science.