Message from the Chair

Antony J. Williams

Ah, New Orleans…the culinary delights, the gentle climate, the incredible opportunities to engage in the music scene, the people-watching possibilities of Bourbon Street and, let’s face it, an excellent venue for an ACS meeting and all that CINF programming has to offer. In my short stay in the Division Chair seat I was proud to have been associated with the first of two ACS meetings. A rich and varied program packed into the week drew speakers and attendees from around the world. Our social events, despite a couple of minor hurdles, were ideal for networking, for catching up with old friends and colleagues, and for launching spirited efforts to grow our membership and reinvigorate our mission. The invitation of a science comedian to the CINF Luncheon and to lead a session on communicating science brought to light not only how much fun science can be, but for me, the spirit of camaraderie that I feel exists across our Division. We are, one and all, concerned with, excited by, and driven to excellence in our field of expertise. So, a great conference…hopefully, you all agree.

On Saturday evening as the conference was just beginning to kick off in earnest we hosted a CINF event to garner input regarding what would help to keep us relevant, how we could expand our membership, and what we could do to grow our stature and impact. During a wonderful dinner each table was hosted by a moderator through the discussions and we left with a lot of feedback. There were some common themes: CINF is a wonderful Division to be a member of, we need to do more outside of our Division to encourage participation and engagement, and we clearly have lots of passionate people willing to share their input and energy towards helping to make CINF successful. More will follow on our actions moving forward as we distil down the outcomes from the gathering.

In New Orleans I did take the opportunity to speak in a Division of Chemical Education symposium, and after the presentation I was encouraged to make sure that CINF collaborated more with CHED. I learned a lot about their challenges and shared our activities. I think this is a common situation that we often speak within our own Division whereas so many of our users, customers, and those with the most to gain from our work are actually elsewhere in the ACS conference. I encourage you to think about speaking outside CINF at future ACS Meetings. Our relevance, stature and impact as scientists and contributors to the field of chemical information will likely increase as we share our skills outside of our existing circles and instill more interest in what we have to deliver in our field of expertise and in our Division. We have put additional work into the Indianapolis meeting to ensure co-sponsored programming with the hope that this seeds our outreach effort.

Looking forward to the next meeting in Indianapolis we have much to do. What culminates in a hectic week of activity at the ACS Meeting sits on the shoulders of a number of committees and dedicated individuals within the Division. Yes, it is work, but it is very rewarding to be a part of a team and feel partly responsible for delivering to the meeting. We are also actively working on improving access to our activities via the CINF website (http://www.acscinf.org) and supporting efforts in providing teaching resources for chemical information via the XCITR website (http://www.xcitr.org). While in New Orleans we did ask “What do you need from your Division?” I encourage you to consider “What does your Division need from you?” We need you to spread the word about CINF, encourage people to view our webinars and learn about what is new in our domain, encourage membership, participate in the programs, step up and volunteer for the committees, and be vocal about the importance of chemical information. We need you!

Antony Williams, Chair, ACS Division of Chemical Information