Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Post 14, choosing a conference committee, part 3

The academic program - really the guts of any conference, the heart and soul if you will. It doesn't matter how good the food is, how wonderful the networking opportunities (well maybe this does count for a lot!) or how swish the venue is, put on a bad program and reap the results.

Thinking about the academic program was an interesting exercise. Remember planning was happening years in advance; even the initial call for abstracts would be close to two years before potential speakers would be presenting their papers. This could well have meant that something that was new, exciting, innovative and cutting edge in 2007 would be old, dull and tired by the time December 2008 came through. This then meant that the Academic Coordinator had to have a very good knowledge of current trends in the library world (across all sectors), upcoming trends, as well as have the intuitive feeling required to know if a topic was going to be interesting months down the track. Not only this, but I needed the Academic Coordinator to be organised and be able to identify whether the stream selected by the author was an appropriate fit, create a selection system for us to work through together (as Convenor I was part of the decision making process for the program, as well as for the other Coordinator roles) and develop a model for peer review. Sharon was ideal for this role as she had worked in many different sectors and kept up with library literature. She was always very aware of what was happening in library land.

These posts so far over simplify the process I went through, to an extent. The decisions weren't made in 5 minutes; I also didn't actually have a process to follow or selection criteria to guide me - all of it was done through my own analysis plus experience of being on the alia07 committee.

Tomorrow I'll talk about a conference junkie :)

No comments: