I found another reason recently to be excited about the progress of SAA’s online presence. Buried in the ARCHIVES 2008: Archival R/Evolution & Identities Checklist for Presenters is first tidbits of a plan to provide access to PDF versions of conference presentations on the SAA website.
Send an Electronic Copy of Your Presentation to SAA. The conference organizers would like to offer meeting attendees the opportunity to view presentations after the conference on the SAA 2008 Annual Meeting website (www.archivists.org). If you’ll supply a copy of your presentation, we’ll convert it to a PDF and post it. Please note that by sending SAA a copy of your presentation in electronic format, you grant permission for your presentation to be viewed by all SAA 2008 Annual Meeting attendees.
I am so pleased! I have always wanted access to the presentations – both for those sessions I attend and those I cannot. I have often been that person hovering at the edge of the stage after a panel, waiting to request a soft copy of the presentation.
I do wonder what they mean when they say that the presentations will be “viewable by meeting attendees”. In my heart of hearts I hope they go a step further and let the speakers sign off on these presentations being shared with the world (or at least with all of SAA). I haven’t gone through every Session Page on the SAA 2007 Un-Official Wiki, but I believe that not very many presenters took the opportunity to provide links to soft copies of their presentations. I hope that SAA is more successful on this front.
No matter the choices made relating to immediate access – I see this as a big step forward in the commitment to using technology. I think one of the best ways to learn is through getting your hands dirty. Technology is listed as one of SAA’s strategic priorities. Every choice that SAA makes that encourages their membership to become more tech-savvy is a step towards supporting that priority.