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Overall Conference Impressions

I went to many sessions at the 2006 Joint Annual Meeting of NAGARA, COSA, and SAA and will add more presentation posts over the course of the next two weeks. I have 37 pages of notes in MS Word – though there is lots of white space throughout as I made bullet lists and started new pages for new presentations as I went. And some of my notes are on paper (darn that laptop battery). My first three pages of notes translated into the 3 posts I have put up so far summarizing and commenting on sessions – so I suspect it will take me a while to work my way through them. Combine that with all the ideas generated in conversations with fabulous people or that occurred to me during presentations and I have no fear about running out of ideas for posts here anytime soon.

I presented my poster “Communicating Context in Online Collections” throughout the morning on Friday. I enjoyed speaking with everyone who stopped by to get the long version of what my ideas on my poster were all about. Another plan I have is to post a version of my poster along with a full list of links to the websites I used as examples on my poster – look for it before the end of August.

My past experiences with conferences are from the technical world – I have been to and presented at more than one Oracle Open World conference. These are huge monstrous affairs which take over large city convention centers. While my first few minutes at this conference was a slightly overwhelming throng of people I didn’t know, I rapidly found people I knew and met many new people.

Being used to high tech conferences I was surprised by the lack of internet access which, while slightly frustrating for attendees, was quite mysterious in the context of presenters. No live demos of project websites or of the software many were discussing. Everyone worked around it (most had come prepared with screen shots of what they wanted to show) – it just seemed very strange.

There are some poster related things I would put on my wishlist to change for next year (speaking as a student who has never attended an SAA conference before):

  • opportunity to assemble my poster during non-session time
  • please take into account that most posters seem to be arranged in ‘landscape’ layout rather than ‘portrait’ and provide enough space for them all
  • more room for presenters to stand in front of their posters (there were great challenges this year with the placement of a buffet brunch table 2 feet in front of a long row of posters precisely during one of the main assigned poster presentation times)
  • either clear indication of when to pick up posters (again, not during session time) – or someone to take the posters to safety so they don’t end up in a pile at the back of the exhibit hall as they did this year

A big thank you to everyone I met at the conference. You made my first experience in the ‘greater archival universe’ (aka, beyond the University of Maryland) a good one. More SAA2006 posts and supporting information related to my poster coming soon.

Posted in SAA2006


  1. Lindsey

    I found it frustrating that the exhibit hall wasn’t open during the hours posted in the schedule (Thurs-Sat, 8-5). It didn’t open on Thursday until 6pm (after I had left for the day) and was not open during the lunch hours on Saturday. I guess if I had been there on Friday I would have been able to visit. Other than that I had a great time at the conference, can’t wait to hear your reflections!

  2. eva

    I participated in the poster session last year, and many of the same problems came up. In addition, no one clearly communicated that poster awards would be announced at the business meeting…

    I’m very much looking forward to seeing your poster.

  3. Thomas Kiehne

    I presented a poster last year, and like eva above, I can sing along with you in the choir of confusion. This year was especially bad in regards to presentation space — in fact, I missed your poster and undoubtedly others becasue of the competition for space.

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