Capturing conferences

Yesterday I grumbled about secret meetings. Enough whining, what's the opportunity?

Some technical societies already understand the need for recording proceedings. SPE workshops have clearly-stated deliverables, for example at the Marginal Fields workshop in Cairo later this year:

SPE workshop deliverables
SPE workshop deliverables

That's more like it. It would be better to publish the proceedings to the world, not just attendees, and to use an open license, but it's definitely a good start.

As we reported earlier, we used a variety of methods to capture the unsession we hosted at the Canada GeoConvention in May — video, photos, drawings and notes, interviews, a wiki, and an article. This is messy and chaotic, but it's also transparent and open, making it easier to reference and more likely that someone (including us!) can use it.

What other things should we be considering? Here are some ideas:

  • Livestreaming. This enables people who couldn't make it to take part in at least one or two sessions via streaming video and social media. It's amazingly effective and can increase the audience by a factor of 5 or more. Even better: at the end of it, you have video of everything!
  • Published proceedings. This is something we used to do all the time in geoscience, but it takes a lot of coordination. The GSL is the only body I know of that still manages it regularly. Perhaps a wiki-based publishing approach would be easier to arrange?
  • Graphic recording. I have witnessed this a few times, and even tried it myself. In a workshop, it's a terrific way to engage the audience in real time; in a conference, it makes for some great conversation pieces in the break. It's also a brilliant way to listen.
  • Podcasting. Having a small team of reporters capture the proceedings in short interviews, video clips, and opinion pieces could be a fun way to engage non-attendees, and leave the event with a record of what went on.
  • Code and data. We could experiment with more 'doing' sessions, where code is written, wiki pages are hacked on, data is collected, and so on. The product then is clear: a new code repository, open dataset, or set of wiki pages. This one could be the easiest one to pull off, and the most valuable to the community.

Here's more inspiration: the EGU tweeting its round-up from Vienna this morning:

Looking back at the #EGU2013 - a whole lot of online action, excellent scientists, geo-photos, journals & more — EGU (@EuroGeosciences) June 6, 2013

Have you seen unusually effective or innovative ways to record events you've been at? What would you like to see? What would you be prepared to do?

Update on 2013-06-07 21:51 by Matt Hall

In my inbox today: SEG are offering video of something like 200 talks (of the 1000+) from last year's Annual Meeting. Unfortunately, they're trying to monetize, but at least they're only $0.99. I enjoyed this one on 3D image segmentation live — but haven't tried it online.