This is the final post in a series about a survey I did to see how conference attendees organize the information and materials they bring home with them. Please be sure to read the previous posts in the series:
- Post 1 (Survey Results Overview)
- Post 2 (Questions 1 & 2/Attendance & Note-taking)
- Post 3 (Questions 3 & 4/Vendors & Swag)
- Post 4 (Question 5/How Do You Organize Materials?)
- Post 5 (Questions 6 & 7/Purchasing Syllabi & Recordings)
- Post 6 (Question 8/Attendee Suggestions, Part 1)
- Post 7 (Question 9/Attendee Suggestions, Part 2)
In this post, I will summarize the issues and ideas that jumped out at me–items for conference organizers and attendees alike to consider for future events.
Beyond the issues presented in the questions, some respondents raised points that hadn’t occurred to me, including ways to share conference information with colleagues after the fact. Respondents mentioned this as a way to make their conference attendance a worthwhile investment for their organization. Independent information professionals said that recapping what they learned was a great marketing tool to share with clients.
Challenges not specifically mentioned in my survey but brought up by the respondents touched on needing ways to follow up with the people they meet at conferences. This included both other conference attendees and speakers/presenters.
As I read through the responses, some ideas jumped out at me:
- I would love to see a conference- or topic-specific filing system that could be organized along the way and dropped into a file drawer once I get home.
- On the other hand, it’s fine to organize by conference, but if you attend several a year, how do you keep track of what binder/folder to go back to. Did you hear that tidbit in 2008, 2009, or 2010? One of the conference attendees addressed this in her comments: “I currently keep most information organized by conference. I should probably refile information gathered at conferences into subject folders at home.”
- It would be great if there were an all-in-one online system for conference organizers to post handouts, presentations, blog posts, Tweets and other social-media feeds in one spot for handy access before (possibly), during and after a conference.
- After hearing many respondents request this, online versions of syllabi and other handouts need to be editable and designed with space in mind for note-taking.
I hope you have enjoyed following these posts. As promised to my survey respondents, I will be putting together a report that ties all of this into one document. If you are interested in receiving the final version, please drop me a line — I’d be happy to send it to you!