Earlier this month, I asked folks to respond to a survey about how they deal with the information, materials and swag that they collect at conferences. I will be putting together a full report on the results, but I’m going to publish the report bit-by-bit on my blog as I write it. You, my faithful readers (and hopefully, some of the survey’s respondents) will get a sneak peek!
The survey’s questions were as follows:
1 ) How many conferences have you attended in the past year?
2 ) How do you take notes at conferences?
3 ) Do you visit vendors at conferences?
4 ) What do you do with vendor swag when you get home?
5 ) How do you organize your conference materials when you get home?
6 ) Do you purchase conference handouts on CD or thumbdrive, if offered?
7 ) Do you purchase recordings of sessions, when offered?
8 ) What would help you make better use of conference materials when you get home?
9 ) Other thoughts? Do you use systems/tools to keep yourself organized at/after a conference not already covered above? Ever been wowed by how a conference presented its materials? How did they do it?
10 ) Please provide your email address below if I can contact you with follow-up questions and/or if you would like a copy of the results of this survey.
I advertised the online-only survey to my networks on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, here on this blog, and on the listservs of a couple of professional associations to which I belong (the Association of Independent Information Professionals and the Special Libraries Association, in particular). Eighty-five (!) people responded to my survey during the week that I had it available online. This was more than I could have hoped for.
The majority of the respondents, therefore, were librarians, genealogists and other types of information professionals. These folks tend to be organized and focused on how they process information. It is presumed that they all had a comfort level with computers, the Internet and some forms of social media in order to take the survey.
The demographics of the survey respondents might suggest that the group who participated may be more organized than your average conference attendee. After going through the aggregated responses to the multiple choice questions and skimming the individual comments for other of the questions above, many of the respondents do have intricate systems for organizing conference information.
I also found though that many, like me, expressed frustration with a lack of time and appropriate tools to organize everything that they gather. There were suggestions for dealing with notes, handouts, giveaways, business cards and other data, information and materials that one collects at a conference. Some of these suggestions are systems that the respondents already use and others are wishlist items that will depend on conference organizers, or even vendors, to supply.
In ensuing posts, I go over the responses to each of the questions asked in the survey. Read on at the links below: