Archive for the ‘conferences’ Category

ISKO 12’s bookshelf

My editorial based on the conference proceedings from Mysore was just published in Knowledge Organization, v. 40, no. 1 (2013): 1-10. I gave it the subtitle “evolving intension,” because from what I could see in the statistical evidence, the theoretical core of knowledge organization is stable and is represented in these papers, but there was less granualarity than in recent biennial ISKO conferences, suggesting differences peculiar to this specific mixture of scholars which appear to be sort of pushing and pulling the boundaries inside the domain, thus evolution is taking place in the intension. Of course, it is hard to take one moment in time represented by a single conference by itself; so it will be interesting to see how this dataset fits into the domain analysis of knowledge organization over time.

ISKO vehicle 2We have been having some success with extending online access to Knowledge Organization (which now is available to library subcribers through Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts (EBSCO) full text. But for some reason we have not seen Web of Science catch up with the indexing of our conference proceedings. So I will upload the basic Excel spreadsheet of papers and citations that I used to analyze this conference, here: ISKO 2012 citationsISKO vehicle 1

As I commented about earlier, there was quite a different mix of scholars at this conference, probably because of the exotic location. It did seem as though many of the usual suspects were not present, but the conference was well-attended anyway, by new people, which was good. The effect of this shows up in my analysis in the prevalence of papers from Brazil and India, which had the largest presence together with the US. I expect there is therefore some influence of the emerging economic powerhouses of Brazil and India on the thematic emphases of the conference, with digital solutions at the top of the list, relationships and domains rising up the thematic distribution, and categories and general classifications falling to the bottom. I was not able to demonstrate this statistically, however, as there were too few cases in the cells of a cross-tabulation.

The tug-and-pull between empirical scientific methods and humanistic methods, or epistemologies, was evident in the heavy reliance on monographic citations; only about half of the citations were to journal articles.

Of course, it was no surprise that S.R. Ranganathan had clear influence on the conference participants; but it also is true that facets are increasingly being found useful in knowledge organization systems.

In my experience of ISKO, which now is a bit more than a decade, it was the first time I had seen “official ISKO vehicles.” I thought that was delightful!

Paradigms and Conceptual Systems in KO

The 11th International ISKO Conference was held in Rome in February 2010.

An analysis of the Proceedings will appear in my editorial in Knowledge Organization v. 38 no. 3 (May 2011).

The spreadsheet of papers and references I used for the analysis is here: Rome_11th ISKO_References

Posted March 16, 2011 by lazykoblog in conferences, domain analysis

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conference-going (originally posted 1-5-2009)

I wrote this just after attending CAIS at McGill University in Montreal in 2007. It was intended as advice for doctoral students from LIU, but I suppose it is good advice in general.

On Attending Conferences

After every conference I have this idea to write up some conference etiquette but I always forget. So this time, perhaps thanks to my relaxing train trip from Montreal to Toronto, I’ve compiled my thoughts.

Attend the Whole Thing

Unless you are very famous or the paid keynote speaker it is expected that you will attend the whole conference. This means

-Arrive the day before, and do not depart until after the closing session. People are noticing who is there when.

-You are allowed each day one of the following: a) sleep late and miss the first session; b) take too long at lunch and miss the first afternoon session; or c) leave a session early, say, before the final paper but after you’ve listened to the first two.

-I know, it’s an exotic locale, but you aren’t on vacation (at least not yet). So if you plan to do tourist things, plan them for before or after the conference.

-Significant others likely will be bored, unless they are also in the field. And also they likely will cling to you, which will prevent you from being fully engaged. People won’t come up to you to talk about your presentation if you appear to be with someone. Leave your s.o. at home, or suggest a museum tour, or arrange time to spend together enjoying the sights after the conference. In fact, there is usually a little bit of an emotional let-down at the end of a conference, so this is a terrific time to have someone you care for arrive and take you away from your work.

During the conference the point of the conference is the conference. Which brings me to ….

Participate

So you submitted an abstract and your paper or your poster was approved. That’s great because it means your peers (the other scientists) have judged your work to be of sufficient interest to be disseminated to the community. A keyword there is community. It is a community of scholars and they have not accepted your paper because they think you will be a rockstar, they have accepted it because they think you will make a contribution to the overall discussion. Folks will expect more of you than just your 15 minute presentation. For instance, you should:

-Plan to make yourself available during the coffee breaks and receptions. People who are introverted, or people who were a little distracted at the time of your presentation but who were interested in your work will be looking for you to chat about your research. If you aren’t present in these downtimes they won’t be able to find you.

-Likewise, more is expected of you than just presenting your paper. You are expected to be part of the give and take of the conference. You should approach people and comment on their work or ask them questions about their research.

-In other words, you are expected to engage the community. This means reading the abstracts, or if possible the papers, before the conference, so the presenters are then enabled to move the discussion forward in the sessions. A good idea is to arrive enough prior to the conference to register and then sit down with the program and the proceedings (increasingly these are online so bring your laptop) and study before the conference begins. Yes, study.

-Ask questions in sessions, but do so intelligently. Do not take everybody’s time to make a speech, and do not ask irrelevant questions. But do ask questions that move the discussion forward or that synthesize a presenter’s results with work by another author or another presenter.

Your Presentation

Generally you will receive specific instructions from the conference organizers about your presentation. You will be told how long it may be and what sort of electronic gadgetry you may expect to have available. Follow these instructions to the letter. And while you’re at it remember ….

-The time limit is for real; you only have 15 or 20 minutes usually, so do not plan 30 minutes of material and then try to rush through it.

-The assumption is that attendees are prepared for your presentation (see under study above), so do not copy your paper in chunks into PowerPoint. Rather, plan to cover the main points. You do not need to spend much time on literature review or background. Give operational definitions and research questions, but remember, your paper has been or will be read.

-Remember you are in information studies now, or a part of it such as knowledge organization. So your focus should be on the content of interest to the growth of our science. If you’ve created a taxonomy of swimming pools, do no more than one slide about swimming pools. We all know they’re blue and have water. What we want to know is what your warrant was, how your categories were generated, what concept theoretic describes the categories, what is your epistemic stance, what future uses are there for this taxonomy, etc.

-Do focus on your methodology, especially anything interesting or new about it.

-Do give your results, and show how they lead to your conclusions.

-Do not fill up slides with text and read them to the audience; rather, put only one point on a slide as an illustration, and plan to explain it. People cannot pay attention to what you are saying and read your slides at the same time. And people won’t pay attention at all if you are just reading your slides to them.

-Consider illustrative material–pictures, graphs, music–anything lively that makes your point. But don’t be silly; this is science after all. We’re all here to learn together.

-When the timekeeper holds up the time card acknowledge it (a nod is sufficient) and react accordingly. If you have a 2 minute warning and you have ten slides left you do not have time to cover them all–skip to the last one, and use your two minutes to explain it fully. You can come back to the details during the questions.

-Be prepared for questions; except right after lunch there will always be questions. It is okay to say “I didn’t think of that, thanks” but it is better to say “Yes, I covered that in my paper for XYZ Conference and the abstract is on my website.”

The Banquet

This is a tough one, because I rarely attend them myself. I don’t eat lunch and I have Cheerios for breakfast so I take dinner pretty seriously. And I’d usually rather have dinner after work is done. That said, I do always attend the banquet at ISKO. For one thing, the food is always fabulous and often the venue is as well (like the night we feasted on the hilltop across from the Alhambra at midnight in the moonlight in Granada–now that was a banquet). And the real issue for me is community; I know and genuinely like a lot of ISKO people, so there will always be someone I will enjoy sitting with or chatting with over dinner.

Even if there is a cash bar remember to take it easy: a glass of wine is probably enough–you are in the public eye.

If you are attending the conference with a mentor and a cohort of colleagues, then ask in advance (before you register) whether any of the aforementioned are planning to attend the banquet. Sometimes you can plan to go together and sit together, and once you have that settled you will be able to relax and enjoy yourself.

Stay until the end. Do not get up in the middle of dinner and rush off to some other date; remember, the point of the conference is community.

The Closing Session

Attend the closing session and plan to linger a bit afterward. There will be some nostalgia among attendees, so this is a time to exchange business cards or make plans for the next conference. It is the last chance for folks to find you to ask whatever question they have about your research. And it is just polite to be fully engaged. Plan your departure sufficiently far from the close of the conference to make sure you can take part.

Posted November 17, 2010 by lazykoblog in conferences

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