Live Coverage of Scientific Conferences Using Web Technologies

Conferences are important hubs of scientific communication, facilitating networking in ways that 1traditional methods of remote information dissemination cannot match. Internet-based communication is also central to today’s science, increasing the accessibility of information and the speed of its dissemination at symposia and conferences. Before live blogging became popular, the best sources of conference coverage were news articles, proceedings, and conversations with attendees. Scientists typically passed relevant information to their local area of influence, while journalists discovered and wrote about connections between presentations, people, and ideas. Now new methods of remote, Web-based communication are augmenting the importance and appeal of conferences by lowering the barrier to scientific communication, as well as increasing the speed with which information is distributed.

The Internet has become instrumental in organizing and advertising conferences. In the past few years, simple Internet-based publishing tools such as blogs have also made it possible for individuals to report and discuss conferences publicly, tasks previously reserved for established media, the organizers, or selected attending scientists. While traditional publishing-house journalism has broadly remained unchanged, many scientists are now publishing their notes on the Internet, accelerating the spread of information to interested audiences. With the increasing popularity of live blogging, conference organizers need to consider how such techniques relate to existing policies. While publication of information at some level is a primary goal of all conferences, there are diverse technological, political, and social factors associated with live blogging that organizers should consider.

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