Museums and the Web

An annual conference exploring the social, cultural, design, technological, economic, and organizational issues of culture, science and heritage on-line.

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How does the conference work: Publication


We invest a huge effort in getting the Museums and the Web conferences documented. As those who have proposed presentations for MW know, everything goes through extensive peer review. Once accepted, we require all our speakers to provide full papers and then we copy edit those papers and put them on-line, on CD-ROM and in print. After the meeting, we follow up by putting slides of talks on-line and providing transcripts or video of some events. The entire process, end-to-end requires a lot of attention and costs a great deal. We think it is worth it and hope you agree.

We issue a call for papers for the next year at the prior years conference. By September 30, proposals are due; the majority flood in during the last 24 hrs! We then spend a full week or more sorting through the proposals, contacting potential participants with questions, and assigning the proposals to Program Committee members for initial review. By the end of October, all the proposals are ranked by several people; Jennifer and I sort them into three groups - those clearly accepted or rejected and those which had some advocates and some detractors.  By organizing the papers and mini-workshops that are overwhelmingly accepted, we identify probable session topics and look for other contributions among the middle group that might enhance those sessions. We consider a lot of other issues, including logistics of the rooms we have at the hotel and the schedule of the three days, to come up with a preliminary program. This process involves hundreds of hours of volunteer time on the part of the International Program Committee.

Jennifer lays out the preliminary program for print and pdf. The printer has it in hand in time for us to distribute it after Christmas.  This year we distributed about 16,000 copies in North America at a cost of about $11,000, which included purchasing partial mailing lists for AAM and AASLH and sponsoring the Association for Public History in order to obtain their lists. We alerted about 7,000 overseas via e-mail rather than posting hard copy.

Late in January we start receiving the papers. Everything is due on January 31, and again the bulk come in the last 24 hrs (or with pitiful excuses in the next few days). The copy editor starts working on them right away - this year she put in 150 hours tracking references, making grammatical changes and checking the web and print versions for accuracy ($3750).

By early March, we are ready to select papers for the printed book. Each paper is laid for the Web, and then Jennifer gets the selected papers ready to print. Proofs go to the printer for the papers, and Jennifer starts preparing the print program that follows in a few days. The printer has everything ready to ship a week prior to the meeting and loads it into a truck for the conference. Printing the Proceedings and programs cost $11,870 this year (we could have done it for $400 less if we hadn't elected to use FSC certified recycled paper). The CD-ROM duplication cost only $600 - all that paper we make for mothers and tenure committees certainly adds up:-).

As we hope everyone knows, the papers are available on-line, in full text, from 1997 on. We collected slides from presentations this year and are putting them on-line as well (the process is underway with day one finished). Max Anderson's keynote talk, video taped by the IMA team, is online too. All the online space is managed in a cloud. It costs, but we haven't really started breaking this out as a conference expense since we see managing the publications history of the conference series, and all the other bibliographies we keep, as a cost of building the Museums and the Web on-line community, rather than one specific conference event.

frankieroberto's picture

"The copy editor starts working on them right away - this year she put
in 150 hours ... making grammatical changes"

Just think how much time you could have saved if you didn't insist on 'correcting' online to on-line and website to Web site... :-)