Time And A Word

Posted on 21st September 2009

A little while ago I mentioned that I was writing a book regarding how to organise a conference. Specifically looking at the YAPCs which I'm involved with, it covers all aspects of the organisation, from preparing a bid to what happens after the event. I effectively started writing the book 3 years ago, when I didn't feel that the rewrite of a simple plain text howto, covered any of the important points in any depth. In the last 3 years several aspects of organisaing a YAPC have changed, and they likely will in the next 3 years and more too. So now is perhaps a good time to get the current thoughts out.

It has actually surprised me that there isn't already a book available about organising an Open Source conference. There are several simple howtos published by some organisers of other Open Source conferences, some much larger than a YAPC, but nothing of the scale I was hoping for. In fact I haven't even found any book regarding organising any conference, even a non-technical one. It's possible there is one out there, but may be it has a very niche market. As such, I am hoping that in the longer term the book may evolve into advice not just for YAPCs, but a whole variety of conferences. Time will tell.

The first draft of the book was completed at the weekend, and has now been sent out to the reviewers. It'll probably be a little while still before the book is actually released, but at least I've got to a stage where I'm happy for others to start pulling it apart and rebuilding it. My aim is to release the book under a Creative Commons licence and it will be available as a free download. The text source will also be available, so that anyone wanting to can send me patches, suggestions, thoughts and general feedback.

While I'm waiting for the feedback from the reviewers, I'm now starting to look at photos taken at YAPCs that can be used in the book. There are already a few photos I've identified and a couple of photographers I've contacted already, but I'm still looking for more. It's difficult to say what I'm looking for too, as the actual conference itself is really just a small part of the whole project plan. In many cases it's just a week out of a year of preparation. What do you photograph to indicate planning? If you've taken photos of the behind the scenes activity while you prepped for a YAPC or workshop, I'd love to hear from you. I can't guarantee I'll use the photos, but you'll get full credit if I do.

So now on to the next part of my obligations to YAPCs for this year, The YAPC Conference Surveys. The surveys for this year's YAPC::Europe in Lisbon closed on Friday, so I now need to start working through the data and putting it into a format for presentation, as well as compiling all the speaker evaluation mails. There have been several tweaks to the system following YAPC::NA, so I'm hoping the YAPC::Europe results won't take so long to publish. I'm thinking that I might take a break in October, but I'm sure there'll be something to keep me occupied.

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