Sharing Conference Papers Online

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In this video, Jay Dolmage, Margaret Price, Tara Wood, and Aimi Hamraie describe the benefits and possibilities of sharing conference papers online.

This video is captioned. Toggle the CC button to turn captions on or off. A full-text transcript is available below.


Opening slide: Posting Conference Papers Online. Some ideas from (in order of appearance) Jay Dolmage, Margaret Price, Tara Wood, and Aimi Hamraie.

Descriptive slide: Jay Dolmage, sitting in a cluttered office, will talk first.

Time stamp: 0:15

Jay Dolmage: There are plenty of reasons why people might not want to share copies of their conference papers online. There are probably a lot of really good reasons why people wouldn’t want to do that! But this video is going to explore some reasons why you should consider it.

Descriptive slide: Margaret Price, sitting on a couch in a naturally-lit room, speaks next.

Time stamp: 0:37

Margaret Price: The reason why I started posting papers on my website was actually just straight up accessibility. I wanted people to have access to copies and I didn’t want to be dragging multiple copies to the conference venue. I didn’t always know how many people would be in attendance. I didn’t know that everyone who needed a copy would necessarily have the visual capability to be scanning a print copy. I wanted people to be able to mull over the talk for a couple of days and then be able to come back to me with a question. Those were the avenues that I initially wanted to open up when I first started posting papers.

Descriptive slide: Jay Dolmage speaks again from his cluttered office.

Time stamp: 1:21

Jay Dolmage: I post papers online because I know that when I deliver a paper in ten to fifteen minutes sometimes there are ideas and thoughts that people will have later on, not while I am delivering the talk. For instance I think lots of times when I give a talk it is something I cite or someone else’s idea that sticks with the audience. So I know when I post my paper online, then people can go and have access to those ideas and that citation and so on when they go and look for the paper online.

Descriptive slide: Now Tara Wood will speak. She is sitting in front of a bookcase in an office.

Time stamp: 2:02

Tara Wood: Posting conference papers and presentations online can improve accessibility because it allows your readers or your audience to manipulate that document in whatever way improves accessibility for them. Even with large print handouts that you might bring to a talk if you can afford it, it is hard to gauge how many to bring, which font style or size, or even the colour of the paper will make your material most accessible for the people who are interested in your work. Whereas if you post your materials online, it allows people to manipulate that document in whatever way improves their uptake and access to that document and to your work.

Descriptive slide: Margaret Price speaks again.

Time stamp: 3:02

Margaret Price: When I first started posting conference presentations on my website I was really apprehensive about it because I honestly thought people were going to steal my work. What I found to be true, kind of to my surprise, was the opposite. I found that people were much more likely to cite my work because they had it available and they could see exactly what I had said and they had this sort of concrete place to link to.

Descriptive slide: Jay Dolmage speaks again.

Time stamp: 3:32

Jay Dolmage: I know that when I post a paper online, people who can’t be at the conference can still “hear” the talk. And that’s wonderful! It also means that the audience can expand because at a big conference… …people are at another even more exciting panel than mine (sarcasm). And that’s good. If my talk is online, then I know that I can reach them also.

Descriptive slide: Margaret Price will speak again.

Time stamp: 3:59

Margaret Price: Instead of being misrepresented, which I found to be more often the case when I presented my ideas orally and then took off …I found that people would quote me at more length, they would present my work in more context because they had more context. And they would typically cite me by linking back to my website.

Descriptive slide: Jay Dolmage will speak again.

Time stamp: 4:27

Jay Dolmage: I used to love to go around at conferences and collect paper copies of talks and handouts …and even go and get books and then jam them into my suitcase and take them home and then spend the next few weeks revisiting the conference. But I don’t think people do that much any more. I think maybe those days have come and gone. I think most people appreciate having access to a digital file.

Descriptive slide: Margaret Price will speak again.

Time stamp: 4:52

Margaret Price: The feedback I get from people who go back there and look at my work and link to it is just invaluable. I find that putting the work up there really creates a kind of conversation of the sort that I wouldn’t have at a conference if I were just coming in, delivering the work orally, and leaving.

Descriptive slide: Once again, Jay Dolmage will speak.

Time stamp: 5:13

Jay Dolmage: You can post your conference paper online on your own website or you could do it by setting up a simple blog on WordPress or another site like that or you could post your conference paper on a site like They are all really easy, and all you need to do is give your audience the address.

Descriptive slide: Finally, Aimi Hamraie will speak. They are sitting in an office, in front of a bookcase.

Time stamp: 5:39

Aimi Hamraie: Even if you don’t usually read from a paper at a conference, there are things you can do to facilitate access for both people who are in the room and for people who are not able to be physically present. This way, they can know about your ideas and follow along. A lot of people who don’t read papers will often have an outline for their presentation. This is something you can distribute to the audience in an edited form and also post online with descriptions of the images and keywords from your slides or Powerpoint. This is a way of disseminating (sharing) information in multiple formats. If you are at a conference without CART transcription (real-time transcribing of the talk) another thing you can do is suggest a Twitter hashtag and have people live-Tweet your presentation. This has the effect of creating a transcription of your key points and also disseminates (shares) your ideas online while crediting them to you. So it reaches a larger network of folks who might be interested in your ideas but who are not at the conference.

If the conference where you are presenting has its own hashtag, then you can suggest that people use that hashtag and also add your last name to their Tweets so it is easier to follow just your presentation. Or, you could designate one person to live-Tweet the whole thing, and have the audience follow them. Another thing you can do is to have someone transcribe your presentation in a Google Document, and then distribute the link to that. Then folks who are there can follow along real-time. But you should know that Google Documents are not always accessible to screen-readers. So you should still make available a Word document of your outline and later your presentation for folks to read. Or just encourage people to use Twitter instead, which can be a more accessible and widely usable form of technology.

Time stamp: 7:32

Final slide: Thanks for your time! We hope to interact with you at conferences soon, and to access your presentations online as well.

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