|Coffee, Blogger Beads and a Daily Schedule|
photo collection of the author, April, 2015
Midge's Conference Moment #1:
Upon leaving our hotel room, hubs and I turned the wrong way and remarked that we aren't going find the elevator on the first shot before we leave. The couple coming down the corridor toward us said, "Yes, but you can find the gravestones!" I am always surprised when someone recognizes me and knows what I do. They were from Liberty, NY. I hope they ask to be my Facebook friends. (Feeling famous for a couple minutes)
Outcome: Another genealogist told me who they were and I am now friends with them.
Midge's Conference Moment #2:
Presenters are doing a better job with presentation software. I wrote a book about PowerPoint and taught it, too. They are learning to leave out the "special effects", put less text on a slide and more on the handout. But, the best thing is that their opening slide is plain and simple and is shown twice, once at the beginning and once at the end. This conference audience was more savvy about not just the topic but they understood the technology because of these shorter presentations that said what was to be covered and left time for questions.
Midge's Conference Moment #3:
Handouts. NERGC gives the handouts out in three formats: link to the syllabus in PDF, CD and printed in a book (for an extra fee). Many users can't use the CD as they are using a mobile device. I know that several genealogists spring the fee for the print version because it is faster (and cheaper) than printing. I used the online version this year and only printed a few that were exceptionally well done. Judy G. Russell's handouts were the BEST (she is a rock star) and included a "URLs verified by with a date" plus her famous bibliographies. A good handout includes the email address of the presenter/or a link to their online presence. This way, it doesn't have to be on the opening/closing presentation slide.
I put the syllabus in PDF in Dropbox and will read the sessions I did not attend more carefully this time. People need the handout to look at without any need for Internet connectivity which is still not universally available during a conference. I find that annoying because it is 2015 and I accept no excuses. Why? because I am the Highly Caffeinated Genealogist after all.
This year I took a photo of the presenter with their opening slide. NEVER take a photo of other slides without permission.
Midge's Conference Moment #4:
Themes. Building upon the current trends at national genealogy conferences, the trend in stories of our ancestors still holds strong. I began to jot down buzzwords as I was going to sessions, visiting the exhibit hall and just talking to those around me. I kept hearing the word "serendipity". To a genealogist, this means that it is often the case that while investigating or searching, you find something very important you were not looking for. It has happened to me in the cemetery more often than I expected. Looking in databases for names you would NOT expect to find in a particular source or location was something Josh Taylor emphasized.
It takes a lot of patience not to consider these BSOs (Bright, shiny, objects). Plan time for them but stick to the research plan. You do have a research plan, right?