2017Q3 Reports: Webmaster / Appmaster

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Webmaster and Appmaster

Nitin Madnani, Educational Testing Service

Nitin Madnani has ably managed the conference web site (http://acl2017.org), which is set up through GitHub. In addition to his webmaster duties, he created a conference handbook app as an experiment to see if it is preferable to the printed handbook for some/many of our participants.

(1) The conference website (http://acl2017.org) has been updated with a program page that, for the first time, directly supports generation of custom schedules in PDF format for each user - they can select entire sessions as well as individual papers/posters. It helps the users by highlighting conflicts for a paper as they hover on it. It also helpfully shows a customized conference floor plan whenever the user clicks on a location for any session. In addition to the program page (which was custom coded entirely in JavaScript), the website has also used automation and integration with Google Forms to help Priscilla keep up with Visa letters and student accommodation requests, which has been much appreciated.

(2) The conference smartphone app has been released. This year, we are also experimenting with building a smartphone guide for the conference using the GuideBook platform. The guide is designed to be an attendee’s companion during the conference. Although the guide presents some of the same information on the website, its primary advantage is that, once downloaded, it can be used without an internet connection. It also has the following additional features:

  • A “Schedule” section which shows all of the sessions.
  • “Papers” and “Posters” section which lists all of the papers/posters along with their abstracts.
  • An “Authors” section which lists all of presenting authors.
  • All of the above sections are searchable and, most importantly, they are all linked appropriately. That is, if you click on a paper session, it shows you all of the papers that will be presented in that session. If you click on a paper, it shows you the session it will be presented in and its authors. And if you click on an author, it shows you all of their papers.
  • A “Floorplan” section showing the conference floor plan.
  • A “My Schedule” section to which you can add sessions you want to attend. Note: Unfortunately, GuideBook doesn’t allow individual papers to be selected. This is a clear disadvantage of the guide compared to the ACL website which — for the first time – allows users to generate and print their own custom schedules down to individual papers and posters!
  • A “My Notes” section where users can jot down notes on any paper/session etc.
  • A “My To-Do” section where users can add to-do action items on any paper/session etc.
  • Social sections showing all tweets with the hashtag #acl2017nlp and from the official twitter account @acl2017, and a communal photo album.