Conference Handbook

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Basic Timetable

The generic timetable for organizing the conference, from which a specific one can be built (months in advance from conference)

CC = Coordinating Committee; LC = Local Chair; GC = general chair; PC = program chair(s); SC = sponsorship chair

Year -3

Months Out Who Activity Notes
38 CC constitute committee, liaise with ACL Exec for general parameters of time and place add future VC-elect as soon as s/he is elected; identify related professional societies who may be planning a conference during the same period, e.g. SIGIR, AAAI
37 CC Finalize CFB document
36 CC Issue Call for Bids; check that is held
32 LC Deadline for potential bidders to signal their intention permits chair to contact them with updates to instructions
30 CC Add newest exec members to CC these people began their role in January and will serve to the end of the year in which the planned conference takes place
30 LC Deadline for draft bids keep date away from ACL submission deadline!
28 CC Give feedback to bidders about now; Make short-list of PC chair candidates
26 LC Deadline for final bids liaise with other professional societies about final dates
25 CC notify bidders and exec++ of result; set up basic conference website including venue and dates should be at least a month ahead of this year's main conference

Year -2

Months Out Who Activity Notes
24 CC announce site at business meeting of ACL conference; announce on ACL mailing list and ACL website; site visit to happen during coming months; select a General Chair (see criteria-for-general-chair); Local chair to prepare workplan cf (see Local arrangements chair duties) establish web presence
LC finalize sponsorship chairs ( duties)
18 LC finalize location and dates, sign contracts by now for meetings and accommodations, pay any deposits (involves ACL Office)
CC select Program Chair(s) ( duties), Student Workshop Chair ( duties)
GC? select Publications Chair ( duties), Tutorial Chair ( duties), Workshop Chair ( duties), Demo Chair ( duties)
LC? select Exhibits Coordinator ( duties), Publicity Chair ( duties) set up email aliases
15 LC identify Local Arrangements Committee: one or two people who would be able to take over in case something happens to the local chair; one or two admin-level people; someone dedicated to audiovisual (AV) and space management; (possibly) webmaster (see webmaster)
LC collect preliminary local info (describe meeting place and accommodations, travel info, visas, weather, etc.)
GC/SC Create Sponsorship Committee ( duties), estimate budget needs (see Example budgets), assemble committee, mainly corporate insiders of likely sponsors, approach corporations to get placed on budget for next year
* General, program, local, and publicity chairs create and issue initial conference announcement; include theme, general outlines, location and dates, pointers to details, organizer contact info; publicize widely ( duties)
GC/LC/Webmaster Establish website; include general conference announcement; preliminary local info; stubs for calls for papers, etc.

T-12? months

[General and local chairs; Priscilla] Create and disseminate Call for Participation

[General and local chairs; Priscilla] set approx. registration deadlines and costs; design conference logo for program, posters, etc; create call for participation; design posters and fliers with Call for Participation; print and distribute them (web, email, hardcopy, posters, etc.)

[General, program, local, and publicity chairs] Create and disseminate Call for Papers (see Sample conference paper calls)

[General, program, local, and publicity chairs] create Call for Papers: determine general conference theme(s); if possible, identify some invited speakers; set dates of submission, notification, and final copies (T-7 / T-5 / T-3); set format requirements for papers; distribute Call for Papers (see publicity chair): on Web / newsgroups / mailing lists; provide to ACL (Priscilla and Finite String), AAAI Magazine, IEEE, etc; provide to SIGs, SIGIR, Speech, NLGen, AMTA, and other related communities

T-13? to T-4 months

[Sponsorship committee] Apply for funding; create and submit grant proposals to AAAI, NSF, etc; contact companies for donations to sponsor reception, banquet, etc. (Initial contact T-13, while budgets are still being set for the next year; maintain intermittent contact; then final requests at T-3)

T-11? months

[Program chairs] Assemble program committee: determine program committee structure and review process; establish major topic areas and likely submission distribution; invite appropriate reviewers (confirm first with ACL Exec)?people from research, development, commerce, users, government-funders, etc; ensure proportional representation of gender, seniority, origin, etc.

[Tutorial, workshop, student, demo, and program chairs] Solicit tutorials, workshops, and demos; create Calls for Bids and papers (see Sample Tutorial calls for proposals, Sample Calls for Workshop Proposals, and Sample workshop calls for papers); issue them (website, publications, email, etc.)

T-9 months

[Tutorial, workshop, program chairs] Select tutorials and workshops: select tutorials, taking into account coverage and recent past tutorials (contact Exec); select workshops (contact Exec; see ACL-policy-worksp-support); liaise with local chair for space needs and scheduling; issue instructions to tutorial teachers and workshop chairs about printed material, agenda/time management, payments, fees, etc; update webpages; liaise with ACL Office for registration form

[Workshop and student chairs] Issue workshop calls for papers (see Sample workshop calls for papers): liaise with local chair for space needs and scheduling; liaise with general chair about printed material, agenda/time management, payments, fees, etc; liaise with sponsorship chair for funding applications; create and disseminate Call for Workshop Papers (see workshop-calls-for-papers and student-calls-for-papers); update webpages; liaise with ACL Office for registration form

[Exhibits chair] Locate and sign up exhibitors: approach CL corporation exhibitors; approach book publisher exhibitors (unless this is done by ACL Office?); sign them up

T-8 months

[Program and sponsorship chair] Update financial picture: update budget; project financial needs and make plans to meet them

T-7 months

[Program chairs] Accept and distribute submitted papers: create review form and reviewer instructions; accept submitted papers; assign to reviewers; send out for review

[Program, workshop, sponsorship chairs] Finalize invited speakers, panelists, etc: create basic plan of speakers and panels; invite speakers; reissue Conference Announcement: Web, newsgroups, mailing lists, ACL (Priscilla and Finite String), AAAI Magazine, SIGIR, Speech, NLGen, AMTA, and other related communities; update webpages

[Local chair] Confirm venues: confirm arrangements with meeting venue: rooms, spaces, lunches, etc; confirm arrangements with accommodation venue: rooms

[Local chair] Arrange conference social program: confirm arrangements with banquet and other social event providers; arrange reception; arrange banquet: location, cost, transport, etc; plan outing, for open evening?; plan anything special? Spouses’ events? Outings?; update webpages; liaise with Priscilla for registration form

T-7 to T-5 months

[Sponsorship committee] Apply for corporate funding: approach/confirm companies for grants and donations

T-6 months:

[Workshop and student chairs] Process workshop submissions: accept submissions; review them; send accept/reject letters

[Demo chair] Call for demos: create and issue Call for Demos (see Sample Calls for Demos & Posters)

[Program chairs] Find Proceedings printers: specify proceedings format and ask for quotes; select printer and binder; plan to ensure timely delivery. If the proceedings are not printed in the host country, allow an extra 6—8 weeks for customs

[General chair] Update website: contact all chairs to collect their info for the website; liaise with Priscilla for registration form

[Priscilla, general, program, and local chairs] Create and issue registration form: create form, with input from all relevant people; send out by email and hardcopy; post on web

[Local Chair] Plan registration process: report to ACL Exec; update on conference registration; update on venue (meeting and accommodation)bookings; plan on-site process, staff needs, etc.; organize conference bag or other gimmicks; liaise with sponsorship chair for corporate logos. By this stage Volunteer co-ordinator should be on board and up to speed.

T-5 months

[Program chairs] Process reviewed papers and create program: accept reviews; decide on paper selection; create program, more or less (remember time for ACL members’ meeting, banquet, reception, outings if any, etc.); liaise with Local chair; send out accept and reject letters with reviews; update conference announcement and redistribute; update webpages

T-4 months

[General, program, workshop, tutorial, exhibits chairs] Collect Proceedings descriptions: collect from tutorial teachers, workshop organizers, exhibitors, etc. short descriptions, for proceedings; provide them to webmaster and general and program chairs

[Exhibits chair] Set up exhibit: locate exhibit company for pipe-and-drape stands, signage, etc.; buy insurance, if needed; liaise with exhibitors, local committee, and venue about display needs; work with program and sponsorship chairs on exhibitor fees

[Demo chair] Arrange demos: select demos; work with selected demo-ers for AV needs;liaise with local chair for AV needs; liaise with program chairs for scheduling and proceedings; update webpages

T-3 months

[Program and sponsorship chairs] Update financial picture: update budget; project needs; seriously go after corporate sponsors, now that logos are being put onto signs, publications, and toys

[Local chair] Confirm local events: confirm meeting venue: rooms, spaces, lunches, etc.; confirm accommodations; confirm social events: banquet, reception, entertainment, outings, etc.

[Program, tutorial, workshop, demo, student, exhibits chairs] Confirm invitees: confirm attendance of invited speakers and panelists; confirm attendance of paper and demo presenters; confirm tutorials and workshops; confirm exhibitors

[Exhibits chair] Finalize exhibit spaces: finalize payments of all exhibitors; complete design of exhibition space(s); complete arrangements with pipe and drape rentals, etc.

[Local chair] Set up demo AV equipment: determine AV requirements of demo and paper presenters and other speakers; link up with venue

[Publicity chair and Priscilla]: send out registration form again; contact local authorities, as relevant

[General, program, tutorial, workshop, demo, exhibit, sponsorship, student chairs] Receive final papers and create Proceedings: accept final camera-ready papers; create Proceedings (main volume and any accompanying ones); front matter: title page, ToC, foreword(s), list of authors, etc.; body (xerox page numbers onto submitted final papers); covers; send to printers and binders; update webpages as needed

[Tutorial, workshop, and student chairs] Create tutorial and workshop material: arrange for printing of tutorial and workshop materials (see workshop proceedings format); collect material from presenters; create books/proceedings

T-2 month

[Program chairs] Assign session chairs: send out instructions to session chairs and speakers about time and place, as well as time management for the talks

[Local chair] Finalize on-site admin: assemble team of assistants for registration, gophering, etc.

[General, program, tutorial, workshop, student, exhibit, local chairs] Create conference registration material: create program to be included in conference registration package; gather all other material, incl. freebies

[Priscilla, local, and sponsorship chairs] Give registration update: update ACL Exec on conference registration, venue and accommodation bookings, financial status; update webpages, especially local and travel conditions (check the travel instructions, local weather, medical and political conditions, etc.)

T-1 month

[General and publicity chairs] Perform local outreach: start local advertising; contact press, TV, etc.

[Program, tutorial, workshop, student, exhibit, demo chairs] Finalize all Proceedings and tutorial material: collect and check proceedings (papers, students and other workshops, demos, etc.); collect and check final tutorial materials

[Local chair] Finalize demo AV equipment: finalize AV requirements of demo-ers

[Priscilla, local and sponsorship chairs] Give registration update: update ACL Exec on conference registration, hotel and dorm bookings, financial status

[Local chair] Finalize registration package: assemble all materials into registration packets: local maps, local events, conference program, freebies, etc.

Author: Eduard Hovy, 1998, from timetables of previous AMTA conferences Updates: Eduard Hovy, from AAAI conference schedule and notes by Marie Meteer.

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