In a trip report on the Institutional Web Managers Workshop 2008 Andy Stewart was full of praise for the event: “it was absolutely fantastic“. Andy went on to say that although “The plenaries, parallel sessions, discussion groups and social events are all extremely useful in their own right” for him “it’s the inspiration and sense of belonging that one feels during and after the conference I think makes the difference“.

We’re currently inviting proposals for this year’s event, IWMW 2009, which will be held at the University of Essex on 28-30th July 2009. Last year we providing an innovation competition and encouraged developers to make use of the data provided by the university of Aberdeen, Bath and Edge Hill University. This encouragement for openness within the community was welcomed by Andy:

One theme which stuck out above all, to me, was that of transparency through initiatives to open up our information allowing others to do what they feel with it“.

We are looking to build on this culture of openness. So this year rather than simply inviting submissions for talks and workshop sessions to be sent to the chair of the event (my colleague Marieke Guy) we are using the Ideascale service in order to crowd-source suggestions for content at the workshop.
We’re doing this to allow potential participants and other interested parties to provide suggestions on topics they’ve like to see covered at the address (as well as provide other more general suggests for the event – such as what type of social event we should provide). Doing this in this open fashion, as illustrated below, enables participants to become more active participants in the processes of putting together the programme for the event.

Ideascale ideas for IWMW 2009

Now we have to be honest and admit that we can’t guarantee that the most popular options will necessarily be provided or that seemingly unpopular topics won’t be covered. But at least everybody will have had the opportunity to participate in this process. And this is also a learning process for ourselves – in retrospect we realise that the suggested titles should have been neutral in tone, rather than the provocative title which could be suited for a session itself (we don’t know if people are voting on the sentiment expressed in the title or on whether the topic should be addressed at the workshop).

Use of Ideascale or IWMW 2009And I’m not sure what the usage statistics are meant to be saying. It doesn’t seem likely that 16 users have cast 1018 votes!

But if you have views on topics which members of institutional Web management teams should be discussing feel free to provude your suggestion. Now this won’t be regarded as a submission to the event, but if you would like to give a talk or run a session at this year’s event details of how to submit proposals are available on the IWMW 2009 Web site.