The recently concluded follow-up survey of iConference 2022 participants reveals a favorable impression of this year’s installment of the iSchools organization’s annual information conference. Fully 85% of respondents rated the overall conference as Excellent or Above Average.
The iConference has been an annual event since 2005, and 2022 marked our third consecutive year of virtual conferencing due to the COVID pandemic, with the last two years being conducted via the SCOOCS online conferencing platform. Access to this platform got high marks from participants, with an overall rating of 4.31 out of 5. In addition, 90% rated the intuitivity of navigation and joining sessions as Excellent or Above Average.
An advantage that our virtual iConference has over previous in-person events is the Presentation Library, which gives participants on-demand access to video recordings of presentations at their convenience; this access will continue for three months following the conference. The Presentation Library was rated as Excellent or Above Average by 90% of respondents.
iConference 2022 had an Exhibition Hall that featured virtual booths maintained by member schools and sponsors; these booths were provided to schools at no charge as a benefit of membership. Eighty percent of participant who visited the Exhibition Hall rated the experience as Excellent or Above Average.
In the anecdotal feedback portion of the survey, participants continue to cite low cost and global accessibility as desirable features. This is where virtual conferences really shine: While a virtual conference still needs to cover staff, software and platform costs, meal and event facility fees are essentially eliminated. More importantly, participants also do not bear the considerable ancillary costs of lodging and transportation.
Eliminating lodging and transportation also has the effect of greatly reducing the conference’s carbon footprint: According to the SCOOCS platform’s algorithm and allowing for related factors, the 2022 conference’s virtual format prevented more than 500,000 kg of carbon from being released by participant travel and related activity.
The 2022 survey findings are being taken into account as preparations are made for our next event, iConference 2023, which is jointly hosted by the iSchools at Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Spain), Monash University (Australia), and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA).
“For next year, the research portion of the iConference will once again take place entirely online, thereby keeping costs low and maximizing accessibility for our global membership,” said iSchools Executive Director Michael Seadle. “In addition, next year’s conference will have a corresponding in-person element that takes place in Barcelona. This in-person portion of iConference 2023 will serve a narrower audience, focusing on special events and organizational meetings.”
A preview of iConfereence 2023 is available now, and full details on the event will be posted to the iSchools website in the coming weeks. iSchools members and information professionals should watch their inboxes for the 2023 Call for Participation, which will be released soon.
iConference 2022 had 359 registered participants, of which 98 (27%) took part in our survey. Statistics cited in this story have been rounded.