LINGUIST List 4.395

Mon 24 May 1993

Disc: LSA Software Exhibit

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  1. Matthew Dryer, LSA Software Exhibit

Message 1: LSA Software Exhibit

Date: 19 May 1993 14:54:35 -0400LSA Software Exhibit
From: Matthew Dryer <LINDRYERubvmsb.cc.buffalo.edu>
Subject: LSA Software Exhibit


John Paolilli asks for comments on what went wrong with software exhibit at
the LSA this past year.

One difference between this past year's software exhibit at the LSA and the
previous year's exhibit was that this past year included not only "poster
sessions" in which various people simultaneously demonstrated their
software to a small group and where people could wander around looking at
what interested them, but also a scheduled presentation session structured
in a fashion similar to regular LSA papers. In my opinion it was
specifically the latter which were unsuccessful; the former were much more
successful, as they were the previous year. I myself did a scheduled
presentation, and wished that I had chosen to do a "poster session"
presentation instead.

Part of the reason the scheduled presentations were less successful was
that they did not constitute a natural class, unified only by the fact that
they involved software rather than by what they were about. In fact these
presentations would have been much more successful if they had been
scheduled as part of regular appropriate sessions, though at this time that
might involve practical hardware problems. In the long run, I believe the
LSA should aim to do that, however.

Another source of problem with the scheduled presentations this past year
was that the projection hardware required did not work properly. Part of
the problem with that was that the hotel apparently did not have the proper
type of overhead projector. Until we can get dependable projection
hardware, and until people get used to providing such software,
presentations to a large audience are not likely to be very successful.
The problem was further aggrevated by the fact that presenters had no way
to find out before the meeting what sort of projection hardware was going
to be available.

The final source of problems with the software exhibit arose, I believe,
because the software exhibit was not under the aegis of those running the
meeting. For example, the abstracts were not included in the regular
handbook, and the software exhibit was not run in the well-organized
fashion that regular sessions are run. The software exhibit was not
advertised in the same way as the regular sessions were, and I for one
overlooked the original announcement. In fact, it was only later on my
suggestion to the LSA head office that the software exhibit was
re-advertised on LINGUIST. Whatever the format of the software exhibit, I
believe that it ought to be more integrated into the meeting, by being
treated as no different from, for example, the poster session in
psycholinguistics.

Matthew Dryer
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