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
37 CC Finalize CFB document
36 CC Issue Call for Bids; check that acl20XY.org 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
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
  • [General and local chairs; Priscilla] design conference logo for program, posters, etc.
  • [General and local chairs; Priscilla] create call for participation
  • [General and local chairs; Priscilla] design posters and fliers with Call for Participation
  • [General and local chairs; Priscilla] 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:

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

T-13? to T-4 months

[Sponsorship committee] Apply for funding

  • [Sponsorship committee] create and submit grant proposals to AAAI, NSF, etc.
  • [Sponsorship committee] 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

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

[Tutorial, workshop, student, demo, and program chairs] Solicit tutorials, workshops, and demos

T-9 months

[Tutorial, workshop, program chairs] Select tutorials and workshops

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

[Workshop and student chairs] Issue workshop calls for papers (see Sample workshop calls for papers)

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

[Exhibits chair] Locate and sign up exhibitors

  • [Exhibits chair] approach CL corporation exhibitors
  • [Exhibits chair] approach book publisher exhibitors (unless this is done by Priscilla?)
  • [Exhibits chair] sign them up

T-8 months

[Program and sponsorship chair] Update financial picture

  • [Program and sponsorship chair] update budget
  • [Program and sponsorship chair] project financial needs and make plans to meet them

T-7 months

[Program chairs] Accept and distribute submitted papers

  • [Program chairs] create review form and reviewer instructions
  • [Program chairs] accept submitted papers
  • [Program chairs] assign to reviewers
  • [Program chairs] send out for review

[Program, workshop, sponsorship chairs] Finalize invited speakers, panelists, etc.

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

[Local chair] Confirm venues

  • [Local chair] confirm arrangements with meeting venue: rooms, spaces, lunches, etc.
  • [Local chair] confirm arrangements with accommodation venue: rooms

[Local chair] Arrange conference social program

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

T-7 to T-5 months

[Sponsorship committee] Apply for corporate funding

  • [Sponsorship committee] approach/confirm companies for grants and donations

T-6 months:

[Workshop and student chairs] Process workshop submissions

  • [Workshop and student chairs] accept submissions
  • [Workshop and student chairs] review them
  • [Workshop and student chairs] send accept/reject letters

[Demo chair] Call for demos

[Program chairs] Find Proceedings printers

  • [Demo chair] specify proceedings format and ask for quotes
  • [Demo chair] select printer and binder
  • [Demo chair] 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

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

[Priscilla, general, program, and local chairs] Create and issue registration form

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

[Local Chair] Plan registration process

  • [Local Chair] report to ACL Exec:
  • [Local Chair] update on conference registration
  • [Local Chair] update on venue (meeting and accommodation)bookings
  • [Local Chair] plan on-site process, staff needs, etc.
  • [Local Chair] organize conference bag or other gimmicks; liaise with sponsorship chair for corporate logos

T-5 months

[Program chairs] Process reviewed papers and create program

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

T-4 months

[General, program, workshop, tutorial, exhibits chairs] Collect Proceedings descriptions

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

[Exhibits chair] Set up exhibit

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

[Demo chair] Arrange demos

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

T-3 months

[Program and sponsorship chairs] Update financial picture

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

[Local chair] Confirm local events

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

[Program, tutorial, workshop, demo, student, exhibits chairs] Confirm invitees

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

[Exhibits chair] Finalize exhibit spaces=

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

[Local chair] Set up demo AV equipment

  • [Local chair] determine AV requirements of demo and paper presenters and other speakers
  • [Local chair] link up with venue

[Publicity chair and Priscilla]

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

[General, program, tutorial, workshop, demo, exhibit, sponsorship, student chairs] Receive final papers and create Proceedings

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

[Tutorial, workshop, and student chairs] Create tutorial and workshop material

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

T-2 month

[Program chairs] Assign session chairs

  • [Program 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

  • [Local chair] assemble team of assistants for registration, gophering, etc.

[General, program, tutorial, workshop, student, exhibit, local chairs] Create conference registration material

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

[Priscilla, local, and sponsorship chairs] Give registration update

  • [Priscilla, local, and sponsorship chairs] update ACL Exec on conference registration, venue and accommodation bookings, financial status
  • [Priscilla, local, and sponsorship chairs] 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

  • [General and publicity chairs] start local advertising
  • [General and publicity chairs] contact press, TV, etc.

[Program, tutorial, workshop, student, exhibit, demo chairs] Finalize all Proceedings and tutorial material

  • [Program, tutorial, workshop, student, exhibit, demo chairs] collect and check proceedings (papers, students and other workshops, demos, etc.)
  • [Program, tutorial, workshop, student, exhibit, demo chairs] collect and check final tutorial materials

[Local chair] Finalize demo AV equipment

  • [Local chair] finalize AV requirements of demo-ers

[Priscilla, local and sponsorship chairs] Give registration update

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

[Local chair] Finalize registration package

  • [Local chair] 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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