2011Q3 Reports: Office Manager

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Priscilla Rasmussen 15 June 2011


ACL Business Office Report

My plan to not hire a replacement for a while seems to be working alright although, with this conference numbering many more than expected, it has been a bit overwhelming. In late-summer to early-fall, I hope to hire someone to work primarily at conference times and more minimally throughout the year.

Publications and Royalties

Curran Associates is now offering print-on-demand of our publications as we have moved to USB flash drives and online access so I receive few requests for publications. In all of 2010, there were five orders that I filled and so far this year there have been six orders (two from our membership and four from outside vendors).

We have received royalties from Curran Associates so far this year in the amount of $706.80. Copyright Clearance Center also sent a check for $1,122.24 for the period ending December 31, 2010. And, MIT Press Journals sent a statement that, during our royalty year ending March 31, 2011, we earned less that $50 and any smaller amount will be credited to our account for next year.

Membership

Having surpassed 2100 members each of the past few years and ending 2010 with 2136 total members, it is unfortunate that we have only 1563 members to date this year. Of course, we will continue to grow a bit throughout the remainder of 2011, especially with EMNLP happening later this summer. And, the Chinese students seem to be renewing in small spurts of individual renewals (after completing my statistics report yesterday, I received eight Chinese student renewals today). This may or may not confirm the concern that more people become members only when attending conferences.

As of yesterday, the total membership for 2011 from online Portal renewals and new members is 740 and ACL 2011 has added an additional 823 members through required membership to attend the conference. This 823 includes SIGdial 2011 attendees since the Office is handling their registrations even though the conference is being held separately. EMNLP 2011 (managed in Edinburgh, including registration) is sure to generate more members which will be sent to me after their event ends so I can add these members to the Portal. Please see Membership spreadsheets for details on countries represented and statistics.

The new Membership Portal is now working quite well. In gathering statistics for this report, I have found some tweaks I would like to be made in how I can retrieve information but, these are minor and more for my benefit. I will discuss these with Robert Dale after this conference ends. However, I do want to say that there are quite a lot of conscientious long-term members (and others, I would guess) who are not updating and correcting their information in the Portal. When pulling out statistics for the report, a good number of people either did not change the default of “undergraduate student” to what their actual position is or made it blank. This leaves me to do my best to determine student versus non-student for reporting, based on amount paid or simply knowing the people. Also, I am positive we have no one from Afganistan but a few people have not updated the country from the default. Each is a small issue but, taken together, leads me to worry a bit that some membership records are not being properly updated so I plan to spend time this year double-checking all current members.

Conferences

ACL-HLT 2011, in Portland, Oregon will be our largest meeting ever held. At the close of late registration (after taking out cancellations, frauds and such) we total 1068 pre-registered people. Of these, a record-breaking 890 are paying main conference attendees. Another 72 are volunteers, SRW students, sponsors, exhibitors, and guests/organizers. There are also 115 people only attending tutorials or workshops. This does not include the 77 people pre-registered separately for SIGdial. I would expect our final count to be well over 1100 people. The poster session now numbers over 120 posters (including the SRW posters). All of these numbers have made it especially challenging to accommodate all sessions (four parallel are at the Marriott and one will be in the hotel directly across the street), the poster session/dinner (held at the World Trade Center about three blocks away), and demos (held in two parts on Tuesday). After I made a second site visit in early April, we believe we have gotten past all obstacles this high attendance causes and hope everyone will enjoy the conference. But, this may signal a trend toward ACLs being larger and even more complex to organize. In this particular year, a convention center would have much more easily accommodated the larger numbers of people. And, while convention centers are not ideal (impersonal and expensive), we pay a cost both in attendee and organizers’ convenience and in real dollars as each place charges rental fees or demands minimum guarantees.

The Office is providing advice to the EMNLP 2011 organizers in Edinburgh but otherwise, EMNLP is being managed solely within Scotland. I would expect this conference to also be a banner year in numbers of attendees.

NAACL HLT 2012 will be held in Montreal, June 3-8, 2012 at the Le Centre Sheraton (the contract is signed). Graeme and I made a site visit to Montreal in early May and have now signed the contract for Le Windsor as the banquet site and have two possibilities for the student accommodations which will be firmed up later this summer. This should be a great conference in a great city!

The planning for ACL 2012, to be held at Jeju, South Korea, July 8-13, 2012 is moving along in bits and pieces as is typical this far out from the conference dates. I expect, after ACL 2011 is completed, much of our energies will be devoted to the planning and fine-tuning of our 50th anniversary event. Having made the site visit to Jeju, I can promise a great experience to all attendees…Jeju is known, from what I am told, as the Hawaii of Asia.

ACL 2013 sites are now being decided. A decision should be announced soon.

As an aside, related to ACL 2011 and possibly future conferences, it seems to me that many more people have required visas than ever before (over 140 requests for letters of invitation to help in the visa application process; about 75% with papers accepted for presentation)). I am not sure whether this is due to some tighter restrictions imposed by the USA government or not. But, with so many people requiring visas and the danger of not being approved, there is more risk of those presenting papers to not be able to attend the conference.

Conference Sponsorship

ACL HLT 2011 currently has sponsorships totaling $69,700, of which $7,250 is SIGdial 2011 sponsorship and $1,000 is for the CoNLL 2011 Best Student Paper award. Additional funding comes as $4,500 from three Exhibitors and one $300 for an ad. To date, Google and Baidu are Platinum Level sponsors. This conference will be the first time we are trying something a bit different. Since Portland is known for its beer production, Richard Sproat (Local Sponsorship Chair) was successful in recruiting Widmer brewery for a donation of beverages for our banquet, thereby helping to reduce the cost to us of the complimentary drink tickets.

The new plan of appointing a Sponsorship Committee with two representatives from each regional world area (Asia, North/South America and Europe/Africa) and having an overall Chair (currently Srinivas Bangalore) is working very well. While it is usually quite difficult to get sponsorships from world areas not hosting the conference, this year, Kevin Duh (Asia Co-Chair) has been successful in obtaining two (smaller) Supporter Level sponsorships from Japanese companies and Haifeng Wang has obtained Platinum level sponsorship from Baidu in China. And, we have been a bit creative in ways of enticing larger sponsorships from the old standby companies (Google, for example, has increased from their previous Silver Level).

Many thanks to all sponsors who help to make our conferences and workshops successful!