A Letter to First Time iPRES Conference Goers

By Emily Monks-Leeson (Library and Archives Canada) on behalf of the iPRES First Time Participants Committee

Dear first timer, welcome to iPRES!

Dear first timer, welcome to iPRES! As members of the First Time Participants committee, we’re so happy to see you here, whether you’re joining us in person or as a virtual attendee! Regardless of how you participate, we’re sure you’re going to come away from the conference inspired by this vibrant community of digital preservation enthusiasts.

As you know, iPRES is the premier and longest-running conference series on digital preservation, bringing together archivists, librarians, researchers, students, and experts from all areas to share their projects, solve problems, discuss the pressing concerns of digital presentations, and just generally learn from each other in a welcoming, collaborative environment. As a first-time iPRES participant (or maybe a first-time conference participant in general), we understand that this abundance of riches can be as daunting as it is exciting. We’re here to help you navigate the conference program, the ad-hoc events, and share some tips on how and where to meet other conference attendees (including other first-timers).  

Navigating the Conference Program

You can now find the full conference program on the iPRES website. We suggest reading through it now and starting to plan what papers and panels go on your “must attend” list. There will be full sessions for long papers, sessions with two or more short papers (great for covering several, often related topics from different angles), and engaging panel discussions. Don’t forget to check out the poster sessions, where researchers and practitioners from all stages of their career can present their work in a concise format. Browse at your leisure and engage with multiple topics and projects in one space!   

Embrace the Ad-Hoc Program

The Ad-Hoc program is also a fun way to network and share ideas in a more laid-back environment. Attend a five-minute lightning talk, pop by one of the Birds of a Feather gathering to explore ideas without a pre-planned agenda, and come on by the Games Room to tussle over a board game while chatting about your favourite preservation topic (or, actually, anything else).   

Connecting with Fellow First-Timers

And are you looking to meet up with other first-timers? We’ve got activities intended to help you meet new people and learn more about the conference. 

  • Join us in the morning for a Daily Morning Rundown (available for both in-person and virtual attendees). This is an opportunity to say hello and hear about the activities aimed at first time participants, as well as the sessions that are especially beneficial to attend if you are newer to the field of digital preservation. 
  • Come to a Social Dinner (in-person only) where you can meet and chat with others while sampling the restaurants around Champaign-Urbana. The groups will be capped at 10 people to allow for smaller-group conversations. While conversation is free, attendees will be responsible for paying for their own dinner. Dates, times, and locations will be announced closer to the conference along with a sign up sheet so keep an eye on the website! 
  • Bingo Card (in-person and virtual): have fun playing bingo with our common digital preservation phrases! Listen throughout the conference for these phrases and when you have a Bingo (5 in a row) bring it to the Daily Morning Rundown for a small prize. Let’s show those grizzled conference veterans that the newbies know the lingo! 
  • Keep an eye out for additional virtual coffee times aimed at first time participants to get to know others and discuss the conference.

Enhancing the Virtual Experience

For the virtual attendees, we know that attending remotely can make engagement more challenging, so we’ll be doing our utmost to ensure you have access to all the information you need. I’ll be attending virtually myself and I hope I’ll see you at the morning run-down and virtual coffee breaks. We’ll be sharing all of this and more on the First Time Participants webpage (insert URL) so keep your eyes on that space for updates and we look forward to meeting you at iPRES 2023!   

See you soon!

the iPRES First Time Participants Committee