Processes for KohaCons
From Koha Wiki
This page documents suggested processes, tips and ideas for deciding on and planning KohaCons.
- Call for proposals - Proposals are posted by anyone interested on this Wiki.
- Closing date for bids - This is announced over the mailing list.
- Voting on bids - A link to an online survey is posted to the mailing lists and announced at the IRC meetings. Each individual has one vote. Ideally, you should only vote if you intend to go. A real vote will reflect how many people are going to attend, which lets the Conference organisers plan appropriately.
- Announcement of successful bidder - This is again announced over the mailing list.
- Call for papers and presentation proposals - This is a very important step that ends up lost in the mists until entirely too close to Conference most of the time. It does not have to be super formal - a simple request over the mailing list is plenty. The more time you have between Conference and this step, the better. If you have a Speaker in mind, approach them early. Your chances of them saying yes are MUCH better. Don't forget that there's a Library world outside of the Koha Community. Code4Lib and other lists might be appropriate places to advertise.
- Programme confirmed - x time before conference
- Dates for KohaCon
KohaCon shall not be held in the same continent within three years unless no proposal has been introduced from a different continent. Continents for the sake of the rule shall be distinguished as Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America, and Oceania [Australia, New Zealand, etc.]. If there is no bid after the deadline that meets the rules, there will be a 4 weeks extension to the deadline. If there is still no bid after the extension period, exceptions from the rules are possible.
A page on this wiki is set up for bids - see Kohacon16_proposals for an example. Simply edit the table to include your proposal. If you have trouble editing the Wiki, send a Wiki curator an email.
Bidders then add the details of their proposal. Including a link to a proposal website helps your chances and gives you an opportunity to show off your venue. Since people are traveling from all over the world, this site will give them an impression of where your venue is and how it feels from afar. It's your chance to get people excited!
How to conduct the vote
- Tools that can be used to conduct a vote:
- How long to allow for voting - Generally at least a few weeks, if not a couple of months are allowed for voting.
It was decided at the General_IRC_meeting_8_June_2016 to use a ranking vote that requires to rank all options and not skip any of them.
How to minimise potential issues:
- Ask for full name, institution and email address
- Only allow institutional email addresses
A field asking for institution may not be mandatory, it will exclude more people than help with anything.
Expectations for successful bidder
- Regular planning meetings are held on IRC to get community input and guidance, open to all interested in helping
- An update on progress is made at each general monthly IRC meeting
- The KohaCon page on the Koha community website is kept up-to-date
- Lessons learned from hosting a conference are shared with the community
Organising a Conference of any size can be challenging. It might take a lot of time and will certainly take a lot of effort for the Organisers.
It is a good idea (but not mandatory) to visit a Kohacon before organizing one yourself. It may also help to get in touch with the organizers of previous Kohacons and Hackfests, and learn from their experience. You can approach them directly, ask on the mailing lists or IRC.
Step One Don't Panic!
A long time ago, when animals could talk, no one cared if they got swank extras when they came to Conference. Chris is fond of saying that you only need a few things for Conference. A speaker, some people, power, and a connection.
Format for a KohaCon
The format for KohaCon is up to the Organisers. I've been to KohaCons with tracks and without tracks. Both have worked swimmingly. Most of the time, Conference has looked like this:
- Conference sessions - first 2-3 days. How many days you have will depend on how many Speakers you recruit. Don't feel the need to go on for 3 days if you have a low response to your Call for Papers. For the last few KohaCons, this hasn't been a problem at all. The Community in general has been very responsive when it comes to helping whittle down the responses. Don't forget, this is a great at a distance task, so look beyond your local Committee to the wider Community for help. The more global help you get, the more like it is that folks will attend.
- Event/break day e.g. tours, site seeing, etc - one day in the middle. This day has sometimes been at the end or the beginning. I personally like it in the middle since it allows Developers and Librarians to mingle. A lot of the time, folks can't afford to stay for 9 or 10 days. This lets everyone that has to stay for 4ish.
This tends to be my guilty favourite. A lot of the time, instead of just a road trip, it's a cultural experience. Some of my fondest memories are from these cultural days. Don't worry about what other people will think about your region when you choose an experience. This is your time to shine and really give people a real in depth look at your culture.
It is not unusual to ask the Community to kick in so that the cost of a bus can be absorbed or that a group meal can be paid for without the Organisers needing to shell out. If you plan in advance, and you should for this part since the logistics might be tricky, you can get a head count early, gauge interest, price things out, and come up with a per person aestimate.
If a bus, hotel, and meal are beyond your means, that is just peachy. It's equally cool to recruit friends to just cook their favourite dishes and pick someplace to enjoy the local music.
- Hackfest - 2-3 days. This is where the all important Internet Connection looms large. It's not unusual for Hackfest to take place in a different venue from the Conference. There tend to be far less participants in Hackfest than there are at the Conference. I'd aestimate someplace between a quarter and half of the main Conference as a very vague general rule of thumb. If your budget is on the posh side, you can't go wrong having some spare power adapters on hand. Snacks and drinks keep geeks fueled. Again, they don't have to be fancy!
Creating the programme
- Session times
- Roundtable sessions
- Lightning talks
As the conference is free, sponsors are an important part of covering the costs for the hosting institution.
Sponsoring can be organised in different ways. Some ideas:
- Create different 'packages' of different value to make it easy for smaller and bigger companies, institutions and companies alike to pick one they can afford.
- Ask for sponsorship of specific things (Venue, coffee, food, video and streaming equipment, etc.)
- Think outside the box - contact not only library related companies, but also local businesses and institutions (lunch coupons, stuff for the conference bag, information material about your city etc.)
It's ok to ask on the Koha mailing list for sponsoring and also to contact vendors directly. It's also common to give a short update about sponsoring during the Koha IRC meetings. Please don't hesitate to ask if something is needed.
Keep in mind that sponsors are likely to be in different countries, so it's good to offer an easy way to receive money from them.
Sometimes sponsors will aks for a speaking timeslot or the opportunity, add advertising material to the conference bags, have a booth to present themselves. It's up to the organisers to decide about what they want to offer to the sponsors. In general that's ok, but as Koha is a free software conference organisers should try to ensure that the sales element doesn't overwhelm the content.
- Mailing list
Things to consider when selecting:
- Audiovisual equipment required
- How to record presentations:
- Adding to Koha Community channel on YouTube
- Archiving - add to Internet Archive respository
Details of any special considerations required for getting visas, for example time it may take.