How are abstracts selected for presentation at the APT Annual Conference?
An overview by Ron Anthony, APT Denver 2010 Conference Program Chairman
Each APT Local Conference Committee includes a Program Committee responsible for developing the technical program. This year, the Local Program Committee had four members—a preservation project manager, an architect, an engineer, and a material scientist. APT received more than 130 abstracts to fill 64 paper slots in the program.
The Local Program Committee started by inviting active APT members to serve on the Program Advisory Committee (PAC). The PAC included 12 members representing the APT Board of Directors and Executive Committee, the APT College of Fellows, each of the four APT technical committees, and representatives from Canada and Australia. Efforts were made to ensure that the members who served on the PAC represented a reasonably diverse mix of gender, profession, and geographic distribution.
Each PAC member reviewed 15 to 20 abstracts primarily within his/her area of expertise. They were asked to recommend accepting, accepting with some reservations, or not accepting each abstract reviewed. They were also encouraged to record their comments, as well as discuss how an abstract, topic, or session might be improved from what was presented in the abstract. Many offered constructive comments. The Local Program Committee members combined these comments with a subsequent review of each abstract to work with abstract authors to clarify or slightly modify their presentations to ensure they fit the overall technical program. Oversight by the APT Conferences Committee Co-Chairs kept the Local Program Committee on schedule throughout the process.
The Local Program Committee members then met to pull together a draft program. Gaps in topic areas or particular sessions were addressed through contact with the appropriate PAC member who provided suggestions to fill out the program.
After the draft program meeting, the papers were organized into sessions and tracks to create the Conference program. Student abstracts were reviewed later by the Student Scholarship Committee and added to into sessions that offered the best fit.
As a final step, the Local Program Committee briefly discussed the Conference program at the spring meeting of the APT Board of Directors to reach a consensus that the program emphasized was a solid technical program that met the goals of all of us within APT—to learn about preservation technology, foster engaging dialogue with our colleagues, and encourage participation by those new to APT.Editor’s note: Local Program Chair Ron Anthony, of Anthony & Associates, Fort Collins, CO, is an experienced speaker, facilitator and program coordinator, having served as a Conference Coordinator and Program Chair for several professional and trade association conferences.