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IWMW 2013: Web Managers In A Double Bind

Posted by Brian Kelly on 2 July 2013

Reflections on the Plenary Talks at IWMW 2013

Summary of Dai Griffiths' talk at IWMW 2013

Sketch note of Dai Griffith’s talk by Kevin Mears (@mearso)

In a recent post I described how “The Job’s Not Over Till The Paperwork’s Complete” and summarised the ways in which the digital resources associated with last week’s IWMW 2013 event are being aggregated. As well as the curation of event tweets which is currently being carried out using Storify (e.g. see the Storify summary of the first day) the Lanyrd entry for IWMW 2013 is also being used to provide links to speakers’ slides, curated session tweets and, where possible, notes provided by event participants.

The first trip report we came across was written by the City University London Web Team; a report which began: “there are a lot memories and a lot to describe to my fellow colleagues and those who couldn’t attend“. Indeed, many memories and lots of interesting content which will be of relevant to many working in institutional Web teams. We would therefore encourage anyone who has written a report about the event to ensure that it is made publicly available and to provide a link to the report from the Lanyrd page (you can add links from the bottom of the Lanyrd Coverage page).

The Open Agenda on the Opening Day

Rather than attempt to summarise all of the talks I intend to reflect on some of the significant themes which were discussed at the event.

The opening plenary talk was given by Cable Green, Director of Global Leaning at Creative Commons. In the talk on “Open Education: The Business & Policy Case for OER” Cable explained how Creative Commons licences can provide a stable legal framework for permitting reuse of content and the importance of such licences in helping to support the aim of global leaning for everyone.

In the second talk, on “Mozilla, Open Badges and a Learning Standard for Web Literacy“, Doug Belshaw introduced the idea of open badges to, gauging from the comments on Twitter, an audience which is intrigued by open badges and their potential relevance for both personal use and to support departmental activities.

The IWMW 2013 event opened with talks which promoted the benefits of open practices. On the final day of the event several of the speakers responded to issues which had been raised earlier (which highlighted the benefits of having a flexible approach to processing speakers’ slides). For me the two most inspirational talks were “The University in a Bind” by Dai Griffiths and “The Delicious Discomfort Of Not Knowing: How to Lead Effectively Through Uncertainty” by Neil Denny.

Dai Griffiths, Professor at the Institute for Educational Cybernetics at the University of Bolton described how the institutional Web is situated at the “not-so-calm centre of a hurricane”. Within current economic uncertainties institutions are also in a “double bind” – described in Wikipedia as “an emotionally distressing dilemma in communication in which an individual (or group) receives two or more conflicting messages, in which one message negates the other“. Dai provided a number of examples of this ‘double bind’ such as the pressures on researchers in the run-up to the REF to publish in high impact journals whilst also expecting researchers to ensure that their research publications are available in open access journals.

This reminded me of the double-bind which institutional Web managers found themselves in just over a year ago after the ‘cookie’ law came into being: institutions must (a) conform with the law and ensure that visitors to institutional Web sites opt-in to use of cookie or (b) providing clean and simple user interfaces to resources which minimise barriers to use of services (especially if accessed on a range of devices).

Sidhu's KIS statisticsAnother example of an institutional double bind relates to a plenary talk given at IWMW 2012. At last year’s event Andrew Oakley, Head of Software Development at the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) spoke about Key Information Set Data, information which the government requires institutions to provide. But this year Ranjit Sidhu, towards the end of his talk entitled “9am, 16th August, 2012: ‘What the fcuk just happened then?’” informed the audience that “Less than 1 visitor per university per day click the UniStats [KIS] widget“. Again the tension if between (a) implementing systems which are legally required and (b) ensuring that we allocate scarce resources in a cost-effective way.

Or as Bart Simpson put it: “You’re damned if you do; you’re damned if you don’t“.

double bindHow are we to respond to having to implement incompatible goals, with decreasing resources? In the final talk at the event Neil Denny spoke about “The Delicious Discomfort Of Not Knowing: How to Lead Effectively Through Uncertainty“. Neil was another speaker who updated his slides in response to the issues which had been raised during the event. It occurred to me that Neil could have updated the title of his talk so that it explained “How To Lead Effectively Through Insanity” as suggested by Dai Griffiths is the slide illustrated.

I will conclude this post by using the summary of Neil’s talk which my colleague Marieke Guy has just posted with the title “The Delicious Discomfort of IWMW13“:

His message was about how we need to be comfortable with uncertainty and find strategies for surviving at the edge of our comfort zone. We can survive by listening to others and adopting the attitude of an artisan (trying new things). His talk really touched a nerve. All of us from UKOLN are going through big change, but change is good, if you don’t change…you stand still. I have to admit I actually love that point when change can happen and I’ve actively strived towards it. It’s at that point that all possibilities still exist.

I agree – survival will require being able to listen to others and being receptive to change. The challenge for me will be to explore sustainability options for future IWMW events. In a future post I will summarise plans to do this.


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IWMW 2013: The Resources

Posted by Brian Kelly on 1 July 2013

The Job’s Not Over Till The Paperwork’s Complete

Storify summary of first day at IWMW 2012IWMW 2013, the seventeenth Institutional Web Management Workshop, is now over. Or perhaps I should say that the event is over for the speakers and participants. For the event organisers we still have to process payments, analyse the event evaluation forms and send feedback to the speakers.

But in addition to the post-event work which all event organisers will need to carry out, since we have always prided ourselves on the event amplification of IWMW events, we need to process various digital resources in order to maximise the readership of resources used at the event and provide additional ways in which the discussions can be accessed. An event no longer has to finish when the organiser announces the physical event is over!

Providing Access to an Event’s Digital Resources

A Storify summary of the first day has already been published, as illustrated. In addition a summary of the closing session, entitled IWMW 2013: What The Users Thought, which includes Twitter comments made by participants after they had left the event is also available. The comments included:

  • thanks for the last 3 days, lots of work, lots of fun and many new friends, it’s been great hope this isn’t the end!
  • Great to hear how important IWMW is in inspiring us to work together and found communities of practice
  • Themes I will take away from this year’s #iwmw13:  silos, change, big data, Agile, openness, and “to MOOC, or not to MOOC?”
  • Feeling inspired by our speakers, change is inevitable, work with it not against it!
  • Be comfortable with uncertainty, listen, adopt the attitude of an artisan, be creative, read, be curious – an inspiring ending to #iwmw13
  • Leaving Bath inspired & impressed after my first #iwmw13 An amazing community which will no doubt keep going in the future.
  • My first time at IWMW. Also first conference I’ve been to that ended with Monty Python on YouTube. Delightful!

Lanyrd page for Doug Belshaw's talkIn addition to the Storify summaries the slides used in the plenary talks and a number of the workshop sessions have been uploaded to the IWMW 2013 and to Slideshare. The Slideshare repository is probably the more important, as slides hosted on Slideshare can be embedded elsewhere. This includes the IWMW 2013 Lanyrd site, for which pages for each of the sessions contain not only the abstract and speaker details but also slides which are available from Slideshare as well as user-generated content including blog posts about the sessions and, of particular interest to me, links to Kevin Mears’ sketches which give a graphical depiction of his reflctions on the key messages of several of the plenary talks and the two parallel sessions he attended.

An example of a Lanyrd page, for Doug Belshaw’s plenary talk on “Mozilla, Open Badges and a Learning Standard for Web Literacy” is illustrated.

But in addition to the resources produced by the speakers and the tweets posted by the audience the other valuable resource created at the event are the sketches produced by Kevin Mears. What a great way of summarising a talk and highlighting the key aspects in what I feel is a particularly memorable way.

Sketch by Kevin Mears

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Event Amplification at #IWMW13

Posted by Brian Kelly on 18 June 2013

Event Amplification at IWMW Events: The History

For several years we have provided a live video stream of the plenary talks at IWMW events. This decision was made for several reasons:

  • To maximise access to the talks given at the event.
  • To ensure that a wide audience was aware of the event and, potentially, attend the event the following year.
  • To enhance the accessibility of the event for those who may not be able to attend for a variety of reasons.

The background to these decisions has been explained in a video clip which is available on YouTube and is embedded below.

Event Amplification at IWMW 2013

panopto interfaceWe are pleased to announce that the IWMW 2013 event will be amplified, with a live video stream being provided for the plenary talks.

BUCS, the IT Services department at the University of Bath will be providing the video stream. They will be using the Panopto service for this.

Since Panopto requires Silverlight support in order to run there will be a need for remote viewers to check that their local computer has Silverlight installed.

Before viewing you are advised to check the
viewing requirements.

The Panopto service will capture/stream screen capture and MS Powerpoint display from the lecture room PC. A test page (illustrated) is available which can be used for testing.

Further information about the video streaming, including the URLs which will be used and the times the video stream will be live is available on the IWMW 2013 Web site.

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Benefits of IWMW Event Beyond Its Main Purposes

Posted by Brian Kelly on 14 June 2013

Events are Primarily About Content and Networking

The IWMW  2013 event is rapidly approaching. In recent posts I’ve highlighted the key content areas which will be covered at the event. I have also described how we have responded to feedback from previous events which have highlighted the importance of the networking opportunities which the event provides – this year, for example, in addition to the opportunities to network during the conference dinner and reception at the Roman Baths we are encouraging participants to explore the potential of mobile applications which can support such networking activities.

Additional Benefits of Events

But what of the hidden benefits which such an event can provide? The IWMW 2013 illustrates a couple of such benefits which may not be obvious: the opportunity to evaluate tools which may be of interest for institutional use and the opportunity for participants to organise and discuss surveys addressing relevant areas of interest. These two examples are summarised below.

Evaluation of Event Networking Tools

A recent post in This Year’s Experiment at #IWMW13 – the Bizzabo Mobile Event App described how the Bizzabo mobile app (available on Apple and Android mobile devices) is being used to provide access to the event timetable, speaker biographies as well as biographical details and links to Twitter and LinkedIn profiles provided by participants who choose to sign up and provide such information. In addition the app provides a communications infrastructure which enable participants to communicate with ones – and I have already received a message from one participants who would like to know if there is a recommended meeting place for those who will arrive on the Tuesday evening, the night before the event starts.

Although such an app can be particularly useful for event organisers (e.g. getting in touch with people directly if we have found lost property) knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of such tools may also be of interest to those working in institutional Web teams who may be asked to recommend an application available for use on mobile devices to support events in their local institution.

One of the issues which Web managers will be aware are the tensions between mobile apps (which typically need to be developed for a range of platforms such as Apple and Android devices) and mobile Web interfaces to such services, which should be platform neutral. But although there would appear to be significant benefits in recommended a mobile Web solution, the benefits of services which require take-up by a critical mass of users to be effective will not materialise if users choose not to make use of a mobile Web solution, for whatever reason.

In order to provide a comparison of such alternative approaches, at IWMW 2013 we are providing the event details on the Lanyrd Web service, which also has a mobile interface.

In addition to the main architectural differences, these two services have slightly different functions: Lanyrd was set up (by two Computer Science graduates from the University of Bath, incidentally) as a social directory of events (you can see the events which your Twitter followers attend) whereas Bizzabo is focussed on supporting communications at a specific event.

Repository Survey

Lanyrd email message about iwmw2013I mentioned how Lanyrd can provide information on events one’s Twitter community have attended, spoken at or organised. In addition, as Lanyrd takes a wiki-style approach to the addition of event-related information, this morning I received an email alert of new addition to the IWMW 2013 Lanyrd entry: as illustrated Nick Sheppard had added a link to a survey on institutional approaches to the provision of institutional repositories.

The blog post which is referenced in the coverage describes how the survey:

is designed to provide a snapshot of opinion on how successful institutional websites are at disseminating research information, outputs and data.

This illustrates the second hidden benefit of events such as IWMW 2013: it provides an opportunity to survey usage patterns, opinions and concerns across a group of professionals with shared interests and enables the responses to be discussed in a structured environment – in this case during the 90 minute workshop session on “The Institutional Web Site and the Institutional Repository: Addressing Challenges of Integration“.

What Can You Do?

If you have an interest in evaluating services to support networking at events, feel free to install the Bizzabo app and join the IWMW 2013 event or to sign up for the IWMW 2013 Lanyrd entry. In both cases, it should be noted, that there is no need to be physically attending the event, although Lanyrd does allow you to ‘track’ an event rather than register as a speaker, organiser or participants.

If you have an interest in giving your views on the success(or not) of your institutional website in disseminating research information, outputs and data feel free to complete the survey.

If you’d like to attend the workshop session in which the findings will be discussed, or, indeed, sign up for the IWMW 2013 itself, you will need to register quickly as we have been informed that the university accommodation requirements need to be finalised.

 

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Update on IWMW 2013

Posted by Brian Kelly on 13 June 2013

IWMW 2013, the annual Institutional Web Management Workshop, will take place at the University of Bath on 26-28 June 2013. As that’s less than 2 weeks away I thought it would be timely to give an update on the planning for the event. Note if you are unfamiliar with the event you can view the IWMW 2013 programme or read the posts about the event and the video summary of the event.

Additional pricing plans: Since we have been told that, in a number of institutions, staff development budgets have been reduced significantly we have introduced a day rate for attendance at the event. Although the cost of £350 for the three day event (which includes 3 nights’ accommodation) is very reasonable, the £100 daily rate may be of interest for those on small staff development budgets or who have other commitment s and can’t attend for the full 3 days. This new daily rate has been added to the IWMW 2013 booking form.

New sessions added since bookings launched: Since the booking form was launched a number of additional workshop sessions have been added, including Connections, Connecting, Connected, Opening Up University Space Online Using Google Street View, Interactive Maps & Dynamic Web Design and Are We Too Easily Distracted by Shiny Objects?. Since people who booked early will not have been aware of these sessions we will notify participants of these sessions, in case they wish to modify the parallel sessions they have signed up for.

Event information provided on a range of online services: The IWMW 2013 programme is now available on Lanyrd (which also has a mobile interface) and on the Bizzabo app (as described in a recent post). Although such duplication may cause some confusion, it also provides an opportunity to make comparisons between use of a mobile Web site and a mobile app for use of events. Such comparisons may be useful for institutional Web managers who are making plans for the provision of event information for mobile devices.

Logistics for social programme being finalised: The plans for the event dinner in the Claverton Rooms on Wednesday 26 June and the Wine Reception at the Roman Baths on Thursday 26 June are being finalised, which includes details of the buses which people can take to get to the centre of town from the University. In addition to these two organised events we are still exploring options for people who may arrive on the Tuesday as well as suggested restaurants and pubs which people may wish to visit after the reception at the Roman Baths. A Google Map of pubs and restaurants is being developed which currently lists pubs I would recommend; however I will add details of wine bars for those who may have different tastes :-)

Travel information being finalised: A travel page is being finalised which will provide information for people arriving by plane, train or car. Note for people who attended IWMW 2006 or IWMW 2000, which were also held at the University of Bath, there is now a direct bus service from Bristol airport as well as two bus services (the 18 and the U18) from Bath bus station to the University.

Information about technical infrastructure being finalised: A page on technologies provides information on connecting to the WiFi network and the applications which may be of use at the event (e.g. details of the event’s Twitter hashtag). We recently found that some Eduroam users had difficulties in connecting to Eduroam at Bath University, so we’ll be encouraging them to test their settings in advance and try to connect as soon as they arrive on campus.

Information sent out to speakers and workshop facilitators: We’ve sent out information to the plenary speakers and workshop facilitators to ensure they have booked for the event and informed us of any special requirements they may have.

I now have less than two weeks to prepare my welcome talk and the parallel session I am running. But have I forgotten anything, I wonder? Do let me know!

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This Year’s Experiment at #IWMW13 – the Bizzabo Mobile Event App

Posted by Brian Kelly on 30 May 2013

Experiments With Online Technologies at IWMW Events

Bizzabo mobile app

The mobile app for the IWMW 2013 event

A video summary entitled Use of Social Media at IWMW Events is available on YouTube. The brief video (which lasts for just over one minute) explains how since 2005 we have tried to make use of a new online technologies at UKOLN’s IWMW (Institutional Web Management Workshop) events. The video clip describes how the availability of a WiFi network at the University of Manchester, the venue for the IWMW 2005 event, provided our first opportunity to explore the benefits which use of communications technologies could provide at an event. Back then we were using IRC, which was available to a small number of people (about 18) who had brought along a laptop with WiFi capabilities.

I was one of those 18 people, and was therefore one of the first to hear the news of the London bombings. It was a strange experience to be aware of the news, but not the full extent of the news, whilst most people in the audience were listening to the speaker. I waited until the speaker had finished before announcing the news, with many of the London based participants then using the coffee break to ring home.

The incident brought home to me the importance of online communications at events, not only for significant incidents but also for more mundane occurrences such as missing keys, speakers delays and problems with public transport.

In addition to the need for event organisers to be able to communicate with speakers and delegates, the experiments a few years ago demonstrated the value of peer-to-peer communications using popular technologies such as Twitter for enriching the experience of events by allowing open discussions and questions to take place.

This Year’s Experiment: The Bizzabo Mobile App

Since mobile technologies are now mainstream, especially amongst Web professionals, this key we are experimenting with Bizzabo, a mobile app we are using to provide access to the IWMW 2013 timetable together with the event’s Twitter stream, as well as providing a communication channel for IWMW 2013 participants and other interested parties.

As can be seen from the screenshot, the opening page for the event shows its name and location, people who have signed up to the community, and recent tweets with the event hashtag.

The agenda for the three-day event is also available and you can bookmark your favourite sessions and add details to your mobile device.

One limitation I have found with the Bizzabo app is that the number of parallel sessions if limited to ten. As the IWMW 2013 event has eleven parallel sessions on Wednesday 26 June and ten on Thursday 27 June this causes a slight problem as one of the slots has to be allocated to the main plenary sessions.

Timetable shown in Bizzabo

The IWMW 2013 timetable for day 2 shown in Bizzabo

However this isn’t an insurmountable problems, and won’t be relevant for events which have fewer parallel sessions.

For me the success of apps such as this is whether they will be actively used by sufficient numbers of people. As described on the Bizzabo blog:

The community is the most important part of Bizzabo and what we’re all about. Once you join the community, you’ll be able to see all other members, go through their profiles, discover mutual connections and interact with the people you want to connect with. 

Note that the Bizzabo app is available for the iPhone and Android environments. The event organiser’s interface is available using a Web browser, which enables the event organiser to provide details about the event (name, location, programmes, times, etc.) as well as information about the speakers. It should be noted that speaker profiles can include details of the speaker’s Web site, blog, Twitter account and LinkedIn profile.

The programme for the IWMW 2013 event is also available on Lanyrd, which also provides a mobile interface. It will be interesting to see how Bizzabo compares with Lanyrd. The latter, to be fair, is more of a social directory for events, allowing you to see participants at events via their Twitter ID. However it will also be interesting to make a comparison between a responsive Web site (Lanyrd) and a dedicated mobile app (Bizzabo). From a provider’s perspective it can be advantageous to provide a single source of information which is available for both desktop and mobile browsers. However might users prefer a solution which could exploit a mobile phone’s characteristics more effectively and, arguably, is more easily found via the phone providers’ app store?

Bizzabo provides a simple way of ensuring that an event programme is available in a format suitable for viewing on a mobile device for free. However for me the important thing is whether the community aspect of Bizzabo takes off. I’m willing to give it a go. If you are attending the IWMW 2013 event, or are simply interested in the event, why not download the app and give it a go. Your feedback would be welcomed, including comments on the mobile app versus mobile web approach to providing information about events.

As mentioned above a brief video summary of the history of use of social media tools at IWMW events is available on YouTube and embedded below.


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Promoting IWMW 2013: the Video Summary

Posted by Brian Kelly on 28 May 2013

Back in the late 1990s publicising an event was quite simple – the main activity was simply sending messages to relevant email lists. A message I sent to the web-support JISCMail list on Wednesday, 2 September 1998 illustrates this (and I’m pleased that the JISCMail service has continued to provide an archive of messages over this period of time).

Nowadays, of course, there are many more communications channels available, and many users (in the case of events, potential participants) will expect to receive information of relevance to them in their preferred environment. Indeed, to use the visitors and residents metaphor, if they are ‘residents’ of the online environment they will expect the modern equivalent of the town cryer to make the announcements close to their residence, whereas ‘visitors’ may well expect to receive information only if they track down relevant information kiosks.

In addition to using tweets, blog posts, RSS feeds and LinkedIn announcements it is now possible to use video sharing tools, such as YouTube. Such popular services, which will be readily available on mobile devices, may be particularly useful in reaching out to people on the move, who may find it easier to view a brief video clip rather than read text on a small screen.

For this reason I have created a brief video clip, lasting just over 2 minutes, which summarises the IWMW 2013 event, which will be held at the University of Bath on 26-28 June. The video clip is available on YouTube and is embedded below. I should add that the questions were asked by Kirsty Pitkin and the video was taken by Rich Pitkin, who also edited the video. Kirsty and Rich are running a session on Creating a Multimedia CV or Project Summary at the IWMW 2013 event, so if you would like a brief video made about yourself or some aspect of your work, feel free to sign up for the session! Remember that the 3-day event costs only £350, which includes 2 nights’ accommodation.


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UK University Home Pages: (Remember) The Way We Were

Posted by Brian Kelly on 4 February 2013

The Way We Were

University of Bath home page: 1997Back in July 1997 UKOLN held the first IWMW (Institutional Web Management Workshop) event. The event aimed to share examples of best practices and innovation for those involved in providing institutional Web services.

D0 you remember what your institution’s home page looked like in 1997? Back in 2002 we set up a service which provides a rolling display of University home pages. We subsequently used the same tool to provide a rolling display of University home pages taken from the Internet Archive.

It is therefore possible to see how University home pages looked before the first IWMW event took place and to compare this with how the pages look today.

How We Are Today

The following rolling displays show how Web sites look today:

Note that if links are broken this indicates that the URL of the original Web page no longer exists. It is interesting to note the high profile that was given to the provision to institutional Web gateways ten years ago; nowadays institutional Web sites are more likely, I suspect, tow ish visitors to stay on the Web sites with links to interesting resources elsewhere being minimised.

I should also add that historical displays which show the evolution of the home page are available for the following institutions:

Looking Forward to the Future

IWMW 2013 home pageThe theme of the IWMW 2013 event is “What Next?“. We are currently inviting submissions for talks and workshop sessions which will be of interest to those involved in the provision of institutional Web services. Participants will be interested in looking to the future and to hear about approaches to the management of large-scale institutional Web services which are applicable in today’s environment.

It seems to me that it would be useful to look into the lessons which can be learnt from the history of institutional Web development when making plans for the future. I hope the resources mentioned above will be useful for those who wish to travel back in time and see how Web sites have evolved over the past 17 years.


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Announcing IWMW 2013

Posted by Brian Kelly on 28 November 2012

I’m pleased to announce that next year’s Institutional Web Management Workshop, IWMW 2013, will be held at the University of Bath on 26-28 June 2013.

The Roman Baths. From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Baths_(Bath)

The annual IWMW event has taken place in Bath previously: IWMW 2000 and IWMW 2006. We know that participants welcome the opportunity to visit our beautiful city, which has been a World Heritage Site since 1987. The combination of Georgian architecture and Roman remains make Bath a city well-worth revisiting. We have already booked the Roman Baths for the IWMW 2013 reception which promises to provide a memorable occasion for all participants.

The theme of IWMW 2013 is “What next?“. This will provide participants with an opportunity to consider the challenges facing the higher education sector in light of the economic downturn, and also the opportunities provided by the continuing technical developments we see in our online networked environment. The final session at the event will provide an opportunity to reflect on the challenges which lie ahead and strategies for addressing those challenges.

The call for submissions is now open. We welcome proposals for plenary talks, workshop sessions and other ideas you may have (for example, it might be timely to revisit the debates which took place in 2002, 2003 and 2006).

If you are unfamiliar with the IWMW event and the format, it would be useful to visit the IWMW 2012 Web site to see the timetable and view the abstracts for the plenary talks and workshop sessions.

If you would like to discuss ideas for a proposal, feel free to contact me, the IWMW 2013 chair. In addition I would welcome the opportunity to make contact with potential sponsors for the event.


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