Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Society Calendars, Events, Seminars, etc.

It might just be a coincidence, but I've received several new links over the past few days for genealogical events - seminars sponsored by societies, etc. I have a couple of issues with links to genealogy events, so I thought I should post them here. That way I can refer to this article whenever I need to do so in the future.

Cyndi's List has a couple of categories that are specific to genealogical seminars and education:

The first, Education (Genealogical), is the newer category. It contains these sub-categories:
The Conferences sub-category is generally for the larger annual conferences, seminars, and workshops that offer major genealogical education opportunities. Hopefully, the rest of the sub-categories are self-explanatory.

The Events & Activities category is one of the earlier categories found on Cyndi's List. It has the following sub-categories:
The Events Calendars sub-category is for links to web sites with genealogical events calendars. Some of them are for specific societies or organizations that publish their own, ongoing calendars online. And others are for calendars that are hosted by a person or group that allow you to post your own genealogical events. The links I place in this sub-category should be only to calendars, not specific events. 

The Seminars & Classes sub-category is the tricky one, and the one I want to talk about most. This is where I would link to specific events. The links here can quickly become outdated once an event's date has passed. Early on I often posted links with date-specific descriptions. I learned the error of my ways in doing that when I had to update or delete the links on a regular basis. There is no way I can link to hundreds of specific events and update the descriptions over and over again to keep them updated with current date information. I have found myself avoiding these types of links.

Over the years I've found that most societies would have one of two types of web pages for their events:  either one web page for all of their seminars, with one static web address (updated yearly) or a new web page (and new web address) for every new event, year after year. My preference is the former. It makes more sense for the society, and for me as an indexer, to have one, static web address and web page devoted to their annual educational events. The page can be updated by the society's webmaster once the old event has passed and the information for the new event is available. For me, on Cyndi's List, it means I only have to add the link once and I'm done. Any updating that has to be done is taken care of by the society's webmaster on their own web page. They don't have to worry about contacting me over and over again with new, updated information for a link and my links don't become outdated and stale. For the society, having a static web address means that they can publish that address in their newsletter, on their blog, and in other PR publications without worrying about a stale link.

Therefore, my general rule is that I won't link to event pages that have a time-specific deadline. Because I can't guarantee that I will be able to remember to remove the link or update the link after that deadline. I will link to the society web pages about conferences and seminars as long as there isn't anything time-specific in the link description or on the web page that will make the link outdated at some point.

I've often considered adding a calendar widget or application to Cyndi's List that would allow the public to post their own events. I'm still considering it. There are a couple of downsides to doing this. First, I will probably have to spend money to have something like this incorporated into Cyndi's List. And I'm not loaded with extra cash. The other downside is that I worry about people/groups abusing a forum of this sort. I can envision people overloading the calendar with way too much stuff for specific groups, or even with inappropriate items. And I have no extra time to monitor and moderate a publicly-edited calendar. If any of you have ideas, please let me know:

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