Jan Meisels Allen, a 16-year conference attendee, shares her annual suggestions that she has found to be helpful to everyone, including first timers. [With a few additional notes from the conference blogger.]
1. Remember to bring your registration confirmation with bar code – it will expedite the registration process. You will be able to register starting Saturday 4-8pm in the Alpine Ballroom. Visit the conference FAQ; virtually any question you may have will have been addressed there. [Additional information can be found on other pages on the site, including additional topics under the About tab and under the Hotel/Travel tab for Travel Information and Parking.]
2. Be comfortable. Dress in layers. It is notoriously difficult to manage room temperature to everyone’s liking, especially in a hotel conference area with hundreds of attendees and other hotel activities. Wear comfortable shoes and clothing. Remember that Salt Lake City will be hot in the summer climate. The current ten-day projected forecast is for mid to high 90s (F) in the daytime and low to mid 70s (F) in the evening with a few days listed “with low possibility of rain”. Before you leave, check with http://weather.om/ for the 10-day forecast.
Leave extra time to take the elevators to the meeting room floors. if you are going to walk to the Family History Library a few blocks away, bring comfortable walking shoes. [SLC blocks are 660 feet, seven blocks is a mile. You may also take TRAX, our light rail. Both the hotel and library are in the free fare zone. Or a taxi will only cost about $5.]
3. Seats in the front row are reserved for those with hearing and vision disabilities that have notified the conference of their disability. Do NOT run for a seat in the front row, especially if you have a book bag on wheels as you may hit someone. Avoid the temptation to save the seat beside you just to give yourself more room.
4. If you use a rolling book carrier for your belongings, or use a walker or other walking aide, put them aside, out of the aisle so that others can walk safely.
5. Be considerate of the speakers and other attendees. Turn off cell phones and other noise-making devices during sessions. Do not talk to others during a program. Do not open candy or gum wrappers during the session as the crinkling sound disturbs the others sitting near to you.
6. Look to see if a session is being recorded. You can be in two, three, or four places at once by subscribing to LIVE! or purchasing conference recordings. [The complete list of sessions being recorded should be available at the beginning of the conference. The LIVE! schedule is posted.]
7. Familiarize yourself with the conference layout to know where the Exhibitor Hall, Resource Room, Hospitality, and especially the Restrooms are located. [Floor layouts will be posted on signage by the elevators. They are also available through the conference app in the Maps section.]
You MUST wear your conference badge at all times while in the conference area or security will not permit you to enter. No exceptions.
8. Even if you are a veteran of the IAJGS conference, introduce yourself to the people sitting nearby. What surnames are they searching? What areas of the world? Always network, network, network.
9. If this is your first conference, it is an experience you will never forget. [Don't miss the New Attendee Welcome and Orientation session Sunday morning.]
Bring a USB drive with you or have your family tree information on your laptop/tablet and other documents you may wish to share with others who are researching the same names and ancestral towns.
10. Look at the rich program in advance and highlight which sessions you want to attend and which speakers you want to listen to. You can use the conference app, or print from the web site, to plot your personal schedule. When you register, you will also get the Daily Planner that includes the full schedule with room assignments. Remember that we all have multiple areas of interest so we have to prioritize due to the concurrent sessions. Look at the programs sponsored by the Special Interest Groups (SIGs) for the geographic areas of interest, and don’t forget to attend the SHARE Fair on Sunday afternoon.
11. Look through the conference tote bag. There will be flyers for some of the database companies on the Resource Room computers, and exhibitors, as well as other items of interest.
12. The Resource Room will have links to subscription databases available at no charge. On Wednesday only, remember the Resource Room will be open late so everyone can take advantage of ProQuest Day, where conference registrants will have access to the ProQuest Historical Newspapers and more. Other subscription databases are available in the Resource Room throughout the conference, only on the conference computers. You may NOT use your laptop to access the databases [unless you have your own subscription], nor will you be permitted to acquire the passwords or users IDs for your personal use on your computer. This is an excellent reason to bring a USB drive [or use the one provided by the conference] to make copies of any records from the subscription databases.
13. There is free shared-access to Wi-Fi in selected conference areas. Those who booked hotel rooms in the conference block will also get free Wi-Fi access in their rooms. Finally, the hotel always provides free Wi-Fi access in the lobby area.
Above all, keep your sense of humor and flexibility! Sometimes there are last minute schedule changes outside of the control of the conference co-chairs or a technical glitch with the audio/visual equipment. The conference committee members will do everything possible to prevent such occurrences, but they do happen.
Enjoy the conference… looking forward to seeing many friends who I haven’t seen since last year’s conference!