Is it time for academic conferences to leave print proceedings behind?
This year, I'm co-chair of IEEE ISMAR 2012 (International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality), which will take place here in Atlanta at the Georgia Tech Hotel and Conference Center in early November.
We just just the program committee meeting, and during the meeting, one of the program chairs suggested that we should start allowing the papers (which are submitted as PDF's, so they can be put in IEEE's digital library) to include interactive content. ISMAR has not created print proceedings in a few years, so there is no reason for us to be stuck using static PDFs that mimic plain paper.
My first reaction was "why has nobody suggested this before"? PDF's can contain movies, Flash animations and 3D content, and for many conferences, this would be fabulous. For ISMAR, for example, almost all papers include a movie, but that movie is not readily available with the paper in the library; wouldn't it be fabulous for the papers to contain the movies? Of, for each figure to be self explanatory? To have fully dynamic interactive figures in the papers? Or to record the conference presentation, and append it to the PDF as an extra page?!
I don't know if any other conference committees have been discussing this, but it's time to do this! Ditch the paper proceedings, embrace interactive content!