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Webcasting Smithsonian paleo meetings (Re: dino symposium?)
In the future, the Smithsonian should strongly consider webcasting this
type of symposium (By all means, still have the in-person meeting; just
*add* the webcast to it).
Advantages of webcasting Smithsonian symposia:
- potentially huge audience;
- greater convenience for International audience members who can't
- enhanced ability to question the speaker during Q&A period (via e-mail
for web viewers);
- little equipment is required (web cam with mic, software, and a fast
connection are all that is needed);
- tight integration with Power Point software;
- greater access to the International Media (they'll be watching, to be
- giving back to the U.S. taxpayer
Webcasting software is easy to use and is easy to get (shareware and
freeware software is available on the web, and I believe that Apple and
Windoze come with rudimentary webcast ability). Decent-quality web
cameras are dirt cheap. The planning, coordinating and running of the
webcast could be done by a Smithsonian Museum intern (a great opportunity
and a real resume'-builder, if you ask me).
Disadvantages: Besides having the speakers wear two mics on their lapel
instead of one mic? None, really. Well, there is one other
disadvantage: it won't be as fun as attending in person. Look at
webcasting as an suppliment to the meeting, not as a replacement to it.
The audio and video will not be broadcast quality, but who really cares?
If you want better sound and a better view, then go to the meeting.
Just give the speakers and viewers the standard warnings about copyright
issues. Archiving the webcast on the Smithsonian web site is optional
(it takes up a lot of space), so if that is a concern, streaming the
meeting in real time would be more than satisfactory.
Just some rambling thoughts from the Great Northwet.
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