“Thank you to all. Well done conference, THE BEST virtual conference I have attended since 2020 and I have attended a lot virtually. A great mix of ALL essential components: 1) scheduling, 2) thought leaders/keynotes, 3) social events, 4) regular sessions and topics, 5) technology worked!”

With about 850 participants, NISO Plus 2021 was the largest event NISO has ever hosted, by a huge margin. It was also the first time we’d ever run such a large virtual event. So we really wanted to find out how it went from the people who really count – our speakers and moderators, Planning Committee members, and attendees.

About one sixth of attendees (138 people) responded to our post-conference survey, providing us with invaluable feedback about all aspects of NISO Plus 2021. The respondents were broadly representative of overall attendees, although there were proportionately slightly fewer responses from Canada/US and more, in particular, from Asia Pacific; librarians (globally) were also slightly over-represented.

We’re happy to share some of the key findings from the survey, which we’ll be discussing with the NISO Board on April 22 as well as using to inform our planning for … NISO Plus 2022!

  • 98% of respondents rated the overall quality of both the speakers and content as either valuable or extremely valuable, and every session was ranked top by someone!
  • The format worked well — 91% of respondents found the viewings of recorded presentations followed by live discussions on zoom valuable or extremely valuable, rating us 4/5 for facilitating conversations among attendees about important topics for the information community
  • 68% watched at least one pre-recorded video on demand, and it was clear from the free text comments that the transcripts were also valued
  • Our efforts to enable global participation by spreading the program across two time slots were appreciated
  • The response to social events was more mixed — of the 56% of respondents who attended a social event, 63% found it valuable or extremely valuable, while 15% found it somewhat or not at all valuable
  • Speakers had a very positive experience overall — 97% were satisfied or extremely satisfied — and many felt that moderators were key to the success of the sessions
  • The flexibility offered by a virtual meeting (eg, global attendance, pre-recorded content, transcript availability) were highly valued by a large majority of attendees, and significantly more respondents would attend future conferences virtually (89% for fully virtual, 80% for hybrid) irrespective of where they are based
  • However, four days is probably too long for a virtual conference — two to three slightly longer days with fewer tracks would allow for more focus and a better overall experience
  • Virtual social events are more challenging than in-person ones, but Jeopardy: NISO Edition, in particular, was very popular both in terms of attendance and feedback

Our next steps, as promised at the conference, are to take forward some of the most popular ideas generated and work with the community to develop concrete proposals for NISO work, including new standards and recommended practices. This is already under way — we have held our first workshop to develop a work item proposal on integrating publisher and repository interfaces. Others are planned focusing on publisher handling of retractions, on controlled digital lending, and on diversity, equity, and inclusion. We’ll be sharing updates and inviting your feedback here!

“Thank you for an exceptional conference. I was fearful before it started; but the guidelines: Be kind, be respectful, be patient; were very reassuring, and by the end of the conference I felt welcomed and that I had contributed. There had been nothing to be fearful of. I learned so much, my brain hurts! It will take some time to process it all. I can’t wait to share what I have learned with my colleagues!”

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