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In the spirit of Barcamp rule #2 (“You do blog about barcamp”) I decided to attempt a little live-blogging experiment for Barcamp Graz 2012 here. I will not write that much myself, but I will fill this spot with interesting tweets, links, presentations as they come along. Kind of like Storify here in WordPress. Below are some impressions from the first day.

Note: as the event itself is in German, much of the content will be in German too…

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On Sunday, I participated in Science Barcamp Vienna. To my knowledge, this was the first barcamp in Austria dedicated exclusively to science. I was looking forward to the event, as I had thoroughly enjoyed less formal research events, like the STELLAR Alpine Rendez-vous. The schedule for the day offered a broad mix: overviews on certain topics (such as in vitro meat by Vladimir Mironov), service sessions (such as TV/radio handling by Klaus Bichler), software presentations (such as an open source software for pharmaceutical research by Daniel), and a session on visions of research in the 21st century and hackerspaces by Michael Bauer.

My session was somewhere in-between. Originally, I wanted to talk about Science 2.0 and Open Science. Since the latter was already well covered in the course of the event, I limited myself to Science 2.0 and combined that with a proposed discussion on opportunities and threats of using social media as a researcher (ah, the beauty of barcamps!). You can find the slides of my talk below. The discussion was very interesting, including the use of social media for peer review, how to deal with the lack of quality control on the web, and the threat of idea scooping.

All in all, I enjoyed the barcamp very much. I learned a lot, and I got to know many interesting people. Thanks to the organizers Michael Horak und Brigitta Dampier, and hopefully until next year!

Barcamp Graz is now over for almost 1 1/2 weeks, and finally I have found some time to reflect a little bit on it. For the second time, four camps were united under one roof, covering the topics of knowledge management (Wissenscamp), politics (Politcamp), design (Designcamp), and iPhone and iPad development (iCamp).

First and foremost, I have to say that I found it to be simply terrific. There was a much broader range of sessions this year, with the next interesting talk or discussion just around the corner. The whole atmosphere at Grazer Congress was truly engaging, and the terrace – in combination with decent wheather and awesome food – added tremendously to the experience.

My main base naturally was Wissenscamp. Here is a rundown of the sessions which I could relate most to. You can find slides to many of them (and those that I missed) at barcamp.at. Robert Gutounig led an interesting discussion on knowledge management models. Micaela Andrich presented her life as a terminiologist and how she used a terminology tool to learn Chinese. Barbara Kump presented wissensdialoge.de, a blog on organisational learning, knowledge management and psychology, which sparked an animated discussion on these subjects. From the more technical talks, I especially liked Florian Klien‘s talk on URL shorteners, and Stefan Wunder‘s introduction to the semantic web and the Lasso project.

From Politcamp, I closely followed the sessions on open government data (by Julian Ausserhofer) and data retention policy (by marc and andy), two of the most relevant political topics with respect to the web. From Designcamp, I really liked the discussion on interdsciplinarity between engineers and designers from Mario Fallast and Romana Rauter. Finally, Ronen Kadushin made a surprise visit to the barcamp and gave a motivated talk on open design.

I myself had a session on Science 2.0 and how Web 2.0 is changing researcher practice. This led to an engaging discussion on open science, its benefits, drawbacks, and ways to make it possible for everyone to publish research material. I also wanted to show how students can use certain tools for their reports and theses.  Unfortunately, we did not get that far, but some hints are given in the slides which you can find below. Update! Stefan Kasberger did an interesting review of the barcamp and especially the open science aspects on the Open Science blog (in German).

In conclusion, I would like to thank all participants and especially my co-organizers for two amazing days. From the feedback we got some good suggestions for next year: lightning talks for first-timers, and a room that is solely dedicated to ad-hoc sessions. Until #bcg12!

You might have noticed the sparse updates on this blog in the last few weeks. I have been involved in many time-consuming activities, one of them being a member of the organisation committee for Barcamp Graz 2010 as part of the Wissensmanagement Forum team. The barcamp took place last weekend (May 7-9) and consisted of four individual camps, dedicated to design, politics, iphone and ipad, and knowledge management.

I am proud to say that the event was a huge success: an estimated 250 participants over the course of three days contributed to the close to 50 sessions throughout Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Not to mention the fantastic location, and a line of catering that outmatched most conferences I have been at so far. I would like to thank all participants, co-organisers and sponsors for their contributions!

Barcamps are participant-driven “un-conferences” in a sense that there are no papers submitted beforehand and that there is no predefined schedule. The timetable is determined only at the event; planned topics can be posted earlier in a wiki though. That does not mean that you come unprepared: since there is no distinction between presenters and listeners, everyone is required to contribute and share his or her knowledge.

Barcamps are traditionally mostly visited by practitioners. Since the goal of the Wissensmanagement Forum is to foster exchange between science and practice, we set a bit of a different focus for the Wissenscamp (“knowledge camp”), which was one of the four camps comprising Barcamp Graz. We invited researchers from the field of knowledge management as well as practitioners, and dedicated a whole afternoon on Friday to this subject only. And I must say the experience was overly positive. There were a lot of dedicated sessions that combined interests of researchers and practitioners. The around 70 participants came from disciplines as diverse as business administration, pedagogic, and software engineering; their organisations ranged from universities, over start-ups to large companies. This sparked many inspirational discussions on topics such as “Enterprise 2.0” and “Knowledge management in corporate communications”.

Barcamps are also a showcase for the use of Web 2.0 tools and technologies: the whole event is covered to great lengths on Twitter (#bcg10 was the top trending topic for Austria throughout the whole Saturday on Twicker), a wiki is being used for organizational purposes, and blog posts are written about single sessions or the whole event. In that sense, Barcamp Graz was also an experiment in the field of Science 2.0.

There are still some things that we can improve for next year, especially spreading the barcamp idea even further to lure more participants to the event. We will also try to attract more session proposals beforehand to give participants a better feeling what the camp will be about. We are also looking into ways to document the sessions better. Additionally, we will be guiding the newbies a little bit more with an introductory session to give them a head start into the barcamp experience. I can’t wait for Barcamp Graz 2011!

Below you can find the presentations of the two sessions I held.

In my other life, I am also part of Wissensmanagement Forum Graz, an interdisciplinary association of PhD students in the field of knowledge management. Apart from discussing our theses, we aim to promote knowledge management by transfering relevant results into practice. For this reason we organise several events every year targeted at practicioners (“experience plus” series of events).

This year we are also co-organising WissensCamp 2010. WissensCamp 2010 will take place from May 7 to 9 in Graz, and is the first Austrian barcamp on the topic of knowledge management. It brings together researchers, entrepreneurs, knowledge workers, web activists, and practicioners. WissensCamp is dedicated to knowledge sharing, problem solving, networking, and community building. From tools to methods and technologies, from indivdual to organisational topics, from practical problems to cutting-edge research challenges, everything knowledge management related can be discussed at WissensCamp 2010.

WissensCamp is not the only reason why you should visit Graz in spring. WissensCamp is part of an even bigger event, namely BarCamp Graz 2010. BarCamp Graz comprises of three more camps: DesignCamp, PolitCamp, and iCamp.  BarCamp Graz 2010 and WissensCamp 2010 are completetly free to participants and on-site catering will be provided thanks to generous sponsors. The only thing we are asking for is a registration in advance, either on our website, or in the wiki. And don’t forget to enter your session proposals.

I will do a session on Science 2.0, talking about the best tools around and giving insights into a study on Web 2.0 practices of scientists. I am very much interested in your input and looking forward to connect with you in Graz in May!

So what exactly is a barcamp?

If you haven’t heard of barcamps so far, they are “uncoferences” in a sense that there are no papers submitted beforehand and no prescheduled talks and sessions. Barcamps thrive on the interaction of their participants. So how do you document the results? Well, the answer is within the first two rules for barcamps:

  • 1st Rule: You do talk about Bar Camp.
  • 2nd Rule: You do blog about Bar Camp.

People can contribute their ideas for sessions in a wiki beforehand, but essentially the timetable is put together on the first morning. How is this done? Let’s have a look at rule 3 to 6:

  • 3rd Rule: If you want to present, you must write your topic and name in a presentation slot.
  • 4th Rule: Only three word intros.
  • 5th Rule: As many presentations at a time as facilities allow for.

How do you get enough speakers? At a barcamp, there is no distinction between presenters and listeners: there are only participants:

  • 6th Rule: No pre-scheduled presentations, no tourists.
  • 7th Rule: Presentations will go on as long as they have to or until they run into another presentation slot.
  • 8th Rule: If this is your first time at BarCamp, you HAVE to present. (Ok, you don’t really HAVE to, but try to find someone to present with, or at least ask questions and be an interactive participant.)

And that’s about it! What I would add is that how you organise your session is totally up to you: you can simply initiate a discussion, moderate a Fishbowl, or follow a more conventional presentation-first-then-questions approach.

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