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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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