LINGUIST List 4.395

Mon 24 May 1993

Disc: LSA Software Exhibit

Editor for this issue: <>


  • Matthew Dryer, LSA Software Exhibit

    Message 1: LSA Software Exhibit

    Date: 19 May 1993 14:54:35 -0400LSA Software Exhibit
    From: Matthew Dryer <>
    Subject: LSA Software Exhibit

    John Paolilli asks for comments on what went wrong with software exhibit at the LSA this past year.

    One difference between this past year's software exhibit at the LSA and the previous year's exhibit was that this past year included not only "poster sessions" in which various people simultaneously demonstrated their software to a small group and where people could wander around looking at what interested them, but also a scheduled presentation session structured in a fashion similar to regular LSA papers. In my opinion it was specifically the latter which were unsuccessful; the former were much more successful, as they were the previous year. I myself did a scheduled presentation, and wished that I had chosen to do a "poster session" presentation instead.

    Part of the reason the scheduled presentations were less successful was that they did not constitute a natural class, unified only by the fact that they involved software rather than by what they were about. In fact these presentations would have been much more successful if they had been scheduled as part of regular appropriate sessions, though at this time that might involve practical hardware problems. In the long run, I believe the LSA should aim to do that, however.

    Another source of problem with the scheduled presentations this past year was that the projection hardware required did not work properly. Part of the problem with that was that the hotel apparently did not have the proper type of overhead projector. Until we can get dependable projection hardware, and until people get used to providing such software, presentations to a large audience are not likely to be very successful. The problem was further aggrevated by the fact that presenters had no way to find out before the meeting what sort of projection hardware was going to be available.

    The final source of problems with the software exhibit arose, I believe, because the software exhibit was not under the aegis of those running the meeting. For example, the abstracts were not included in the regular handbook, and the software exhibit was not run in the well-organized fashion that regular sessions are run. The software exhibit was not advertised in the same way as the regular sessions were, and I for one overlooked the original announcement. In fact, it was only later on my suggestion to the LSA head office that the software exhibit was re-advertised on LINGUIST. Whatever the format of the software exhibit, I believe that it ought to be more integrated into the meeting, by being treated as no different from, for example, the poster session in psycholinguistics.

    Matthew Dryer