Publish or (gulp) Perish


#Powerpoint has its place, but it's not really a
#format for the distribution of research information. The information
#density just isn't there. That, and without the audio of the
#presentation to go along with the slides, most of the actual content
#is lost.

That doesn't *have* to be the case. You *can* create presentations that
are designed to be "stand alone" documents with persistent content value.

Unfortunately, doing so generally requires creation of a quite detailed
talk, which can be time consuming for the presenter (it is just like
preparing a formal academic lesson plan or lecture), and which somewhat
destroys the "illusion of spontaneity" that the best of non-technical
speakers will strive to convey.

Two examples of detailed powerpoint talks designed to have stand-alone
usability are talks I've done for NLANR/Internet2 Joint Techs on open proxies
( or pdf)
and jumbo frames
( or pdf).

I believe it is worth doing this simply because you know that with limited
travel budgets and parallel session tracks, your in-person audience will
often be just a fraction of the total number of folks who might be trying to
follow along online, or who might subsequently look at presentation materials
via the web. Detailed presentation materials are also a tremendous help if
you have audience members whose native language isn't english.

Similarly, I'm a big believer in *printed* copies of presentations, either as
collated proceedings or as individual papers, if only so you can easily mark
up the parts you may want to investigate further, or to serve as a reminder
when you eventually go to clean off your desk.

Just my two cents...


Joe St Sauver (
University of Oregon Computing Center