FORUM 2000: Last Call for Proposals

Subject: FORUM 2000: Last Call for Proposals
From: Ellen Fenwick <fenwick -at- CYBERHIGHWAY -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 23 Jun 1999 08:09:15 -0600

June 12-14, 2000 - London, England

Proposals are still being accepted for FORUM 2000. This unique conference invites technical communicators worldwide to participate in a multifaceted discussion of the role of our profession.

***WHAT IS FORUM 2000?

FORUM 2000 is sponsored by INTECOM (International Council for Technical Communication, registered in Switzerland), which is an "umbrella" organization -- a "society of societies" -- whose members are themselves professional societies from all around the world. The purpose of INTECOM is to share information, education, and perspectives on the communication profession among its members. One of its principal activities is the FORUM conference. First held in 1975, FORUM takes place once every five years, each time in a different country.


FORUM 2000 will have a variety of ways for you to present information: idea markets, information sessions, and debates.

Idea markets
The main venue is a forum called the idea market. Presenters, called activators, interact with their audiences throughout their presentations, and ten or more presentations take place simultaneously in a single large room. The room has no chairs, and participants are free to move from one presentation to another, which reinforces the dynamic nature of a true forum. Typically, there are three or four idea market sessions during the conference.

Activators prepare for the idea market in two ways. First, they summarize their topics in written form. The collection of these summaries is published in an advance programme called the "PreSeedings," which is sent to all participants when they register for FORUM. Activators then prepare their topics in point form on easel charts, which they bring to the Idea Market.

During the idea market, the activators begin by elaborating on what their charts show, and discuss the topic with the participants. The activator records the group's ideas on another chart, and the process continues throughout the session. As participants come and go, the activators repeat their summaries as needed to bring newcomers into the discussion.

Information sessions
Here presenters will deliver papers in a lecture or theatre-style room with various visual aids. There will be three presenters per session, and each will have a total of 30 minutes to present and answer questions. This format is traditional for most professional conferences but is new for FORUM. Information session papers will appear in the PostHarvest.

Debate sessions
This new format combines aspects of a formal presentation with the give-and-take of informal conversation. Individuals interested in participating submit a summary describing their opinion on one of the debate topics listed below. The FORUM Programme Committee will organize presenters into teams of two with opposing viewpoints on one of the topics. During a 45-minute session, participants will hear each side of the argument and be able to ask presenters questions about their opinions and the topic.


As we enter the new millennium, technical communicators will make their mark in history. Documenting technology is our responsibility and, with the advancement of tools and technology in all aspects of life, technical communicators must seize the opportunity to lead others into the future.

The technical communicator has always been responsible for informing the public about evolving science and technology, providing instructions for their application, and shaping and managing the archival record. To extend this leadership, our profession must prepare for an information future that is already developing at a furious pace. We need to (1) understand the trends and changing nature of information development, (2) make sure we have both the new and the traditional skills we will need, and (3) make sure we have, and know how to use, the tools we will require to apply those skills effectively. FORUM 2000 would like to focus on those three goals.


Understanding Trends
Changes in the communicator's role
Changes in the definition of information
Changes in information structures and architecture (for example, online indexes,
random access (hypertext) documents, context-sensitive online help files, mixed-media libraries
Cross-cultural issues: localization, wordless manuals, world-ready interfaces
Online versus paper
Distance learning
Trends in project management
Ethics for the new media: Internet, World Wide Web, interactive TV

Planning Professional Development
New and reconfigured skills
Training needs
Interdisciplinary/collaboration issues
Job descriptions/responsibility sets
Managing and development your resume, CV, or portfolio
Usability issues, user/reader needs
Education needs

Mastering Tools and Technology
Authoring tools, interface design, markup standards
Information delivery and retrieval tools
Translation tools
Correspondence and administrative communication tools
Internet issues: ownership and control, cost, security/privacy, logical and physical
information structure
Ultra-advanced technology: intuitive machines, voice input

Debate Topics
1. Outsourcing projects versus in-house writing staff: How do we manage budgets, quality and project schedules?
2. Qualification or certification recognition for technical communicators: Do we need it?
3. Education versus experience: Which has more value?
4. Practical versus theoretical education curriculum: What do technical communication students need?


1. Review the proposed topics above (although you need not limit yourself to these).
2. Decide which format would be most comfortable for you and best for your information.
3. On the application form below, complete the submitter information, describe your proposal, and tell us a little about your background and work.
4. Submit the proposal by 15 July 1999.


Mail or transmit your proposal to:

Ellen Fenwick
Sakson & Taylor Inc.
3000 No. Lakeharbor Lane, Suite 220
Boise, ID 83703-6242, USA
Fax: (208) 853-0226
E-mail: fenwick -at- cyberhighway -dot- net

You may submit more than one proposal; submit a separate application for each proposal.


Submit your proposal by 15 July 1999.

All proposals will be professionally refereed. You will be notified of the Programme Committee's decision by late July 1999.


Contact Ellen Fenwick, FORUM 2000 Programme Committee at (208) 853-0335 (USA) or fenwick -at- cyberhighway -dot- net -dot-

Or visit the following Web site:


Submitter information:

Institute or Organization
Zip/Postal Code
Day Phone
Evening Phone
Employer Name, City, and State/Province/Country

Presentation format (select one):

o Idea Market
In the Abstract, include the issues or questions you would like to explore.

o Information Session
In the Abstract below, include a description of your topic.

o Debate Session
In the Abstract below, describe your opinion on the debate topic that interests you.

Proposal description:


Abstract (50 to 100 words)

Submitter background (50 to 100 words):

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