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Trusted Advisor
Posts: 1,187
Creating a Speaker Database

Hi All,

 

I'm looking for suggestions on how to easily create a simple database of speakers (potential speakers, past speakers), that could be easily used by a Steering Committee when they are pondering planning for future meetings. 

 

So something that would store speaker name, perhaps contact information / address, and also information about their fields of expertise, past presentations, ratings, comments, etc. 

 

Despite being a SAS person, I'm not much of a database person.  Since this would be used by all members of the steering committee, I'm thinking some sort of free web app that allows us to design a simple database might work. 

 

If I can't come up a better idea, I'll probably resort to an Excel file (ack) or Access file shared in google docs.  But I'm sure there is a much better way, so wanted to hear how others have cracked this particular nut.

 

If you have examples of files/databases your group uses that you would be wiling to share (with or without the data in them : ), that would be great too.


Thanks!

Contributor
Posts: 28
Re: Creating a Speaker Database

I use Lex Jansens home page: http://www.lexjansen.com/

 

What i do is review papers, topics and just email the speakers if they'd like to present for us.

I also look at who is speaking at regional groups and SGF and send them an email as well.

 

IMHO - thats your database right there.

 

z

Trusted Advisor
Posts: 1,187
Re: Creating a Speaker Database

Thanks Zeke,

 

I'm a big fan of Lex's site. 

 

But I'm thinking more of a simple database tool that will store information about speakers. 

 

For example, so that before a Steering Committee meeting where we will be discussing potential speakers for upcoming meetings, people could browse the database to see to what speakers we have had in the past 5 years who talked about some subject. Or better yet, for BASUG we have four meetings a year, which means probably 10 speakers per year.  And we don't have a systematic way to keep track of things like "who would we like to invite this year?," "who did we invite last year but couldn't do it so we should try again this year", "who gave a great talk 5 years ago but hasn't been back since" etc etc. So it often feels like we are brainstorming from scratch for each meeting.

 

So I'm trying to think about ways to make a speaker management system that would have some memory of past speakers, and make it easier to plan for future speakers. 

 

(And also cognizant that I don't want to build something so big that nobody will want to use, so should think about what a "minimum viable product" would be for speaker tracking).

 

--Q.

Contributor
Posts: 28
Re: Creating a Speaker Database
[ Edited ]

I think those are all good reasons.

I can see some value - but its just me.

 

here is what ran thru my mind as i read out your response.

a. i wonder if other (non sas) groups have a solution?  I then immediately thought - wow i wonder if we discussed with SGF - that they'd have a way to allow locals and regionals to use the speaker DB they have? not sure - but imho - that would have the data you might need.

b. more away from sas eco system.  i recall things like the rotary clubs or groups have regular speakers.  i wonder if they have some kind of 'wide ranging' speaker share system?  maybe see how they have solved this?

 

but now i'll play devils advocate...

(but i must stress im generally for your idea in a positive way - this next part isnt intended to mean i dont like the idea)...

 

i dont know if "speaker jane smith" who submits her paper, topic to SGF - then also allows her information and details to be shared with other groups that she isnt even aware exist.  Presumably - you would need to create an "independent" list, site, system that is self-subscribing to speakers/authors/presenters whom knowingly and willingly submit that information to.

 

anyway - happy to talk thru and maybe refine this more? research and prototype something.

but chances are someone has a software or system to do this - "theres an app for that" im sure - lets hope its free?

Contributor
Posts: 44
Re: Creating a Speaker Database

When I have presented at SAS Global Forum, NESUG, or SESUG, the paper that I submitted as part of my talk includes my contact information, with some phrasing that encourages people to contact me.  The paper is posted on the internet.  My contact information is publicly available. 

 

I'm one of the organizers for an in-house SAS user group.  We have a SharePoint site for our group, and we have uploaded all the presentations from all our meetings in a library.  We can easily tell from the library who has spoken at our meetings and how often they have spoken. 

Trusted Advisor
Posts: 1,187
Re: Creating a Speaker Database
I like the SharePoint idea. For our local user group where the steering committee is not all within one company, I think we would need to find a cloud-hosted SharePoint site to make accessible to the steering committee. Microsoft is selling that for $5/month per user, which could be too pricey for our group, but it's tempting.
Trusted Advisor
Posts: 1,187
Re: Creating a Speaker Database

Following up the SharePoint idea, my first thought was "Maybe one of our Steering Committee members works for a company that would allow us to host a SharePoint site on their server."

 

My second thought was "Well, Microsoft is generous enough to donate a wonderful meeting space for our BASUG meetings (NERD Center in Cambridge MA has a great facility they make available to UGs) maybe they would be able to host a SharePoint site for us"

 

Then realized Microsoft offers Office 365 (i.e. their cloud-hosted solutions) for cheap or free/donation to non-profits.  https://products.office.com/en-us/nonprofit/office-365-nonprofit-plans-and-pricing  So while I started this thinking about SharePoint, it looks like that could give us SharePoint and a whole lot more (e.g. email, web conferencing, etc etc etc).

 

As I read the description, we could make Office 365 available to all of our Steering Committee members, and use it for document storage, web conferences for planning meetings, etc.  It's designed to be the IT infrastructure for the employees of a non-profit, so would cover our steering committee / board.  We would not be able to give access to members.

 

I wonder if anyone has any experience with this?  I'm going to bring it to our Steering Committe, and hopefully proceed with applying to Microsoft.

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5
Re: Creating a Speaker Database

Good and timely discussion. It would be helpful to user groups if SAS would be able to supply them with information for past speakers from Global Forum and/or other regional meetings who reside in their geographic area.

I know it is dynamic, but a lot of it might still be applicable.

We feel that re-presenting papers presented at forum at our local meetings has value, even though the presentations are available on the web. It has an advantage for the speakers in that they get more exposure for their efforts.

 

SAS Employee
Posts: 90
Re: Creating a Speaker Database

Great discussion all! 

 

I wanted to let you know we do have a SAS Speaker Guide (attached here) that lists all of the presentations available to users groups. The guide changes every year with new presentations added and only houses the last two years of SAS Global Forum presentations. One thing to note though is we do not list the speaker in the guide because there could be multiple speakers for each presentation. 

Trusted Advisor
Posts: 1,187
Re: Creating a Speaker Database
Thanks @NatashaCollins, that guide has been very helpful to us. We were lucky to have 3 SAS employees speak at our last meeting!
SAS Employee
Posts: 90
Re: Creating a Speaker Database

@Quentin I'm happy to hear that! It's nice to hear when our users groups find these materials useful.  Smiley Happy

Occasional Contributor
Posts: 5
Re: Creating a Speaker Database

The speaker list is a great resource. I suspect that each SGF committee, and not SAS Institute, has electronic records of presentations. Do you know if that is correct? Possibly matching that data just by name with all those limitations against the SAS list for matches on the SAS list that reside in the LUG geographic area. By SAS list, I mean the list that SAS doesn't share with the LUG, but uses for the one meeting each year that SAS will sponsor.

I know they can filter that list by zip as they have shared the zip distribution with our LUG in the past.

 

Any insight you might have would be helpful. #1 could it be done and #2 would SAS even consider it.

SAS Employee
Posts: 90
Re: Creating a Speaker Database

@Harmoning The speaker database is not filtered by geographic area. The list contains all SAS presentations from the past two years of SASGF offered to local area users groups. I hope this answers your question but if not, feel free to contact @PatsyHarbour since she supports your local group.