There were 238 sessions at RootsTech. Just 162 of them provided materials for the syllabus. Part of the value you expect from a conference is the syllabus.
- At the conference when deciding what sessions to attend, I check the syllabus. It’s a better way to judge the contents than the 20 word descriptions in the program.
- During sessions I pay attention better when there is a good handout. I don’t feel the same pressure to take complete notes.
- Since I can’t attend every session, I draw additional value from the conference through the handouts of other sessions.
- After conferences I store the syllabi on my computer. I search across them all to find answers to questions. I check bibliographies to identify good reference texts.
I realize there are challenges for presenters. Syllabus handout deadlines are many months before most conferences. RootsTech is a technology conference and technology changes quickly. Web sites like Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.org, can change dramatically during that time.
People pay big money to attend RootsTech. I think RootsTech can be better.