Blogging One’s Conference Paper

The night before last, I put the finishing touches on the first completed draft of my conference paper for the upcoming Society of Biblical Literature conference in Chicago. It will still need to be worked on – most likely to trim it to the appropriate length.

I anticipate posting the complete paper on the blog – perhaps right before I read it, for those who may wish to follow along during the session, as well as those who cannot make it. But I wonder what else it would be useful to do on the blog in relation to my paper.

I could blog about or around the paper, exploring broader methodological questions, side issues and tangents that I can’t in the paper.

I could spread it out in several blog posts, in chunks closer to the size of a typical blog post.

I could do any number of things – but presumably the best place to start would be to ask what readers would like me to do, and when.

Does sharing the entire paper early make it more likely or less that you’ll actually come to hear the paper at the conference, if you’re attending? Is it better to offer “trailers” and “teasers”?

Maybe I should film a commercial for the paper…

  • cameronhorsburgh

    People go to conferences for much the same reason they go to the cinema. Sure, you can stay home and watch it, but interacting with the presenters and being able to discuss papers in real time with real people is a far richer experience.

    After all, people will still spend hundreds of dollars to attend a conference when they could get the Proceedings from the library a few weeks later for a small fraction of the cost. Would having the paper available beforehand change that dynamic?

    There’s also the added benefit of getting a bit of feedback before you present. There’s always that really obvious problem you never considered that someone will bring up during Q&A. Forewarned is forearmed!

    I’d even go so far as to say that having access to earlier drafts of a manuscript could offer some pretty good insights to the points you’re trying to make. You could, for instance, write the paper in wiki form so readers could compare various iterations of the manuscript, offer detailed comments alongside your text and so on. That might be especially useful for your lower level students so they can see how papers are constructed.

  • http://twitter.com/drcheard Chris Heard

    In a world where ignorance reigns supreme …

    In a time when nobody reads the Mandaean Book of John …

    One man steps forward to save the day!


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