The OR2014 conference survey conducted after the conference was answered by 165 participants, which is more than 1/3 of all attendees. In addition to numerical ratings, we also received a huge number of open comments, for which we are very thankful.
The general success of the conference was measured with four standard questions on a standard scale from one to four (1=poorly, 4=excellently) used by the National Library of Finland in all of its seminar and conference surveys. The mean rating for all questions was 3.45 (out of 4.00), which seems to indicate that most of the attendees were satisfied with the conference experience:
- The conference as a whole succeeded – mean 3.57
- The communication about the conference succeeded – 3.50
- The conference met my expectations – 3.42
- The conference gave me new ideas/information concerning my work – 3.32
The survey also included twenty questions on other, more detailed topics. Following the OR conference survey tradition, these were conducted using a scale from one to five (1=very dissatisfied, 2=dissatisfied, 3=neutral, 4=satisfied, 5=very satisfied), which means that the numbers are not directly comparable with the previous ones. Since many of the questions didn’t apply to everybody, the participants could also choose a separate option for “no answer”.
In the following list the topics have been ordered according to the average rating received, from the most favorable rating to the least favorable:
- Friendliness of the people – 4.77
- Lunch and coffee breaks – 4.68
- Conference venues and facilities – 4.52
- On-site support – 4.52
- Main conference (Tue-Thu) – 4.49
- Conference dinner – 4.49
- Submitting a conference proposal – 4.42
- Poster reception – 4.41
- Registering for the conference online – 4.38
- Interest Groups (Thu-Fri) – 4.38
- Opportunities for networking / relaxing – 4.34
- Timely dissemination of information – 4.28
- Workshops and tutorials (Mon) – 4.26
- Registration fee / value for money? – 4.24
- Finding accommodation – 4.22
- Conference website – 4.09
- Mobile programme (Conference4Me) – 3.99
- Use of social media (Twitter, Facebook) – 3.99
- Developer Challenge – 3.92
- Wireless connection – 2.64
We were of course delighted to see that “friendliness of the people” rose to the top of the results – and this is likely to apply to both conference organizers and attendees. It seems that the attendees were for the most part very happy with the venues and also with the catering provided, although, as usual, some of the details received also criticism in the open comments. However, most of the negative feedback concentrated on the wireless connection, which was unfortunately well deserved.
Some other random findings from the results:
- About 54% of the survey participants had a presentation or a poster at the conference
- Nearly 70% of the survey participants had been following Twitter at least some of the time during the conference
- 62 of the survey participants had attended the Fedora Interest Group sessions, 50 DSpace, 21 EPrints and 17 Invenio
- Only 14% of the Interest Group participants had taken part in sessions from two or more Interest Group tracks
- About 38% of the survey participants identified themselves as librarians, 24% as developers and 15% as directors
According to the final report from our conference bureau, the total number of the registrations for the conference was 485. There were thirteen participants who either didn’t show up or didn’t collect their envelope from the registration desk, which means that the number of attendees whose on-site presence we can actually confirm was 472. This number also includes about 30 local volunteers from the organizing libraries and nearly 20 people who only participated in one of Monday’s workshops.
Altogether there were participants from 37 countries, the top countries being USA (109 registrations), Finland (90), United Kingdom (73), Germany (25), Canada (22) and Switzerland (20).