Issue 604: Make SIG meetings more sustainable

Starting Date: 
Closing Date: 

Post by Erin Canning (7 July 2022)

Dear all, 
I would like to raise three items for discussion, regarding the SIG meetings and processes. "Make SIG meetings more sustainable" would be the third of these:
Background: The requirement for online SIG meetings during the past two years showed that participation to online SIG meetings is much higher than meeting at a specific place. Securing funding for travel is not possible for participants outside large and rich institutions. This is in addition to the inevitable carbon footprint of the SIG especially for long-haul flights. Online meetings lack the capacity for easy idea sharing and are perhaps less practical for collaboration in groups. Another drawback of online meetings is the impossibility of convenient time-zones for all.
Proposal - the following are starting points for discussion:
  1. The SIG to meet in person once a year at the CIDOC conference (with some overlap in schedules to avoid extremely long trips).
  2. The SIG to meet online twice a year to accommodate members who cannot travel and strengthen the community with wider representation across different time zones.
  3. Consider a federated SIG, where regional meetings take place either online or at a location thus reducing requirement for travel. These could be led by a member of the editorial group. Decisions at regional meetings will be sent for offline review and discussed by the editorial board in separate meetings either in person or online. Right for veto to remain at global level.
I look forward to your thoughts. 
All the best,

Erin Canning

Post by Rob Sanderson (7 July 2022)

Agree 100% with 1 and 2. Perhaps broadening 1 to "a relevant conference, such as CIDOC / ICOM". The meeting would need to be shorter than the 4 day marathon pattern however.

Federation via regional meetings is hard, especially amongst a relatively small community, and multiplies the logistics burden. I don't think we have the scale for it at this stage.


Post by Pat Riva (12 July 2022)


I think the tension between in-person and online meetings will remain for some time. That does argue for an annual schedule that has some of each.


I think we have found that there are kinds of issues/business that runs well in the Zoom format. I think of specific issues that don't require much explanation, editorial correction of scope notes, examples. Giving presentations and reports works too. 

But there are logistical drawbacks in addition to the timezones. Because of the timezones, we actually have fewer meeting hours over a 4-day online meeting than an in-person meeting. And it is much harder to stay available for all the sessions when one is at one's normal office. Plus distraction with other things the rest of the day. Speaking for my experience, of course. 


I do not find we have MORE people in attendance online at any one time than we had at in-person meetings pre-pandemic, but it is not all the same people. Bringing in the different participants is good.


For the in-person meetings, I favour the stand-alone meeting, long enough to justify the travel time, rather than trying to extend some other event with a SIG. Attempting to extend another conference will make the entire trip very long. And too many different responsibilities conflicting for those active in the main conference, possibly not allowing the most active SIG members to concentrate on CRM because of their CIDOC duties, or CIDOC conference host duties, or presentations to give during CIDOC. For many years we have tried to extend IFLA to carry out standards work, and at best you can extend by one day, it can be hard to find a venue unsupported by the main conference, and everyone is already exhausted and often unprepared. Also, no matter what basic conference we attempt to extend, there will be a number of SIG members who do not find it relevant and would not be going. 


In summary, I agree with the mix of online and in-person, but not necessarily the formula for the in-person meeting. Like Rob I hesitate regarding the regional meetings, as adding too much logistical work and making the groups much too small to have the critical mass of expertise.



Post by George Bruseker (12 July 2022)

Dear all,

My two cents. 

I like the proposal regarding sustainability and its recognition particularly of the financial realities and the potentials of technologies / new methodologies and how they relate to our working practice. (Not to mention ecological questions)

Setting a standard number of meetings a year sounds good and three sounds like an adequate number to me. I also think mixing hybrid and in person makes sense with having one in person being realistic. 

Regarding the colocation, I think I agree with Pat that it probably won't work, especially if this is the only in person SIG meeting that will happen. In that scenario, the SIG will take up its full number of days and will necessitate being run very efficiently to keep it up to date. So I would think the one in person meeting would remain a meeting to be held in its own right. I think shortening the one in person meeting down to one day is likely not realistic.

Obviously the above would be a significant update to the SIG's working practice and so is definitely something that I think we should hear from everyone about and fully understand the pros and cons of before making such a significant structural change.



Post by Martin Doerr (12 July 2022)

Dear Pat,

I support your arguments below. Actually we had more attendants in some virtual meetings than in most personal meetings on one side, but we have more absence of participants not interested in topics based on the agenda. The latter is not ideal, because attending the arguments and learning about other subject matters is for my understanding a very valuable educational experience for anybody interested in using the CRM and in conceptual modelling.

All the best,


Current Proposal: 

Post by Thanasis Velios (23 August 2023)

Dear all,

Just following up with this discussion following Eleni's reminders for
HW. I think we have relaxed into the pattern of two hybrid meetings per
year, which is a reasonable compromise while there are still regular
participants who can cover their travel expenses.

 From the discussion so far it seems that at the moment linking the SIG
meetings with other conferences may not be a preferred option.

I am happy with the hybrid meetings provided that we make a bit of an
effort in terms of the audio/visual setup. I.e. sometimes online
participants are side-lined in the discussion as "less" present in the

Some proposals to consider:

1) We should make decent conference microphones a requirement for
hosting institutions so that online participants can hear all
discussions in the room without having to interrupt and request speakers
to repeat (and someone in the room having to move the mic, etc.).

2) In the physical room, we should have two screens connected to the
machine running zoom, one screen with the faces of the online
participants and another screen for screen sharing. Zoom supports this
kind of setup.

If these make sense and they are not too demanding requirements, then
maybe we can accept them and close this issue for now.

All the best,


Post by Rob Sanderson (26 August 2023)

I would add ...

3) Stick to the published agenda. I've stopped attending meetings as it's impossible to know when the topics will be discussed.



In the 57th CIDOC CRM & 50th FRBR/LRMoo SIG Meeting, the SIG resolved to close the issue, given that the format of two hybrid meetings a year seems to work well for everyone. Wrt the points raised by TV & RS on the sig list, sound system requirements are generally met, whereas local organizers and the CIDOC CRM editors group make every effort to put together an agenda and stick to the program (with minimal deviations). 

Issue closed


Marseille, October 2023