What is possible with conference coverage seems to change with every year as more and more people become comfortable with web tools. There seem to be just a few basic elements that succeed:
- People like to blog in their own blog space. Ask them if they will be blogging as part of the conference registration process, and continue to accept submissions of new blogs. Provide a list of conference bloggers. Provide a blog aggregator with both inplace reading and an aggregated RSS feed. Be inclusive.
- People will use tags if you provide them with a standard tag and with info on how to use it in various apps (Blogger, Typepad, delicious, Flickr). Make sure you standardize early and clearly (Internet Librarian seems to have destabilized; people are using both IL2005 and IL05).
- Ideally provide a feed of Flickr images along with the blog aggregator.
- Wikis will not succeed unless you have a HUGE community to draw upon. People still don't seem to feel comfortable contributing to a conference wiki. It may work only for very large conferences. This puts an onus on the conference organizers to provide basic information about the conference: hotel info, maps, Google Maps bookmarks and Google Earth placemarks, suggestions about local dining, events and sites.
- If you put the presentations up early, people will feel less pressure to use the "transcribe the powerpoints" conference blogging style and will be able to provide more analytical coverage.
UPDATE 2005-Nov-03: It's also worth mentioning that if you're going to encourage use of wireless, that means supporting laptops, which means you should try to provide lots of access to power outlets and run power strips everywhere. Until we have wireless power, an outlet is a precious resource to a laptop user.
Anyway, those are my observations based on the conference coverage I have done and the different approaches I have seen.
The conference wiki this year is at http://internetlibrarian.pbwiki.com/