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Conference Banquet



Including the cost of the banquet in the registration fee drives the fee up, even for those who would prefer to do without it. Charging for it separately may help and even make the conference affordable to some. On the other hand, participants may not get reimbursed for it by their institutions, or may not be able to deduct it from taxes if charged separately. So the banquet, which is considered a major event and a means for communication at the conference, may draw a smaller participation than otherwise. Both ways have been tried in the past, with no clear indication, one way or the other.

Cultural events may be combined with the banquet. Such an arrangement may attract organizations to sponsor part of the banquet.

Conference Site Arrangements



The conference has been held in the past in convention centres, hotels, and on university campuses. Holding a conference in a hotel has many advantages when the hotel is a suitable site, and when it makes concessions.

Indeed, it is a normal practice that hotels will make concessions to a conference when they are chosen as the conference hotels. Hotels have a great deal of flexibility in making these concessions, many of which are major. For example, a hotel may allow only a very nominal charge to provide conference equipment, give free meeting rooms to the committees, etc. In addition, hotels will give free rooms for every fixed number of rooms booked at a substantially reduced conference rate. This number is again flexible. They may also provide a room free of charge without depending on the number of rooms booked.

There is no hard and fast rule for what can be achieved in this respect. Be prepared to BARGAIN hard and talk to more than one hotel as long as that hotel is suitable for holding the conference. Be prepared to hold some social events in the hotel (like conference banquet and reception, for example). That may make them agree to your terms. The Organization Committee Chairperson must feel comfortable in doing this bargaining. He can get someone to help him, if he is not so confident. Be sure to know some statistics of past VLDB conferences — like number of attendees, and where and when they have been held. Hotels want to get assurance that things will happen as said to them. Past history is a good indication.

Be sure to get the hotel to agree to follow a certain procedure. Get written replies from their offers, even at a preliminary stage. Sometimes during the course of negotiation, hotels have personnel change. But they would still honour previous offers if substantiated.

The possibility of obtaining state or community sponsorship for convention centres or economical rental rates for university facilities should not be underestimated, and may lead to reduced costs for the conference site which may compensate for higher hotel outlays. Such alternatives should seriously be explored.

Technical Program



VLDB conferences are scientific conferences striving for the highest possible quality. The General Conference Chairperson and the Program Chairpersons, as well as the Program Committees, shoulder a heavy responsibility to achieve these aims. To aid them, a separate Guidelines and Recommendations for the VLDB Program Committees have been issued. Be sure to consult them well in advance. For tutorials, see also the VLDB Annual Conference Principles, Policies, and Guide-lines, main section.

A few items require early careful planning by the General Conference Chairperson and the Program Chairpersons. Usually very little time (only several weeks) is allocated to the Program Committees to process the submitted papers. This occurs because the schedule may be constrained by various events, and organizers cannot close the Call for Papers too early as it may then create conflict with other major conferences. It is therefore of utmost importance that a detailed plan to carry out this process is worked out.

Further, the heavy load to the Program Committee members is not expected by some of them. The PC members may accept the invitation and commit themselves too lightly. Program Chairpersons, when contacting potential members, should explain the requirements to them before they accept. Program Chairpersons should always keep in mind that they should not just go for "names", unless those persons commit seriously, and they should try to locate young researchers who are establishing themselves and are eager to work, and not only people they know well directly.

In planning for the conference site, early decisions may have to be taken whether to run two or three sessions in parallel, and also to decide when to run the General and Technical Tutorials. This, in turn, determines the number of papers to be accepted. Still, during a three-day conference, the total number of sessions available provides enough slack to accommodate a varying number of papers. At most, three sessions should be planned in parallel, including the panels and tutorials.

Committee Meetings



While many of the things can be done by correspondence or via a computer net, it will always require face-to-face meetings to get some issues settled, and get a thorough understanding. Organizers should keep in mind that committee meetings, at least with the key members present, are needed and should be planned at certain times that would allow critical issues to be discussed and resolved. During the course of organizing the conference, more than one planning meeting is likely needed (not counting Program Committee meetings or final Program meetings). Consult the suggested schedule of events in Appendix II.

Proceedings Distribution



Except for on-site purchase, no distribution (by mail) should be done until after the conference. It is confusing and causes more headache. Let the Endowment handle this part. It is one of its responsibilities.

Travel



Travel Grants

Travel grants to attendees should be given only after the individual has attended the conference. This should occur even when the money for travel support is there to be disbursed. Commitments, however, should be made as early as possible to encorage people to participate.

Distribution of travel grants must be carefully done according to the constraints of the donating organizations. The Area Chairpersons should have a strong say about the distribution of the funds they have obtained.

Free Travel from Airlines

Airlines sometimes provide conference free travel to the conference site when they can expect some business from the conference. This is very useful when an organizer must go to the conference site to meet or see the conference facility. If you do not know how to take advantage of this, enlist the help of the travel agency whom you have identified as the travel organizer. This work is particularly fruitful when the host country's airline is approached and it is promised to be the conference carrier.

This is in addition to free seats that airlines often provide when enough seats are booked as a group. Group travel, in the loose sense, can be organized with the aid of the travel agencies. What one can get from this depends on the negotiation skill of the conference organizers, the airlines and the travel agencies.

Emergency Travel Support

Traditionally, the organizers of a VLDB conference have obtained travel support funds to provide assistance to conference participants, especially authors, who are unable to get sufficient travel funds from their institutions or other sources. This seems to become harder every year. Therefore, start your efforts early. Rely on Area Chairman and national representatives (name some for that purpose).

Travel agencies

Travel commitments are exclusively between travel agent and the individual participant. If the Conference organizers solicit the aid of travel agencies and, as a consequence, include their names in the various calls for participation, a waiver of responsibility should explicitly be stated.



APPENDIX II

SAMPLE OF VLDB CONFERENCE PLAN AND CHECKPOINTS



Numbers at the beginning of a line are suggested number of monthys prior to (-) or after (+) the Conference. Numbers are approximations only and may vary according to local conditions.

-51 First Conference proposal sent to the Endowment.

-48 First Conference proposal presented to the Endowment.

-39 Final Conference proposal sent to the Endowment including preliminary budget, Conference officers and committees, date and site.

Confirmation by the Endowment.

-36 Presentation of the Final Conference proposal to the Endowment.

-28 Status report sent to the Endowment including a more refined and updated budget and sponsorship status.



-26 Status report presented to the Endowment.

-24 Select hotels, contract with professional organizer if needed.

-23 Conference topics, first draft of Call-for-Papers.

Start assembling PC members

-18 Program Committee complete.

Call-for-Papers, final draft.

Approach professional organizations for cooperation.

Planning for exhibits.

-17 First printing, Call-for-Papers

-15 Call-for-Papers shipping to SIGMOD and other database conferences.

Revised budget.

Approach sponsors and supporters for written commitments.

All committees in place.

Planning for General Tutorials.

Tentative social activity plan.

Prepare to get mailing list.

Print letterhead stationary.

-13 Complete sponsorships, supports and cooperations.

Call-for-Papers shipping to prior VLDB Conference.

Release Call-for-Papers to Journals for advertising.

General Tutorials in place.

Mailing list in place.

-12 Status report to the Endowment including an updated budget, sponsorship status, complete list of committees and state of preparations.

Distribute Call-for-Papers at prior VLDB.

Distribute Call-for-Papers to individuals using mailing list.

-10 Featured speakers set.

Travel fund support solicited.

Program Committee plan in place (including refereeing, Proceedings printing, shipping, typing mats, editing, etc.).

Status and budget review.

-7 Local arrangment plan in place for registration, conference room, and equipment.

Social activity plan in place.

-7/-6 Deadline for paper submission (Program Committee).

Papers to referees and Program Committee.

-5 Refereeing process complete.

Prepare Advance Program.

Advance Program to printer.

-4 Program Committee meetings complete, scientific program finalized.

Notices of acceptance sent.

Author’s kits to authors.

Advanced Program including travel information sent to Journals for advertising.

Advance Program to Coordinators.

Prepare for mailing Advance Programs.

Prepare final program for printing.

Conference Executive Committee to finalize program Status and Budget.

-3.5 Notices of rejection sent.

Mail advance programs.

Registration plan implemented (prepare packages for registration).

-3 Camera ready papers received.

Proceedings to printer.

Review Conference site arrangements and reserve meeting and speakers’ rooms.

Final lecture hall assignments.

-2.5 Mail final program.

Pre-registration deadline.

-2 Proceedings printed.

-1 Local registration facility and details set.

Audio and visual equipment arranged and Conference site detailed check.

Paint signs for Conference.

Last minute program changes.

-0.5 Check hotel bucking status.

Prepare kits for non-preregistered people.

Prepare kits for pre-registered people containing last minute update information.

Check pre-registration list and kit mailing.

Prepare badges.

Arrange Conference reception and banquet.

-0.2 Final status review and last minute touch-up.

Preliminary report to Endowment including registration and financial status.

+1 Return of loans to Endowment.

+3 Written final report on success and experiences to VLDB Executive Committee.

+4 Financial report with all records submitted to Endowment treasurer.

Surplus distribution.

+12 Final report to Board of Trustees.

APPENDIX IV



List of VLDB Program Committee Co-Chairs



27. VLDB 2001: Roma, Italy

PC Co-Chairs: Stefano Ceri, Peter Apers, Richard Snodgrass

26. VLDB 2000: Cairo, Egypt

PC Co-Chairs: Michael Brodie, Ramez Elmasri, Gunter Schlageter, Kyu-Young Whang

25. VLDB 1999: Edinburgh, Scotland, September 6-9, 1999

PC Co-Chairs: Malcolm Atkinson, Patrick Valduriez, Stan Zdonik, Maria Orlowska

24. VLDB 1998: New York City, USA, August 24-27, 1998

PC Co-Chairs: Jennifer Widom, Oded Shmueli

23. VLDB 1997: Athens, Greece, August 25-29, 1997

PC Co-Chairs: Matthias Jarke, Michael J. Carey, Klaus R. Dittrich, Frederick H. Lochovsky

22. VLDB 1996: Bombay, India, September 3-6, 1996

PC Co-Chairs: Nandlal L Sarda, C Mohan, Alejandro P Buchmann

21. VLDB 1995: Zurich, Switzerland, September 11-15,1995,

PC Co-Chairs: Umeshwar Dayal, Peter M. D. Gray, Shojiro Nishio

20. VLDB 1994: Santiago de Chile, Chile, September 12-15, 1994,

PC Co-Chairs: Jorge B. Bocca, Matthias Jarke, Carlo Zaniolo

19. VLDB 1993: Dublin, Ireland, August 24-27, 1993

PC Co-Chairs: David A Bell, Rakesh Agrawal

18. VLDB 1992: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, August 23-27, 1992

PC Co-Chairs: Stavros Christodoulakis, Erich Neuhold, Yahiko Kambayashi, Alberto Mendelzon

17. VLDB 1991: Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, September 3-6, 1991

PC Co-Chairs: Guy M. Lohman, Amilcar Sernadas

16. VLDB 1990: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, August 13-16, 1990

PC Co-Chairs: Dennis McLeod, Ron Sacks-Davis, Hans-Jörg Schek

15. VLDB 1989: Amsterdam, The Netherlands, August 22-25, 1989

PC Co-Chairs: Peter M. G. Apers, Gio Wiederhold

14. VLDB 1988: Los Angeles, California, USA, August 29 - September 1, 1988

PC Co-Chairs: Franois Bancilhon, David J. DeWitt

13. VLDB 1987: Brighton, England, September 1-4, 1987

PC Co-Chairs: Giampio Bracchi, Peter M. Stocker, William Kent

12. VLDB 1986: Kyoto, Japan, August 25-28,1986

PC Co-Chairs: Wesley W. Chu, Georges Gardarin, Setsuo Ohsuga

11. VLDB 1985: Stockholm, Sweden, August 21-23, 1985

PC Co-Chairs: Janis Bubenko, Alain Pirotte, Yannis Vassiliou

10. VLDB 1984: Singapore, August 27-31, 1984

PC Co-Chairs: Umeshwar Dayal, Gunter Schlageter, Lim Huat Seng

9. VLDB 1983: Florence, Italy, October 31 - November 2, 1983

PC Co-Chairs: Mario Schkolnick, Costantino Thanos, Peter Lockemann

8. VLDB 1982: Mexico City, Mexico, September 8-10, 1982

PC Co-Chairs: Dennis McLeod, Yolanda Fernandez Villasenor

7. VLDB 1981: Cannes, France, September 9-11, 1981

PC Co-Chairs: Carlo Zaniolo, Claude Delobel

6. VLDB 1980: Montreal, Canada, October 1-3, 1980

PC Co-Chairs:

5. VLDB 1979: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October 3-5, 1979

PC Co-Chairs:

4. VLDB 1978: West Berlin, Germany, September 13-15, 1978

PC Co-Chairs: Janis Bubenko, S Bing Yao

3. VLDB 1977: Tokyo, Japan, October 6-8, 1977

PC Chair: Alan Merten

2. VLDB 1976: Brussels, Belgium, September 8-10, 1976

PC Co-Chairs: Peter Lockemann, V.Y. Lum

1. VLDB 1975: Framingham, Massachusetts, September 22-24, 1975

PC Chair: Peter Chen

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