By Johanna Vanarsdall, Sr. Manager, Scientific and Education Programs
As we are preparing for the Annual Meeting at the end of this month, we are excited about the many new activities taking place in San Antonio. One especially novel feature is the all-digital posters. We are accustomed to walking through what seems to be miles of poster boards with paper posters at the Annual Meeting, but not so in 2018! The more than 1,700 posters will be available in a digital format on kiosks in the futuristic looking Innovation Hub. Additionally, authors will present their posters in a variety of sessions. We interviewed Johanna VanArsdall, ASTRO Senior Manager of Scientific and Education Programs and chief architect of this new concept, to give us some inside tips on how to get the most out of these posters.
AG: This seems like a big step, transitioning to an all-digital poster format. Why did ASTRO decide to make this move and did you get any resistance from authors?
Johanna: Over the years, we heard many complaints from attendees and authors that the poster hall was too far away and in a remote location. The all-digital posters will be available in the Innovation Hub, located right on the Exhibit Hall floor. ASTRO has been working up to all-digital posters over the last few years. We began implementing digital posters in 2014 with our Poster Discussion Sessions. At that time, these posters were simply a digital rendering of the paper poster. Today’s digital posters are on touch-screen monitors with interactive features, including video and other media.
We surveyed Annual Meeting attendees at previous years’ Annual Meetings, asking if they had a preference for digital versus paper posters. More than 75 percent of respondents said they preferred digital posters, so we felt it was a natural progression. As for the authors, most have been very excited about the digital format. Although, I have to admit, I’m betting that at least one person will arrive with a large tube in his or her hand.
AG: How will the digital posters work and will authors be available to talk with us about their posters, as they have in the past?
Johanna: All posters will be available for open browsing between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday in the Innovation Hub. Posters will be available on touch screen kiosks and viewers can search by track, author or poster number. You can also reach out to the author, using a QR code (if permission was given by author), further enhancing networking and information sharing.
Four Poster Viewing Q&A Sessions
have been scheduled in the Innovation Hub. Posters will be grouped by disease site, and all poster authors will have the opportunity to provide a 7-minute overview of their poster using our unique touch-to-zoom feature during a scheduled time. These sessions will be overseen by a Moderator. Understanding the poster ID will help you make it to the poster presentations you want to hear. The first two letters indicate which day it will be presented, the next number identifies the station assignment and the last four numbers are the unique poster number assigned to each poster.
And finally, as in years past, Poster Discussion Sessions, similar to Oral Scientific Sessions, will be offered during the course of the meeting. These sessions will be held in a meeting room and offer CME. Each session will have nine authors who will have six minutes to present their posters. After the presentations, discussants will highlight key points, compare abstracts and moderate questions and answers. Poster viewing and face-to-face dialogue with authors occur at the end of the session, as authors stand by their digital poster and offer further discussion. Nineteen Poster Discussion Sessions
are scheduled during the meeting.
AG: Wow, it sounds like you have everything well-organized and that there will be many opportunities to learn from the science being presented at this meeting. One last question, do you have any advice or instructions for poster presenters for when they check in?
Johanna: Yes, I do. All posters should be uploaded no later than this Friday, October 12. Poster presenters must check-in at the Poster Check-in desk located just outside of Hall 1 near the main registration area at least two hours prior to their presentations. A second poster check-in desk is located at the Concierge desk in the Innovation Hub during Exhibit Hall hours. Staff will be available to assist with uploading last-minute changes.
For more information about when a specific poster is being presented, refer to the MyASTROApp or conference planner.