I'm excited to be attending the 2014 National Genealogical Society (NGS) Family History Conference next month in Richmond, Virginia. It's hard to believe it is less than two weeks away! For those of you who will also be attending, I've highlighted a few tools to help you plan and make the most of your experience:
1) The 2014 NGS Conference Syllabus is now available online for registered attendees. I encourage you to browse through it now so you can start thinking about which sessions you most want to attend, and either print pages for the sessions you wish to attend, or download a copy to your tablet, computer or other device if you desire. To view and download the syllabus, log in to the NGS website at NGS 2014 Conference Syllabus. Please allow up to 10 minutes for the download to complete as the file is very large. Attendees will also receive a digital copy of the syllabus on a thumbdrive at conference check in. You can prepare for the conference before you leave home by viewing and printing syllabi for the sessions you would like to attend. If you're bringing a tablet, then you may want to download the syllabus there while still at home with access to fast wifi.
2) Download the free 2014 NGS Conference app and keep the conference schedule, maps, conference Twitter feed, and up-to-the-minute information at your fingertips. The app also identifies the sessions which will be recorded -- look for an "R" before the title of each lecture. The app is available for iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, and web-enabled devices. You can also use it to create a personalized schedule of sessions and other events you plan to attend, locate an exhibitor that you want to visit, or connect with and share schedules with colleagues. To download the NGS Conference App, go to http://conference.ngsgenealogy.org/attend/mobile-app/. For Apple or Android versions, search the appropriate App Store for "NGS 2014." The link above also includes download information for Windows/Blackberry, plus a QR code that can be scanned to access the app with any mobile device with a camera.
3) Download a PDF of the Conference Program. On the NGS Conference App Dashboard (see #2) click Conference Docs and select 2014 Program. The download is the PDF version of the Conference Program (not the syllabus) you will receive at Registration or Attendee Check In. It contains a daily schedule and room assignments. Alternatively, you can download the printed conference brochure which contains a daily schedule directly to your phone or mobile device at NGS 2014 Conference Brochure. You can also browse a free interactive exhibitor map online at NGS 2014 Exhibitor Map. To view exhibitor details, select a booth number, and then click to expand profile. A listing of all exhibitors can also be accessed on the left-hand side of the page. Exhibitor information and the Exhibit Hall map are also on the conference app.
4) Check out the NGS Family History Conference Blog as well as the blogs of the 2014 NGS conference official bloggers for information on transportation, restaurants, local attractions, conference events, and speaker and exhibitor profiles.
5) Wi-Fi Hotspots To help attendees stay connected throughout the conference, Platinum Sponsor FamilySearch is providing two Wi-Fi hotspot areas. One will be located outside of the Exhibit Hall on the second floor of the GRCC (Greater Richmond Convention Center) and the other will be outside of room B15ABC on the first floor of the GRCC. Tables and chairs will be available. Due to space restrictions, tables and chairs will not be placed outside of the exhibit hall until Wednesday afternoon after most attendees have checked in at registration.
If you are unable to attend the NGS Family History Conference in person, then you can follow along on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.) via the #NGS2014 hashtag, as well as via the live Twitter feed within the free NGS conference app (see #2 above). There are no sessions being streamed, however you can order recordings of most sessions on CD ROM from JAMB Tapes, Inc. at the conference, and afterwards through a link on the NGS website. Lectures that will not be recorded are noted in the conference app.
I look forward to seeing many of you there!