Oct 24 2012

Oh no, not another poster!

Steve Hitchcock

Back in the early days of the Web there were fears that content would lose value through ease of sharing, copying, and piracy. It was thenĀ suggested by John Perry Barlow, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights organisation, that value would instead accrue to services and performance. Since then we have seen, for example, the transformation of the economy of the music industry from recording to performance, and growth in performance art. The same idea underlies academic poster papers (minus the art in our case).


Posters are performance. Above is the DataPool poster for a meeting of the JISC Managing Research Data (MRD) programme. We can post it here without fear of diminishing its value (!) because the Web reader

  1. can’t appreciate the scale (although if you ‘View on Slideshare’ you can see a slightly larger full-screen version)
  2. doesn’t get the performance or the interaction

As you can see from the poster, even the version here, we’ve thrown everything at it from the DataPool project. While I tend to be fairly comfortable with narrative storytelling, I am less confident with visual storytelling, as you may, just, be able to tell. Among all the posters at the meeting, I wonder which aspect will win out and attract most viewers. That’s probably obvious – with posters the visual wins every time, but the key is turning that attention into dialogue and shared understanding.

The meeting at which the poster will be displayed, a mid-term progress workshop, is for JISC projects in the MRD programme and selected invitees. If you will be at the workshop on 24-25 October in Nottingham, we will see you by the DataPool poster where we will be on hand to explain the project’s progress, and our curious, although probably not unique, scatter art style.

Oh no, not another poster! Why would we have thought that?