ScienceOnline2010 - a brief introduction and history

Almost four years ago, after attending several technology and blogging conferences, I thought it would be interesting to have a conference for science bloggers to get together. Other science bloggers showed interest, but I wasn't sure it would be possible to actually organize one. Then, Anton Zuiker took me aside at one of the local blogger meetups and suggested that it was possible and we should do it ourselves, right here in the Triangle.

Anton Zuiker is a veteran blogger (see how many years back you can go in his archives!) particularly interested in medical blogging, foodblogging and storyblogging. But even more, he is interested in building a community - using online tools to get people together in real life. Thus, he organized a series of monthly blogger meetups over the years, the annual Blogger BBQ at his home, a Long Table series of events, several blogging conferences and founded, a community of North Carolina bloggers and online communicators that is the official organizer of the ScienceOnline conferences.

Anton is one of the first graduates of the Medical and Science Journalism Program at UNC and is currently the Manager of Internal Communications at the Duke University Health System. If that is not enough for you - the list gets longer on his About page....and of course, you can follow him on Twitter.

Thus, with Anton's optimism that this was possible, the 1st Triangle Science Blogging Conference was born. Our friends Brian Russell and Paul Jones offered to help and the conference took place in January 2007 on UNC campus.

If you believe the media and blog coverage of the event the conference was a big success, so we decided to do it again in 2008, this time at Sigma Xi in the middle of the Research Triangle Park. Feedback from the 2nd meeting prompted us to expand the meeting to two days and to change the name to ScienceOnline09 to reflect the fact that many more topics than just blogging are discussed at our conferences - science publishing, journalism, education, popularization as well as technical and social aspects of communicating science.

You should also read the interviews with some of the participants of the 2008 meeting and the 2009 meeting to get a better flavor. Many of those interviewees will be coming back to the Triangle this January for our fourth edition - the ScienceOnline2010. The main portion of ScienceOnline2010 will again be held at Sigma Xi, but additional events will also take place at the RTP Headquarters and in the Park Research Center. The Research Triangle Foundation has become, this year, an important partner and sponsor of this annual event, which we hope will continue into the future.

In 2009, David Kroll joined the organizing committee. David is the Professor and Chair of Pharmaceutical Sciences at North Carolina Central University, but if you are a regular reader of science blogs, you probably know him better as Abel PharmBoy of the Terra Sigilatta blog and the eponymous Twitter handle.

At ScienceOnline2010, David will co-moderate the session "Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Session: Engaging underrepresented groups in online science media."

For the 2010 conference, Stephanie Willen Brown also joined our organizing committee. She is the director of the Park Library, the library of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UNC. Stephanie's blog is CogSci Librarian and you can also follow her on Twitter.

At ScienceOnline2010, Stephanie will co-moderate the session "Scientists! What can your librarian do for you?"

You can learn more about me on the About page of my blog and find me in various online places all linked here.


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