EventSeer.net is a repository and calendar of academic conferences happening all over the world. The site provides one central place for users to track events based on a variety of different research fields, locations, and affiliations. With the help of a customizable personal event tracker, users are alerted whenever a new event matches the topics, people, and organizations they are interested in. The site also allows users to add events and people if they do not already exist on the site, making eventseer.net a collaborative and exhaustive source for academic event information.
Browsing through the pages of Eventseer.net, one quickly realizes the usefulness of the site, and the ease of use of its features; you simply find a topic that you wish to track, click on the ‘track’ button, and every event that is happening in that field will be added to your personal tracker. Same goes for people and organizations: find, click, and track. Your personal tracker will alert you of any updates that are made to the events, people, and organizations that you’re tracking, so that you’re always aware of important changes like deadline extensions or alterations to event agendas.
One major downfall of the site, however, is that the personal tracker doesn’t allow you to visualize the information you’re tracking in the form of a calendar, or even in the form of a table like the main events page. The personal tracker is basically an RSS feed, and presents updates in the form of a list. Though the site does allow users to export data from the tracker into Google Calendar, it would be much more user-friendly if you had different options within the site for visualizing, searching, and manipulating this data.
The search features on the site could also stand to be upgraded. On the events page, for example, the results from a simple search can only be narrowed down by country and by checking off boxes such as ‘is upcoming’ and ‘has upcoming deadlines’; however, even by narrowing down results to the maximum degree, a search for ‘biology’ related events still yields six pages of results which the user then has to comb through. This is exacerbated by the fact that the single search bar at the top of the page doesn’t strictly search within the tab the user is currently in, but searches the entire site, making it extremely difficult to find the results you are looking for.
One way the site creates connections between users is by allowing them to add information like job offers, requests for reviewers, and pictures of the last conference they attended to their ‘personal research whiteboard’; the site then alerts other users of this information if it matches their profile. This feature, however, is only available to users who have had their profiles approved by administrators, which excludes many people who are not necessarily well-known in the conference world. The possibility of making real connections is also watered down by the fact that the people you are tracking may not even be users of the site, since names can be added to the ‘people’ list whether they are members of the site or not.
In general I really like the idea of EventSeer.net, and its potential for organizing one very important aspect of academic life; however, the site would be much more powerful if it improved its search features, created a better platform for users to communicate with each other, and allowed users to have more editing power when it comes to customizing their personal trackers.
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