LISA Manual

Local Organizing Committee (LOC)

The Local Organizing Committee's primary responsibilities are all on-site arrangements and logistics before, during and after the meeting. Most of the tasks are carried out in close cooperation with the SOC and/or FOL. Specifically, the LOC
  • sets conference dates and fees
  • verifies that meeting rooms, including technical support and equipment, are available
  • arranges potential lodgings (if possible at reduced group rates)
  • distributes announcements (with SOC), takes care of publicity, prints the program booklet, designs and prints the conference poster, hosts the conference website
  • arranges social events (refreshments during breaks, reception, conference dinner) and field trips
  • obtains local financial support and merchant/vendor sponsorships including goodies for the 'welcome bag'
  • organizes registration and other administrative details including guidance and signs at the conference venue
  • provides city maps and tourist information
  • explains how to reach the conference site from the airport and train station
  • takes care of the general 'running around' and problem solving at the time of the meeting
  • hires a photographer
  • does the post-meeting clean-up including return of equipment, payment of outstanding bills etc.

It is a good idea to keep minutes of the meetings of the LOC to have a clear idea of what has been discussed, who is in charge of which task, etc. (Example document: minutes of the first LISA V LOC meeting.)

Conference dates and fee
In cooperation with the POC, the LOC sets the conference dates. It is the LOC's responsibility to avoid in-house conflicts regarding meeting rooms and other facilities.

The registration fee is determined in conjunction with the SOC. It must cover at least:

  • the meeting's administrative expenses
  • transportation between conference site and dormitories, if necessary
  • costs for those social events that will be free to attendees
  • a copy of the published proceedings volume for each participant

The conference banquet and post-meeting field trips typically are charged seperately and only have to be paid by participating attendees.

For more details see: Funding

Meeting rooms and technical equipment
The conference site must have an auditorium (sufficiently large for approx. 120 participants) with appropriate technical equipment and adjacent rooms for social events including morning and afternoon coffee breaks (see below). The opening reception may require a seperate room. The LOC needs to assure that all rooms are reserved throughout the conference dates.

Speakers have to be informed about the technical equipment that will be available. Beamers (PC projectors), networked computers running PowerPoint, overhead and slide projectors as well as wireless microphones diminish considerably the difficulties of non-native English attendees (when they are speakers as well as when they are in the audience.) Technical and administrative support staff must be available to assist with operating the equipment and for troubleshooting. A day before the meeting starts, the LOC should review and test the equipment with the local experts. Space must also be provided for display of poster papers, either in a hallway outside the auditorium or in separate rooms, where easels or bulletin boards can be located. The exact space available per poster must be communicated to authors of poster papers. (For correspondence with authors, see SOC Notifications to authors).

Related document: Technical equipment available for speakers at LISA IV

Accommodation should be located at a convenient distance to the conference venue. The range of lodging should include affordable hotels as well as hostels or dormitories for those participants that prefer inexpensive accommodation. When the LOC contacts nearby hotels for room rates they may be able to arrange reduced rates for a block of rooms. If required, the LOC needs to organize transport between the conference site and dormitories/hotels; these costs must not be forgotten when calculating the registration fee (see below).

See also: Location

Announcements, program booklet and conference poster
Together with the SOC, the Local Organizing Committee issues the first and second announcement, the call for papers and the preliminary program (to be distributed with the second announcement).

Well before the meeting starts, the LOC prints a program booklet which will be distributed to all participants in the "Welcome Bag". Typically, the booklet contains:

  • a title page with the name, location and dates of the conference
  • a list of all members of organizing committees (SOC, LOC, FOL)
  • a list of sponsors and donors (institutional, commercial and private supporters, see Funding), but without the actual amounts donated
  • the exact meeting schedule for each day, including a detailed list of sessions, speakers, paper titles as well as breaks and meals
  • the final abstracts of all oral and poster presentations

It may be desirable to include not only the abstracts, but also the full texts of presentations in the booklet. This will help in particular non-native speakers to follow the presentations. Note, however, that inclusion of complete articles will raise printng costs considerably. For details on layout and submission of abstracts, see: SOC: Deadline for abstract submission

Sample booklets:

LISA I program booklet (pdf, 561 KB)
Sample page: Conference schedule (pdf, 57 KB)

LISA II program booklet (pdf, 2.67 MB)
Sample page: Conference schedule (pdf, 43KB)
Sample page: Abstracts (pdf, 81KB)

LISA III program booklet (pdf, 2.98 MB)
Sample page: Conference schedule (pdf, 33 KB)
Sample page: Abstracts (pdf, 43 KB)

LISA IV program booklet (pdf, 2.39 MB)
Sample page: Conference schedule (pdf, 56 KB)
Sample page: Abstracts (pdf, 92 KB)

The LOC is in charge of the conference poster and web pages. Additional costs will arise In case the design is handled by a contracted company (see also: Funding.)

For further details on announcements, websites and other ways to increase visibility, see Publicity.

Registration and administrative details
Pre-conference registration is done electronically, either directly at the hosting institute or through a contracted event organizer. Registrants need to be assured, in a timely manner, that their online reservation has been received. Automatic confirmation, followed by a personal e-mail or fax during the same week would be useful.

Remember that procedures for instance regarding bank charges and handling of credit cards vary from country to country. Information about the registration process, hotel reservations etc. therefore must be as thorough as possible and understandable to participants from all over the world. Nevertheless, LOC should anticipate a large variety of questions regarding logistics, for instance

  • Will the registrant be charged for the entire stay on the credit card? [In the U.S., one is usually charged for the first night to secure a room.]
  • Are there any additional credit card charges and how high are they?
  • Are registrants supposed to communicate directly with the hotel or only with the LOC?
  • What happens if registrants cancel their reservation? Or if they want to change their hotel, field trip, cultural event booking?

Be prepared to answer such questions, or at least have addresses and websites ready to refer people to.

Sample document: LISA II registration form

The registration process at the beginning of the conference needs to be organized carefully as many different issues are involved, and the registration itself usually is one of the most stressful situations of the conference. The LOC should prepare a "Welcome Bag“ that includes the final program booklet, name tags, local tourist information, maps, suggestions for nearby restaurants, etc. All participants have to be checked in at the registration desk. The list of attendees should leave room to keep records of unexpected guests as well as 'no-shows'. Any previously uncollected fees are collected during registration, e.g., fees for the conference banquet or field trips. Shortly before the conference, cash for Friends of LISA (FOL) grant money must be placed in envelopes so that they are ready for distribution during the registration. Receipts have to be prepared for signing (see also: FOL: Being the treasurer and distributing funds).

Most importantly, a sufficient number of personnel must be available at the registration desk during the registration and throughout the conference.

The day the meeting begins, the LOC posts orientation help inside the conference building (arrows, signs, etc)

Fiscal logistics
It will be mostly the LOC's responsibility to set up necessary processes for transfer of funds from funding agencies, sponsors/donors, and Friends of LISA and to monitor incoming and outgoing money. Special attention must be put on currency exchanges and unexpected expenses.

In addition, LOC will contact local meeting sponsors. Efforts have to be coordinated closely with the Friends of LISA.

For further details on sponsors see Funding

Social events
Social events play an important role at every conference because they allow participants to meet in a relaxed manner, discuss projects and perhaps start collaborations. Astronomy librarians are fortunate in having a strong network that helps them to carry out their professional tasks with the knowledge that they can rely on advice and help from colleagues when needed. Social events during LISA conferences typically include an opening reception, the conference dinner, meeting breaks and field trips. For all off-site events, transportation has to be arranged, if necessary.

Tourist information
LOC should provide some tourist information in the "Welcome Bag" so that conference participants find their way around the city a bit easier. Attendees will appreciate very much if this information is made available on the website already before the actual meeting starts so that they can familiarize themselves with the surroundings (although only virtually). The web pages also should give clear information on how to get from the airport and train station to the conference hotels / dorms and from the hotels to the conference venue.

Example: LISA IV city map

General problem solving
The LOC is the main contact point for all general problems that may occur during the meeting. It also is in charge of the logistics, including

  • arrange and announce time and location for the group photo
  • make other announcements as needed
  • be prepared to answer questions and solve problems regarding technology and equipment, catering and social events, lodging and transportation issues etc.

Conference photograph
For budgetary reasons, the LOC may decide to rely on general photos provided by attendees. However, amateur photos don't always turn out exactly the way they were intended, and it may be advisable to hire a professional photographer to be present throughout the meeting, or at least for the official conference photo.

This official photo deserves special attention. In the proceedings volume, the names of all persons in the group photo will be listed in an explanatory chart. To help identify everybody, a simple trick will help: a 'test' photo is taken before the real photo. During the test photo, all persons cover their faces with sheets of paper with big numbers. Later, they note their names on the back of the number sheets and hand them to the organizers. This way, the proceedings editors will save so much time trying (sometimes in vain) to identify everybody in the official photo.

The photographer should also be instructed to take photos of each committee (SOC, LOC, and Friends of LISA) so that all committee members are grouped together in a photo for the proceedings.

LISA II conference photo

LISA III conference photo
LISA III identification of persons in the photo

LISA IV conference photo

Special tasks
Special tasks of the LOC may be manyfold. One example from LISA III and IV is the following: One attendee had a profound hearing impairment. She could not lip-read English, but was extremely fluent in written English. The LOC together with FOL arranged for a laptop to use in the auditorium. A rota of English-speaking volunteers was set up to take notes on the laptop during each talk. Each speaker was asked to bring a paper copy of the whole talk and give it to the hearing-impaired attendee before the presentation. She could then read the speakers' notes, follow the overheads and/or read the notes on the laptop the volunteer was typing.

Related document: Call for support for hearing-impaired colleague

Organizers of the conference at a venue in the United States are reminded that they must meet legal requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is essential to contact the appropriate office at the sponsoring institution or venue at the earliest possible time.

Post-meeting clean-up
When the meeting is over, the LOC monitors the clean-up, returns any rented equipment (e.g. easels) and pays any outstanding bills (caterer, restaurant, field trip, printing, etc.) The production of the group photo (and any other photos) has to be taken care of, and copies of the official conference photo have to be mailed to each attendee. All photos should also be posted on the website; those that were chosen for the proceedings must be sent to the editors for inclusion in the print volume.

A final statement of the budget must be made, specifying income and expenditures. In case any money is left, these funds are traditionally given to the Friends of LISA of the subsequent conference.


LISA V checklist and timeline (as of 2008, pdf document)

LISA LOC checklist and timeline (as of 2005, Word document)

Meeting checklist (as of 2004, provided by STScI)