Guidelines for Moderators

The influential role of the Moderator in "managing" an ASIS session, both as time and discussion gatekeeper, cannot be overstated. The following guidelines have been prepared to ensure the smooth and uniform running of the meeting sessions. Please become fully acquainted with them.

We urge you to contact and to introduce yourself to your presenters as soon as possible (in advance of the meeting), both to develop rapport with your speakers, some of whom may never have attended an ASIS meeting before, and to develop possible discussion threads for the session.

In this early contact you should request a paper or electronic copy of each Speaker's  presentation. Likewise, you will be requesting biographical capsules from the Speakers which you will use to introduce them. Why not bring the group together for breakfast, so that the speakers may get to know one another?

All activities concerning the technical sessions will take place in the meeting hotel. Specific room assignments will be in the Final programs.

Moderators should meet with Speakers fifteen minutes before the session begins, outside the room in which the session will be held. Additionally, moderators are encouraged to meet with presenters at any other mutually convenient time (i.e., at breakfast or the evening before).

It is essential that all sessions start on time and that each Speaker (even the last one) receives the time he has been allotted for his presentation. Time management is your responsibility alone.


    a. Always check the podium prior to the start of the session. Be sure that there is water available for the Speakers and that the microphone and A/V equipment is working. A monitor is assigned to each session. This person can be dispatched to the Conference Registration Desk or Headquarters office if there are any "technical" problems. Often you will find a sheet indicating announcements that you should make during your session introduction. These announcements contribute to the smooth functioning of the meeting and to the attendees' gaining the full benefit of the meeting experience, so please don't gloss over them.

    b. Introduce the session based on your preparatory reading of the presentation abstracts or papers and your meetings with the Speakers. Attempt to tie all the presentations into a cohesive whole. This is, occasionally, a challenge, in the case of contributed papers sessions.

    c. Order of Presentations: Presentations should be given in the order in which they are listed in the program, because this is what attendees expect, and because, often, attendees want to hear specific presenters in simultaneous sessions. Each presentation should be preceded by a short introduction by the Moderator.

    If a Speaker listed in the program fails to appear, consider stretching the remaining time slots by (1) extending your introduction or (2) extending the question period for the prior Speaker. You should not rearrange the published order of presentations to accommodate an individual presenter's preference or scheduling conflict. Presenters will be similarly advised.

    d. Introducing Speakers: Use the biographies you have acquired from the Speakers to prepare brief introductions. Occasionally the principal author is unable to make the presentation, and a coauthor or other designee may present in his stead. Identify substitute speakers (and obtain biographies) in your pre-session meeting so that you can make appropriate explanations and introductions.

    e. Timing of Presentations: The time allotted for each speaker depends on the number of speakers in the session and the overall length of the session. Most sessions have 4 speakers and are 90 minutes long. Therefore, after allowing 10 minutes for introductions and questions, each Speaker should be allotted 20 minutes. If the length of your session or the number of Speakers in your session is different from the example, please adjust times accordingly.

    f. Questions after Each Presentation: Each speaker may choose to divide her/his time between presentation and questions. The Moderator will be ready with a few questions for each speaker to stimulate audience participation as necessary.

Note that for the benefit of all the audience members and for the meeting "record," it will be necessary for you to be vigilant about ensuring that speakers both (1) use the audio tape mike and are properly amplified, and (2) repeat the questions from the floor.

    g. Questions at the end of each session: If time permits, additional questions from the floor should be encouraged. However, so as to conclude the session on time, the audience should be encouraged to continue questions outside the meeting room. Speakers have been asked to be available to attendees following the session.

    h. Ending the Session: We encourage you to provide a brief summary of the session at its conclusion. If all Speakers are finished and there are no more questions, simply announce that audio tapes will be available for sale immediately at the registration area and thank the Speakers.


If you have any questions please contact:

          Vanessa Foss
          ASIS headquarters
          (301) 495-0900
          (301) 495-0810 fax

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© 1998, Association for Information Science
Last Update:July 13, 1998