Navigating the IAS Vienna conference online
Simon Collins, HIV i-Base
As with previous IAS conferences, much of the conference material is available online and HTB reports include appropriate hyperlinks.
Locating the appropriate files, presentations, webcasts, transcriptions or even the basic abstracts is more challenging. Access is routed through the Programme at a glance link on the conference homepage. This requires a free software plug-in called Silverlight, but an automatic download button should come up if you do not already have this installed.
The search facility requires selecting one of the seven options directly under the search bar ie to search the abstracts, you need to first click abstract which when selected has the tiny white triangle in the red block turn to face down. Then search as you would normally by entering a keyword in the search box and clicking search. Results come up listed below.
The abstract books are available to download as free PDF files, but only for each day, so searching the whole conference requires repeating each search four times.
Although you can browse sessions by day and time, this is not so easy if you are looking for a specific session but dont know when it was presented because there is not a programme that just shows the sessions. For example a search for late breaker brings up no results whether searching programme at a glance, abstracts, or oral sessions.
If you find a session page, you then have to find and click the yellow more info button at the bottom right of an empty box, and then you finally get to a page that makes sense. Dont be entirely fooled. The abstract links seems to work, but slides with audio are not always available and the powerpoint link doesnt work at all. For presentation slides, scroll further down the page where slides that are available are listed under the powerpoint presentations heading.
The audio works but you need to manually download the powerpoint slides to really follow the presentation.
To make things more confusing, some webcast presentations are provided by Kaiser Foundation on a different website.
These webcasts only show the presenter, with no slides and no easy links to slides. Although you often hear two different presentations simultaneously, this accurately captures the conference experience. Only a cloth curtain divided most session rooms, so the webcasts accurately reflect the conference atmosphere, including this difficulty.
Kaiser provide rough transcripts of the sessions that can be more useful with the slide set, than the webcast, though they are draft transcripts only.
Web access should be a leading priority for these conferences. The interface used by the Retrovirus (CROI) conference would be a much more useful model to use and would make this aspect of the meeting far more accessible, whether provided by IAS or Kaiser.