Dissemination: It’s What We Do
Dissemination of information is the prime directive for AAPG -- and by the time you read this column, AAPG will be in the middle of or just past our greatest period of “dissemination” for the year.
Nearly 1,000 oral and poster presentations were scheduled for our annual convention in Long Beach, Calif.
I remember just before I gave my first technical talk over 20 years ago I was told to “finish talking before the audience stopped listening.” It was good advice.
I also remember reading statistics that indicated people’s number one fear is public speaking; our number two fear was dying.
I guess that means if you are attending a funeral that most people in the service would rather be in the casket then give the eulogy!
(Perhaps not -- that may be taking statistics too literally.)
Literally speaking, however, we have a lot of good speakers at each meeting and we appreciate their efforts and bravery in giving talks.
AAPG “orators” have a lot to say and cause a lot of listeners to think. The key goal for us is capturing those ideas so they can be disseminated to the membership -- most of these require the skill of writing.
Of course, the BULLETIN and the EXPLORER are the two primary conduits. This month, for example, the BULLETIN (log-in required) is a special issue on the Barnett shale (a subject you’ll also find discussed in this very EXPLORER). It took a lot of time and effort by numerous writers and staff to produce this volume.
We are constantly looking for new papers for the BULLETIN, so I encourage members to write when you have something you think is technically important to say.
If you just have something important to say, non-technical, I still encourage you to write us -- we always are willing to listen. If it is a letter to the editor we will try to get it into the EXPLORER.
AAPG also has dedicated a number of new associated editors to find and develop more E&P Notes. These are popular “writings” for many of our members, and we want to make sure we expand this series and develop a good global supply of these articles.
A newer method for dissemination is Search and Discovery. This does not necessarily involve writing. We encourage all of the presenters -- poster or oral -- at the annual meeting, and all of our meetings for that matter, to place your electronic presentations on AAPG’s e-magazine. Sometimes we may ask you to write a few notes to go with especially, but it is not a requirement.
Search and Discovery has become an important point of dissemination for AAPG to members and the general public. Last year, we had over 1,139 million individual “sessions” on this Web-based product.
Of course, another major area for dissemination of information for AAPG is our special publications, or “special pubs.”
No, AAPG does not own a series of public houses -- special publications are truly special topical and/geographical writings of new work by a few authors, or compilations of work by many authors.
To date AAPG, through its rich “writers” base, has developed over 250 special publications.
Edward Schlossberg, a cultural historian, said that “the goal in writing is to have the skill to create a context in which people can think.” What a great quote!
That is AAPG’s ultimate goal.
Since I have been encouraging people to write for so many years, last year I decided I should help with a special pub. Before I became AAPG Executive Director, Dr. James Lee Wilson -- “Jim,” to all his carbonate friends -- and I decided to develop a special publication titled “Cambro-Ordovician Sauk Sequence -- The Geology and Petroleum Potential of the Great American Carbonate Bank.”
We let it sit for a while (we were trying to think of a longer title), but finally last year we enlisted Jim Derby and Bill Morgan to become editors of the project with a “cast of thousands” contributing to the project -- some of the best workers in the Cambro-Ordovician.
Jim Wilson is the senior editor, and the project is starting to pick up steam.
The evolution of a special publication is an interesting process -- it takes a lot of patience.
I have to admit it is a lot of work, but also it is a lot of fun. The key thing is dedicating the personal time to work on it.
If you have knowledge to “disseminate,” or if you can be part of an editorial team, I encourage you to take the time to contribute.
It’s not only personally rewarding, it is rewarding to your profession.