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Participants at Europe's biggest Information Society event promise to be back next year

IST 99, the Information Society Technologies Conference held from 22 to 24 November 1999 in Helsinki, Finland, was rated excellent or good by 91 per cent of participants surveyed, and 60 per cent of them said they would definitely return for the 2000 conference.

The results c...
IST 99, the Information Society Technologies Conference held from 22 to 24 November 1999 in Helsinki, Finland, was rated excellent or good by 91 per cent of participants surveyed, and 60 per cent of them said they would definitely return for the 2000 conference.

The results come from a random survey of participants conducted during the event by a team of four stagiaires in the European Commission's Information Society Directorate-General.

They show how the conference has evolved since IST 98, attended by 39 per cent of interviewees, which was rated excellent to good by 83 per cent, and poor by just six per cent. Only one per cent rated IST 99 as poor.

The expectations of the conference, which appear to have been fulfilled for most, were split fairly evenly between meeting other participants, finding partners, getting information on the IST programme, meeting EC staff, and general interest in the Information Society. The most popular objectives were contacting other participants and partners.

The topics covered by the conference were well received with 94 per cent considering the programme quality as excellent to good, and 74 per cent ranking the speakers and their presentations by the same standard. The quality of the published papers was also regarded as excellent or good by 73 per cent. A further 90 per cent of those interviewed expressed an equally favourable impression of the exhibition.

The majority of participants (71 per cent) rated the IST 99 website as excellent or good. Those who expressed some reservations said the programme could have been simplified as '70 pages are difficult to download'.

Although there were only five computers in the Internet café, only 37 per cent of the participants estimated the facilities as inadequate, reflecting the 1998 organisers' opinion that five computers are sufficient.

Some interviewees suggested additional topics that could have been covered more extensively during the proceedings. These include IT standards and specifications, home networking, electronic documents and digital signature legislation, digital and cultural heritage, the environmental and social impact of IT and more information on the IST programme.

These topics could be covered in IST 2000 said the participants, who hope the next conference will give a clear picture of the IST developments during the year and a vision for the year to come.

Source: European Commission, Information Society Directorate-General

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