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According to Bruce Caron at the New Media Research Institute — the research arm of the Santa Barbara, Calif.- based nonprofit, The New Media Studio — the number of posters presented at academic professional meetings is astounding — perhaps 250,000 [per year]." In February, Caron and his colleagues at the institute announced their intention to build a service, which they dubbed Skolr, that would "ingest meeting posters as PDF files" and make them easily searchable online, they said. In a recent Miller-McCune magazine piece, James Badham describes how its developers intend Skolr to work:

At registration, presenters will be given a Web URL for poster registration. They'll then sign up, enter their poster abstract, the title, and the names of the authors, and upload the poster as a PDF. Some keyword tagging will be added to enhance searchability, and the uploaded data will complement the physical display of the posters for that meeting. Posters captured by the system will be arranged by collection, associated with particular meetings.

Badham says this system could breathe "new life" into scientific posters — the New Media Research Institute's Caron adds that currently posters are typically "printed at the last minute, carried to the conference, presented for a few hours, and then thrown away or put up on a back wall of a lab somewhere." According to Badham, "while the software will extend the posters' life indefinitely, Caron doesn't want to alter what he calls the 'quintessentially ephemeral nature' of posters." Indeed, Caron tells Miller-McCune that "just because a poster is archived in a database, we don't want to say that it is now a 'publication.' It's still a poster. ... It's a snapshot in time."

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