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Too many events?

I learned recently that a new book is published every 30 seconds. I imagine at least that many new blogs are launched each day. Does the same rate of reproduction apply to conferences and events? I used to keep my own list of events until I discovered a bunch of databases each of which contains thousands. The European Union’s Information Society department publishes IST Events covering a huge range of possibly interesting subjects. The Digital Media Events Blog features almost daily business happenings in the digital media-online and wireless sector.Upcoming.org, a collaborative event calendar, features happenings on everything from blogs and books to singers and smokers. The privately compiled Ubicomp Events lists dozens of conferences to do with ubiquitous computing. The biggest collection or all – and home of the event-as-acronym – is hosted by the American Computing Society. Listed for just the first ten days in June are ICAIL05, JCDL05, CEMVRC05, FOMI05, and the no doubt not-to-be-missed TARK X-05. If TARK is too taxing, there’s a conference on podcasting in Ontario, California, in November. In the old-style design world, festivals and biennials are breeding even faster. As their number grows, claims made for their uniqueness become ever more outlandish. The London Design Festival – billed last year as “the greatest creative show on earth” – was much derided at the time but will happen again this year. It seems to have absorbed the also portentously titled, and also underwhelming, World Creative Forum. A design biennial is planned for 2007 in Newcastle, and another up the road in Scotland. Denmark is ploughing a ton of money this year into an enterprise thrillingly titled Index which is also billed as a “summit for the world’s creative leaders” whose number apparently includes His Royal Highness Prince Frederik the Crown Prince of Denmark. There are hundreds more events out there – but is it a problem? Probably not, on balance, if the cities that commission these events find ways to make their events original, fresh, engaging and place-specific.

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