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Aims Of Talks.Cam

Cambridge enjoys a wealth of seminars and lectures on interesting topics, organized by societies, departments, research groups, and individuals. (When we mention lectures, we refer to all lectures other than those associated with taught courses.) How does a curious person – a graduate student or postdoc new to Cambridge, say – find out about these excellent lectures? Some organizations print posters or flyers and circulate them to departments. Some advertise their lectures in publications such as the Reporter, Varsity, and TCS . Many circulate announcements by email. Most organizations have websites on which their lectures are listed. But there is no simple way reliably to find out `what’s on?’; nor, the more important question, `what’s on in my areas of interest?’

A few organizations attempt to fill these gaps, collating lists of interesting seminars and circulating them by email. But email is not an ideal format for long lists of talks. Some departments have a web-page containing links to all their seminar-list web-pages (eg Engineering); but it is still a laborious process to click through to all those pages while hunting for a particular seminar. If the user wants to know `what’s on this afternoon?’, he has to visit every Seminar page.

Talks.cam is the service that enables people to find information about seminars and lectures in Cambridge. Our web-based service allows all organizations in Cambridge conveniently to publish their lecture information, and allows anyone to search through the database in a manner suiting their interests. Talks.cam also serves syndicated `what’s on’ information directly into the webpages of many organizations in Cambridge, with each syndicated information stream tailored to that organization’s interests. Talks.cam is intended to be the premiere listings service for intellectually stimulating events in Cambridge.

In creating talks.cam, our aims were
  1. to help all research groups and societies throughout Cambridge to advertise their lectures;
  2. to reduce the labour involved in organizing talks and maintaining webpages associated with seminar series;
  3. to enhance cross-disciplinary and serendipitous interactions in Cambridge;
  4. to help new societies in Cambridge to publicise their events; talks.cam can help student-run organizations to maintain continuity as their committee memberships fluctuate;
  5. and to provide, in our database, an intellectual overview of the activity of the University, unconstrained by the conventional boundaries between organizations.

Talks.cam is open to all organizations that put on talks in the Cambridge area. We especially hope that all research groups and all student societies that organise public talks will use it.

The talks.cam software will be free software so that other universities can use it too.

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