by Rosie Stewart, Editorial Director & Business Development Lead
On the 18th and 19th of April 2023, Westchester Publishing Services UK were proud to exhibit at the IPG Spring Conference, held at The Shaw Theatre, London. Three members of staff attended in person and one attended online. Read some of their thoughts below.
Emma Hudson, Content and Services Manager, Westchester Education UK and International
This was my first time attending an IPG conference and I thoroughly enjoyed it! The variety of education-based sessions meant I learnt about a wide breadth of fascinating subjects from the education market in Ireland, to growth management strategies, to my favourite: tech trends in the classroom.
With lots of our clients thinking about providing digital content, and so many that are far down this path already, it was great to learn the key themes regarding technology in the classroom. Overall, teachers are using a wider variety of resources now and want to see a simple user experience and have accessibility at the heart of all products and services. That’s something that we strive for at Westchester Education UK and International so it’s heartening to hear that it’s something teachers rate as important as well.
A real highlight was being able to meet colleagues and clients in real life. The laptops and video calls were removed for a day and some lovely conversations were had!
I can safely say I’m looking forward to attending more IPG conferences in the future.
Julie Willis, Editorial Director & Systems Lead
The IPG Spring Conference was a great networking opportunity as well as an opportunity for learning, as always. I request my CPD certificate after attending these informative and educational events. This year did not disappoint. I attended an excellent session on ‘How to Produce a Compelling Podcast’ run by the Small Wardour agency, an insightful presentation on change management by Jenny Ridout, Bloomsbury MD, and a thought-provoking session on smoother workflows by Nella Klopotek von Glowczewski from Klopotek. This was of particular interest to me as she showcased their workflow software and part of my role is to look at the systems we use.
The stand-out session for me though has to be the keynote speech by David Rowan. He is founding editor-in-chief of Wired in the UK. He looked at some technical trends in the publishing industry, including the notion of decentralised systems (no gatekeeper), the print to ebook sales ratio in the UK (52%) and the future of AI. Many of you will have heard of ChatGPT by now and the furore it is causing in the industry, particularly in journal publishing in terms of being able to identify articles that have been partially or completely written by the AI software. Technology to identify AI-generated content appears to be several steps behind the AI software itself. We do use iAuthenticate to detect plagiarism but as yet this software does not seem to be able to identify AI authors. In a different area of publishing, however, AI content is being used to create alt text for figures and tables, thus improving accessibility of content for people who use screen readers. His take-away mirrors my own – both scared and excited by AI technology in equal measure and aware that it is not going away so we had better embrace it and use it well!
Grace Peterson, Project Manager
The IPG conference is the first conference I have attended in a professional capacity. I had the opportunity to engage with the conference as an online attendee and was impressed by the seamlessness of the streams, the website navigation and the additional chat boards, information and resources that were available on the conference website. I was able to broaden my understanding of the business aspects of the industry through sessions focused on the economic and media status of 2023, the economic impacts of Brexit and the realities facing independent publishers. I also had the opportunity to listen to talks on ChatGPT and the way publishers can utilise the TikTok Shop’s book category. As an online delegate, I enjoyed the flexibility of merging the conference with my day of work and thought the setup was a success for online viewers. While I wish the second day, which was more focused on workshops, had been streamed in some capacity, I recognise that balancing in-person and online events will always be an area of growth. I’m thankful to have had the chance to hear insightful messages on a wide range of topics and am eager to see what next year’s IPG conference holds.