Ambassadors. Just five months after introducing its first-ever Big Data tool for members’ research needs, ICCA announced the launch of Edition 2 at the 53rd ICCA Congress in Antalya, Turkey. ICCA’s Big Data Search functionalities give ICCA members an amazingly simple way to search vast public databases of academic content and contacts, and to link the results to the structure of ICCA’s own Association Database, enabling them to identify local representatives who could help them to bid for an international association meeting. Utilising the databases of Google Scholar and Microsoft Academic Search, ICCA members are able to identify leading academic contacts in specified cities and regions, related to a specific meeting in the ICCA Association Database or a specific meeting subject. Finding these local “ambassadors” is a crucial step in preparing a successful bid to host the next edition of an association’s international meeting.
The new Edition 2 adds an extra sophistication to the original ambassador search, identifying whether selected “ambassadors” in local universities are also featured within the websites of associations and congresses in the selected academic field. Edition 2 also significantly upgrades the module which identifies the relative academic strength of the local university in a particular field, to now enable ICCA members to more easily identify new scientific, technological or healthcare fields where they have an academic advantage, or to compare their academic strength with that of direct rivals in any competitive bid.
ICCA CEO Martin Sirk commented: “When I first became aware of ICCA back in 1989, data updates consisted of piles of photocopied printouts; in the mid-90s ICCA moved to CD-Rom updates; then at the turn of the century, just before I joined ICCA as CEO we moved to an Online Database. This Big Data development, which is still at a very early stage, is at least as significant as any of those changes. We are now in the process of changing from an organisation that has been 100% focused on the data we can control and update ourselves, to one which is aiming to make every piece of relevant information about international association meetings available to our members, no matter where it is held.”