The National Association of Government Webmasters (NAGW) National Conference recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, and the ArchiveSocial team was there to take part. Running from September 12th to the 14th, the NAGW 2012 National Conference in Kansas City brought together local government webmasters and vendors from across the nation to collaborate and share strategies and ideas. Not only did we get a chance to meet and network with people from across the country, but we also left the NAGW 2012 National Conference with some valuable takeaways.

1. Everybody really cares

As NAGW rookies, the ArchiveSocial team understandably arrived in Kansas City with some butterflies. But, between the conference sessions, the networking opportunities, and the Pinnacle Awards Dinner Banquet, our nerves were entirely extinguished. Everybody at NAGW genuinely cared about the conference. The attendees were excited to be back with friends they had met at NAGW conferences in the past, and were equally interested in sharing and improving their strategies as local government webmasters. We were eager to take part in the discussion and learning at NAGW 2012, and now that we have one conference under our belts, we are truly excited to be a new addition of the NAGW family.

2. Some things change, but some stay the same

Few fields have evolved as quickly or as profoundly as web technology in the last decade. Not surprisingly then, 10 years after the inaugural NAGW conference in 2003 the discussion had changed considerably. One concern that has surfaced recently is responsive web design. Local government webmasters want to ensure that citizens can access government information using devices other than PCs, such as smart phones or tablet computers. Not a concern in 2003, today’s proliferation of mobile devices has made responsive web design a top priority for webmasters.

However, certain challenges discussed at the 2003 NAGW continue to remain areas of interest for webmasters. For instance, the accessibility of local government websites has remained a main concern. Webmasters in 2003 as well as 2012 are grappling with strategies on how to make their websites more accessible for those who are visually or hearing impaired.

3. We are glad we went

When flying home from the NAGW Conference, we were given a chance to reflect upon our experiences in Kansas City. Our conclusion: NAGW was a worthwhile and memorable experience. The conference attracted people across the country who were excited about improving their local government’s web presence. This gave us and other attendees the opportunity to connect personally on common issues. Also, attending this conference opened our eyes to the different challenges that local government webmasters face. We learned about challenges with archiving and beyond, and we were able to share strategies for addressing these issues. Finally, we were impressed both by the conference’s organization and Kansas City itself. The conference was well-planned, and having never been to Kansas City before, we were pleasantly surprised by all it had to offer. The NAGW 2013 National Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, will have some big shoes to fill, and we look forward to returning to the NAGW family next year.

Additionally, we would like to give a shout out to the City of Enid, Oklahoma, who won a lifetime social media archive in our drawing at the NAGW 2012 Conference. Congrats!