To: Your manager
RE: Balisage: The Markup Conference
I would like authorization and funding to attend “Balisage 2017: The Markup Conference” and the pre-conference symposium. They will be held in Rockville, MD, a suburb of Washington, DC. The symposium on July 31, the Conference on August 1 - 4, 2017.
As I am sure you remember, I have been to Balisage before, and have returned with energy and enthusiasm picked up from spending time with people who work to make one or more bodies of information maximally reliable, long-lived, and exploitable, at affordable cost. Balisage participants are involved in all kinds of organizations, and the corpora they work with are concerned with all kinds of things: (select relevant items from this list) financial services, disaster preparedness, molecular biology, manufacturing, marketing, the arts and humanities, genealogy, intelligence and aerospace, to name a few. Every year, I learn things. Some of them influence my thinking quickly and obviously, while others have subtler effects, as they percolate in my mind.
When we were hit with new requirements, new deadlines, and a new budget last year we knew we needed a new approach, but were not quite sure where to turn. We were suddenly required to make the provenance of any paragraph, and of any edition of any document component, available to our users, and we'd never done that before. I remembered that someone talked about alternative approaches to this problem last year at Balisage. She gave a paper on it, and we discussed her work informally during a break. She shared some details that are particularly relevant for us. I looked her paper up in the online proceedings and found her contact information there, and ... you know what a help she was in designing our current application.
Participation in Balisage is good for me as a professional and for our organization as innovative users of descriptive markup. I can't promise that we will see a direct benefit to my attendance this year, but I can promise to come back from the conference with some new ideas to think about, some new colleagues, and some fresh approaches to our technical problems.
You can read more about Balisage at: http://www.balisage.net