McGettigan Partners, a Philadelphia-based conference planning company, has created a 15-page guide to successful user group conferences. Since nothing is really ever free, the booklet is also a vehicle for McGettigan to promote itself, but, wisely, that part is minimal, and event planners--especially those new to the territory--will find a lot of good advice on designing and implementing these critical customer events. In fact, just the booklet's list of questions to consider when brainstorming strategies is worth the few minutes it would take to go on the Web and request one.

Order The #1 High-Tech Marketing Tool: Designing a User Conference to Build Market Share at, call (800) 334-8217, or e-mail

In the beginning, the Convention Industry Council (CIC) put together a manual to serve as a working guide for effective meetings and conventions. And it was good--so good, in fact, that it has been considered the meeting planner's Bible since it was first published in 1961. When the CIC began to work on the manual's latest incarnation, it realized that, rather than a simple update, it was time to completely reorganize and expand: The last version was published in 1994, when the Internet was still an obscure toy for techies.

This manual has grown from 26 chapters to 33 chapters, divided into six sections: education (new goal-setting and continuing education chapters); financial management (new chapter on budgeting); technology (new chapters on computer applications, the Internet, Web sites, and virtual conferencing); facilities and services (new chapter on support services and facility selection); logistics (new specification guidebooks); and program (new special events and entertainment chapter).

From the chapters available for review, it looks like the editors have done justice to this time-honored resource. The Web site chapter, for example, is full of information on Web site content planning and management, Webcasting, merchandise sales, chat rooms, and discussion lists. It also contains sidebars full of tech tips and industry resources.

To order the CIC Manual Seventh Edition, visit or contact CIC at (800) 725-8982.