Pet Peeve – Printing Registration Forms

Okay, it’s been a while since I’ve ranted 🙂

I was waiting to register for SLA Annual until today because, silly me, I assumed that a big organization like SLA would take online registrations!! But as it turns out that was a bad assumption. I have to print my registration form, fill it out by hand and then mail or fax it in. In a time when we can buy movie tickets online, book travel online, check in for flights online and book a table at a local restaurant online – shouldn’t we be able to register for conferences online?

Now I have to print this form out – try and write neatly (not something I can’t do easily) and get to the post office before heading off to an event I’m driving to today – all because the envelope has to be post marked by today. Yes, I could fax, but I don’t have a land line – and so I don’t have a fax machine. Yes, I could use an online faxing service, but I have yet to find one with reasonable prices – or that I can use for free – not since was forced to stop offering their service for free because of stupid spammers.

Okay, rant over. Lesson to be learned? It’s not that hard to offer online registration for your events – so please please please stop making me print out forms!!! At the very least, offer editable PDFs so that we can fill the form in online and then email it to you.

[update 4/9/2009] Okay – so I have been corrected in the comments below. There is an online registration form – but it’s not immediately obvious – at least it wasn’t to me. Read below to see how to access the form. [/update]


  1. Nicole:

    I agree 100%. Printing out registration forms and faxing them in is so 10 years ago. I’ve always found it embarrassing that a society of information professionals seems to consistently fail when it comes to implementing anything technology-related (the web site in general and the communities of practice spring to mind as some good examples of this).

  2. Hear, hear! This has irritated me about SLA for a long time. It’s nice to see someone calling them out on it.

  3. I have a thing about fax machines. They are one of the most annoying dead technologies that won’t die. I won’t rest until every fax machine has been harvested for parts.

  4. As I’ve been fuming and ranting all day – I realized another problem with this – SLA is supposed to be going green – so why are we using paper and envelopes to register??

  5. For conference planners that read this and wonder about a low-cost, effective online registration service, I’ve had very good luck with Eventbrite.

  6. I’m happy you have a spam filter, Nicole, but the automessage is a little sexist: “… You may want to contact the blog admin via e-mail to notify him.”

  7. Hmm – wonder where that is and how I can change it 🙂

  8. I have to agree with you Nicole, but from a different standpoint. The company for whom I work requires that we print the registration forms and submit for payment by check. So while I just registered online for my state library association’s conference, I still had to print out everything and request that a check be mailed in payment. No amount of begging or pleading has convinced our accounting department that a simpler method would be to permit conference registration by credit card.

    Speaking of SLA, have you ever noticed that their website is very messy if used with Firefox, but not with IE? Is this just me, or have you encountered this as well?

  9. AALL has offered online registration for several years now. They email the link directly to each member prior to registration opening. Now I can register for the conference, the hotels, and airlines (through my firm’s booking tool) all online. Pretty neat.

  10. Kristin – well look at that! Now I guess my pet peeve is poorly designed websites 😉 I moused over Register Now and then clicked Registration Form – assuming that was where I would register. It’s not clear what’s clickable and what you have to pick from a menu.

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