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This web site helps make it easy to disseminate information about talks. There are two basic entities the site tracks: talks and lists. Talks include basic information about a presentation, including the speaker, date/time, venue, abstract, etc, and each talk may be cross-posted to one or more lists. Lists contain a set of talks, and typically correspond to a particular seminar series or other theme.

Information about lists and talks is open to anyone, but to take full advantage of the site, you'll need to create an account. Once you do so, you can subscribe to lists or individual talks, and then receive your cumulative subscription in one or more ways, including as email reminders at a rate you select; an ical feed; and an rss feed.

The goal of this site is to make it easy to post a talk so the right set of people will see it, to eliminate duplicate talk announcements, and to cut down on spam reminders about talks.

This site requires JavaScript to work fully. If you use the site with JavaScript turned off, it may behave unexpectedly.

Your Account


You can register for the site by clicking the register link near the top of the page. To register, you must provide your email address and a password. We also ask you to provide your name and your organization (leave this blank if you are affiliated with UMD). After you register, you will receive an email with a confirmation link you must follow to activate your registration. You can click on Didn't receive confirmation instructions? on the registration page to resend the confirmation email. Once your account is activated, you may log in.


Once you log in to the site, you can subscribe to talks or lists. To subscribe to a talk or list, go to its page when you are logged in and click the subscribe link. If you want to cancel a subscription, click the unsubscribelink.

Once you have subscribed to some lists or talks, you can go to your "my list" page (the link will be at the top of the screen) to see a cumulative list of all the current talks you have subscribed to, either directly (by subscribing to the talk itself) or indirectly (by subscribing to a list containing the talk). Even if a talk appears on multiple lists you are subscribed to, you should only see it once on your list. As new talks are posted to lists you subscribe to, your list of current talks will automatically be updated with those talks.

There are several ways to receive information your current talks subscription:

  • By default, you will receive an email each Sunday containing a list of upcoming talks for that week, and an email each day containing a list of upcoming talks for that day. You can disable this feature by editing your profile (see the link on your account page).
  • Your account page includes a link to a calendar feed containing your talk information. If your browser recognizes the webcal:// protocol, then clicking on the link should ask your calendar program to subscribe to the feed. Otherwise, you may need to cut and paste the calendar feed URL into your calendar program.
  • Your account page also include a link to an atom feed containing your talk information. You can subscribe to that feed using your favorite rss reader.

Even if you decide not to create an account on the site, you can still receive talk information automatically: each list and each talk has its own calendar feed button, and each list also has an atom feed button. However, if you subscribe this way the site cannot remove duplicate talk announcements, and it cannot send you email.

In addition to subscribing to talks and lists, you may also watch a talk or list. In this case, the talk or list is not added to your list of talks. However, you will receive an email whenever there is an update to the talk or list (just as a subscriber will). This is most useful when you want to keep track of the talks posted on a list, but you don't necessarily want to attend all of them; you can watch the list, and then subscribe individually to each talk you want on your talk list.


The following icons are used on the site:

Calendar ical feed link
Feed atom feed link

Managing a list

If you would like to add a new list to the site, please contact the site administrators and ask them to create the list for you; you'll need to supply at least a short name for the list, e.g., "PL Reading Group." Lists also have a short description (e.g., "Programming Languages Reading Group," shown on the list's page and on the page with all lists) and a long description (shown on the list's page).

Each list also has one or more owners; when you ask to have a list created for you, the site administrators will make you an owner of the list. As an owner, you can edit the list to change its name, short and long description, set of owners, and set of posters, who are people who have permission to add a talk to your list. Note: it is possible to remove yourself as an owner, so be sure not to do that inadvertantly. You can edit a list by going to the list's page and clicking on the edit link. This button will only appear if you are a list owner; contact the site administrators if you think you should be able to edit a list but cannot.

Posting a talk

If you want to add a new talk to the site, you need permission to post to at least one list. Once you have permission, you can create a new talk (another link for this should appear in the bar above). Each talk has a title, speaker (with optional associated URL), venue, date/time, abstract, and speak bio (optional). A venue is a room and a building, where the latter is drawn from a set the site knows about. To have a new building added, contact the site administrators. You can also just leave the building blank, and give complete location information under "room."

When you create a talk, you become the owner of the talk, which gives you permission to edit the talk in the future. (Contact the site administrators to change the owner of a talk.) Each talk can also be posted to zero or more lists. You must have permission to post to a list before you can do so; contact the owner of the list to get this permission. Note: after posting a talk to a list, you automatically give permission for the list owner to also edit the talk information.

When you create a new talk, the option "Send email to watchers when talk created/updated?" will be selected for you by default. With this option selected, anyone subscribing or watching the talk or a list containing the talk will get an email announcement containing information about the new talk and, if changes were made, highlighting those changes. If you don't want users to receive such an email, uncheck the box. Note that if you edit a talk, the "Send email..." option will not be checked by default, so please check it if you want subscribers to be emailed.

Important: Basic information about all lists and talks is public; thus, please do not put any information on this site you don't want the world to know about.

Talks with registration

When creating a talk, you can optionally specify that the you request registration for the talk. If you select this option, then the talk page will include instructions asking attendees to register. If an attendee is logged into the site, they can register by clicking the "register" link; once registered, they can unregister by clicking the appropriatelink. If an attendee is not logged into the site and does not want to create an account (i.e., they are an external user), they will be presented with a short form to fill out to register, including their name, email address, and organization. External users who register will receive an email with a registration confirmation. (Note that logged-in users will not receive such an email.) The confirmation includes a link that allows external registrants to cancel their registration.

If you can edit a talk with registration, then on the talk page you will see a link "Show registrations" to list everyone who has registered. You can also cancel individual registrations, if necessary. You can register an external user yourself if you want by logging out of the site, going to the talk's page, and entering their information. You can ask the site administrators if you need to register a user with an account on the site.


Talks currently supports a limited JSON API, as follows:

  • talks.json - return a list of upcoming talks, on all lists
  • talks.json?range=past - return a list of past talks, on all lists
  • talks.json?range=all - return a list of all talks, on all lists
  • talks/:id.json - return information about talk :id.
  • lists/:id.json - return information about a list, and its upcoming talks.
  • lists/:id.json?range=past - return information about a list, and its past talks.
  • lists/:id.json?range=all - return information about a list, and all its talks.

Other Information

Questions? Comments?

Send email to talks at cs.

Mailing list

You may wish to subscribe to the talks-users mailing list. This low-volume mailing list will be used for announcements about the talks web service.


Web site by Jeff Foster.

Source code available at https://github.com/jeffrey-s-foster/talks


Some icons by Yusuke Kamiyamane. All rights reserved. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Web site design inspired by talks.cam

Thanks to Khoo Yit Phang for help with the site design.