MLA '07: Contributed Poster FAQ
Submitting Contributed Poster Abstracts
1. I led an interesting project this year that I’d like to present. Should I submit it as a poster or a paper?
Does your project relate to the theme of a section–sponsored session? If so, you may want to consider submitting it as a paper. Papers should be on a topic of interest to a large proportion of attendees, in general, or within a particular section. In general, paper acceptance is more competitive than poster acceptance, and so some consider papers a more prestigious form of presentation.
If your topic is likely to be of interest to a more focused group of attendees, a poster may be ideal. Posters provide an opportunity to showcase your work improving services or practices and to discuss your experiences with others dealing with similar issues. Your presentation style and the graphical nature of the material you want to present may also affect your decision to submit your topic as a paper or a poster.
For information about submitting contributed papers, check out the Contributed Paper FAQ.
2. How do I submit a poster abstract for MLA ’07?
MLA paper abstracts are to be submitted using the OASIS online abstract submission system. To use the system, you need to create an account with a login name and password. (Your MLANET members-only username and password do not work to access the OASIS system.) The steps in the process should be clear once you are in the system. Be sure to print out the confirmation receipt, which includes the abstract control number for your records. You may continue to make changes to your abstract until the submission deadline, which is Monday, November 6, 2006, at MIDNIGHT, central standard time (CST). There will be no extensions of this deadline.
3. What is the REQUIRED FORMAT for a poster abstract?
You MUST write a blinded, structured abstract. Please refer to the MLA Research Section page for guidance on writing a structured abstract. Examples and additional information are available on the Research Section’s home page.
4. What do I need to do to BLIND my abstract?
To allow for blind review, author names, institutional affiliations, and address information must be listed in the author section of the electronic submission system ONLY, NOT in the body of the abstract. MLA reserves the right to edit abstracts containing any author, institutional, or company names for the purpose of eliminating this identifying information before sending the abstract to reviewers. Authors are urged to blind their abstracts themselves, because MLA cannot guarantee the resulting quality if changes must be made after submission.
5. What sections MUST be included in my abstract?
Your submission MUST include the "objective" and "methods" sections of the structured abstract. The objective section (for which you may substitute the research question) may not exceed 60 words and the methods section (which may include brief descriptions of the population and expected results) may not exceed 140 words.
6. May I enter my results and conclusions when I submit my abstract?
Yes. You may enter your results and conclusions now. This information will NOT be shared with reviewers. The information will be saved for inclusion in the final abstract if your paper is accepted.
Authors MAY postpone entering results and conclusions until after the peer-review process is completed. Authors selected for inclusion in the program will need to add the "results" and "conclusions" sections in February 2007 if they did not already do so in the initial abstract submission.
7. May I include tables, figures, or citations in my abstract?
Structured abstracts should NOT contain tables, figures, or bibliographic references.
8. Are there font recommendations for the abstracts?
Times New Roman, 10-point font, and Symbol font for symbols are the recommended fonts.
9. Should I choose to be considered for the Research Section Award?
Every year the MLA Research Section gives out several awards recognizing those paper and poster presenters whose work demonstrates high-quality research. It is difficult for the award judges to give each poster due attention, so we have included an option to self-select your poster for consideration for the Research Awards. If your poster describes a research project, you should enter it. If your poster does not describe a research project, you should opt out by not selecting this option.
10. What do I need to know about the electronic poster option?
Electronic posters are given during the usual poster sessions using computer technology instead of the traditional paper poster format. This is becoming a more popular option and can be very effective. You can also combine a paper poster with an electronic presentation since electronic poster exhibitors are provided with a table and poster board. Computers and other equipment can be rented through MLA's AV vendor, Projections, or you may bring your own equipment. An AV order form with pricing can be requested by emailing Julie Ledogar, conference manager.
11. I will need an Internet connection for my poster presentation. What is the cost?
The cost for an Internet connection is approximately $600. Phone line connections are approximately $125. All questions about ordering these connections should be directed to Julie Ledogar.
12. How can I show off our new Website without a live Internet connection?
Programs like WebWhacker and HTTrack allow you to download your Website to your hard drive. This allows you to display your Website offline with great speed and reliability. By simulating the online session, you can show off the features of your Website without relying on an Internet connection. More information is available at www.bluesquirrel.com and www.httrack.com.
13. Is it possible to specify a preferred poster session?
Not exactly. But you will be provided with the choice to opt out of the Welcome Reception poster session. We realize that for some this is valuable networking time during which they would rather not present their work. However, others may feel this is an optimal time to present, as so many attendees will be present. Welcome Reception presenters will have to put up their posters immediately preceding the session and take them down immediately following it.
14. I see that the Hospital Libraries Section is calling for contributed posters. What can you tell me about that?
The Hospital Libraries Section has opted to display posters in their section program session, "Information revolution: Improving the face of vendor relationships/revolutionizing our bonds" as indicated in their call for posters and on the OASIS submission form. If this option appeals to you, and if your poster addresses the Hospital Libraries Section theme, you may choose to submit your poster to the Hospital Libraries Section for this program.
The Hospital Libraries Section reviewers will first consider your poster, and if it is not accepted for their program, it will be sent to the general pool of posters to be evaluated for acceptance in a regularly scheduled poster session.
15. What additional information do I need to know about posters displayed in the Hospital Libraries Section session?
A Hospital Libraries Section poster may not be duplicated as a general poster. Hospital Libraries Section posters must be removed from the room at the end of the section program session, which will end exactly at the prescribed time to allow for setup for the next session. Hospital Libraries Section posters will be archived on the Hospital Libraries Section Website.
16. How will my poster abstract be evaluated?
The author block and any other identifying information will be removed from your abstract to create a blinded abstract.
- For general posters, the blinded abstracts will be sent to the poster review panel for review. The reviewers will evaluate the blinded poster abstracts based on the following criteria:
- originality and innovation
- organization and clarity of presentation
- relevance to the field and annual meeting theme
- potential for improving service or practice
- For posters submitted for the Hospital Libraries Section session: "Information revolution: Improving the face of vendor relationships/revolutionizing our bonds" posters will first be considered by the Hospital Library Section reviewers, and if not accepted, will be sent to the general poster review panel for review and potential inclusion in the general poster sessions.
17. How will I know if my abstract is accepted?
The primary author will be notified of acceptance by US mail sent the week of January 15, 2007. All authors will be notified by email that the primary author has been sent the notification letter.
18. How do I withdraw or cancel an abstract or poster?
All withdrawals or cancellations must be in writing and emailed to Julie Ledogar, conference manager. Be sure to include the full title of your abstract, abstract control number, and author name.
Withdrawn abstracts will be removed from the process as quickly as possible. Accepted abstracts canceled close to the publication date may still be printed in the abstract supplement.
Preparing for the Meeting: Posters
19. My poster abstract has been accepted. Now what? Are there other deadlines?
In January or February, register for the annual meeting and make air and hotel reservations. At least one author must be available to present the poster at the annual meeting on the date and time assigned.
By Wednesday, February 28, 2007, update your abstract information in the OASIS system. This update must include: unblinding all sections of the abstract, adding “results” and “conclusions” if they were not included in the original submission.
20. I got an email asking me to send an electronic copy of my poster to MLA ahead of the meeting. What’s that about?
This is a new requirement. Between March 1, 2007, and April 15, 2007, plan to email a PDF or PowerPoint file of your poster to MLA. The file will be put on MLANET so that attendees can preview your work and come to the session with researched and knowledgeable questions, targeting the most relevant posters. Files received after April 30 may be posted on MLANET after the meeting.
21. I have never done a poster before; can you point me to some practical tips?
Fred Stos developed an excellent resource for clients at the Arts and Sciences Library at SUNY–Buffalo. This comprehensive resource includes practical tips on creating, developing, and presenting a poster whether it’s electronic or not.
22. What are some general guidelines I should think about when designing a poster?
- Your poster should be about 20% text, 40% graphics, and 40% white space.
- Use the active voice on all text.
- Keep text to the absolute minimum.
- Text should be at least 28 or 32 points in size. The bigger the better for text to be readable from a distance.
- Posters are graphical presentations. Special emphasis should be placed on charts, tables, and photos.
- Backgrounds using light colors work best.
- Consider materials when designing the poster. Soft vinyl plastic is lighter weight and takes up less space when rolled than traditional laminated paper.
- Consider how you will transport your poster. Multiple panels are easier to handle than one panel. Note the standard size of available shipping containers if you plan to ship your poster ahead. You do not need to fill the entire poster board. It can be smaller than the display space and still be easily viewed. Consider producing your poster onsite at a local quick copy shop.
- If you decide to laminate your poster, consider using a matte or low-glare finish. People will be able to read your poster more easily from a distance regardless of the lighting angle. There will also be less glare is a picture is taken.
23. When are the poster sessions?
Your poster will be assigned to one of the three poster sessions at MLA ’07. Sessions will be held in the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown:
- Sunday, May 20, 2–3 p.m.
- Monday, May 21, 2–3 p.m.
- Tuesday, May 22, 1–2 p.m.
24. What equipment is supplied for each poster?
Each poster presenter will have:
- A 6-foot-long by 18-inch-wide skirted table (at counter height of 42 inches high for electronic posters)
- A cork board (8 feet long and 4 feet high)
- One chair
- Electricity (if identified as electronic)
25. What size is the poster backdrop? How much room is really available for my poster?
The cork board measures 8 feet by 4 feet and will be available for all poster presenters, both traditional and electronic. There is a border around the cork board that is about 1.5 inches wide. Other than the border, all remaining space is usable.
26. How big is the table?
A standard 6-foot-long by 18-inch-wide skirted table is provided for all print-based posters. Electronic posters will receive a 6-foot-long table that is 42 inches high to optimize viewing of laptop presentations.
27. What kind of equipment do I need to attach my print poster to the display board (tape, pushpins, etc.)?
Pushpins, tape, and other mounting materials such as Velcro can be used to attach your poster to the provided display board. These are not provided; you'll want to plan to bring these supplies with you or ship them ahead with your poster. T-pins have always worked well; but do take a little bit of strength to get them into the board. The mounting material you select will depend greatly on the style and thickness of your poster.
28. What else do I need to bring to the poster session?
Consider bringing scissors, pens, business cards, and paper to take down notes or comments and contact information from visitors to your poster. Remember to bring power cords and a surge protector for electronic posters.
29. Should I bring handouts and other giveaways?
In an effort to keep the meeting as green as possible, only bring handouts if they are absolutely necessary. If you do opt to bring handouts, bring a limited number since you will need to transport them. An electronic copy of your poster will be made available on MLANET. Many participants may prefer to access information about your poster this way as it eliminates the need to carry around so much paper.
30. Is there an electronic file of the meeting logo that I can place on my poster?
Yes, the official meeting logo is available electronically on MLANET for use with presentations. Link to the logo here.
At the Meeting/Final Preparations—Posters
31. Can I ship the poster ahead of and after the meeting?
Presenters are responsible for the transport of posters session materials to and from the convention site. If you are going to ship your poster materials, ship them to your hotel in care of yourself. For your protection, please use a shipping method that can be tracked and bring all tracking information with you in case of a problem.
32. What if my poster is lost?
It is advisable to bring a stored electronic copy with you to the meeting. It’s likely you’d be able to find a facility that can print a fresh copy for you in the worst-case scenario.
33. When do I hang up and take down my poster?
The scheduling is tight this year. Posters can go up any time before your session if the exhibit hall is open on the day of your session. They must come down before the exhibit hall closes on the day of your session. Please refer to the official schedule for details regarding exhibit hall hours. Note: this means that Welcome Reception exhibitors will have to put up and take down posters immediately preceding and immediately following their session.
For posters accepted for the Hospital Library Section program session, posters must be put up and taken down immediately preceding and immediately following the Hospital Library Section program session.
34. How do I know where to hang my poster?
You will be assigned to a board and a session. This information should be sufficient to locate your poster board.
35. What should I do during the session?
Have fun, answer questions, talk about your work, and share your knowledge. Poster sessions are a favorite for many attendees, a more informal way to network and talk about what we do. Enjoy it, you earned it!
36. Who should I contact with questions regarding posters?
Questions regarding paper or electronic posters should be emailed to 2007 NPC members Marie Ascher or Heidi Heilemann.