MLA 12: Section Programs
Contributed Paper FAQ
- Submitting Contributed Paper Abstracts(Questions 1–13)
- Preparing for the Meeting (Questions 14–21)
- Viewing Papers Presentations on MLANET after the Meeting (Question 22)
- Related: Contributed Poster FAQ
1. I led an interesting project this year that I would 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 might consider submitting it as a paper. Papers should be on a topic of interest to a large proportion of attendees, in general, or in a particular section. In general, paper acceptance is more competitive than poster acceptance, 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 a poster, check out the FAQ for Poster Presenters.
2. How do I submit a paper abstract?
MLA paper abstracts are to be submitted using the online abstract submission system. To use the system, you need to create an account with a login name and access key. (Your MLANET members-only username and password will not work.) The steps in the process should be clear once you are in the system. You may continue to make changes to your abstract until the submission deadline, which is Wednesday, November 2, 2011, at midnight, central time (CDT). There will be no extensions of this deadline
3. What is the REQUIRED FORMAT for a paper abstract?
You MUST write a blinded, structured abstract. Please refer to the MLA Research Section page for guidance on writing a structured abstract. Please consult the MLA Style Manual for guidance on style, spelling, and grammar.
4. What do I need to do to BLIND my abstract?
To allow blinded 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, location, 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 author block, 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.
For the author block, please be complete and accurate for author information. If you need to update author information, you may return to the abstract submission site to make the necessary changes. The site will be closed to further updates by February 15, 2012.
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 by February 15, 2012, 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 paper due attention, so we include an option to select your paper for consideration for the Research Awards. If your presentation describes a research project, you should enter it into the competition. If your paper does not describe a research project, you should opt out by not selecting this option.
10. How will my paper abstract be evaluated?
The author block and any other identifying information will be removed from your abstract to create a blinded abstract. The blinded abstract will be grouped with others in selected section program themes and sent to the appropriate program planners or their designees for review. The reviewers will evaluate the blinded abstracts based on the following criteria:
- originality and innovation
- organization and clarity of presentation
- relevance to the field and annual meeting theme
- relevance to the section program theme that is being applied for
11. I have an idea I want to share with colleagues, but it does not fit with any of the section program themes. What can I do?
Submit it as a poster, which are evaluated on quality and potential for improving service or practice, rather than on relevance to the section program themes.
12. How will I know if my abstract is accepted?
The primary author will be notified of acceptance by email sent the week of December 19, 2011. All authors will be notified by email that the primary author has been sent the notification email.
13. How do I withdraw or cancel an abstract or presentation?
If you withdraw before November 2, 2011, you may indicate this status change using the drop down box in the abstract submission site. After that date, all withdrawals or cancellations must be in writing and emailed to Tina Vickery, meeting manager. Be sure to include the full title of your abstract, abstract control number, and author name.
14. My paper 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 paper at the annual meeting on the date and time assigned.
By February 15, 2012, update your abstract information in the abstract submission system. This update must include: unblinding all sections of the abstract, adding “results” and “conclusions” if they were not included in the original submission, and updating audiovisual (AV) and computer equipment needs for papers.
For papers, session moderators will contact presenters to discuss your speaking order and length of presentation; typically, presentations will be limited to 15 minutes, depending on the number of presenters.
Before the meeting, you will be notified to login to the abstract submission site (Harvester) and input your AV needs and upload your presentation slides and handouts (typically, PDF or PPT files). You will have an opportunity to update your slides onsite in the speaker ready room if the information on them has changed.
Please follow the instructions on the submission site regarding how to upload your slides.
15. How do I order AV or computer support equipment for my paper presentation?
An LCD projector, screens, and microphones will be provided in each section program room . You may order Internet access and other equipment at your own expense. Ordering information for additional equipment will be provided upon acceptance of your abstract.
16. What are some general guidelines I should follow when preparing my contributed paper presentation?
- Make your presentation interesting and informative.
- Include a financial disclosure slide to inform the audience that you have a financial or other beneficial interest in the information being presented, if applicable.
- Do not read your paper; present your paper!
- Use presentation software, like PowerPoint (if appropriate) to help organize your presentation logically and succinctly and highlight major points
- Use well-planned visual aids, for example, charts, graphs, and illustrations to demonstrate or display information in ways that will captivate your audience and enhance your presentation
- Avoid the top six PowerPoint annoyances by reading and applying: What Annoys Audiences about PowerPoint Presentations? by Dave Paradi
- Practice your presentation.
17. I will need an Internet connection for my paper presentation. What is the cost?
Typically, contributed paper sessions do not provide Internet connections for presenters. The section sponsoring the session must make a special request. Presenters are highly encouraged to make use of downloaded, static copies of web pages in presentations rather than live Internet demonstrations. The cost for an Internet connection is approximately $375. All questions about ordering these connections should be directed to Tina Vickery, meeting manager.
18. 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.
19. Should I bring handouts and other giveaways for my paper presentation?
Before the meeting upload handouts to the abstract processing system (Harvester) so attendees can view them online. 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 because you will need to transport them.
All section programs with speaker approval will be audio recorded. The audio recordings will be available via the e-Conference to paid registrants. Please upload handouts and PowerPoint presentations for inclusion in the e-Conference by May 1, following the posting instructions.
20. After the annual meeting, I want to publish my paper. Can I submit it for publication in the Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA)?
Contributed paper authors are asked to give first option to publish their presentation in the JMLA. Consult MLA’s guidelines for converting an oral presentation to a manuscript for publication. You might also consider turning your presentation into an outline for a book proposal. MLA Publishing seeks projects in print or digital formats that have an impact on a significant segment of the medical librarianship community. Go to MLA Publishing for proposal guidelines and to learn more about the kinds of topics MLA seeks.
21. Whom should I contact for contributed paper assistance?
Inquiries about section programs, contributed paper abstracts, or contributed paper themes should be emailed to Linné Girouard, AHIP, Section Council liaison, The Methodist Hospital Library, 713.441.2229.
For help with other aspects of your contributed paper or presentation experience please contact staff support, Tina Vickery, meeting manager, 630.929.7922; or Ray Naegele, director of financial and administrative services, 312.419.9094 x17.
22. How and when can I view presentations on MLANET?
A new, improved online meeting content library will be available about three weeks before the meeting for everyone who has a paid registration for the meeting. This includes people at the meeting with onsite registrations (Inclusive, Conference-Only, and One-day) and e-Conference registrants (individual or institution) for people attending at “home.”
To access presentations and other online meeting content, login at MLANET with the information provided in your registration confirmation letter. If you no longer have the letter, follow the “need User Name or Password” instructions on the Login screen.
Within three days after the event, section programs may be viewed online with synchronized PowerPoint, provided that the presenters give recording permission.
Plenary sessions will be video recorded and posted within 24 hours of the event.
All paid registrants (e-Conference and onsite) will have exclusive access to the online meeting content for twelve months after the meeting.
Attendees can access the online meeting content on laptops, iPods, and smart phones.