Contributed Paper FAQ

Submitting Contributed Paper Abstracts

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 program 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 Contributed Poster FAQ.

2. How do I submit a paper abstract?

Contributed paper abstracts are to be submitted using MLA’s online abstract submission system. To use the system, you need to create an account with a login name and access key. 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 Friday, November 1, 2013, at midnight, central time. There will be no extensions of this deadline. You are encouraged to submit your abstract by October 30, 2013, to avoid the last minute rush and allow time for technical assistance, if needed.

The abstract submission should recognize authors from past MLA annual meetings and connect you to your existing author profile once you enter your name and email. If your information has not changed, you do not need to change anything in your author profile. You do need to have author profiles for all of your coauthors, but if they were also authors at past MLA annual meetings, their author profiles are ready to go, too. You can then proceed to submitting your abstract.

3. What is the REQUIRED FORMAT for a paper abstract?

You MUST write a blinded, structured abstract in English. 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. 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 after February 19, 2014 (7:00 p.m., central time).

6. May I enter my results and conclusions when I submit my abstract?

Yes, you may enter your results and conclusions now. All parts of the abstract (objectives, methods, results, and conclusion sections combined) may not exceed 400 words. 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 19, 2014 (7:00 p.m., central time) 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. All submitters are required to either select a type of research or designate that their presentation is not research. Those who select any type of research will be considered for the Research Awards judging process. Please check your submission to ensure that you have selected the type of research that best represents your work. For help in selecting the type of research, please see the “Inventory of Research Methods for Librarianship and Informatics,” published in the January 2004 issue of the Journal of the Medical Library Association and available on PubMed Central.

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 health sciences librarianship and the 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.

For information about submitting a poster, check out the FAQ for Poster Presenters.

12. How will I know if my abstract is accepted?

The week of December 16, 2013, the primary author will receive by email an automated acceptance/rejection notification letter. All authors will be notified by email that the primary author has been sent the notification email. If you are primary author and have not received the notification email by December 21, please contact at Tina Vickery.

13. How do I withdraw or cancel an abstract or presentation?

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.

Withdrawn abstracts will be removed from the process as quickly as possible. Accepted abstracts cancelled close to the publication date may still be included in the abstract supplement.

Preparing for the Meeting: Contributed Papers

14. My paper abstract has been accepted. Now what? Are there other deadlines?

Travel arrangements should be made as soon as possible after acceptance in December 2013, this is especially critical for international presenters who may need additional time. At least one author MUST be available and registered to present the paper at the annual meeting on the date and time assigned. See MLANET for meeting registration and hotel information. If presenters need a letter of invitation in order to make travel arrangements, contact Mary Langman to request a letter of invitation. Invited, non-MLA member concurrent session speakers should work with the lead contact for their session regarding courtesy registration for the meeting. To request courtesy registration for a non-MLA invited speaker, contact Susan Chesniak.

By February 19, 2014 (7:00 p.m. central time), update your abstract information in the abstract submission system. This update must include: unblinding any sections of the abstract that require clarification, adding “results” and “conclusions” if they were not included in the original submission, and updating audiovisual (AV) and computer equipment needs for papers. All parts of the abstract (objectives, methods, results, and conclusion sections combined) may not exceed 400 words.

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 log in to the abstract submission site and input your AV needs and upload your presentation slides and handouts (typically, PDF or PowerPoint 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 equipment, or Internet access for my paper presentation?

A computer, computer projector, screens, and microphones will be provided in each presentation room. You may order Internet access and other equipment at your own expense in coordination with the program planner. Ordering information for additional equipment will be provided upon acceptance of your abstract.

Typically, contributed paper sessions do not provide Internet connections for presenters. The program sponsor of 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 (see Question 17 below). The cost for an Internet connection is approximately $800. All questions about ordering these connections should be directed to Tina Vickery, meeting manager.

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. How can I show off our new website without a live Internet connection?

Programs such as WebWhacker, HTTrack, and SiteSucker allow you to download an entire website to your hard drive. You can then display and browse your website locally, without the need of an online connection. You can also use screen-recording/screen-capture software such as Jing to create a stand-alone video of your site in action or capture a screen shot. This can act as a backup for times when you want to demonstrate a specific feature and you are having connectivity problems. More information is available at (WebWhacker for Windows); (free for Windows and Linux), (free or donation, for Mac OS); and (free for Windows and Mac OS).

18. Should I bring handouts and other giveaways for my paper presentation?

Before the meeting, upload handouts to the abstract processing system so that attendees can view them online. In an effort to keep the meeting as green as possible and limit paper waste, 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 program sessions with speaker approval will be audio recorded. The audio recordings will be available via the e-Conference to paid registrants. Please plan to upload PowerPoint presentations for inclusion in the e-Conference by logging into your Conference Harvester account by May 12, 2014.

19. 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)?

All contributed paper authors including non-MLA members 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.

20. Where can I find moderator guidelines?

Each session program has a moderator. Moderators keep the session running on schedule. For additional information, see the moderator guidelines.

21. Whom should I contact for contributed paper assistance?

Inquiries about programs, contributed paper abstracts, or contributed paper themes should be emailed to contact listed on the theme page or Douglas L. Varner, AHIP, Section Council liaison.

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. Support is available 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. You are encouraged to submit your abstract by October 30, 2013, to avoid the last minute rush and allow time for technical assistance, if needed.

Viewing Papers Presentations after the Meeting

22. How and when can I view presentations after the meeting?

An online meeting content library hosted by MLA 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, log in 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, program sessions may be viewed online with synchronized PowerPoint, provided that the presenters give recording permission.

Plenary sessions will be video recorded and posted within twenty-four 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.


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