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MLA ’21 FAQ: Papers, Posters, Lightning Talks, and Immersion Sessions

Abstract Accepted? Prepare for the Meeting!

Once accepted, your sessions will be added to the Conference Harvester system, which is an online database of approved abstracts. The primary contact identified on the application will be invited to access the online Conference Harvester to confirm their session title is accurate and to add presenter information.

Additional audiovisual or other special setup needs can be requested through the conference Harvester and are due February 2021.

Other Things You Should Do

  • For an in-person conference, you should make travel arrangements as soon as possible after acceptance. This is especially critical for international presenters who may need additional time. At least one author MUST be registered for the meeting and available to present the paper, lightning talk, or poster at the in-person conference on the date and time assigned. For in-person conferences, see the MLANET website for meeting registration, hotel information, and travel information. If presenters need a letter of invitation to make travel arrangements, they should contact Mary Langman, MLA director, Information Issues and Policy, to request a letter of invitation.
  • By February 1, 2021, review and update your abstract information in the Conference Harvester. This update must include unblinding any sections of the abstract, if needed.
  • By April 23, 2021, 6:00 p.m., central time, primary authors should complete the following tasks:
    • Make any final updates to your abstract, adding results and conclusions if you did not include them in your original submission. All parts of any abstract may not exceed 400 words.
  • By May 3, 2021, 6:00 p.m., central time, primary authors should complete the following tasks:
    • Upload your poster for online viewing by attendees.
    • The 2021 posters will be shared on the ePoster gallery.

Presenters must register for any MLA in-person or virtual conference at which they present:

Accepted sessions will be uploaded in the Conference Harvester. By January 22, 2021, the primary contact must log in to the Conference Harvester and ensure the program title and descriptions are accurate and add author/presenter and facilitator names and bios. Include photos, if available. Presentation and abstract titles cannot be changed after January 22.

The title will appear in the printed program. The title, description, presenter names, bios, and sponsoring groups will appear in the online meeting planner and meeting app. The online meeting planner/app is used by attendees to help them choose which sessions they want to attend. The planner offers keyword search that examines all presentation information, including session title, description, presenter names, and bios. Be sure to carefully proofread your entry, especially names and titles, to ensure all information is accurate.

Sources of funding should always be disclosed. Where a clinical trial registration number is available, this should be included.

Conflicts of interest

Presenters shall provide a statement and slide at the beginning of the presentation that discloses any conflicts of interest (or lack thereof). Sample wording:

  • [Name of individual] has received fees for serving as a speaker, a consultant, or an advisory board member for [names of organizations], and has received research funding from [names of organization].
  • [Name of individual] is an employee of [name of organization].
  • [Name of individual] owns stocks and shares in [name of organization].
  • [Name of individual] owns other interest in the organization and brief description.


MLA assumes no responsibility for statements or opinions expressed in the presentations. The MLA president and/or MLA executive director have the authority to exclude a presentation from the program.

  • Before the meeting, the primary contact for the session will be notified to log in to the Conference Harvester and upload their presentation slides (typically, portable document format [PDF] or PowerPoint files). The primary contact should upload the slides in the Conference Harvester by May 3, 2021.
  • Electronic copies of posters will be gathered through the Conference Harvester and be available to e-attendees.
  • Please follow the instructions in the Conference Harvester regarding how to upload your slides and poster file.
  • Before an in-person or virtual conference, upload handouts to the Conference Harvester 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 to an in-person conference 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 vConference to paid registrants. Please plan to upload PowerPoint presentations for inclusion in the vConference by logging into your Conference Harvester account by May 3, 2021.

While MLA does not endorse or recommend any specific product listed here, programs such as WebWhacker, HTTrack, and SiteSucker do 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 or screen-capture software, such as Jing, SnagIt, or FireShot to create stand-alone videos or to capture a screenshot. These options can act as a backup for times when you want to demonstrate a specific feature and you cannot connect to the Internet or do not have a speedy WiFi connection.

  • Larger institutions or institutions that support the educational activities of their staff members may have in-house publishing or large-format printing assistance for paper posters.
  • PosterSmith offers printing on fabric material.

Any paper and lightning talk group session will have a moderator. Moderators keep the session running on schedule. Moderators: use these guidelines to assist you in running the session and staying on schedule.

  • Moderator Guidelines: immersion sessions (TBA)
  • Moderator Guidelines: papers and lightning talks (TBA)
  • National Program Committee Contributed Content Working Group: contact the Working Group:
  • Papers: Barbara Ballew, AHIP, Katherine Downton, AHIP, Alexa Mayo, AHIP, Kim Mears, and Jennifer Schram, AHIP
  • Posters: Rebecca Carlson, AHIP, Kelsey Grabeel, AHIP, and Jessica Sender, AHIP
  • Lightning talks: Charlotte Beyer, AHIP, Margaret Hoogland, AHIP, and Gregg Stevens, AHIP
  • Immersion sessions: National Program Committee Contributed Content Working Group

For help with other aspects of your contributed paper or presentation experience, please contact staff:

Support is available 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., central time, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

At and After the Conference

Onsite at an in-person conference, speakers and panelists should check-in at the Speaker Ready Room to view and confirm that their slides are ready or to make final changes, if needed. Speakers and panelists can also ask the AV staff to explain how to use the AV equipment that will be in place for the session.

Please do! All contributed paper authors, including non-MLA members, are asked to give first option for publishing their presentations to the Journal of the Medical Library Association. 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. Visit Publish a Book with MLA to find proposal guidelines and learn more about the kinds of topics that MLA seeks.

Abstracts will be posted to the online planner ahead of the conference to allow attendees to schedule their meeting experience.

To access presentations and other online meeting content, log in to MLANET and visit the online planner.

  • Within three days after an in-person event, appropriate live program sessions may be viewed online with synchronized PowerPoint files, provided that the presenters have given us recording permission.
  • Live plenary sessions will be video recorded and posted after the event the event.
  • Paid meeting registrants (vConference and in-person) will have exclusive access to the online meeting content for twelve months after the meeting.
  • After one year, all current MLA members may view meeting content.

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