MLA '09: 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-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.
2. How do I submit a paper abstract?
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, October 6, 2008, at midnight, central time (CT). 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. 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 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 by February 16, 2009 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. 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 themes
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 15, 2008. 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?
All withdrawals or cancellations must be in writing and emailed to Brenda Dreier, 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 canceled close to the publication date may still be printed in the abstract supplement.
Preparing for the Meeting: Contributed Papers
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 Monday, February 16, 2009, 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, and updating 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. You also will be asked to reconfirm your AV needs and to submit an electronic version of your presentation and handouts (typically, PDF or PPT files) for inclusion on the MLA annual meeting CD. Electronic presentations and handouts for the CD are due by May 8 via email atttachment to email@example.com.
15. How do I order AV or computer support equipment for my paper presentation?
The abstract submission site asks the submitting author's preferences for the following complimentary equipment for contributed paper presentations:
Screens and microphones will be provided. 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
- Do not read your paper, present your paper!
- Use presentation software, like PowerPoint (if appropriate)
- to help organize your presentation logically and succinctly
- to 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 $800. Phone line connections are approximately $200. All questions about ordering these connections should be directed to Brenda Dreier.
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?
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 audiotape of all presentations will be included on the MLA annual meeting CD available for purchase; please submit handouts and PowerPoint presentations for inclusion in the CD by May 1 via email atttachment to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 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 Janice Cox, AHIP, 2009 NPC Section Council liaison.