From the Annual Meeting 2006 column of the January 2005 Perspectives
Electronic Proposal Submission System Activated
Debbie Ann Doyle, January 2005
The article below only applies to proposals submitted for the 2006 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia. If you are interested in submitting a proposal for the 2007 Annual Meeting please refer to the following sites for information on how to submit proposals:
User-friendly online forms will make task much easier
Prospective organizers of sessions at the 2006 annual meeting may now submit proposals at www.historians.org/annual. Only electronic proposals will be accepted by the 2006 Program Committee. Proposals must be submitted by midnight, Pacific Standard Time, on February 15, 2005. We apologize for the delay in going "live" with the new system; we have been working with the contractor to troubleshoot and ensure that the system is as reliable and user-friendly as possible.
How it Works
Step-by-step instructions will guide organizers through the submission process. Organizers will be prompted to select from a menu of session types (Formal Session, Discussion/Roundtable Session, Experimental Session, Pre-Circulated Paper Session, Multi-Session Workshop, or Poster—see the definitions of the new session types in the November Perspectives. Session organizers will be automatically directed to an electronic interface replacing the old paper "cover sheet."
Before going online, session organizers should collect the following information, which will be needed to submit a complete proposal: type of session, session title (of no more than 20 words) a short (one- to two-page) curriculum vitae for each person on the session, correct mailing and e-mail addresses for each person, paper titles, and audio-visual requirements. Organizers will be prompted to select from a pull-down menu the region, historical period, and subject keyword that best describes the session. Organizers will also be required to submit an abstract for the session as a whole, including objectives, issues to be raised, methodologies to be employed, and pedagogical implications. Organizers should also collect brief electronic abstracts for each individual paper or presentation. Please note that though the Annual Meeting Guidelines do not mandate a strict word limit for abstracts, they should be brief; in general, no more than 200–300 words. After registering to use the system, session organizers will be able to modify the proposal up to midnight, PST, on Feb. 15, 2005.
Prospective participants should note also that a new policy for ordering audiovisual equipment is being implemented for the 2006 meeting. Session organizers are required to submit a.v. requests when submitting their proposal. Although the Program Committee will not consider audiovisual requirements when reviewing proposals, early notice is required for efficient and economical management of a.v. equipment at the meeting. Requests for audiovisual equipment that are received after the February 15, 2005, deadline will be subject to an additional fee (See section 3.4 of the Annual Meeting Guidelines for details).
- Read the instructions: Detailed, step-by-step instructions are available from every screen in the system. Organizers should read and carefully follow the instructions before submitting a proposal.
- Don’t hit the "Back" button: Clicking on "back" will result in error messages. Organizers who make a mistake should, nevertheless, proceed with the submission process. They will have the opportunity to review and edit a summary of the proposal before submitting it.
- Save your work before proceeding: Organizers should be sure to save all information in a storage device (diskette, hard disk, USB memory device, and so on) before submitting the proposal, as it will not be possible to recover information entered on screen, but lost in transition.
- Read the guidelines for the type of session you are proposing: There is a limit on the number of presentations allowed per session. This limit varies by session type. Guidelines are posted on the screen organizers will use to populate their session.
- Know the Role of Each Participant in the Session: The system will prompt you to designate each participant as author, organizer, chair, or commentator. You may assign more than one role to an individual.
- Save Time When Adding AHA Members to a Session: When adding participants to a session, organizers will be able to look up AHA members by last name and automatically access contact information.
- Don’t Panic! Organizers who fear they have lost their work should return to the main menu and click "Submit a New Proposal." In most cases, the organizer will have the option to select and edit the proposal in progress.
Reason for the Change
At its January, 2004 meeting, AHA Council directed staff to initiate an electronic proposal submission system for the 2006 annual meeting. Several other scholarly associations of comparable size have already successfully adopted online proposal systems. An online system will improve communication between session organizers and the Program Committee, make the administration of the entire process (reviewing proposals, developing a good program, managing scheduling and planning, and so on) much more efficient, and accommodate the many innovative session formats being introduced in 2006.
— As AHA’s convention assistant, Debbie Ann Doyle helps to coordinate and manage several aspects of AHA annual meetings, including the implementation of the electronic proposal submission system.