From the Annual Meeting 2007 column of the September 2005 Perspectives
Electronic Proposal Submission System for the 2007 Meeting
Debbie Ann Doyle, September 2005
Paper proposals will not be accepted, but user-friendly online forms will make task much easier
At its January 2004 meeting, AHA Council directed staff to initiate an electronic proposal submission system. This system was used to collect proposals for the 2006 meeting and has been modified to reflect lessons learned during the inaugural year. We hope that the online system will improve communication between session organizers and the Program Committee and accommodate the many innovative session formats introduced in 2006.
Session organizers will access the electronic proposal system from the AHA's web site at http://www.historians.org/annual. Organizers will be prompted to select from a menu of session types (Formal Session, Discussion/Roundtable Session, Poster Session, Workshop, Pre-circulated Paper Session, or Experimental Session—see the definitions of the new session in the April, 2005 Perspectives article "New Modes of Presentation: A Glossary"). They will then be automatically directed to an electronic form (replacing the old paper “cover sheet”) where they will enter session information into the system. Step-by-step instructions will guide them through the submission process.
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 biographical paragraph of no more than 250 words for each person on the session, correct mailing and e-mail addresses for each person, paper or presentation titles, and audiovisual requirements. Organizers will be prompted to select from pull-down menus the region, historical period, and subject keyword that best describes the session. They 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. Finally, those submitting panel proposals should also collect brief electronic abstracts for each individual paper or presentation. Please note that although the Annual Meeting Guidelines do not mandate a strict word limit for abstracts, the system will accept session abstracts of no more than 500 words and paper or presentation abstracts of no more than 250 words. Organizers should also be sure to save all information in a storage device (diskette, hard drive, USB memory device, and so on) before submitting the proposal, as it will not be possible to recover information entered on screen, but which might be lost in transit. A series of prompts will guide organizers through the electronic submission process. A list of Frequently Asked Questions will be posted on the AHA web site to provide additional guidance. It is extremely important that organizers follow the instructions carefully in order to prevent errors. After registering to use the system, session organizers can modify the proposal up to midnight, PST, on February 15, 2006.
Prospective participants should note also that the AHA implemented a new policy for ordering audiovisual equipment in 2006. Session organizers are required to submit requests for a.v. equipment when submitting their proposal. Although the Program Committee itself will not consider a.v. requirements when reviewing proposals, early notice is required for efficient and economical management of audiovisual equipment at the meeting. Requests for audiovisual equipment that are received after the February 15, 2006, deadline will be subject to an additional fee (see section 3.4 of the Annual Meeting Guidelines for details).
The electronic proposal submission system is scheduled to be active by early October. Please note that there may be delays as we work with the contractor to troubleshoot and ensure that the system is as reliable and user-friendly as possible. Additional information about using the electronic submission system, preparing poster presentations, submitting papers for “precirculated paper” sessions, and so on, will appear in Perspectives and on the AHA web site at http://www.historians.org/annual in the coming months.
— 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.