New and Improved Electronic Proposal System Launched

Debbie Ann Doyle, December 2007

Individuals submitting proposals for the 2009 annual meeting in New York will note improvements in the electronic proposal system. The new system, maintained by a new outside contractor, is more user friendly, with clearer instructions and a better interface for adding presenters and presentations to a session proposal. The system is accessible via the AHA web site at www.historians.org/annual/proposals.htm; those submitting proposals should be sure to consult the instructions and guidelines linked to that page. Only electronic proposals will be accepted. The submission deadline will be midnight, Pacific Standard Time, on February 15, 2008.

The new system has been customized to better reflect the AHA's different session types. (See the web site for a detailed description of the different modes of presentation.) Organizers of multi-session workshops will now be able to assign a common title to the workshop and will be required to submit a brief description of its overall purpose and goals. They will also be able to indicate the preferred order of the component sessions and enable colleagues to enter sessions into the workshop. Organizers of experimental sessions will be prompted to include a 50- to 75-word description of the session format. Organizers of roundtable or discussion sessions will be able choose from two styles for listing the session in the program: Panel style will list the name and affiliation of each discussant, but will not include titles for individual presentations. Topical style will list a title for each presentation. (Organizers must submit a brief abstract describing what each discussant will talk about for both listing styles.)

The system will enforce word limits for session abstracts (500 words), presentation or paper abstracts (300 words), and presenter biographies (250 words). Organizers should be sure that their material conforms to these restrictions before attempting to enter a proposal. Organizers will now be able to use special characters, such as accent marks, when entering names, titles, and abstracts. Users will receive an automated e-mail as they proceed through each step of the submission process, enabling them to access partially completed proposals should they encounter computer problems before completing the submission process. Organizers should be sure to save confirmation e-mails so that they can access submissions in process. They will be able to return to the system and modify their proposals up to the February 15 deadline. Best of all, organizers will be able to contact the contractor directly via phone or e-mail for help with technical problems. Support will be available by phone (401-334-0220) Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m.–6:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. Assistance can also be obtained by e-mailing aha@confex.com.

Organizers should be sure to read all instructions and follow them carefully in order to prevent errors.

—Debbie Ann Doyle is the AHA's administrative manager, public history coordinator, and convention assistant.