Frequently Asked Questions: Submitting a Session Proposal

Information about submitting a session proposal for the SAA Annual Meeting, what the Program Committee is looking for, and the peer-review process for selecting Annual Meeting sessions.

If your question isn't answered on this page, send an email message to the Conference Office at conference@archivists.org

 

I submitted a proposal but would like to make changes in it. Can I do that?

Yes, the software that we use (ER Speaker) allows you to log in and revise your proposal, but only up until the submission deadline of 11:59 pm (Central time) on Friday, November 18.

You can also view the form or begin the proposal without submitting it. Just remember to complete it and submit it before the deadline! 

 

How are sessions selected?

Although some professional organizations charge their program committees with crafting sessions and inviting speakers, SAA has a more member-driven process:  We issue a broad call for proposals and the Program Committee selects sessions from what is submitted by the archives and records community. Read more about the Program Committee’s process here.

 

I have an idea for a session. Can I just submit that?

All session proposals considered by the Program Committee must come to the committee fully formed via the official submission form, with a title, description (abstract), and the names and contact information of individuals who have agreed to speak if the session is accepted. The committee is not able to match up speakers to create a session. But don’t give up on your idea! Here are two ways to find collaborators:

  • The 2017 Program Committee created a Google spreadsheet to be used as an informal tool to connect individuals who are seeking ideas and/or collaboration on session proposals for the 2017 Annual Meeting. It is not monitored by SAA or the Program Committee and is not part of the submission process.
  • Consider contacting an SAA board, committee, task force, working group, or section that might be interested in your topic to see if they would be willing to work with you to flesh out your idea into a full proposal. Find a list of SAA’s component groups here.

 

What are the duties of a session chair?  How do you choose one?

The chair is the person who submits the proposal and serves as the point of contact for that session through the conference. (Note: In past years the session proposer could be an individual other than the chair. Due to software limitations, beginning in 2017 the presumed chair must submit the proposal.)

 

The chair must be willing to: 

  • Implement any changes that the Program Committee requests.
  • Keep information flowing to session speakers and ensure that everyone completes required releases.
  • Approve the session description and roster that appear in the online and print programs.
  • Notify the Conference Office right away if there are changes to the session description or roster.
  • Connect the speakers in advance of the conference to ensure a coordinated program.
  • Take charge of the session as it is presented, making sure that the speakers are introduced and that they stay on topic and on time.

Selection of the chair is the responsibility of the persons creating the session. If there are only two participants in a session, one of them must be designated as the chair (and point of contact). Or a third individual who is familiar with your topic may serve as chair. Depending on the session format, the chair might also serve as moderator or commentator.

 

What are the roles of a moderator or a commentator?

The roles of moderator or commentator are most useful in the panel presentation format. Typically a moderator (who often is the session chair) serves as “emcee,” ensuring a smooth flow between panelists and managing Q&A between the panelists and audience members. A commentator generally is an individual with significant expertise in the topic area who comments on the speakers’ presentations, often providing her or his own analysis or interpretation of the information presented.

 

Can an individual be a speaker on more than one session? Or a speaker on one session and also a moderator or commentator on another session?

No. To ensure the broadest possible participation in the conference program, the 2017 Program Committee has decided that individuals may speak on only one session—regardless of the session format or their role on the session.

 

If one presenter appears on two proposals, will this automatically result in rejection of both proposals?

No. If an individual’s name appears on more than one accepted session, the Program Committee will work with the chairs of the two sessions and the speaker to ensure that an appropriate substitution is made.

 

Must all speakers be archivists or records managers?

No. Although the audience for education sessions at the Annual Meeting comprises archivists and records managers, we know that we have much to learn from individuals with other education, expertise, and perspectives.

 

Can an industry partner/vendor propose a session?

Yes. We understand that individuals associated with our industry partners often have important information and expertise to share. But the Program Committee will review the proposal carefully to ensure that there is no intent to present a commercial message. If a proposal is accepted and we learn that the actual session included a commercial message, that information is passed along to future Program Committees.

SAA provides an Exhibit Hall Mini-Theater at which industry partners/vendors are invited to make presentations about their products and services to enhance their Expo booth presence.

 

Does the SAA conference include poster presentations in addition to platform presentations?

Yes. This single-presenter format allows you to share your work visually and talk with colleagues one-on-one, without standing at a podium in front of a crowd. 

 

I’d like to submit a proposal for a professional poster presentation. Will I be able to use my laptop to display information in conjunction with my poster?

Yes, but there are a few drawbacks. The conference organizers cannot guarantee the safety of unattended equipment (which means you must remove it if you’re not with your poster), the availability of an outlet, or the strength of the wireless signal in the conference space. A wired Internet connection will not be available.

 

When can I expect a decision about my proposal?

You can expect a status update within two weeks of the Program Committee meeting, which will be held January 9-11, 2017.

 

Are student paper and poster proposals due on November 18 as well?

No. Student paper and poster presentations have a separate call for proposals that usually launches in late November, with a February deadline. Watch the SAA and conference websites for exact dates.

 

What’s the plan for Pop-Up sessions in 2017?

As noted in the 2017 Call for Proposals, the Program Committee will continue to experiment with the Pop-Up session idea initiated in 2015. A separate call for Pop-Up proposals will be issued in early 2017 and sessions will be selected via member vote. Do not use the session proposal form for Pop-Up proposals.

 

What’s the plan for the Saturday forum on “The Liberated Archive: A Forum for Envisioning and Implementing a Community-Based Approach to Archives”?

A subcommittee of the 2017 Program Committee is developing that plan now. Additional forum information and a call for proposals will be forthcoming in January 2017. Watch the conference website at www.archivists.org/am2017!

 

 

Still have a question? Contact the Conference Office at conference@archivists.org.

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