ASIS&T SIG Digital Libraries Call for Proposals (and tips!)

SUBMISSION DEADLINE: September 15, 2011
* Proposals will be accepted on a rolling basis *

The Special Interest Group for Digital Libraries ( of the American Society for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T) is seeking proposals for an UNDERGRADUATE AND MASTERS STUDENTS ONLY panel at the 2011 ASIS&T Annual Meeting. This event is intended to provide students with an opportunity to present their work during the main conference sessions areas of interest relevant to information and knowledge management. The session will also serve as a social meeting point to facilitate networking between students, faculty, and professionals. To accommodate those students who cannot attend the conference, we are accepting pre-made video presentations and mailed-in posters instead. All abstracts, presentation media, and posters will be published on the SIG DL website after the conference.

Special guest speakers include June Abbas (SIG DL Chair), Jacob Carlson (Purdue University Libraries), and Anne Diekema (SIG DL Membership Officer).  For full information, go to

“But how do I get in (or even write a proposal)?”

Believe it or not, you probably have a good stockpile of material even after only 1 semester’s worth of classes.  Each project, paper, or collaboration you do has potential to turn into a poster or presentation at a conference.  That’s not to say that everything you produce will be accepted but the more things you have on hand, the higher your chances.

First of all, consider what kind of proposal you want to make.  Posters are nice if you have an idea-in-progress, speaking jitters, or are collaborating with people.  Presentations are good for when you are talking about a product, system prototype, data-rich research, and fully developed ideas that require more space than a poster can hold.

Most of the papers you write in the IST classes will be literature reviews, not full research papers with datasets to match.  Those tend to make better posters.  If you happened to go conduct some interviews or surveys as part of your paper, then that can possibly bump it up into presentation territory.  Please be aware – any data you collect involving people, even a simply ‘yes’ or ‘no’, can require IRB (institutional review board) approval before you are allowed to present it.  This generally has to be done before you even start talking to your population.  Pretty much every professor at UAlbany who has worked with human subjects will be familiar with this process.  Prof. Rorissa (the UAlbany ASIS&T faculty advisor) is one such person. 

If you come up with a tricky piece of code or actually *build* a repository or something else that might count as applied or practical research, make your decision based on originality, complexity, application value, and historical precedent.  With a poster, you can get away with some cool diagrams and then let people ask you questions.  With a presentation, you will have to provide context and theory behind your creation as well as be prepared to answer some tough questions.

Group projects and student chapter collaborations can potentially swing either way.  Posters are easier because then you don’t have to decide who will speak and who won’t.  Presentations are easier when you have a “product” like a website with a really large scope.  Both require a lot of project management and people coordination to pull things together.

Once you decided whether you are going to do a poster or presentation, you can start writing the actual proposal.  There are different formats for this with the 250/500 word general abstract being the easiest.  A fast way to start is by taking the opening paragraph of your paper and modifying it bit by bit.  Another way to write your proposal is to start with a summary of your paper, then end with what your poster or presentation would actually entail.    In a worst case scenario, there are actual structured formats you can use, such as the Medical Library Association ( or Association of Computing Machinery-based (

After much wringing of hands, late night coffee, and random sacrifices to the academic gods…you do a last spell-check, e-mail your document off, and wait. 🙂

Examples please? (these are not set in stone)

IST656 final paper ——–> Poster

Student chapter field trip ———–> Poster

Internship project ————–> Presentation

Internship experience ————-> Poster

Full-blown data-driven original research ————> Presentation

Key things to remember

For this particular event, keep in mind the following things:

* How relevant is your topic?

* Can you present in 5 minutes or in a poster?

* How original is your research?


Good luck everyone!


Eugenia Kim received her Masters in Information Science at the University at Albany in 2010.
She is currently a Visiting Data Services Specialist/Assistant Professor of Library Science at Purdue University.


One thought on “ASIS&T SIG Digital Libraries Call for Proposals (and tips!)

  1. Awesome, thank you Eugenia. I do hope people will read this and get motivated to submit and participate!!!!

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