NLS9 Submission Guidelines

**Round 1 & 2 Submissions are now CLOSED**

Preparing to Submit

Download a PDF version of this information – Session Submission Guidelines

You will find out more about our theme – here

Remember that the initial assessment of proposal submissions will be blind (your name and place of work will be removed). It is the clarity of ideas, originality, diversity of experience and impact on the wider library community that are being evaluated, not the person or their institution. To assist, please avoid mentioning your name or workplace in the description of your session. There will be other areas on the submission form for this. We’ve had questions about ‘how’ to prepare a submission without talking about people or workplaces – and have this advice:

“Sell the Suit, Not the Buttons” – don’t become bogged down in the details. Stay focused on the big picture. On the idea. Pitch your idea in a way that makes us want to hear more, and in a way that makes us see the underlying value and what it can do for the end user. Be energetic and compelling.

One other tip is to submit early. Generally the bulk of proposal submissions are received during the last 48 hours. As a reviewer, being able to read a handful of proposals a day, instead of an influx at the end, will allow us to provide better feedback, pay closer attention to revisions, and work with potential presenters a little more.

You can also watch recordings of the How To Write a Conference Proposal events that have been held around the country.

As part of the submission process, we will ask you:

  • A description of your session
  • The target audience for your session
  • What attendees will learn from your session
  • How your session relates to our themes (Collaborate – Deviate – Innovate)
  • What materials or support you will need for your session
  • Some background information about yourself

Session Types

Submissions will be split into two rounds. This is to keep content fresh, ideas new and topics hot.

Round one

A presentation is delivered like a lecture, with one or two speakers facing a seated audience. The content should be original and be based upon your own experiences in the library/information world. Presentations run for approximately 25 minutes (including 5 minutes for Q&A) and can be illustrated with slides, video, audio or other technology.

A workshop features one or more session leaders assisting a group to learn practical skills. Participants do hands-on activities as part of the learning process. Tables and chairs can be moved around flexibly to accommodate different kinds of activities and participant interaction. Workshops run for longer periods, up to 2 or 3 hours.

A panel brings together 3 or 4 speakers who have different perspectives on a single topic. Panellists might give some short introductory remarks before opening the floor for questions from the audience. Your submission should propose a topic and a facilitator, and suggest some potential panellists. Panels run for up to 55 minutes.

Round two

A lightning talk is a short, fast-paced presentation which provides an opportunity to showcase your experiences or ideas in a “snappier” style. Lightning talks are not a “teaser” of a concept or project – but instead a way to showcase new ideas in an enticing way. Speakers must get right to the heart of the topic and present something solid within the 8-minute time limit. Is there something innovative about what you do? How do your collaborations have a direct impact on your organisation or community? Have your deviations from the norm achieved remarkable results?

The goal of lightning talks is to grab the attention of the audience and articulate a topic in a succinct, insightful, and clear manner. The NLS9 Format will be:

    • Strictly one speaker only for a lightning talk.
    • Co-authors can be listed in the program, but will not receive a speaker’s registration discount
    • Strictly limited to 8 minutes.
    • There will be 3 lightning talks within a block. Questions will be taken from the audience addressed to any of the 3 speakers at the end of the session block.
  • The use of visual prompts or technologies is strongly encouraged.

Debates are a great way to get speakers and attendees engaged and involved with topical issues. The NLS9 debate format involves two speakers who critically explore a hot topic by presenting opposing views. It will allow for different perspectives to be heard. A moderator introduces the debaters and prompts them with questions, finally asking the audience to vote on which debater provided the most compelling view or argument.

The NLS9 Format will be:

    • The debate begins with the moderator stating a position (2 minutes)
    • Speaker 1 then presents arguments that affirm the proposition (7 minutes)
    • Speaker 2 then presents arguments against the proposition (7 minutes)
    • Speaker 1 answers a question from moderator /or rebuttal (3 minutes)
    • Speaker 2 answers a question from moderator / or rebuttal (3 minutes)
    • The moderator asks the audience to vote on which debater provided the most compelling view or argument (3 minutes)
    • Debates run for 25 minutes.
    • The use of visual prompts or technologies is strongly encouraged.
    • When submitting a debate proposal, be sure to include a statement of the proposition to be debated and descriptions of the major points likely to be argued by each side.
    • The debate team requires 3 people – speaker 1, speaker 2 and moderator.
  • Preferably the speakers would have different affiliations / be from different institutions for diversity.

How submissions are assessed

We will assess submissions on these points:

  • Relevance to the NLS9 themes (Collaborate – Deviate – Innovate)
  • Originality
  • Clarity of ideas
  • Impact on the wider library community
  • Diversity of experience

We will give preference to submissions that will equip participants with ideas and skills that can be applied in their own practice.

Submission acknowledgement

Once you have provided a complete submission through the form, we will send you an email to confirm your submission.

Review of submissions

Members of the NLS9 committee will review the submissions, judging them against our assessment criteria. Your personal information will not be attached to the submission details during the review process, to avoid any bias.

After initial review, we may ask you to make small adjustments to the content of your submission, if we feel that they will help your session fit better with the themes and goals of NLS9.

The final decisions on acceptances and session formats are the responsibility of the NLS9 committee.


Once the review process has been completed, we will notify you by email whether your application has been successful or unsuccessful. We can also provide you with comments from the reviewers on request.

Symposium registration

When submitting your session idea, you must intend to register to attend NLS9. Accepted presenters will receive a discount registration fee, but we are unable to offer any other financial assistance to attend. If you don’t register, your session cannot go ahead.

Copyright guidelines

All submissions must be original work and not previously presented in any form at other conferences.

When submitting your session, you will be asked to grant a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 license in your submission. This license allows you to retain copyright in the submission, while letting anybody copy, modify and distribute your submission in any medium or format as long as you are attributed as the creator and it is not used for commercial purposes.

Under this license, your submission may be published on the NLS9 and ALIA websites, smartphone application and symposium program.

We will also ask you to grant permission for your session to be live web-streamed, video and/or audio recorded and for those recordings to be published on the NLS9 and ALIA websites. If you intend to use visual aids such as slideshows, we will ask you to ensure that you have the rights to use all content in these aids and to grant permission to publish them on the NLS9 and ALIA websites.

If you do not agree to grant these licenses and permissions, your submission will not be considered for review.

Key dates

Round one submissions (presentation, workshop or panel session) OPEN:

Wednesday August 1st 2018

Round one submissions (presentation, workshop or panel session) CLOSE:

Sunday September 30th 2018

Advise round one submitters of selection / non-selection by:

Monday November 5th 2018

Round two submissions (lightning talk or debate) OPEN:

Monday February 11th 2019

Round two submissions (lightning talk or debate) CLOSE:

Sunday March 10th 2019

Advise round two submitters of selection/ non-selection by:

Monday April 8th 2019