Banner Image

17th Distance Library Services Conference: Contributed Papers


Important Dates

Call for Proposals


Conference Begins
April 20, 2016

Stay Connected!

Join the conference mailing list!

Contact Us

  • Email
  • Phone: 770-933-7669

Contributed Papers & Presentations


Completed papers should be scholarly, well-organized, and clearly written. Be sure to consult the "Standards for Writing Papers" page to assist you in composing your paper.

In general, paper sections and organization should follow the style of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA) 6th Edition (2009). For help with APA style, please see:

Your paper is expected to be in journal publication-ready condition when submitted, meaning you have proofread and copy-edited your paper before submitting it for review. Please follow and submit the completed Author Checklist with your file. Papers that do not conform to APA guidelines as outlined in the Author Checklist may be returned for corrections.


Written paper must be no less than five (5) pages in length, excluding appendices and references, submitted by Nov. 8, 2015.

All papers must be submitted as Microsoft Word documents. Papers submitted in PDF or any other format will not be accepted.

Track Changes mode must be completely removed from your document before it is submitted; use the MS Word Inspect Document feature to do this. Do not hide the changes by clicking “Show Final”; this is not a permanent fix and it is not acceptable. For more information on using the Inspect Document feature, please see:

Include the paper title, author(s), and affiliation(s) at the top of the first page, aligned center. The exact spelling and order of name(s) and affiliation(s) that appear on the paper will be used in the official conference program with no exceptions or changes after submission and should be identical with the author’s agreement.

A justified abstract (one paragraph, no more than 150 words) must follow the title, author(s) and affiliation(s), and also aligned center. Adjust the margins for the abstract to two (2) inches on left and right.

Tables and figures should be submitted in a separate file from your paper, with one table or figure per page. Please note that figures include graphs, charts, maps, drawings, photographs, screenshots, and other illustrations. You may include note(s) in your paper for where you prefer your tables and figures to appear, but Conference Proceedings editors reserve the right to adjust position for clarity.


All papers are expected to follow these formatting requirements:

  • All margins must be one (1) inch on all sides for the body of the paper.
  • Use 12pt, Times New Roman font.
  • Align your text to the left and indent the first line of each new paragraph by a standard Tab (0.5 inches).
  • Your paper headings must follow the format specified by APA 6th Edition. For more information, please see: 
  • All tables and figures must be labeled in the proper APA format. Include a short, descriptive title above each table, with any additional information contained in a note below the table. Include figure titles and descriptions in a caption below each figure. For more information on formatting, please see: and
  • Per APA 6th Edition style, if a work has five (5) or fewer authors, cite them all on the references list, as well as in the first in-text citation for that work. For more information on formatting citation author names in APA 6th Edition, please see: 
  • IMPORTANT: According to APA 6th Edition style, all citations included in the references list must correspond to an in-text citation, and vice versa. Check to see that your citations match and that all are present both in-text and on the references list. You may include resources not cited in-text in an appendix of suggested reading. EXCEPTION: personal communications are cited in-text, but not in the references list. For more information, please see:


Some exceptions to APA 6th Edition are advised in order to create a clean look for the Conference Proceedings, which will contain every paper alphabetically by lead author's last name. These include:

  • Do not number pages, and do not include a running head. This will allow the editors to combine all papers into one unified proceedings document.
  • Use single spacing within paragraphs, and double spacing between paragraphs. This helps to save space within the unified document.


Papers should follow a standard structure using an introduction, body, and conclusion:

  • The introduction should stimulate the reader’s interest, explain the issue to be discussed and the broader context of the issue, state the author’s thesis or purpose, and summarize the main sections of the argument or discussion to follow in the body.  
  • The body of the paper should support the argument or discussion identified in the introduction by presenting ideas, facts, examples, and other evidence that will lead the reader to understand the author’s thesis. 
  • The conclusion should sum up the paper’s thesis and the evidence presented to support it. The conclusion may also call for actions based on the information presented, identify future directions for research or practice, and/or place the paper’s thesis within the broader context of the issue.

Each paper should demonstrate an objective and scholarly approach to writing. Papers should always be written in the third person.

The title of the paper should appropriately reflect the main theme, issue, or information discussed in the paper. An ideal title piques the reader’s interest in the topic of the paper. 

Each paper should include evidence of a literature search and familiarity with current literature relevant to both the thesis and the broader context in which the issue exists. Two key questions to be asked in this connection are:

  • What have others said about the issue or topic?
  • How is this particular thesis different from what others have discussed in the literature?

Each paper should contain citations to relevant or appropriate literature and include a list of references at the end.


Conference papers will generally fall into one of the following four categories:

Authors should decide into which category the paper will fit. In other words, is the paper's primary purpose to:

  • Describe practices at a specific institution?
  • Report the results of a research study?
  • Describe and discuss current issues or practices in a general sense?
  • Provide instruction to the reader?

Case Studies

A case study is a paper that describes initiatives, services, or practices at a specific institution or group of institutions (e.g. a consortium or a collaborative endeavor). 

Case studies provide an opportunity to apply theory to practice. A case study is often an example of something more general, such as solving a problem in service planning or streamlining the delivery of services. A case study should focus on:

  • A body of theory or knowledge.
  • A problem or challenge within this wider context.
  • What others have said or done about this or a similar challenge.
  • The implications of not meeting the challenge or solving the problem.
  • How the institution has approached the situation and met the challenge.
  • How this solution contributes to the body of theory or the wider context.
  • Which variables need to be addressed in order for the institution to move forward.
  • What factors the readers should consider in order to benefit from the institution’s experiences (i.e. lessons learned).
  • Future directions for enhancing theory and/or practice in this area.

Background information should be kept minimal, providing just enough detail for the reader to obtain a brief overview of the institution, its operation, and the context in which the study exists. Institutional statistics should only be provided in brief summary form to enable the reader get a general sense of the size or quantity being discussed. Extensive tables of statistics should be avoided in case studies.

Examples of forms, web pages, agreements, policies, and other documents should be included in or appended to case studies with discretion. All such examples should be directly relevant to the main themes of the paper and be kept to a manageable quantity. It is generally more appropriate to include a minimal number of reproductions and provide the readers with URLs for related electronic sources. 

Research Papers

Research papers either report the results of quantitative or qualitative studies or review published research sources to build an argument or thesis. The former is most often used in conference papers. A paper reporting research results is generally structured as follows:

  • Introduction
  • Literature review
  • Methodology, including:
    • Sampling techniques, target population, respondent profile
    • Data collection methods
    • Measurement techniques
  • Results or findings, including:
    • Descriptive statistics
    • Hypothesis testing
  • Discussion, including:
    • Summary of findings
    • Implications for practice
    • Limitations of the study
    • Recommendations for further research

A research paper should focus on:

  • A body of theory or knowledge.
  • The study of an issue or practice that will contribute towards enhancing this body of theory or knowledge.
  • How the study relates to other studies in the same area.

For a conference paper, the results of a research study should be presented like an academic journal article but with less detail. Tables of statistics and statistical analysis should be included in limited quantities and summarized wherever possible.

Hybrid Case Studies / Research Papers

Occasionally, an author attempts to combine a case study with a research paper (for example, describing an institution’s practices as well as reporting the results of a study conducted at that institution). Whenever possible, this hybrid approach should be avoided.

If the hybrid approach is necessary to the author’s central thesis or purpose, the paper should be treated primarily as a case study with a section that is structured as a mini-research paper (containing methodology, results, and discussion). In the conclusion, it should be demonstrated how the study and its results contribute to the author’s central thesis or purpose and its wider context.

State-of-the-Art Papers and How-to Papers

State-of-the-art papers include literature reviews, analytical essays, and descriptions of new products or services that may not have been well covered in the literature to date. 

How-to papers primarily provide instruction to the reader or suggest techniques for dealing with a particular type of issue or situation.

These two types of papers may draw on examples of practices at various institutions but do not focus on any one specific institution.

The General Standards detailed above are applicable to these types of papers as well. In cases where there is little or no directly relevant library literature available to draw upon (e.g. descriptions of new products and services), every attempt should be made by the author to cite from general works that are related to the topic or to find and cite relevant literature from other disciplines.

As with the other two types, these papers should convey to the reader:

  • How does the information relate to an existing body of knowledge?
  • What is unique about the information in this paper?
  • How can it benefit the reader?
  • How can it benefit the profession?

The Author Checklist ensures that authors have met all the paper requirements. Please follow and submit the completed Author Checklist with your file. Papers that do not conform to APA guidelines as outlined in the Author Checklist may be returned for corrections.


The Contributed Paper presentation provides you with the opportunity to discuss your paper with other conference attendees. Your presentation should highlight the main topic of your paper and its results and conclusions, while only briefly touching on research methods. Your paper will be available to all attendees in the conference proceedings, so please do not read your paper during your presentation.


  • Presentations should not exceed 55 minutes total.
  • Presenters cannot use personal laptops.

All presentation rooms will be equipped with a podium, microphone, laptop, projector, and screen. Each presentation will also have Internet access, if needed. However, an Internet connection robust enough for effective web conferencing cannot be guaranteed, so the use of Skype and other web conferencing tools is discouraged. Specific audio-visual requests must be submitted to the Conference Coordinator no later than two weeks prior to the conference and approval is subject to availability and cost.


Central Michigan University Library, 250 East Preston Street, Mount Pleasant, MI 48859 | (989) 774-1100 | Contact Us

CMU, an AA/EO institution, strongly and actively strives to increase diversity and provide equal opportunity within its community.

Copyright © Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, MI 48859 | (989) 774-4000 | Privacy Policy