Lionel Garth Jones on 6 May 2011 14:57:46 -0700

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[PLUG] Making It Easier to Submit Papers to USENIX LISA '11

We want YOU to submit a paper this year to the LISA conference.
Really. Yes, you! Whether you are an academic developing new
algorithms that improve system administration, a leader of an open
source project that sysadmins find valuable, or a practitioner in
industry that has written new software to improve productivity, we
believe there's a paper inside all of you that wants to get out!
(LISA '11 is December 4-9, 2011, in Boston). LISA is also a great
venue for student papers: it is a friendly audience and we have a
"Best Student Paper" award that pays cash.

LISA '11 is doing three big things this year to make it easier to
submit a paper:

1. We provide mentoring.

Submitting a paper to a conference can be intimidating, a lot of work,
and stressful. To make the process easier, the members of the LISA
Program Committee (PC) are available to provide mentoring. You can
bounce ideas off of us by email or phone, we'll proofread your drafts,
and we'll try to answer any questions about the conference or submission
process. Just write "assign me a mentor" in email to the conference
co-chairs at

Mentors can help turn your accepted abstract into a "print ready" final
draft. We'll also work with you over video chat to rehearse and
strengthen your presentation for the conference.

2. You don't have to submit a full paper.

It can be heartbreaking to write a complete paper only to learn it
wasn't accepted for this year's conference. Papers are 8 to 18 pages;
that's a lot of writing. In recent years about 20 of the approximately
80 submitted papers were accepted.

While you may submit a complete paper, we will also accept an
"extended abstract" of 4-8 pages. You only write the full paper by
the publication deadline if your abstract is accepted.

In an extended abstract, you document the meat of your paper. You want
to make sure you don't leave out important points such as what you have
achieved along with how you achieved it. Phrases like "the full paper
will reveal the new algorithm" don't allow the PC to evaluate your
efforts. Working with a mentor can help you through this process to
ensure you submit the best abstract possible.

3. You don't have to be a scientist.

"But I haven't invented anything!" Refereed papers describe work that
advances the art or practice of system administration and are held to
high research standards. However, LISA has an additional category
called "Practice and Experience Reports" (PER) that describe a
substantial system administration project whose story reveals lessons
worth sharing. In other words, you did something awesome and want to
tell the world about it so they can learn from your mistakes. (Did I say
mistakes? I meant "learn from your awesomeness.") Actually, failures
are often worth documenting as we learn the most!

A PER is judged on the basis of whether it addresses a pressing or
rising need in the industry and the usefulness of the lessons learned.
If accepted, a final draft of the full report (4-10 pages) is due by the
publication deadline, just like refereed papers.

The first paper I presented at a LISA conference would have been a PER,
if the category had existed then. That was 1997! My paper wasn't
rocket science (or even computer science), but we were able to explain
some valuable insights into what to do (but mostly what not to do).

We're also looking for proposals for general talks, special Q&A talks
called "The Guru Is In," and posters.


Every PC member is currently reaching out to friends, calling
universities, and visiting user groups to encourage people to submit
papers. We'd love for you to announce the Call for Participation at your
local user group meetings (and we'll give you a little gift if you do).
Let us know if you're interested in getting more involved by
participating on a future PC.

LISA '11 is making an extra big effort to seek out new papers and new
authors. We're doing outreach, we're making the submission process
easier, and we're providing mentoring. So, if you have never submitted
an abstract to LISA, maybe this is your year. Contact us if you are on
the fence. Maybe we can answer your questions and concerns to put you
on the path to successful author.

The submission deadline is June 9, 2011. That may seem far in the
future but it creeps up on us very fast. Start brainstorming your paper
now and we look forward to receiving your submission soon!

Tom Limoncelli
LISA '11 Program Co-Chair

Key dates:
-- Submission deadline: June 9, 2011, 11:59 p.m. PDT:
Extended abstracts, papers, experience reports, and proposals for
invited talks, workshops, and tutorials
-- Notification to all submitters: July 11, 2011
-- Publication deadline: September 15, 2011: Final papers and reports due
-- Poster proposals due: November 11, 2011
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