Aug 302007

The XML 2007 talk submission deadline is looming; there’s only one this year (and it’s this Friday, August 31st!), so if you miss it, you miss out. I’m one of the reviewers. If you want a high grade if I’m assigned your paper to review, read these hints on writing good abstracts first.

Since the talk submissions are blind-reviewed, the only thing I have to go on is the quality of the abstract. Here’s the check-list I go through.

  • Is the abstract long enough? Abstracts that are too short don’t give enough information for me to judge the quality properly. Remember, I don’t know who you are when I read the abstract.
  • Does the abstract say why the subject is important, as well as what the talk will cover? Both of these are necessary to let people know why they should bother going to the talk.
  • Are technical terms and acronyms used correctly? If these are wrong, I will tend to assume you don’t know what you’re talking about and grade appropriately.
  • Is the grammar and spelling correct? I appreciate a well-crafted, grammatically correct abstract and will tend to assume someone who can write a good abstract can also write a good talk.
  • Who’s the expected audience? The abstract should make it clear who is expected to benefit most from hearing the talk, whether that’s novice or expert, techie or manager.
  • Does this look like a product pitch? If so, it’s probably not suitable.
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