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Author Guidelines and Assistance
Don't let the fear of writing stop you from sharing your idea. Review these guidelines to aid you with your submission. Still have questions or need more assistance? Contact the program chair at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Go to the submission site and register, now! Log in and leave a title, short abstract, and outline and even references for the program committee. Registering early does not require you to submit a paper or report. However, it does give us a glimpse of your idea before the submission deadline. The program chair can assign a mentor to work with you to help you get your submission into shape before the deadline.
This is good when:
- You want to know if you have a good original idea before putting significant effort into a paper.
- You want to know if your idea has merit for LISA, as opposed to a different conference.
- You want to know if your paper fits better into refereed papers, practice and experience reports (PERs), or some other session of the conference.
- You have an idea and want help crafting your paper for submission.
All of these reasons can be contributing factors for rejection of submissions. Getting early feedback from the program committee could be the difference between acceptance and rejection.
The program chair and the program committee want to help get good ideas into shape for submission. Contact the program chair to request mentoring of your submission. The program chair will assign one or more program committee members to help you through the process.
The chair and the program committee are happy to work with you to get a good and interesting conference program. This kind of support is a win-win for you, for the organizers, and for LISA attendees.
Please read these guidelines carefully. They are written to help you give your submission its best possible chance to be accepted. If you have any questions about whether your paper is appropriate, please contact email@example.com.
Before submitting your paper, ask yourself:
- Relevance: Is the paper appropriate for the LISA conference?
- Presentation: Is the paper readable?
- Quality: Does the work reflect good science/engineering?
- References: Are there sufficient and relevant references to place the paper in a larger context?
- Advancement: Does the paper advance the state of the field?
Currently we have two types of papers or reports published for LISA: refereed papers and practice and experience reports (PERs):
- Refereed papers (often referred to as simply "papers") are the traditional research papers with references.
- Practice and experience reports tell a compelling story about a system administration project that ends with practical lessons for the audience.
Practice and Experience Reports
Practice and experience reports (PERs) are new as of LISA '10. We added these to introduce a track for the practitioner. Much of what people take away from LISA is lessons learned from others who are attempting best practices or developing them through day-to-day system administration project efforts.
We also wanted to create a track that focuses more on the delivery of the message (e.g., the presentation) than on the report. We still want a report to publish in the proceedings for future researchers, but we also want a good story that energizes the audience to push themselves in new ways.
Maybe you've done something that many people shy away from and you learned a lot in the process. This sounds like an ideal PER. A good example is the Best Practice and Experience Report from 2011:
- Deploying IPv6 in the Google Enterprise Network: Lessons Learned
Haythum Babiker, Irena Nikolova, and Kiran Kumar Chittimaneni, Google
LISA has traditionally seen many papers about home-grown scripts and solutions. Custom solution papers need to illustrate a particular principle that can be applied generally, and the main focus of this kind of paper should be the principles, not the implementation. Papers that can draw general conclusions contributing to "the big picture" are most welcome.
In general, when deciding whether to submit a paper, ask yourself: what will the audience and readers learn from my paper? Will anyone want to read it again in five years' time?
A summary and classification of previous LISA papers was provided by Eric Anderson and Dave Patterson in 1999. Look at this paper and see how your work fits in:
Look also at the proceedings from the past three years to see what is current and actual.
If your paper will include numerical results, please take a look at Margo Seltzer and Aaron Brown's presentation:
- Measuring Computer Systems: How to Measure Performance
Margo Seltzer and Aaron Brown, Harvard University
If you plan to submit an extended abstract and would like to review a sample, please see the abstract from the LISA '10 Best Paper Award winner:
- Log Analysis and Event Correlation Using Variable Temporal Event Correlator (VTEC)
Paul Krizak, Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.
Papers describing experiences gained using different software systems are valuable, provided they make fair comparisons. For instance, a paper describing the wondrous features of tool X would not be acceptable, but a paper comparing and detailing the utility of tool X versus tool Y, say, would be more interesting. An impartial paper comparing all of the key tools that solve a similar problem would be more interesting still.
Papers that are more generally applicable generate greater interest and have a bigger impact in the field of system administration. How different is your work from previously published papers? It should be an improvement over previously published work. Negative results, i.e., papers that demonstrate common misconceptions or question previously published "truths" are sometimes more important than positive results, especially in case studies that demolish conventional wisdom. The program committee does not often accept inconclusive papers, because they do not usually advance the state of the field.
Is the LISA conference the right place to publish your paper? It may belong in a more specialized conference with a different focus. We encourage theory papers with a system administration focus. Submit papers, theoretical or otherwise, that do not have a system administration focus to the USENIX Annual Technical Conference. Ask system administrators at your site, or at other sites, if they would find the paper interesting. Also ask them to identify the most important aspects of your paper. If your paper is more of an opinion piece, it might be more appropriate for the USENIX magazine, ;login:.
Papers should be focused on one or perhaps a few main points. Don't try to cram too many issues into the paper, and don't fill it up with irrelevant details. Every paper has an ideal length for the idea it conveys. If that is short, so be it. Clarity should be your primary goal.
Do include enough background for the reader to understand why your problem is important, how your work relates to previous work in the field, and how it might fit into a practical system. Also, provide enough detail for the reader to put your performance measurements or other technical evaluation in context. It is vitally important to provide a good bibliography, both so that you give proper credit to previous work and so that a reader can know where to turn to find additional background information. The program committee will not accept a paper if the author doesn't appear to be familiar with the current literature. Published USENIX conference proceedings are available.
Regarding the formatting of your paper, you can make use of these standard USENIX templates.
Finally, if you have any other questions at any time during the entire submissions process, especially if you have a paper idea but have concerns about it not being right for the conference, please send mail to the program chair at firstname.lastname@example.org.