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Balisage: The Markup Conference
Instructions for Authors

Papers will be published in the proceedings of the conference. Conference talks, based on the accepted papers, will be 30 minutes long, followed by 15 minutes for questions. The structure of our pre-conference symposium varies from year to year, as do the length and format of the talks.

Please read and observe all the following instructions. If you have difficulty understanding or following these guidelines, let us know and we will do our best to address your needs.

The Deal - Summarized

  • Submissions must be:
    • Full papers in final or near-final draft
    • Encoded in XML, using the Balisage tag set (see the page Balisage Tag Set and Submission Guidelines)
    • All new material (previously presented only at small, local events and not previously published)
    • Received on time
  • Authors of accepted papers are expected to:
  • One or more authors of an accepted paper are expected to:
    • Attend Balisage (all speakers are eligible for a discounted registration fee as described in Registration details)
    • Present a 30 minute talk, in English, based on the paper
    • Answer questions about the paper, in English, after the presentation
    • Participate in the entire conference
  • Balisage will:
    • Solicit peer reviews of all submissions meeting minimum criteria (as described on the Peer Review page)
    • Notify authors of acceptance or rejection by the date posted
    • Provide a discounted registration fee for all authors of accepted papers who attend the conference (see Registration details)
    • Publish all accepted papers in the conference preliminary Proceedings (on line) for which we have copyright releases (as described below)
    • After the conference, publish any final, revised versions of papers in the final Proceedings, along with any speaker's on-site materials (slides, demonstration code, etc.) provided to us
    • Note: if a paper is not presented at the conference as scheduled because none of its authors are in attendance, it will be removed from the online proceedings


All papers must be prepared in XML using the Balisage Tag Set (which is a small subset of DocBook V5) and submitted using the file naming conventions described in the page on the Balisage Tag Set and Submission Guidelines.

Making a Successful Submission

Draft papers should be detailed enough to allow peer reviewers to judge the relevance of the topic, the interest of the results, and the quality and technical merit of presentation. No less than in final versions, bibliographic references to relevant work should be provided; claims that there is no relevant published work may be cause for skepticism from peer reviewers.

If the peer reviewers find that your draft paper has insufficient detail to evaluate your work, there will not be time for you to revise your submission before the end of the peer review period. In other words: if you don't send in a paper with enough substance to be evaluated, your submission will not be accepted, however exciting the topic.

Authors of Balisage papers, especially those who have not participated in Balisage before, may be interested in descriptions of the Balisage Peer Review and Paper Selection processes.

Publication Agreement and Copyright Release

Prior to the conference, each author of each Balisage paper must sign a publication agreement with us (BalisagePublicationAgreement.pdf). Please print the form, fill in the blanks, sign it, and fax it to Mulberry at +1 301/315-8285. If it is not convenient for all authors of a paper to sign the same copy of the agreement, you may send multiple copies, as long as all authors have signed and provided us with agreements naming the paper.

We do not publish papers or materials (slides, demonstration code or anything provided to us) without securing this license, which is non-exclusive. According to this agreement, we can publish a paper, while its authors retain rights to republish their work as they see fit.

Beyond securing this license, Balisage does not require any rights, in general or in particular, be released by authors of papers in the Proceedings, and will publish papers with whatever copyright notices their authors wish us to provide (as indicated in the agreement). We encourage authors to consider Creative Commons or other open-access licensing arrangements but doing so is entirely at the authors' discretion.

Authors will note that the agreement covers different versions of the papers (in addition to any ancillary materials, such as slides, that authors may provide); in particular, please note that we may make available not only HTML and EPUB versions of the papers, but also XML source code, for users to download, inspect and use, trusting that they will respect any copyrights while doing so.

Preparing your Presentation

  • Make visuals (slides) that everyone in the audience can read:
    • Use large fonts
    • Maximum of 7 lines per slide
    • No red text (it is very hard to see from the back of the room)
  • Use the microphone
  • Talk about your topic, guided by your slides or an outline
    DO NOT READ your presentation
  • Practice your talk before the conference


If you have any questions on any of the above, or any problem creating your paper, please send email or call Debbie Lapeyre (+1 301/315-9633) or Tommie Usdin (+1 301/315-9634).

Please help us make Balisage: The Markup Conference exciting and lively. See you in Rockville, MD (just outside Washington, DC on the Metro Red Line)!

Debbie Lapeyre
Jim Mason
C. M. Sperberg-McQueen
B. Tommie Usdin
Norm Walsh

There is nothing so practical as a good theory