TAPS for Conference Organizers


The conference organizer is responsible for working with authors to help prepare their accepted content for publication, and working with ACM to set up the rights management and article production infrastructure that authors will use.


This overview will cover many of the tasks a conference organizer is expected to perform over the "lifetime" of an ACM-sponsored event, including:

  • setting reasonable timelines
  • working with ACM to set up rights management and production infrastructure
  • working with authors to help them with rights management and the preparation of their final material in TAPS
  • organizing the final material into a proceedings
  • working with ACM to finalize the proceedings

Setting Reasonable Deadlines

Part of the task of setting up an event is setting the various deadlines for submission and review and publication. Keep in mind that you and the authors need time to do what you need to do so that the proceedings are available when the event starts.

One way to set reasonable deadlines is to work backwards from the start of the event:

  • ACM requires that the completed proceedings be in their hands four weeks prior to the start of the event.
  • As the conference organizer, you will need several weeks between the "camera ready due" date and the "deliver to ACM" date to work with authors to finalize their articles and build the proceedings
  • Authors should have several weeks between "acceptance notification" and "camera ready due" to make requested changes to their articles and complete their rights forms.

In general it's good to have between eight and ten weeks between when authors are notified that their work has been accepted for presentation at an event and the start of the event.

Infrastructure Setup

There are two systems that need to be set up for the conference at ACM: the rights management database (known as "CMS"), and TAPS - ACM's article production system.

The rights management database is set up prior to the "acceptance notification" date, and an e-mail to Adrienne Griscti (griscti@hq.acm.org) requesting that an "CMS XML upload slot" be provisioned for the event, naming the event and the start date. Adrienne will return a link to the CMS database for this event, that you will use to deliver an XML document that contains information about accepted content. Also returned is the proceedings ID, which looks something like "2019-220701.10773" and must be added to the metadata XML file you deliver to ACM.

TAPS should be set up soon after the "acceptance notification" date, as authors can start delivering the source of their final material to TAPS as soon as they've completed their rights forms. An e-mail to Craig Rodkin (rodkin@hq.acm.org) requesting that TAPS be set up for the event is sufficient. You'll receive an e-mail from TAPS Support with a link to the TAPS instance for the event and information about TAPS. The TAPS instance will be populated with information from the rights database - title, authors, and contact information.

From Article Metadata to XML

When you have reviewed the submitted material and made your selection of accepted material - a list of accepted papers, for example - it is your task to:

  • prepare an XML file containing the article metadata
  • deliver the XML file to ACM's rights management system

The "article metadata" you need is as follows (and this is for each accepted piece of content):

  • type of content: full paper, short paper, abstract, course notes, etc.
  • title of content
  • author list, with affiliations (each author should have an ORCID, an affiliation, a city, and a country)
  • e-mail list (each author must have an e-mail address)
  • submission ID (This is a conference internal id [e-right generates a new unique id for ACM use.])

Several of the widely-used conference management systems provide the ability to export XML, and you're welcome to use that XML as input to ACM's rights management system, though you will need to add the proceedings ID to the file.

You may also wish to prepare your own XML file from the article metadata. Appendix A of this document includes ACM's "paperLoad.dtd" file and a sample XML file.

Whether you are building your own XML file, or are using what is exported from an event's conference management system, you must add the "proceedings ID" that you were sent when the rights database was instantiated for this event. The following XML block must be added, or changed to add the "proceedings ID" value within the "<proceedings>" tag.


Other things to note in the XML file:

  • each article has a unique "event_tracking_number" starting from 1.
  • each article's author has a unique ordering value in "sequence_no"
  • each article's author is represented separately
  • each article's author must have an e-mail address
  • each article’s author must have a country
  • the author that is the contact author has "Y" in the "contact_author" field, and all other authors have "N" in that field. Assume the first author is the contact author unless otherwise designated by the event. If, for example, the third author of an article is designed the contact author, there should be a "Y" in the "contact_author" field for the third author, and "N" in that field for all other authors of that article.

When you have a valid XML file, you can deliver it to ACM using the link provided to you when the rights infrastructure was set up. Note: you may need to verify the conference information - location, dates, etc. - before you can deliver the XML file.

ACM's Rights Management System


ACM's rights management system presents rights options to authors and collects their responses. These responses are used to create the rights management information for their final articles, as well as article metadata for the ACM Digital Library.

The contact author for an accepted work is sent an e-mail containing information about and a link to the rights form for that accepted work. The author is expected to complete the rights form and submit it within seventy-two (72) hours of receipt.

With few exceptions (see below) it is assumed that the contact author is authorized to complete the form on behalf of ALL of the authors of the work.

If the presentation is, broadly, a Course or a Panel, then each presenting author must complete their own rights form, and special care must be taken to send each author a rights form.

Please see the Author's Rights page for information on the rights management process.

Resetting a Rights Form

An author may reach out and ask that the form be cleared, or reset, and resent. There are a variety of reasons for this request: correction of author and/or title information, change in third-party material declaration, etc.

To reset a form, select the "remove copyright" button in the first column of the row for the article in question, and answer the safety question in the affirmative. The form on file will be removed, and the URL sent to the contact author originally can be sent to them again, either by cutting and pasting the URL into a direct e-mail message to the contact author, or by selecting the "send messages to authors" button near the top of the form. Note: the latter option will send e-mail from "rightsreview@acm.org" to all contact authors who have not yet completed their rights form.

Changing a Contact Author

A contact author may reach out and ask that the rights form be sent to another author of the article. You may also need to, from time to time, reach out to all of the authors of an article and solicit a recommendation of a contact author, in the case of the listed contact author not completing the form in a timely manner.

To change the contact author for an article in the rights management system, select the "edit" button (second column), update the contact author's name and e-mail address, and select the "Edit Paper" button.

The form can now be sent to the new contact author, either by copying and pasting the URL into a direct e-mail message, or by selecting the "send messages to authors" button near the top of the form.

Reminding Authors to Complete Their Forms

ACM will periodically send e-mail to authors who have not yet completed the rights form for an event. You can also do this by selecting the "send messages to authors" button near the top of the form.

When a Submission is Withdrawn

When an accepted submission to an event is withdrawn, for whatever reason, the rights form must be marked with that new "withdrawn" status in the ACM rights grid, by selecting the "notes" option in the "title" field and selecting the "Withdrawn" button and the "Insert Notes" button. If you need help, please contact rightsreview@acm.org with your request.

Finishing Up

After all forms have been completed, two additional checks should be made before approving the forms. ACM personnel will perform these checks, but as the conference organizer you have access and knowledge about the submitted material that may prove beneficial.

  • The title and author list on the form must match the title and author list on the article: word for word match on the title, and the names themselves, and the order of the names must match. If either or both do not match, remove the form, and send the URL to the contact author with instructions to complete the form again, correcting these issue(s). (There is an "edit title/author" button near the top of the rights form that gives the author the opportunity to correct these issues.)
  • Examine the article for possible third-party material issues - are they, for example, using what is obviously an image from an online source with no attribution - and examine the form for declaration of third-party materials, and compare their claims against the materials used in the article. Use your best judgment, and keep in mind that it is often the case that an author will think that an image found online is in the public domain and acceptable for use without permission or attribution. Should you have questions, Barbara Ryan at ACM is a wonderful resource. She is ACM's intellectual property manager, and is the "go to" for questions about third-party materials. Her e-mail address is "barbara.ryan@hq.acm.org".

Approving the set of rights forms for a proceedings is done by selecting the "Copyright Contact - approved" button in the upper right corner of the rights dashboard for the proceedings.

TAPS for the Conference Organizer

TAPS - ACM's article production system - accepts LaTeX and Word source, and supplemental material from authors, accepts rights information from ACM's rights management system, and generates HTML5 and PDF versions of the author's work for review and approval. Please review our TAPS instructions for conference organizers for information on how to use TAPS for your proceedings. 

Through the TAPS interface you will examine the generated HTML and PDF versions of articles, and track the progress of each article in a proceedings.

You will receive login credentials from Aptara (the vendor responsible for TAPS) after you make your first request to ACM to set up TAPS for an event's proceedings.

Authors - specifically, the corresponding author for each article - will receive e-mail from TAPS (tapsadmin@aptaracorp.awsapps.com) after the database for the event is set up in TAPS by ACM and Aptara personnel. (The same XML that is used to populate the rights database is used to populate TAPS for the event.) The e-mail provides an upload link to the author for delivering their final material - Word or LaTeX source, plus supplemental material - to TAPS, and instructions for the preparation and delivery of that material. Please see the author-focused TAPS workflow for additional information.

As the conference organizer, your role is to monitor the progress of author submissions to TAPS, provide feedback and assistance in the resolution of formatting issues, and working with Aptara personnel to resolve issues that cannot be resolved at the production-editor level. The conference organizers and vendors should review the proofs of the output files (PDF and HTML5) and direct authors to make corrections if needed.

Article Status and Actions

The "STATUS" column in the proceedings view of the TAPS dashboard shows the progress of each article as it moves through the system, from submission to approval.

  • 0%: no material has delivered to TAPS, or the initial scan of the delivered material has failed (it wasn't a ZIP file or there was something wrong with the ZIP file)
  • 25%: material has been delivered to TAPS and is being processed. If there is an issue with the submitted source, it will remain in the 25% state and an e-mail sent to the author from Aptara containing information about the issue. This is known as a "validation error."
  • 75%: material has been delivered to TAPS, and HTML5 and PDF versions of the article have been generated.
  • 100%: the article has been approved for publication by the author.

The "ACTIONS" column in the proceedings view of the TAPS dashboard has icons which represent actions that the production editor can take with respect to an article in the system.

  • examine (paper and magnifying glass): details about the article
  • upload (white arrow in green circle): deliver ZIP file
  • withdraw (torn paper icon): remove article from TAPS
  • e-mail (envelope): resend TAPS invitation to author
  • input invalid (red slash circle w/green arrow): input ZIP file not usable
  • validation error (red triangle w/green arrow): source file(s) not usable
  • PDF (red PDF file): download generated PDF version of article
  • HTML5 (red/black HTML5): view generated HTML5 version of article
  • XML ("XML in circle"): not an action
  • HTML Feedback (gray circle with </>): not used
  • HTML Feedback (orange circle with </>): approve or reject article
  • Resubmit/Support (black hand): reset article for resubmission / send message to Aptara
  • Reset Paper (green gear with curved arrows): resets article to 0%
  • Work in Progress (black square, man with shovel): article has been submitted, and is being processed.

Invalid Input

The most common reason for a submission to be quickly rejected is because the author did not create the ZIP file according to the guidelines provided in the TAPS invitation e-mail. The author must create three folders - "pdf" and "source" and "supplemental" - and put files in each of those folders. The ZIP file is created from those three folders, and the ZIP file is named in a special way, incorporating the event name and the article number.

(At a minimum, the author must create the "source" folder, fill it with the LaTeX or Word source file(s), and make a ZIP file containing it. The other two folders are optional.)

The "Preparing Your Material" section of the author-focused TAPS workflow provides clear instructions on how to prepare the ZIP file for submission.

Common Validation Errors

When an article has a "validation error," it is likely to be one (or more) of these issues.

  • missing rights command(s) - one or more of the LaTeX commands given to the author when they completed the rights form are not included in the LaTeX source file. The author will need to add the missing commands. (A planned enhancement of TAPS will have the rights information automatically transferred from ACM's rights management system to TAPS, and added to articles when they are processed.)
  • invalid LaTeX packages - The author is using a LaTeX package that is not on the list of approved packages. The author will need to remove that package and implement its function in another way.
  • wrong citation and reference format - (for articles published in proceedings for events sponsored by SIGGRAPH and SIGPLAN mandate the use of the "author year" citation and reference style, and if the author does not make that choice - selection of the appropriate style in Word when validating one's source, or inclusion of \citestyle{acmauthoryear} in LaTeX - then TAPS will report this as an error.)
  • missing figures / incorrect paths to figures - one or more figures are missing from the material delivered to TAPS, and/or the paths in the LaTeX source file do not point to the figures.
  • incorrect template used - The author needs to use the proper Word templates. The "interim" template is not usable with TAPS.
  • document not validated - The author must run the "Manuscript Validation" macro on their Word document, and have it successfully complete, before delivering the Word document to TAPS.

Reviewing the Article Proofs

One of the most important roles of a conference organizer is to examine the generated articles with a critical eye, and provide feedback to authors about formatting elements that they may have omitted or misinterpreted. There are variety of reasons why an author would do (or not do) something in the preparation of their article that does not meet the specifications - it may be the stress of working to a deadline, or the perceived need to fit content into a fixed amount of space, or it may be an unintentional (or intentional!) action on their part in preparing their article. (An example of this last reason would be an author who chooses to make their own sectioning commands, with forced line breaks and bolded words, rather than using the sectioning commands available to them in LaTeX and Word.)

When an issue is discovered with an author's article, it is your job to reach out to the author, explain the issue and its resolution, and direct the author to revise their source and resubmit. You may need to reset their article in TAPS if they have, as mentioned earlier, the author submitted their article to TAPS and approved it without waiting for YOUR approval of the article. (This happens more than you would think.) The author can use the same TAPS upload link to submit their revised material to TAPS.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of things that should be looked for when examining an article. Perform this examination on the generated PDF, not the HTML5.

  • rights management: Does the rights management information in the article match what is in the rights management system? Did the author leave the sample information in their article?
  • rights management: Does the author and affiliation information match on the PDF and the HTML5 versions of their article? That information, in the HTML5 version, is built from the information delivered on the rights form, and if the author did not, for example, include all of the authors on the rights form, it's likely that the PDF and HTML5 versions will have different author and affiliation information.
  • ACM reference format text: This is a required element, and is generated from the rights management information. Authors will suppress this text to save space, and should be directed to include it.
  • citation and reference style: The majority of articles published by ACM use the numbered citation and reference format. (SIGGRAPH and SIGPLAN use the "author year" citation and reference format. In either case, citations must be enclosed in square brackets - [3] or [Jones 2003].)
  • CCS concepts and keywords: These elements are required for any published article that is three pages or greater in length.
  • authors and affiliations: Articles that use the "sigconf" and "sigchi" template style must have each author defined separately. If authors have a list of comma-separated authors, grouped under a single affiliation, they need to revise their source. Similarly, e-mail addresses are defined for each author, not grouped together or done in an abbreviated fashion - {jones,smith,davis}@company.com or "firstname.lastname@college.edu." Proper setup of authors and affiliations is crucial for accurate metadata collection and dissemination in the ACM Digital Library.
  • authors and affiliations: Make sure that the author lists match in the generated PDF and HTML5 versions of the article. At this time, the author and affiliation information in the LaTeX source is used to create the PDF document, and the author and affiliation information from the rights form is used to create the HTML5 document. Additionally, if there are accented characters in any author's name - "Pierre Bézier" - make sure that the accented characters show up correctly in the HTML5 document. Reach out to TAPS Support if you find discrepancies here as they need to take action to correct the issue.
  • The title of the work must not have any linebreaks. Long titles will be split across multiple lines where necessary and the author must not override.
  • Look at the page headers and make sure the author and title information does not overlap. If one or both are lengthy, reach out to the author and direct them to use the "short title" parameter to the \title command in LaTeX - \title[short]{full} and the "shortauthors" command in LaTeX - \renewcommand{\shortauthors}{author list}.
  • the title in the page header must not be split across two lines. (This means the authors, likely, did not use the "short title" parameter AND they have a linebreak in their full title.)
  • Captions belong under figures and above tables.
  • Figures should not overflow the column margins - if they extend into the gutter of a page, or into the margin, authors should be directed to correct this error.
  • Text and citations should not overflow the column margins - if they extend into the gutter of a page, or into the margin, authors should be directed to correct this error.
  • Acknowledgments go in that specially-named section, and not as a footnote on the first page of the article. In LaTeX the "acks" environment must be used. If that section title is spelled differently than "Acknowledgments" and/or there is a section number next to that section title, the author needs to correct this error.
  • The paragraphs of an article should be uniform in their indentation: the first paragraph of a given section is not indented, and subsequent paragraphs are. An unindented paragraph - where it should be indented - usually means the author is foregoing the standard paragraph model of leaving a blank line between paragraphs.
  • Authors may forego the built-in sectioning hierarchy - section, subsection, subsubsection, and paragraph - and make their own "faux" paragraph notation with linebreaks and bolded words. This is colloquially known as the "bold paragraph hack" and the author must remove this modification of the template and use the built-in sectioning commands as provided by the template. Remember, there is metadata associated with many of the built-in commands that is converted to XML along with the content of the article, and modifying the article template means the metadata is not represented in XML. Additionally, making a "faux" section heading with linebreaks and bolded words adds no metadata to the article - there's no way to tell that this is, for example, a new subsection. Authors must use the sectioning commands that are provided by the template.
  • Does the line spacing look right to you? Does the article seem "crowded" in some way? Check the article against a known good article sample, and if the line spacing has been changed (less space between successive lines of a paragraph), the author must undo this modification of the article template.
  • Does a figure look, to you, like third-party material - a famous person, for example - but the figure have no identification of the material AS belonging to someone else? Check the rights form, do an online image search, and reach out to Barbara Ryan at ACM if you have any questions about the veracity of a particular figure. (That an image is available online does NOT mean it is acceptable for use without permission.)

Preparing the Conference Proceedings

Delivering the Proceedings to TAPS

  • goal is to get TAPS to 100%
  • let Craig (rodkin@hq.acm.org) and Bernie (Bernadette.Shade@hq.acm.org) know that the proceedings is complete in TAPS
  • send them the table of contents and the front and back matter of the proceedings

XML Examples


Technical Support

The production vendor has 24/7 technical support available via e-mail to "tapssupport@aptaracorp.com". 

[published March 2022; instructions written by Stephen Spencer, Univ. of Washington, Seattle Washington]