Report Preparation Guidelines | Style Sheet
To assist authors preparing an MIT annual report, this style guide describes the information desired in each report and provides simple guidelines for submitting the document.
- Reports are due on Friday, August 5, 2016. Remember that your report covers the period from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016! Don't include information about prior years unless pertinent to the present year, and avoid repeating information presented in prior years' reports. Don't include descriptions of events occurring on or after July 1, 2016; if you absolutely must mention future events, do so sparingly and be brief.
- If you've done this before, you can use last year's report as a model. Take a look
at other DLCs' reports, too, especially those of areas similar to your own.
You might find an idea worth emulating.
- If you are new to this exercise, or would like a refresher, our content guidelines identify the types of
information that are considered essential for preserving
the continuity of MIT's historical record. These suggestions have been
provided by the staff of the Institute Archives.
- Write for a non-MIT audience: spell out acronyms, especially those unique to MIT.
- Make sure your story will be understood in the future. Think about what is important to preserve for the Institute's historical memory. Write your report as if you're reading it 10 or 20 years from now. Have you concluded the story about the important organizational undertaking or academic changes that you wrote about in prior reports? Don't leave important, multiyear narratives incomplete. Even if the outcome isn't entirely positive or didn't yield the anticipated results, it's important to include in the historical record.
- Be concise!
- Before submitting your report, please review our submission
Relevant information in all reports
- Current goals, objectives, priorities. Have they changed since
last year's report? Also, if relevant, please gauge the impact of Institute-wide
policies, recommendations, activities, or events; the impact of social
or cultural policies and events—national and international—may also be
- Accomplishments. Major accomplishments in new or ongoing programs
(don't repeat last year's accomplishments); significant anniversaries;
special projects, including special lectures, exhibitions, concerts, and
- Administrative initiatives. New procedures, processes, or policies; new or changing areas of responsibility;
collaborative activity with other departments and offices; committee work
and its results (include name of final report when issued); new equipment, tools, or
instruments, or new applications for same; physical movement into and out
of particular locations, and its impact on work or program.
- Finances and funding. Major donations and bequests; new grants, fellowships, internships; other financial
- Personnel information. Appointments, promotions, departures, and retirements (with brief reflections
on tenure/stewardship); leaves;
awards and honors; significant professional activities and publications,
or involvement in special projects or programs.
Additional information from academic units
- Teaching and curriculum. Changes in curriculum; current impact of educational trends.
- Research activities. Review of current projects—their purpose, parameters, participants, and funding sources; important findings,
inventions, or product breakthroughs. Please summarize rather than provide extensive detail.
Please use Heading 1, Heading 2, and so on for headings, and Normal for the body text. Please do not include headers, footers, or page numbers in your document.
Report authors are not expected to adopt any particular editorial style, but if you're curious about the decisions that editors make and the house style we follow, we invite you to refer to our style sheet.
All reports are copyedited prior to publication. Usually this is a routine matter, and you will not be asked to review the edited report. We will contact you, however, if we have questions.
Tables, Charts, Photos, and Other Graphics
NEW: Reference Publications strives to produce reports that comply with MIT's accessibility guidelines. To help us achieve that goal, please follow these revised guidelines.
All tables and graphics should have a title and, if appropriate, a source (e.g., photographer). If your graphic has already been published elsewhere, be sure to cite the source and obtain permission to reproduce it, if necessary.
Include only those graphics that complement or expand upon the text. For example, don't include a table that summarizes all the data outlined in the text: choose one or the other. Consider that your graphic may be so compelling that others will want to use it: make sure that the labels make sense and are legible, and double check your calculations.
Tables created in Word can be submitted in the body of the report. If your report contains more than five tables, number them (e.g., Table 1, Table 2).
Don't use spaces or empty columns or rows to format your tables. If you are updating tables used in a last year's report, please contact us for a Word version of the report with preformatted tables that can be easily updated. If you need assistance in creating or formatting your tables, just let us know.
If you supply your tables in Word, we'll make sure that they meet accessibility guidelines.
Charts, Photos, and Other Graphics
NEW: Each photo, chart, or graphic must be accompanied by a brief description (one or two sentences) that summarizes it for the visually impaired. Please include this description, with the identifier "Alt Text", following the title and source. Place this information in the body of the report as a separate paragaph where the graphic should appear. Don't embed the graphics themselves in your report.
Sample submissions of lab graphics:
Title: Figure 1. Three-dimensional reconstructed brain model from MRI structural data.
Alt Text: Figure 1. Three-dimensional reconstructed brain model from MRI structural data.
Title: Figure 5. Illustration of sequential Bayesian learning of two parameters in the MIT virtual source MOSFET model using priors and I-V measurements. The two parameters shown are the sub-threshold swing factor, SS, and the drain-induced barrier-lowering term, delta. The red color represents estimates with high likelihood while the blue color represents estimates with low likelihood. As more measurements are added (left to right), the maximum a posteriori probability parameter estimates become more accurate.
Alt Text: Figure 5. Illustration of sequential Bayesian learning of two parameters in the MIT virtual source MOSFET model using priors and I-V measurements. The two parameters shown are the sub-threshold swing factor, SS, and the drain-induced barrier-lowering term, delta. As more measurements are added, the maximum a posteriori probability parameter estimates become more accurate.
Sample photo submission:
Title: Figure 3. Still from Chris Marker, Koreans Untitled #4 (1957, printed 2009).
Alt Text: Still from Chris Marker, Koreans Untitled #4 (1957, printed 2009).
Source: Courtesy Peter Blum Gallery, New York
Title: Figure 4. The Silbey display case outside the new Chemistry Education Offices.
Alt Text: The Silbey display case outside the new Chemistry Education Offices.
If submitting a chart generated from Excel, please submit the original Excel file along with your report. Be sure that there is sufficient contrast between chart colors (including text), and make sure your file is editable in case we need to adjust them.
Digital photos in any of the standard formats may be submitted, though we prefer high-quality jpgs. Just name the photos per the submission instructions below and attach them to your email message.
Don't embed the photos in your report. Even if you submit photos separately and wish only to show us the intended photo layout, Microsoft Word doesn't always handle embedded photos gracefully.
Try to ensure that your links are permanent. Embed your links in the text (i.e., link on a logical word in the text), spelling out URLs only when needed.
Remember to include the author's name and title(s) at the end of the report. Except in unusual circumstances, the author is the senior officer or DLC head in office on June 30, 2016.
How to submit your report
Submitting your report is easy. Just send the electronic files via email to email@example.com. In your message, please identify your report (document title and electronic file name) and other attachments so that we can be sure we have received everything we need. If you have many photos or very large file sizes, please contact us for alternate submission instructions.
For easy identification, please use file names that begin with an acronym or a shortened form of your office/department's name. Use the same name for photos and other graphics accompanying the report and number them in the order in which they appear in the report: fig 1, fig 2, fig 3 (we don't differentiate between photos and charts or other graphs, so please number them consecutively). For example, the Reference Publications report might include the following files:
Last updated August 15, 2016