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The AAS has accepted abstracts for its last three meetings via electronic mail. On balance, this experiment has been well-received by the community (over 80\% of the abstracts for this meeting were taken via email), even though the AAS only accepts electronic abstracts prepared with a specific template. Despite an enhanced number of submissions close to the deadline, abstract processing at the Executive Office is considerably more expedient as compared with an all-paper system. The error rate among electronic submissions is quite tractable.
The use of a well-defined template arises from the need for consistent tags to identify elements of information. The AAS template uses a \LaTeX\ command syntax to mark up the abstract and the supporting data (payment method, session type, etc.) for several reasons. Even though \LaTeX\ is widely thought of as a typesetting system, its value in electronic submission is as a descriptive markup tool that permits all parties to identify an article's structure. It is important for authors to understand that formatting-oriented instructions interfere with this process.
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