The Emails screen lists all the system emails that are sent out automatically, as well as emails that you can send manually to individual users or groups of users.

System emails are listed on the Emails screen as "automatic" and will be sent by the system when appropriate. For example, the "Completed submission" email is sent when an author completes the entry of an abstract or paper and has answered all mandatory questions.

All other emails must be sent manually using the functions on the Emails screen. Most of these emails are sent to defined groups of users such as authors whose abstracts have been accepted for oral presentation - this will require you to have previously marked up the abstracts using the Codes function on the Abstracts screen.


The Emails screen can only be used to send emails to users who are registered with the system, and who have therefore given their consent to receiving emails relating to the conference. It cannot be used to send emails to third parties.

 

 


Editing an email

To customise an email, click on the list. The Email editor will pop up.


You can change the subject and the email body. The list of recipients is pre-programmed.

Each email has several merge fields which will add information from the database when the email is sent and can be used to personalise the emails. You don't have to use the merge fields if you don't want to - you can simply delete them from the email body.

To enter a merge field click in the email body where you want the field to be inserted, then select the field from the dropdown menu and insert it by clicking the "+" sign. You cannot add your own merge fields - you must choose from the dropdown menu.

Merge fields cannot be inserted into the email subject line.

Different emails on the system can have different attachments up to a maximum of four attachments:

  • Submission instructions

  • Abstract or paper template

  • The submitted abstract or template

  • Your own document

The email editor will only list the attachments that are appropriate for each particular email - for example the password reminder email has no attachments.

To include an attachment when the email is sent out make sure the attachment's checkbox is checked.

To include your own document as an attachment first check the "Your own document" box. A "Browse" button will appear. Locate your document on your PC and attach it to the email using the Browse button. Then click Save to upload it to the Oxford Abstracts server. When you send the email the document will be automatically attached.

Note: The email body is restricted to a maximum of 2000 characters - approximately 300 words. You will receive a warning message if you try to save an email which is too long. If you need to send a very long email, such as detailed information for presenters, you should use an attachment.

 

Adding customised instructions to outgoing emails

The standard setup comes with generic instructions that cannot be amended.  You can either remove the instructions or you can add your own to the system and send them out to the authors when they register.  The generic instructions are only sent out when the authors register and so you only have to amend the Author registration email to change the instructions.

Click on the Author registration email and uncheck "Submission instructions", check "Your own document" and select the instructions that you want to send out when the authors register. 


Making sure that emails have been sent

The system will automatically send back any information that it receives if an email should bounce so you will know if an email has not been received.  For some of the emails e.g. Acceptance emails, you may want to be absolutely sure that the email has been sent.  You can do this by selecting the relevant email from the email screen and checking the send me a copy check box (see below).  You will receive a blind carbon copy of the email so you will have proof that the email was sent.  In a very few rare cases, a receiving mail system may not deliver the email to the recipient and not send back an error message so proof of sending and no error report is not necessarily proof of receipt. 


Handling "bounces"

Email is not a totally reliable means of communication. On average up to 1% of messages will fail to be delivered if sent in bulk. There are several reasons for this:

  • The user has registered using an incorrect or misspelled email address

  • The user has changed their email address but not informed the conference administrator

  • There is a significant problem with the user's email account, such as a full mailbox

  • There is a long-term problem with the user's email server lasting more than a few days

  • The message has been incorrectly identified as spam - unsolicited "junk" mail

If an email cannot be delivered immediately the email system will continue to try to deliver it for several days before accepting it as a failure.

If an email fails to be delivered you will almost always receive an error message - a "bounce". The exact nature of the error message depends on the reasons for the failure and sometimes on any error message sent back by the recipient's mail server to the Oxford Abstracts mail server. Occasionally the recipient's mail server will accept the message, then fail to deliver it but not inform the Oxford Abstracts server - on these (rare) occasions you will not receive an error message.

If an email is bounced and you can determine why, it may be worth trying to send it again. Failing this you will have to contact the user by phone or post.

 

Avoiding spam filters

Most emails that you send will be examined by a spam filter. These are software programs that examine both the content of the email and its source. They calculate a score for the email based on a large number of criteria and if the score is too high the email will be rejected. You will not always receive a helpful error message - sometimes the only message that the spam filter will return to the Oxford Abstracts mail server is simply "failed".

There are several steps that you can take to reduce the risk of an email being wrongly identified as spam:

  • Send the message as plain, unformatted text. The Oxford Abstracts system does this automatically.

  • Do not use words or phrases that might make the spam filter think that an unsolicited offer is being made, and avoid exclamation marks. For example a spam email might say "Congratulations, your loan application has been accepted!", while your email might say "Congratulations, your abstract has been accepted!" - to a software program these may seem identical.

  • Make sure that originating email address - i.e. the conference email address - is a real address and is correctly entered into the system using the Settings function on the Event screen. Some spam filters will check by asking your mail server if your email account really exists.

  • Do not attach zip files to the message. Zip files are often used to send email viruses.

  • Do not attach any programs to the message. Stick to simple documents - Word, Excel, PowerPoint, PDF.