Portable, yet comprehensive. That's what MM's panel of editors liked about the winner of our third annual Top Guides Contest. The on-site program for the American Diabetes Association, in a convenient 4.5 by 9-inch format, has several standout features:

An attractive, color-coded, trifold Day-At-A-Glance schedule (fig.1) inserted in the front cover allows attendees to quickly reference an event day and time. Organizers created a facility legend for each of the three event venues (fig.2), so attendees could quickly figure out where their next session was held.

The winning guide was the result of a focus group, says Jill McQuade Ammon, ADA's senior manager, professional education, which consisted of 12 staff members--some of whom don't work on the meeting at all. That was important, says Ammon, in getting unbiased views. The idea for a more user-friendly facility legend came out of the focus group, she says, as did the idea for legends for the abstract listings so that attendees could see at glance if a presentation was, say, an oral or poster session. An alphabetized table of contents and general information section are other additions Ammon's team made to the guide based on the focus group's response.

Honorable Mention What measures 3 by 8.5 inches, fits in an attendee's breast pocket or Daytimer, and includes all events, city maps, a dining guide, and just about everything else you could imagine for user-friendly navigation of an annual meeting? The American Academy of Neurology's Meeting & Activities Planner, recipient of an honorable mention from MM's Top Guides Contest judges.

The great thing about this handy guide (fig.3): Not only can attendees spill their coffee on it without consequence, they can write on it, too. According to Holli Glendenning, AAN's administrator, annual meeting education program, the planner's small and handy size says, "This is special--pay attention." We agree!

Top Guide Particulars * Organization: American Diabetes Association (www.diabetes.org)

* Event: 60th Scientific Sessions

* Site: San Antonio, Texas

* Dates: June 9 to 13, 2000

* Budget: $72,114 (Quantity: 9,500)

* Winning Team: ,Jill McQuade Ammon, Lauren Brillante, Linda Cann, Jacy Hanson, Teresa Munt, Nancy Schelhorn-Bennett, Steve Shartel, Gwen Twillman, Shelly Woolsey, Kawania Wooten

Honorable Mention Particulars * Organization: American Academy of Neurology

* Event: 53rd American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting

* Site: San Diego

* Dates: April 29 to May 5

* Budget: Meetings & Activity Planner-$27,510 (Quantity: 12,000)

* Winning Team: Holli Glendenning, Kris Fridgen, Christine Phelps