Bibliographic Essay Guidelines

General Information

An editor is assigned to work with you as you identify the thematic content of the essay, establish a time frame for the literature covered, and determine the scope of the titles selected.
A date will be agreed on for completion of the manuscript, and the essay will be placed on the publication calendar. A confirmation letter will be sent to you along with these essay guidelines. Please respond in writing indicating your agreement and contact your editor if you anticipate any delay in meeting this schedule.
An outline of the project should be sent to the essay editor as soon as possible. If some titles are unavailable to you, Choice will provide you with a cover letter that will assist you in obtaining review copies from publishers.


Manuscripts should be double-spaced throughout, with the Works Cited List appended, also double-spaced. The editor will provide you with a sample essay to illustrate stylistic features of our essays. Essays must be submitted electronically.


Your subject will itself dictate the basic organization of your essay-topical, chronological, or other. For a library readership, some considerations will be especially helpful: useful bibliographies, dictionaries, and other reference sources should be discussed together; another section might describe and evaluate key journals or Internet resources relevant to the topic. We are especially interested in publications accessible to undergraduates, or in new titles that may be unfamiliar to Choice readers. One or two summary paragraphs should end your essay. We encourage you to supply headings to demarcate key sections.

Works Cited List

Every title mentioned in the essay should be in the Works Cited List, and all works in the list must be discussed in the essay. Entries should be arranged alphabetically by author (or by title for edited works). Information given should include author(s), title, place of publication (only for works published outside the US), publisher, date of publication, editor(s) or translator (if applicable), and preferred edition. Choice staff will convert entries to Library of Congress style. Such a change may occasionally require a change in the way a work is identified in the essay text so that it may easily be found in the Works Cited List.


As appropriate for your topic, you should establish a historical and interdisciplinary context for the theme of the essay; discuss prominent scholarship in fields related to the topic; survey important schools of thought or scholarly trends, focusing on distinctive methodologies and provocative departures from disciplinary trends in your field; and discuss and contrast the more important monographs. Abbreviations, acronyms, and the key terms that recur throughout the essay or that might suffer from some implicit ambiguity should be defined.  Essays should be both descriptive and evaluative in surveying the relevant titles, although value judgments that run the risk of obsolescence should be avoided (e.g., "the most important study") The use of explicit verbs (e.g., "contends," "asserts," "demonstrates," "presupposes") is encouraged. Works that are seminal should be identified as such. Do not list titles without commentary.


The length of the manuscript typically ranges from 6,000 to 8,000 words (approximately 25 double-spaced pages). The cite list ranges from 75 to 125 titles. A manuscript that substantially exceeds or falls short of this length must be discussed with your editor well in advance of its completion.


To give you guidance in style, your editor will provide you with a copy of a recent bibliographic essay, as well as our "Guidelines for Choice Reviewers." Your essay will be edited to comply with house style. In case of substantive changes we will consult with you as our production schedule allows. You should indicate on the manuscript your name, academic rank, and institutional affiliation as you wish this information to appear in print. You may add one or two sentences explaining how you became interested in the essay topic.


The standard deadline for receipt of the manuscript is nine months prior to publication. Your essay editor will check with you at various stages in the evolution of the manuscript in order to clarify any questions that may arise, although it is your responsibility to inform your editor if there is any possibility of delay in receipt of the final manuscript.


Upon receipt of the manuscript, we will send you a copyright release form to sign and return to Choice prior to publication of the essay. Two copyright release forms are used: a Full Agreement and a Limited License Agreement.
Under a Full Agreement, the author grants and assigns the copyright to the publisher, and the publisher, in turn, grants the author a royalty-free license to publish the work in any book that the author is writing or editing, providing the essay is identified as having first been published in Choice. This is the agreement that Choice prefers authors to sign. View our Author Agreement Form, which will acquaint you with details. Under the Limited License Agreement, the author retains the copyright to the essay and grants a royalty-free license to Choice to publish the essay in the magazine. The royalty fee to the author, should Choice republish and sell the essay as part of a collection, is the same in both agreements.


You will receive five copies of the issue that contains your essay.