INFORMATION FOR CHOICE REVIEWERS

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http://www.ala.org/acrl/choice/
General editorial e-mail: reviewers@ala-choice.org

CHOICE READERS

Choice reviews target those seeking critical evaluations of books and electronic resources.  Our primary audiences are librarians and teaching faculty who select materials for academic libraries, especially at the undergraduate level, but we also review with an eye toward students--particularly undergraduates--looking for research materials or to supplement work in the classroom.

CHOICE REVIEWERS

Becoming a Reviewer:  If you are interested in reviewing for Choice, visit the Choice Reviewer Web Site.

Choice reviewers should be faculty members or librarians based at an academic institution of higher education in the US or Canada.  Editors select reviewers for their expertise and teaching experience within their subject specialties, and for their ability to write clear, concise evaluations.  Reviewers should maintain familiarity with their disciplines and with the undergraduate environment.  The Choice staff updates reviewer information annually, to verify recent activity in the subject area.  Choice editors work closely with reviewers to assign material within subject specialties. 

To see sample reviews, go to Sample Content.

ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF REVIEWS

  • Overall evaluation of the title's quality and of its value to students, particularly undergraduates.
  • Comments on the author's/editor's affiliation, subject knowledge, previous publication(s), writing style, and approach or point of view. Information about the title's scope and organization.
  • Critical comparison with other works in the field: identify works cited with full bibliographic information--authors/editors, title, publication date, and Choice citations, if available.  Editors will fact-check to the extent possible.
  • Indication of recommended readership.

You should not limit your review to a detailed synopsis of content nor repeat bibliographic details cited at the head of the review, unless any of these elements bears on the work's overall value.

LANGUAGE, STYLE, GRAMMAR, CONTENT & DOCUMENTATION

We edit reviews for length, grammar, organization, documentation, house style, and felicity of organization and expression.  Our basic editorial tools are Merriam Webster Unabridged (online), The Chicago Manual of Style (16th ed., 2003), and (in the case of books) the publisher's Web site, which we regularly consult for details about the author and the book's content.  To minimize editorial emendations, please adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Write in active voice, third-person style and use temperate language.
  • Write in language suitable for an informed, general audience.  Avoid jargon, technical terms, discipline-specific language, acronyms, and nonstandard abbreviations.
  • Put in quotes and attribute quoted material, and support extremely negative comments with examples (and page numbers, if possible).
  • Do not exceed 190 words (reviews of reference and free electronic resources may run to 300 words).
  • Do not incorporate phrasing found in publishers' promotional materials without attributing it.

SPECIAL KINDS OF ASSIGNMENTS

  • Edited volumes & collected works.  Evaluate in terms of how the whole contributes to its subject field. Since space prohibits commenting on each contribution, you should note one or two representative or outstanding essays.
  • Electronic resources.  Everything discussed here also applies to Internet resources and CD-ROMs; for additional guidelines see Guidelines for Reviewing Internet Resources and CD-ROMs.

DECLINING A REVIEW ASSIGNMENT

You should decline an assignment (contact your editor) under the following circumstances:

  • You have a conflict of interest or a relationship with the publisher, author, or institution , e.g., you are well acquainted with the author, work at the institution that published the resource, have a history of conflict with the author, or are mentioned in the book.
  • The subject matter is out of scope for you.
  • You are unable to meet even an extended deadline.
  • The book or Web site does not merit review (e.g., it is too specialized or too elementary for undergraduates; the scholarship is inferior).
  • You believe you cannot give the resource a fair evaluation because of its approach to the subject.

SUBMITTING YOUR REVIEW

All assignments come with instructions for submitting reviews.

  • Review forms identify material reviewed and specify editor, telephone/fax numbers, and deadline.
  • Standard deadline is five weeks from the date we send the material.
  • You may submit your review online or by fax, e-mail, or post. Please keep a copy of your review.
  • Prior to publication, do not post review content or share it with anyone other than your editor.

AFTER PUBLICATION

  • Tear sheets: Reviews appear in print approximately three months after we receive them.  Reviewers and publishers receive tear sheets at publication; we maintain the original reviews for 12 months.
  • Copyright: The Reviewer Agreement you signed enables us to protect both you and Choice from unauthorized third-party use of reviews.  American Library Association policy supports granting permission for scholarly use. After publication, those wishing to reuse Choice content should contact Permissions@ala-choice.org.
  • Complaints about reviews: If we receive a letter challenging a review, your editor will send you a copy of the letter; likewise, if you receive a complaint, please send a copy to your editor.  We have standard procedures for complaints, which include offering the complainant an opportunity to publish comments in our letters column and inviting the reviewer to respond in writing (both letters appear in the same issue).

UNPUBLISHED REVIEWS

Occasionally we elect not to publish a review; the reasons are various. Your editor will let you know if and why we decide not to run your review.

For internal editing guidelines see Editors' Responsibilities and Standards: Review Cycle

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QUESTIONS?

Contact reviewers@ala-choice.org

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