CLIPP: Information for Authors

Table of Contents

I. Introduction: General Description and Purpose
II. Author Qualifications
III. Preliminary Proposal
IV. Formal Proposal

A. Statement of Purpose
B. Literature Review
C. Draft of Survey Cover Letter
D. Draft of Questionnaire

V. The Survey

A. Pilot Survey
B. Cover Letter and Survey Revision
C. Survey Administration
D. Recommended Number of Responses
E. Data Analysis
F. Sample Documents

VI. The CLIPP Manuscript

A. First Draft
B. Second and Subsequent Drafts
C. Final Manuscript Preparation and Approval
D. Copyright
E. Royalties

VII. Cancellation of Project

Appendix A: CLIPP Population
Appendix B: CLIPP Standard Questions
Appendix C: Sample Cover Letter for Online Survey
Appendix D: CLIP Notes and CLIPP books

I. Introduction: General Description and Purpose   

The ACRL/CLS CLIPP (College Library Information on Policy and Practice) series helps staff at small and midsized academic libraries get up-to-date, practical information on common professional issues, problems, or trends. CLIPPs provides valuable assistance in establishing and refining services and operations. Each CLIPP focuses on a different topic and includes three components: (1) a literature review; (2) survey results and analysis; and (3) sample documents (e.g., policies and procedures) pertinent to the particular CLIPP topic. The literature review and survey analysis sections identify and describe trends and best practices in college and small university libraries, while the sample documents provide concrete examples for those working to develop similar policies or practices. The CLIPP Committee, an ACRL/CLS standing committee, provides editorial direction and manages publishing the CLIPP series.

II. CLIPP Author Qualifications   

The CLIPP Committee welcomes questions and preliminary proposal submissions throughout the year. Potential authors should have knowledge and interests relevant to the topic of their proposed publication and some publication experience, and can contact the CLIPP Committee chair directly to submit a preliminary proposal (see current committee roster here).

III. Preliminary Proposal   

The first step toward publication is submission of an informal Preliminary Proposal to the chair of the CLIPP Committee. This Preliminary Proposal consists of:

  1. A description of the project, including a brief survey of the professional literature on the proposed topic;
  2. A pilot version of the survey; and
  3. A brief resume of the author(s), highlighting their qualifications by including specific aspects of professional activity that indicate interest in the topic and professional writing experience/ability.

The CLIPP Committee reviews proposals throughout the year as they come in. Following Committee review, the chair contacts authors to let them know if their proposals fit within the CLIPP series scope and parameters. If the proposal is a good fit, authors are invited to submit a Formal Proposal.

IV. Formal Proposal   

At the committee’s recommendation, the author should submit a Formal Proposal to the chair of the CLIPP Committee. The CLIPP Committee reviews proposals and may recommend changes to improve the cover letter and survey. If a Formal Proposal is approved, CLIPP Committee members are assigned to serve as lead and secondary editors for each project; they serve as liaisons between the author and the CLIPP Committee.

The Formal Proposal should contain the following:

A. Statement of Purpose. The statement should describe the need for and scope of the project and the anticipated benefits to small and midsized academic libraries.

B. Literature Review. The detailed analysis in a CLIPP literature review is one of the major value-added aspects of the publication. The American Psychological Association Publication Manual (6th ed., section 1.02) describes literature reviews as “critical evaluations of material that has already been published….By organizing, integrating, and evaluating previously published material, authors of literature reviews consider the progress of research toward clarifying a problem. In a sense, literature reviews are tutorials in that authors:

  • define and clarify the problem;
  • summarize previous investigations to inform the reader of the state of research;
  • identify relations, contradictions, gaps, and inconsistencies in the literature; and
  • suggest the next step or steps in solving the problem.” (p. 10)

Authors should conduct a thorough literature review so they can speak authoritatively about current knowledge and practice. They should organize the material logically, avoiding a simple chronological recitation in favor of grouping studies thematically. A full bibliography of all sources is required. Authors may consult Annual Reviews, available in print or online, for examples.

C. Draft of Survey Cover Letter. The cover letter should clearly and briefly explain the project and emphasize that it will result in an ACRL/CLS CLIPP publication. It should also include the date by which responses are to be received.

D. Draft of Questionnaire. The draft of the survey questionnaire should include or take into account the following:

  • Size of the College and Small University Population. The CLIPP Committee uses the Carnegie Classification System to define the CLIPP survey population (See Appendix A).The questionnaire must be distributed to all institutions in the CLIPP survey population. The CLIPP Committee recommends that authors analyze a statistically significant sample of responses. In 2017, the survey population included 1091 colleges and small universities, which means that a minimum of 285 completed, useable surveys would be ideal.  
  • General Institutional Information. The Committee has developed a standard set of questions for soliciting general institutional information (See Appendix B). Additional general institutional questions may be included if appropriate to the topic of the proposed CLIPP.
  • Types of Questions. Specific, concise, and clearly stated questions that are meaningful to the respondents will result in the most valid and reliable data. CLIPP surveys can also include a few questions that allow for open-ended responses and that elicit qualitative or anecdotal information librarians find to be of value.
  • Survey Design Resources. Survey Research Methods by Floyd J. Fowler (2014, 5th ed.), Designing Surveys: A Guide to Decisions and Procedures by Ronald Czaja and Johnny Blair (2014, 3rd ed.), and Asking Questions by Seymour Sudman and Norman M. Bradburn (2004, 2nd ed.) are excellent sources on questionnaire design. Designing Effective Web Surveys by Mick P. Couper (2008) offers advice on designing surveys for online administration.  
  • Length. To encourage the best possible return, the questionnaire should be as concise as possible. Most respondents will not complete a survey that takes them longer than 25 minutes. It is important to give respondents an estimate of how long the survey will take.
  • Sample Document Gathering. The questionnaire should encourage respondents to submit files or links to relevant documents. Whenever possible, background information for submitted documents should also be provided. This might include the dates of preparation and revision of the documents, and their distinctive features, history, purpose, and/or use.

V. The Survey   

After a Formal Proposal is approved, the author should pilot test and finalize the survey, administer the survey, analyze the survey data, and identify best practice documents.

A. Pilot Survey. The author should revise the survey instrument based on the initial comments and suggestions of the CLIPP Committee and new knowledge gained from the literature review. The author should then conduct a pilot survey of approximately five to ten institutions from the CLIPP survey population in order to identify possible problems with the questionnaire. The project’s lead or secondary editor from the CLIPP Committee will provide the author with the contact information for the pilot survey population.

The purpose of the pilot survey is to test the questionnaire and solicit suggestions that would improve the wording or design of the questions to reduce ambiguity and confusion. This pilot survey should also help to determine the availability of sample documents.

B. Cover Letter and Survey Revision. Based on responses to the pilot survey, the author further revise the cover letter and survey instrument. A revised cover letter and survey are then sent to the lead editor, who distributes them to all CLIPP Committee members. When the cover letter and the survey have been approved by the committee the author can then administer the survey to the full CLIPP survey population.

C. Survey Administration. Once the cover letter and survey instrument have been approved, the lead editor will send the author a spreadsheet containing the contact information for all libraries in CLIPP’s college and small university library population.

D. Recommended Number of Responses. The CLIPP Committee recommends a sample size large enough to achieve a minimum confidence level of 95% (confidence interval ±5) so that survey results are generalizable. This number of responses will vary depending on the size of the college and small university survey population as identified by the Committee; in 2017, the Committee identified 1091 survey recipients, so an author would need a minimum of 285 completed, useable surveys. The author, in communication with their lead and secondary editors, may extend their survey dates and send reminders as needed. However, the Committee also recognizes that obtaining this many responses may not always be feasible. In cases where authors do not reach a generalizable number of responses, we expect authors to identify what their confidence level is, and if it isn't the 95% standard, briefly explain what that means within their CLIPP publication.

E. Data Analysis. The analysis of the survey results provides a narrative summary and reasoned explanations about the meaning of the findings. The survey analysis section is not just a simple description of the data; the author’s detailed analysis should identify important correlations and trends. Earl Babbie’s The Practice of Social Research (2013, 13th ed.) provides an excellent overview on the basics of analyzing and reporting survey research.

Authors must also include a copy of the survey with the number of responses to each item. In reporting the number of responses to each question, the number of respondents who answered the particular question should be indicated each time. If the percentage of libraries choosing particular responses is indicated, the percentage of non-responses to the question should also be included, with the total percentage adding up to 100. For open-ended or "other" responses to questions, the author should include selected responses.

F. Sample Documents. The sample documents section should consist of a limited number of carefully selected documents that exemplify best practices relevant to the CLIPP topic. An executive summary that includes a brief description of each of the documents should precede the section, providing the reader with explanatory information relative to the contents.

The author may not consider the practices of nonresponding libraries in the earlier survey analysis section. The author may, however, seek, and publish (with permission) documents representing best practices by CLIPP libraries, even if those libraries did not respond to the survey. When acquiring permission, the author may encourage the library to respond to the survey.

Publication permission should be secured from the contributing libraries for all documents submitted for inclusion in the CLIPP. Wording for these permissions is included at the end of the standard questions in Appendix B.

VI. The CLIPP Manuscript   

A. First Draft. Recent CLIPPs and older CLIP Notes may be consulted as examples, but a first draft of the manuscript should include the following:

  • Introduction. The CLIPP statement, which describes the purpose of the series, should be incorporated into the first paragraph of the introduction: “The College Library Information on Policy and Practice (CLIPP) publishing program, under the auspices of the College Libraries Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries, provides college and small university libraries analysis and examples of library practices and procedures. This CLIPP provides information on [insert topic here].”
  • Literature Review and Bibliography. A final search of the relevant literature should be conducted at this stage to ensure that recent publications on the topic are included.
  • Analysis and Discussion of Survey Results.
  • Actual Survey with Results.
  • Best Practices Documents.
  • Pagination. For ease of reference, all pages of the initial and revised drafts and the final manuscript should be numbered.

Authors are strongly encouraged to enlist the services of writing consultants on their campuses before submitting the first draft to the lead editor. Many writing errors and awkward constructions can be caught at this stage, saving authors embarrassment and lead editors needless work.

The author will send an electronic copy of the first draft to the lead editor, who will do a preliminary edit with the secondary editor before distributing it to the rest of the CLIPP Committee. The lead editor will collate all comments and corrections from committee members for the author.

B. Second and Subsequent Drafts. The author will submit a second, corrected draft of the CLIPP to the lead editor. The lead editor, secondary editor, and the chair of the CLIPP Committee will make further recommendations and request corrections until they deem the manuscript is ready to go back to the committee for final approval.

C. Final Manuscript Preparation and Approval. The final draft of the manuscript will normally consist of the following parts, which are to be prepared by the author (with the exception of the title page verso with copyright statement):

  1. Title Page
  2. Verso with Copyright Statement (supplied by ACRL)
  3. Table of Contents
  4. List of CLIPP Committee members and institutional affiliations (available online). The lead editor and secondary editor should be acknowledged here.
  5. Introduction
  6. Literature Review and Bibliography
  7. Analysis of Survey Results
  8. Actual Survey with Results
  9. Best Practices Documents

Final Approval
When the manuscript has received final approval from the CLIPP Committee, it is sent to the ACRL Content Strategist and follows the regular editing and production process.

D. Copyright. The American Library Association ultimately holds copyright on all CLIPPs. Thus, authors will be expected to sign a Memorandum of Agreement prior to final publication of the CLIPP.

E. Royalties. CLIPP authors receive 10% royalties on the net revenues from their publication.

VII. Cancellation of Project   

The CLIPP Committee monitors the progress of each CLIPP and may cancel any that it deems no longer feasible. If either the author or the committee terminates the CLIPP process, any intellectual property created belongs to the author. All authorized expenses incurred by the author will be reimbursed by ACRL. A copy of the cancellation notice should accompany any receipts submitted for reimbursement.

Appendix A:  CLIPP Population   

The CLIPP Committee uses the most recent revision of the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education to define the population of college and small universities in the United States of America. For more information about the Carnegie Classification, see In order to be included in the CLIPP survey population, an institution must fall into one of the subcategories specified in each of the following six Carnegie categories: Master's Colleges and Universities; Baccalaureate Colleges; Baccalaureate/Associate's Colleges; Associate's Colleges; Special Focus Institutions; or Tribal Colleges.

Appendix B:  CLIPP Standard Questions   

Each survey should request the following information:
Respondent information: (beginning of survey)
Institution name:
Name of respondent:
Work telephone number:
E-mail address:

Institutional Information:
Carnegie Classification:
__ Bac/A&S: Baccalaureate Colleges—Arts & Sciences
__ Bac/Diverse: Baccalaureate Colleges—Diverse Fields
__ Bac/Assoc: Baccalaureate/Associate’s Colleges
__ Master’s/S: Master’s Colleges and Universities (smaller programs)
__ Master’s/M: Master’s Colleges and Universities (medium programs)
__ Master’s/L:  Master’s Colleges and Universities (larger programs)

Public ____       Private ____   

FTE Students:

Number of Librarians:

Number of Library Support Staff:

Request for documentation:  (at the end of survey)
Please enclose or attach samples of your library’s policies, guidelines, mission statements, URLs, or other documentation related to __(topic)__ that you think would be helpful to other libraries, and can be included in the CLIPP publication. Thank you.

Please check below if sample documents can be published in a CLIPP publication.
___  I give permission to publish any document I send with this completed survey in a CLIPP publication
___ A copyright statement is required to publish any document I send with this completed survey in a CLIPP publication.

Appendix C: Sample Cover Letter for Online Survey   


TO: College and Small University Library Directors

Doreen Kopycinski
Lehigh University
E.W. Fairchild-Martindale Library
8A Packer Avenue
Bethlehem, PA  18015

RE: A CLIPP Survey

The College Libraries Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries publishes CLIPP, a compilation of practical information collected from college and small university libraries to benefit those considering their own policies and procedures of a particular topic. You are receiving this survey for the writing of [the second edition of User Surveys in College Libraries]. We appreciate your willingness to participate.

The following survey should take approximately 10-20 minutes to complete.

If you have [administered user surveys in the last five years], we would like to have a copy of them for inclusion in this upcoming CLIPP.  Please send an electronic copy (attach a document, refer to a URL, etc.) by email to [email address] .

If you have NOT [administered a user survey] in the last five years, we would still like to hear your feedback by completing this survey.

Thank you for your consideration of this survey; your participation is essential to the success of the CLIPP program.

PLEASE RESPOND BY [date survey closes].

Appendix D: CLIP Notes and CLIPP books

Performance Appraisal, CLIP Note #1

Collection Development Policies, CLIP Note #2

Job Descriptions, CLIP Note #3

Online Bibliographic Database Searching in College Libraries, CLIP Note #4

Mission Statements for College Libraries, CLIP Note #5
Larry Hardesty, Jamie Hastreiter, and David Henderson, compilers, 1985

Special Collections in College Libraries, CLIP Notes #6
Christine Erdmann, compiler, 1986

Managing Student Workers in College Libraries, CLIP Note #7
Michael D. Kathman and Jane McGurn Kathman, compilers, 1986

Periodicals in College Libraries, CLIP Note #8
Jamie Hastreiter, Larry Hardesty, and David Henderson, compilers, 1987

Friends of College Libraries, CLIP Note #9
Ronelle Thompson, compiler, 1987

Annual Reports for College Libraries, CLIP Note #10
Kenneth Oberembt, compiler, 1988

Collection Development Policies for College Libraries, CLIP Note #11
Theresa Taborsky and Patricia Lenkowski, compilers, 1989

Performance Appraisal in Academic Libraries, CLIP Note #12
Barbara Williams Jenkins and Mary L. Smalls, compilers, 1990

College Library Newsletters, CLIP Note #13
Patricia Smith Butcher and Susan McCarthy Campbell, compilers, 1990

Audiovisual Policies for College Libraries, CLIP Note #14
Kristine Brancolini, compiler, 1991

Database Searching in College Libraries, CLIP Note #15
Compiled and written by Sara Pederson, 1993

Interlibrary Loan in College Libraries, CLIP Note #16
Roxann Bustos, compiler, 1993

Emergency Planning and Management in College Libraries, CLIP Note #17
Susan C. George, compiler, 1993

Staff Development and Continuing Education, CLIP NOTE #18
Elizabeth A. Suddeth and Lynn W. Livingston, compilers, 1994

Formal Planning in College Libraries, CLIP Note #19
Sarah Barbara Watstein, Pamela L. Wonsek, and Paula Matthews, compilers, 1994

Managing Student Employees in College Libraries, CLIP Note #20
Michael D. Kathman and Jane McGurn Kathman, compilers, 1994

Library Services for Non-Affiliated Patrons, CLIP Note #21
Eugene S. Mitchell, compiler, 1994

Allocation Formulas in Academic Libraries, CLIP Note #22
Jane H. Tuten and Beverly Jones, compilers, 1995

User Surveys in College Libraries, CLIP Note #23
Mignon S. Adams and Jeffrey A. Beck, compilers, 1995

Reference Training in Academic Libraries, CLIP Note #24
Kimberly Robles and Neal Wyatt, compilers, 1996

Displays and Exhibits in College Libraries, CLIP Note #25
Jane Kemp and Laura Witschi, compilers, 1997

Criteria for Promotion and Tenure for Academic Librarians, CLIP Note #26
Virginia Vesper and Gloria Kelley, compilers, 1997

Friends of College Libraries, 2nd Edition: CLIP Note #27
Ronelle Thompson and Ann M. Smith, compilers, 1999

Mission Statements for College Libraries, 2nd Edition, CLIP Note #28
Jamie A. Hastreiter, Marsha Cornelius, and David W. Handerson, compilers, 1999

Library Web Site Policies, CLIP Note #29
Jeri L. Traw, compiler, 2000

Travel, Sabbatical, and Study Leave Policies in College Libraries, CLIP Note #30
Carolyn Gaskell and Allen S. Morrill, compilers, 2001

Appropriate Use Policies for Computers in College/University Libraries, CLIP Note #31
Jane H. Tuten and Karen Junker, compilers, 2002

Assessment in College Library Instruction Programs, CLIP Note #32
Lawrie H. Merz and Beth L. Mark, compilers, 2002

First Year Student Library Instruction Programs, CLIP Note #33
Debbie Malone and Carol Videon, compilers, 2003

Marketing and Public Relations Practices in College Libraries, CLIP Note #34
Anita Rothwell Lindsay, compiler, 2004

Special Collections in College and University Libraries, CLIP Note #35
Elizabeth Sudduth, Nancy Newins, William Sudduth, compilers, 2005

Managing Student Employees in College Libraries (3rd Ed.), CLIP Note #36
Michael D. Kathman and Jane M. Kathman, compilers, 2006

Library Plagiarism Polices, CLIP Note #37
Vera Stepchyshyn and Robert S. Nelson, compilers, 2007

User Surveys in College Libraries, CLIP Note #38
Doreen Kopycinski and Kimberley Sando, compilers, 2007

Copyright Polices, CLIP Note #39
Patricia Keogh and Rachel Crowley, compilers, 2008

Emergency Response Planning in College Libraries, CLIP Note #40
Compiled by Marcia Thomas and Anke Voss and edited by Marcia Thomas, 2009

Web Research in Academic Libraries, CLIP Note #41
Compiled by Rebecca Sullivan, 2011

Collection Development in a Changing Environment: Policies and Organization for College and University Libraries, CLIP Note #42
Compiled and Authored by Susanne K. Clement and Jennifer M. Foy, 2011

Strategic Planning in College Libraries, CLIP Note #43
Compiled and Edited by Eleonora Dubicki, 2011

Institutional Repositories, CLIPP #44
Compiled and written by Brighid Gonzales, forthcoming

Open Educational Resources: CLIPP 45
compiled and written by Mary Francis

Academic Library Job Descriptions: CLIPP #46
compiled by Kathleen Baril and Jennifer Donley