Selection Policy

Subject Guidelines, continued

(Guidelines are arranged alphabetically by subject and disciplinary areas)

History of Science & Technology: Historical and biographical treatments of significant worldwide events, developments, and persons.  We review historical and biographical works in interdisciplinary areas.  SEE ALSO: Astronautics & Astronomy; Biology; Chemistry; Earth Science; Engineering; Health Sciences; Information & Computer Science; Mathematics; Physics; Sports & Recreation (for historical publications relating to specific areas).

Humanities (general): Broad and interdisciplinary works and resources that treat two or more of the subjects comprising the disciplinary subdivisions of this section (Art & Architecture; Communication; Language & Literature; Performing Arts; Philosophy; Religion).  We selectively review works that address the state of the humanities in general.

Information & Computer Science: Computers and society; computer literacy; computer design and architecture; systems analysis; database management; information storage and retrieval; and Internet design, development, and history.  We selectively review computer programming, computer languages, and equipment; robotics; artificial intelligence; printing technology; and desktop publishing and other computer applications.  We rarely review manuals that accompany specific languages, software, or hardware.  We do not review professional library publications.  SEE ALSO: Communication (for video gaming); Engineering (for robotics).

Language & Literature (general): Histories of language; introductory works on sub-languages (e.g., regional speech and dialects), language acquisition (including second-language acquisition), semantics, phonology, linguistics, and semiotics; and works treating the literatures in more than one geographic or language subsection.  Under the literature subsections, we review works focusing on individual authors (both canonical writers and secondary/minor writers relevant to the expanding canon) and their bodies of work; landmark editions and translations of important works; literary history and periods; genres; scholarly biography; belles lettres; folklore; and oral history.  We are likely to select multicultural, interdisciplinary, and gender-related studies.  We may review original literary works of merit that meet one or more of the following criteria: first appearance in English translation of the work of a writer studied in undergraduate curricula; work by an established writer that marks a significant departure from the author’s usual style or subject; and critical edition of a standard literary work studied in undergraduate literature courses.  We review anthologies of previously published literature if they are first or unusual presentations of little-studied topics or previously dispersed literature.  We do not review contemporary fiction, poetry, or drama.  SEE ALSO: Anthropology (for language development); Philosophy; Reference (for book history).


African & Middle Eastern, Asian & Oceanian, Classical, English & American, Germanic, Romance, Slavic

Mathematics: Pure and applied mathematics, fundamental mathematics, algebra, analysis, number systems, topology, geometry, probability, statistics, and rigorous treatments of mathematical recreational subjects.

Performing Arts (general): Broad historical and critical works dealing with two or more of the performing arts, works about the technical aspects of the performing arts, and learning manuals designed for aspiring performers.  We selectively review biographies (under the general heading or subsections) according to the scholarly intent of the treatment and the inherent importance of the subject.  We select wholly pictorial works only if they have historical potential or value.  We very selectively review collections of audition materials.  We do not review recordings (CDs, tapes, videos) that are not connected to a print source.  SEE ALSO: Art & Architecture (for performance art, costuming, and scenery design); Photography (for pictorial works). 


Film: Works on individual films and filmmakers of significance; the history, evolution, and theory of filmmaking; genre studies; practical treatments of various aspects of film production (e.g., lighting, music).  SEE ALSO: Music.

Music: Treatments of music of all varieties, including classical, ethnic, and popular (jazz, rock, folk, blues, country, rap); musicians in all genres; the history, evolution, theory, and philosophy of music; and, selectively, works on individual musical works and recordings of particular significance.  We review musical scores only if they are historically significant, include extensive text, or are part of a critical edition.  SEE ALSO: Film (for film music).

Theater & Dance: The practice, history, theory, and philosophy of theater and dance; works on particular theater and dance artists and their work.  We selectively review treatments of movement analysis and dance notation.

Philosophy: Introductory materials focusing on history, interpretation, and critique of major philosophers, philosophical problems, philosophical schools, feminist theory, cognitive science, and the philosophy of particular subject fields.  We selectively review works exhibiting philosophers “doing philosophy”; works teaching critical thinking about philosophical issues, contemporary or otherwise; and landmark editions and translations of important works.  SEE ALSO: Art & Architecture; Health Sciences (for bioethics); Language & Literature; Political Science; Psychology (for cognitive science); Religion; Science & Technology (for the philosophy of particular fields). 

Physics: Mathematical physics, atomic and nuclear physics, cosmology, biophysics, relativity, solid and fluid mechanics, physical aspects of thermodynamics, optics and acoustics, electricity and magnetism, and climatology topics (e.g., global warming, climate change, and the atmosphere).  For advanced disciplines, we give preference to introductory works.  SEE ALSO: Earth Sciences (for meteorology and climatology topics).

Political Science (general): Methodology; quantitative analyses; handbooks; treatises on the scope and future of the discipline; and publications of an interdisciplinary nature (e.g., works on political psychology, environmental politics, political communication, or politics and technology).


Comparative Politics: The internal politics, public policy, public administration, and laws of individual political systems; comparisons among polities or some of their elements; works with a regional focus; and area studies.  SEE ALSO: History, Geography & Area Studies.

International Relations: Relations among nations, international theory, international organizations, diplomacy, globalization, international human rights, international law, foreign policy, arms control, peace efforts, and security.

Political Theory: Theoretical or philosophical topics, individual political philosophers, the history of political philosophy, theories of the state, ideologies, and new theoretical directions.  SEE ALSO: Philosophy.

U.S. Politics: The three branches of United States government, public policy, public administration, criminal justice, law, and the formation or decision-making aspects of United States foreign policy.  SEE ALSO: Economics; History, Geography & Area Studies.

Psychology: All major and developing approaches to and aspects of psychology, including social and behavioral, developmental, educational, clinical, experimental, physiological, genetic, neurological, and organizational psychology; resources focusing on methods and techniques; biographical and historical works; and scholarly, well-documented treatments of parapsychology.  We selectively review general studies of psychiatry and psychoanalysis.  SEE ALSO: Health Sciences (for mental health and learning and behavioral disorders); Philosophy (for theoretical cognitive science); Sociology.

Reference (general): The general section and subsections treat atlases and gazetteers; bibliographies; general and subject dictionaries and encyclopedias; directories; research guides, writing guides, and style manuals; core handbooks; indexes; primary documents collections; statistical compendia; and the like.  We particularly emphasize electronic formats.  We look carefully at revisions, serials, and other continuations and review continuing series often (first volume and upon completion of the set); revisions of standard reference works at intervals, especially if we note evidence of significant change (new editor, new publisher, changes in editorial policy); abridged editions selectively; and important yearbooks or annual compilations periodically.  We occasionally commission longer or team-written feature reviews for important reference sets.  We selectively review works related to archives, book history, careers, genealogy, and scholarships/grants/financial aid.  Suitability for end use by undergraduates is less vital in the selection of reference materials than in the subject literatures because reference collections serve a broad readership and smaller libraries may need more specialized bibliographies and indexes when referring students to resources beyond local holdings.  SEE ALSO: Art & Architecture (for book arts); History, Geography & Area Studies (for primary documents); Language & Literature (for style manuals).


Humanities, Science & Technology, Social & Behavioral Sciences.

Religion: Resources that promote the academic study of diverse faith traditions throughout the world, whether established major religions, new religious movements, or newly recognized religious expressions.  We review nonproselytizing introductory discussions of various religious faiths and titles that describe, explain, analyze, or critique religion in its philosophical, historical, psychological, sociological, political, or scientific dimensions.  We selectively review books on doctrinal and practical theology and on sacred writings.  SEE ALSO: History, Geography & Area Studies (for historical treatments).

Science & Technology (general): Interdisciplinary topics and concerns, including political, social, and philosophical issues concerned with advances and developments in science and technology; environmental and conservational aspects of science and technology; forecasting and future studies; inventions and scientific apparatus and equipment; and scientific and technological aspects of naval, military, and aeronautical fields.  We selectively review textbooks and popularizations in the subdivisions of this section: Astronautics & Astronomy; Biology; Chemistry; Earth Science; Engineering; Health Sciences; History of Science & Technology; Information & Computer Science; Mathematics; Physics; Sports & Recreation.

Social & Behavioral Sciences (general): General, interdisciplinary, or multidisciplinary works that treat two or more of the subjects comprising the subdivisions of this section: Anthropology; Business, Management & Labor; Economics; Education; History, Geography & Area Studies; Political Science; Psychology; Sociology.

Sociology: The theory, analysis, and history of societal relationships and issues, with a focus on North America.  We review all major subdivisions of sociology, e.g., criminology and criminal justice; social problems; social work; marriage and family; demography; social change/social movements; social structure; community studies; ethnic studies; gender studies; urban studies; sociobiology; applied sociology; and statistics.  We selectively review popular works in newly developing fields of inquiry and self-help works.  SEE ALSO: Anthropology; Psychology.

Sports & Recreation: Athletics, sports, athletes, physical education, physical health, human performance, and recreational activities, particularly in North America but also on a world scale.  We review historical, psychological, and sociological treatments; we selectively review biographical works and technique and how-to books.  SEE ALSO: Health Sciences (for physiology); History, Geography & Area Studies (for cultural or historical treatments).


In addition to the subject sections described above, interdisciplinary indexes appear in the magazine and as searchable fields in Choice Reviews Online to enhance access to resources in major interdisciplinary areas.  Interdisciplinary indexes include African and African American Studies; Asian and Asian American Studies; Canadian Studies; Classical Studies; Electronic Resources; Environmental Studies; Food and Agriculture; Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, & Transgender Studies; Islamic Studies; Latin American & Latina/o Studies; Law & Society; Middle Eastern Studies; Military Studies; Native American Studies; Urban Studies; Women’s & Gender Studies.

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