Guidelines for Editors of Historical and Genealogical Bulletins and Family Newsletters

Genealogy Committee of the History Section of the Reference and User Services Association of the American Library Association, 1986. Revised 1996, and approved by the RUSA Board of Directors, 1997


These guidelines have been written for the guidance of editors of local historical, genealogical, and family publications and for librarians who are responsible for their use and preservation.

1.0 Bibliographic Information

Registration: An ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) should be requested from the national body responsible for assigning this internationally recognized identification number. In the U.S. it is the Library of Congress. In Canada contact ISSN Canada at the National Library of Canada. If there is a title change, a new ISSN must be assigned.

Title: The title of the publication should be descriptive of the contents and should be prominently displayed on each issue. Title changes should be considered most carefully. Editors should be aware of the effects of a title change, e.g.,

a. Parts of the run of the same serial may be shelved in separate locations where publications are arranged by title, and

b. Readers may have difficulty identifying the publication in the catalog.

Any necessary change of title should be made with the first issue of a new volume.

Statement of Responsibility: The name and complete mailing address of the editor and/or issuing body should appear on the cover and title page of each issue. Telephone number is optional.

Numbering System: A new volume number should be used with the first issue of each calendar or fiscal year. Volume number, issue number, and date should appear on the cover and title page of each issue.

Pagination: Continuous pagination should be used for issues within each volume of the periodical, rather than beginning numbering anew with each issue. Only Arabic numerals should be used.

2.0 Physical Format

Paper: The publication should be printed on acid-free paper to reduce the risk of physical deterioration.

Binding: The text should be arranged to provide a minimum margin of at least one inch on the inner margin (binding edge) of each page. Staples should be used only in the inner margin, never through the text. Heavy-duty staples should not be used to seal the contents for mailing purposes.

3.0 Special Features

Indexes: A subject and every-name index should be published in or with the last issue of each volume with possible five year cumulations. If contents are indexed in any guide to periodical literature, this should be noted.

Book Citations: All book reviews, new book lists, or citations should include the author's full name, complete title from the title page, place of publication, publisher, year of publication, number of pages, price, and source for purchase.

4.0 Distribution

Library Deposits: In addition to the personal subscribers, copies of each issue should be sent on a gift or subscription basis to appropriate libraries with notable genealogy collections, where the intellectual content of the publication will be preserved and available to a wider audience.

Postal rates: Editors should inquire at their post offices for the lowest possible rates. Excessive postage costs can often be avoided by use of book, library, or bulk rates.

Subscription bills: The exact name of the publication, issues included and taxpayer I.D. number should be noted on all subscription invoices.

*Archival-quality paper is widely available at reasonable cost. Current archival paper supply catalogs may be available at your local library, historical library, academic library, or by mail from national firms such as Gaylord Brothers, P.O. Box 4901, Syracuse, NY 13221-4901, (800) 448-6160; Hollinger Corporation, P.O. Box 8360, Fredericksburg, VA 22404, (800) 634-0491; and S.D. Warren Company, 225 Franklin St., Boston MA 02101, (716) 423-7300.