How to Write a Review

Below are guidelines for writing a review of software, websites, resources, or pop culture media that depict archives or archivists. Reviews of tools and technologies that analyze a wide variety of resources within an archival context. Microreviews are short, informal submissions – share with us what you’re reading!

Guidelines for preparing a review of software, websites, or other resources

  • Reviews should be 600–850 words in length. The Reviews Editor and the Reviews Portal Coordinator reserve the right to edit for length.
  • For software, websites, or other resources, reviewers must supply as complete a citation as possible, based on guidelines found in the latest edition of The Chicago Manual of Style. If you have questions about citing source information, please contact the Reviews Editor.

Specific guidelines for writing a review include the following:

  • Discuss the author’s or organization’s credentials and background.
  • Briefly describe the resource, providing a simple overview and summary.
  • All reviews are a personal statement. Discuss your reaction to the resource, its strengths and weaknesses.
  • Respond to the author’s thesis and opinions (if applicable).
  • Discuss the resource within an archival context, its relationship to archives and its significance for the discipline.
  • Evaluate the resource as a whole in terms of its usefulness to archivists and users of archives materials.
  • Do not focus on minor typographical or factual errors unless the work is significantly compromised.

Guidelines for Preparing a Pop Culture and Archives Review

  • Reviews focusing on pop culture media and the representation of archives and archivists should be 1300-1500 words in length. The Reviews Editor and Reviews Portal Coordinator reserve the right to edit for length.
  • Briefly explain how the piece or pieces of media relate to past or current archival practices, mentalities, tropes, or stereotypes.
  • Include a summary of the piece or pieces of media under review. Keep in mind that not everyone has seen, read, or experienced the media you’re reviewing.
  • Include citations for the media as well as any scholarly works used for additional context. Reviewers must supply as complete a citation as possible, based on guidelines found in the latest edition of The Chicago Manual of Style.
  • Have fun with the review! Your voice and perspectives should come through the review.

Guidelines for preparing a microreview

  • Microreviews are short, informal contributions that should be 100-200 words in length. The Reviews Editor and the Reviews Portal Coordinator reserve the right to edit for length.
  • What are you reading? What apps are you using to make your work easier? Briefly describe a monograph, journal article, app or blog (or a combination of these resources).
  • How did you come across this item(s)? Why is it interesting to you? Why would others find it interesting?

Editorial Process

  • The reviewer selects a resource to review. If needed, the Reviews Portal Coordinator provides a list of specific suggestions based on the reviewer’s interests.
  • The reviewer selects a due date for the first draft. Typically, reviewers take 4 to 6 weeks to write the first draft. We accommodate your schedule and priorities. If needed, your due date can be updated.
  • On the due date, the reviewer submits the first draft as a Word Document to the Reviews Editor.
  • Two people on our team edit the review, track any changes, and add comments as needed. Typically this first round of editing takes 2-3 weeks depending on our editors’ availability.
  • We return our comments to the reviewer, who then selects a due date for final revisions. Most reviewers take 2-3 weeks to make revisions.
  • The reviewer returns their final draft along with a signed agreement that gives SAA the license needed to publish the reviewer’s work.
  • We schedule your review for publication. Most often reviews are published within 1-2 weeks depending on the publication schedule.

Questions? Please contact the Reviews Editor.