Author Guidelines

Potential authors, please read “Thoughts on Scholarly Writing: Suggestions for Authors Considering Publishing in RUSQ” prior to submitting your manuscript to the journal. This article offers information that will be useful to authors considering publishing in RUSQ or in other scholarly journals.


Reference & User Services Quarterly (RUSQ) is the official journal of the Reference and User Services Association of the American Library Association.

The purpose of RUSQ is to disseminate information of interest to librarians in areas such as:

  • Reference services
  • collection development
  • readers’ advisory
  • resource sharing
  • technology for reference and user services
  • other aspects of user services

The scope of the journal includes all aspects of library services to adults in all types of libraries.

In response to the nature of our rapidly evolving field, the journal publishes empirical (quantitative and qualitative), theoretical, and historical research and essays as peer-reviewed featured articles. Through its many columns, reports, and reviews the journal also publishes an array of useful professional information.

Editorial Policy

The journal follows a policy of double-blind refereeing of articles in advance of publication. (Statement adopted by RASD Board, June 27, 1989).

Please follow these procedures when preparing manuscripts to be submitted to RUSQ. Manuscripts that fail to comply with RUSQ style may be returned without evaluation.

Submit only original, unpublished articles on subjects within RUSQ's scope. Manuscripts based on the work of RUSA committees will only be considered for the columns sections of RUSQ. Articles of four thousand to seven thousand words are preferred.

  1. Write the article in a grammatically correct, simple, readable style. Remember that the author is responsible for the accuracy of all statements in the article, including the accuracy of references and quotations.
  2. Consult the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed., or the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary ( for questions relating to spelling and word division.
  3. As the authority for punctuation, capitalization, abbreviations, note forms, etc., consult The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS), 15th ed. (Univ. of Chicago Pr., 2003). CMOS has a companion website (
  4. Give the article a brief title; if the title is not descriptive of content, add a brief subtitle. On a separate page give the title, the name(s) of the author(s), and the title and affiliation of each. Manuscripts based on conference presentations should identify the conference by name and date on this page.
  5. On a separate page, type the title and subtitle, followed by a brief abstract typed double-spaced. Do not identify the author(s) here or elsewhere in the manuscript.
  6. Prepare tables, figures, illustrations, and photographs. Each table should be provided as a separate word processing or MS Excel file. It should be given an Arabic number and a title and cited in the text. Tables, figures, illustrations, and photographs should be numbered in the order in which they are first referenced in the text. Each column in a table should have a heading. Table footnotes and sources, if any, should be typed double-spaced beneath the table. Each figure should be provided as an individual file, given an Arabic number and a title, and be cited by number in the text. Computer-generated figures should be embedded in Word files or provided as Excel files; Excel files are preferred. Resolution for all figures must be at least 300 dots per inch.
    Screen captures, such as those of Web sites, must be at high resolution (300 dpi) and formatted for black-and-white or grayscale reproduction. URLs for screen captures must be provided.
    When selecting or preparing drawings or photographs, keep in mind that they should be large enough and clear enough to permit a reduction of one-half to one-third.
    Avoid referring to tables and figures with phrases such as “the following,” “above,” or “below”; it may be impossible to place the tables or figures to correspond. Refer always to “table 2,” “figure 6,” and so on.
  7. RUSQ uses the numbered endnote style described in chapter 16 of CMOS. Endnote numbers should appear in the text as superscripts at the ends of sentences. When more than one item is referenced in a sentence, a single endnote number should be used and the items included in the endnote as in example 13 below. Automatic embedded footnote or embedded endnote features of word processors should not be used. References should be included in a numbered list at the end of the text. Examples of frequently used endnote forms include:

For a book:

1. Jesse H. Shera, Libraries and the Organization of Knowledge (Hamden, Conn.: Archon, 1965), 15.

For part of a book:
2. Richard Anderson, Francis Narin, and Paul McAllister, “Publication Ratings versus Peer Ratings of Universities,” in Key Papers in Information Science, ed. Belver C. Griffith (White Plains, N.Y.: Knowledge Industry, 1980), 125-372.
For an ERIC document:
3. Phyllis MacVicar, A Demonstration of the Interrelating of Library and Basic Education Services for Disadvantaged Adults (Arlington, Va : ERIC Document Reproduction Service, ED 087 401, 1973).
For a journal article:
4. Jessica E. Moyer, “Learning from Leisure Reading: A Study of Adult Public Library Patrons,” Reference & User Services Quarterly 46, no. 4 (Summer 2007): 66–79.
Use “et al.” for citations with four or more authors.
For a report:
5. National Institute of Education, Involvement in Learning: Realizing the Potential of American Higher Education, final report of the Study Group on the Conditions of Excellence in American Higher Education (Washington, D.C.: NIE, 1984).
For an immediate subsequent reference:
6. Ibid., 489.
For a previously cited reference:
7. Shera , Libraries and the Organization of Knowledge, 117.
For an online database, scholarly project, or other website:
8. COUNTER: Counting Online Usage of Networked Electronic Resources, “About COUNTER,” about.html (accessed June 1, 2006).
For an online journal article:
9. Chris Neuhaus , Ellen Neuhaus, and Alan Asher. “The Depth and Breadth of Google Scholar: An Empirical Study,” Portal: Libraries and the Academy 6 (April 2006). journals/ portal_libraries_and_the_academy/ toc/ pla6.2.html (accessed May 31, 2006).
For an online book:
10. Robert Barsky, Noam Chomsky (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1997, http:// Chomsky, accessed May 31, 2006).
For e-mail:
11. John Brown, “Re: Virtual Reference,” e-mail to Sarah Jones, Aug. 31, 2005.
For a posting to a discussion list:
12. Jack Elliott, “Teaching Virtual Reference,” online posting, May 31, 2006, Jesse,
For more than one item in an endnote:
13. Ellie A. Fogarty, “Reference Questions: Who, What, Where, When, How, and Why?” New Jersey Libraries 28 (Summer 1995): 19-21; Sharon L. Baker and F. Wilfrid Lancaster, The Measurement and Evaluation of Library Services (Arlington, Va.: Information Resources Pr., 1991), 239; Shera , Libraries and the Organization of Knowledge, 117.
Other questions on style and preparation of copy can be answered by the CMOS. Verify each citation carefully. Spelling and accuracy of names in references should be confirmed by the author.
Manuscript Submission
Manuscripts must be submitted in digital format as an e-mail attachment. A paper copy is not necessary. Full contact information, including a mailing address, should be provided. In the case of multiple authors, one author should be designated as contact person.

The manuscript should be prepared using standard word processing software. The preferred word processor is Microsoft Word, but files prepared with most major word processors can be accommodated. No automatic features of the word-processing software—such as autonumbering, footnotes, and headers or footers—should be used.

E-mail and attachments: files submitted as attachments should be named to indicate the name(s) of the author and content (text or figures). Send e-mail and attachments to the editor (Kathleen Kern, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia) at:


Copyright Notice

A copyright agreement form will be sent to each author when the manuscript is accepted for publication. Authors may sign and return either a limited license or full agreement form. RUSQ subscribes to a generous educational use policy. You may deposit your article in an institutional or disciplinary repository subsequent to publication in RUSQ. When posting, the work may not be modified and you must cite the original publication.


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