Search   |   Back Issues   |   Author Index   |   Title Index   |   Contents



D-Lib Magazine
March/April 2008

Volume 14 Number 3/4

ISSN 1082-9873

What's in a Name? Categories of D-Lib Content Defined

During the internal prepublication review of this month's issue, a colleague asked me why I had categorized the Lavoie piece and Marshall piece as "commentaries" rather than as "articles." I realized that although the D-Lib Magazine guidelines for authors ( and a June 1999 editorial by William Arms ( describe the editorial process and our preferences regarding submissions to D-Lib, neither of those documents provides a description of the various types of D-Lib content. Therefore, I hope the following will be helpful to those who wish to contribute content to D-Lib Magazine.

Article: D-Lib articles describe and discuss digital library (DL) research and development projects that have either been completed or have reached a stage where significant results have been achieved to warrant sharing with the DL community.

Commentary: A commentary is primarily a thought piece, though it may also include some description of a project. Sometimes the choice to categorize a piece as a "commentary" rather than an "article" is a bit arbitrary, but during the production process we notify the lead author that we plan to disseminate the piece as a "commentary," to be sure that he or she understands why we are making that choice. And if the author has persuasive reasons why we should categorize the piece as an article, we will do that.

Opinion: This category is used for thought pieces that have strong points of view. We do not necessarily have to agree with the view expressed, which is why each opinion carries a disclaimer [1]; however, opinions do have to present reasoned views that are respectful of others' viewpoints as well.

Conference Report: We welcome reports on DL and related conferences and workshops. These should describe the major themes and outcomes of the event, rather than a description of each paper presented at the conference. Conference reports can be full-length (1000 - 1500 words) or brief (200 - 700 words). The brief reports are usually disseminated in D-Lib's "In Brief" column. Both full-length and brief reports are listed in the magazine's title and author indexes. Reports that include links to additional information are welcome and appreciated by readers.

Featured Collection: In each issue of the magazine we seek to bring attention to an exceptional or unique digital library, collection or web site by selecting it as the magazine's Featured Collection for that month. We are happy to receive nominations for this feature, from the creators or from others.

Project Update: If an article about a project has already appeared in D-Lib Magazine, but additional progress has been made that warrants reporting it to the DL community, we might classify such a piece as a "project update."

Project Summary: Similarly, if an article about a project has appeared in D-Lib reporting interim results, and the project has now been completed, a project summary about it may be appropriate.

In Brief: We use the "In Brief" column to notify the DL community about projects just getting underway, short conference or workshop reports, the launch of DL sites and services, and other current awareness items. An "In Brief" item should be a descriptive item of approximately 200 - 500 words that would include links to additional information for readers who wish to know more than the brief item covers.

In the News: D-Lib also disseminates excerpts from non-commercial news and press releases. When submitting a press release for consideration, please include the link to the full press release for readers who want more information.

Clips and Pointers: We welcome notifications regarding new online publications, portals, and bibliographies as well as information about upcoming conferences and calls for papers and proposals. It is important to submit conference information early. D-Lib maintains a Calendar of Events ( that lists upcoming conferences and workshops in addition to the ones listed in the magazine.

We welcome submissions for any of the categories described above; however, because D-Lib is able to accept only a small percentage of the articles submitted each year, before writing a full article a prospective author may wish first to submit an article proposal that includes an abstract or outline. Please send those to <>. We also welcome readers' questions and comments. They should be sent to <>.

Bonita Wilson


[1] The disclaimer reads: "This Opinion piece presents the opinions of the author. It does not necessarily reflect the views of D-Lib Magazine, its publisher, the Corporation for National Research Initiatives, or those organizations who are participants in the D-Lib Alliance."

Copyright© 2008 Corporation for National Research Initiatives

Letters | First Commentary | First Article
Home | E-mail the Editor