Editorial Policy

Click to return to The American Archivist website

The American Archivist Editorial Mission and Guidelines
The American Archivist is the semi-annual journal of the Society of American Archivists. It seeks to reflect thinking about theoretical and practical developments in the archival profession, particularly in North America; about the relationships between archivists and the creators and users of archives; and about cultural, social, legal, and technological developments that affect the nature of recorded information and the need to create and maintain it.

The American Archivist is a refereed journal. Each submission will be reviewed by experts in the subject matter of the submission and a final decision for publication will be based on this review.

The American Archivist features a variety of types and lengths of articles. Except for reviews of professional literature and resources, all inquiries and submissions should be directed to:

Professor, Long Island University
Palmer School of Library and Information Science
(516) 299-2171

Research Articles are analytical and critical expositions based on original investigation or on systematic review of literature. A wide variety of subjects are encouraged.

Case Studies are analytical reports of projects or activities that take place in a specific setting and offer the basis for emulation or comparison in other settings.

Perspectives are commentaries, reflective or opinion pieces, addressing issues or practices that concern archivists and their constituents.

International Scene pieces may include elements of any of the above formats in covering archival developments outside the United States.

Professional Resources can be annotated bibliographies, other items designed for practical use within the profession, or essays that review the developments (as opposed to the literature) in specified areas in a way that describes particular initiatives and places them in the context of broader trends.

The Forum contains letters to the editor commenting on recently published articles or other topics of interest to the profession. (Nota Bene: Letters to the editor are published to allow readers’ viewpoints to be shared. The responsibility for accuracy remains with the letters' authors. The opinions and information are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the editor or the Society of American Archivists.)


The Reviews section provides a forum for the evaluation of the literature that affects, and is affected by, emerging archival theory and practice. In addition to reviews of monographs and reports and comparative analyses of publications in The American Archivist, the Reviews Portal creates space for the evaluation of emerging technologies and resources that archivists use and create, facilitating the preservation and stewardship of archival material and greater engagement with users. Reviewers are selected by the Reviews Editor. Direct inquiries to:

Reviews Editor 
Archival Operations and Reference Specialist
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
(217) 300-0908 


Manuscripts may be submitted electronically in Microsoft Word. Both text (including lengthy block quotations) and notes should be double-spaced. Please use endnotes. All pages should be numbered.

The author's name and address should appear only on the title page, which should be separate from the main text of the manuscript. The preferred maximum length is 8,000 words for research articles and surveys, and 3,000 words for case studies and perspectives, but these length requirements can be waived for certain articles in consultation with the editor. All articles must be accompanied by a 100-word abstract.

Illustrations are welcome in all departments. Please do not embed images in text but do include captions for illustrations in a separate list at the end of the article. Unless illustrations are critical to understanding the text, they need not be included in the initial submission of an article. Please do include captions to indicate availability of illustrations. If needed, only low resolution digital images (or photocopies) need be attached to the initial submission. Digital images (300 dpi tiff) will be required when and if the article is accepted for publication.

Editors of The American Archivist use the latest edition of Chicago Manual of Style as the standard of style and endnote format. Terms having special meanings for members of the profession should conform to the definitions in A Glossary for Archivists, Manuscripts Curators, and Records Managers. Authors' variations from these standards should be minimal and purposeful.

The American Archivist will not consider a manuscript that is being reviewed by another journal at the same time, nor will it normally consider an article that has been published previously in a similar form. A separate reprinting policy has been prepared, but normally reprinting will be initiated by the editor.

The author is responsible for understanding and following the principles that govern the "fair use" of quotations and illustrations and for obtaining written permission to publish, where necessary. Accuracy in endnote citations is also the author's responsibility, although the editors may occasionally confirm the accuracy of selected citations. Authors are required to assign copyright of their work to the journal but can expect to receive permission for subsequent use of their work without restrictions.

Manuscripts are sent out (without the author's name) for peer review by two readers who evaluate them and recommend acceptance, rejection, or revision. Author notification of a final decision normally takes a minimum of three months. Acceptance for publication is usually on the condition that specified revisions be made. If an article is accepted, the author will also send a biographical statement (no more than 100 words in length) and photo (300 dpi jpg). Authors are given the opportunity to approve all editorial changes and to review page proofs for correction of printers' errors. The minimum editorial and production cycle—which includes receipt of a manuscript, review, acceptance, revision, page makeup, printing and distribution—is approximately twelve months; various factors can affect that time period.

Copyright by the Society of American Archivists.

Creative Commons License

Except where otherwise noted, article content in The American Archivist is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial 3.0 United States License. Some rights reserved.


The American Archivist is indexed in Historical Abstracts (ABC-CLIO), Library Literature and Information Science (H. W. Wilson), Scopus (Elsevier), and Book Reviews Index Online (Gale/Cengage Learning).

Address additional inquiries about The American Archivist to:

Director of Publishing
Society of American Archivists
(312) 606-0722 Fax: (312) 606-0728
toll-free: (866) SAA-7858

Click to return to The American Archivist website