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How to Write a JMLA Electronic Resource Review

Purpose and Scope

Electronic resources reviews in the Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA) provide critical appraisals of electronic products that assist staff in health sciences libraries as they make collection development and technology implementation decisions. Reviewers evaluate many types of resources such as databases and catalogs, electronic collections, research and reference tools, library management systems, and educational instruments. Health sciences resources are the primary focus of reviews, though library resources are included as appropriate. To be reviewed, resources must be readily accessible for use in health sciences libraries. Although some comparative information is useful, major evaluation studies, such as those comparing the various literature-searching products, should continue to be published as articles rather than reviews.

Reviewers are chosen on the basis of their knowledge and experience in the various functions of health sciences libraries, as well as their expertise in using electronic resources.


As with book reviews, electronic resources reviews should include a general description of the resource, the intended audience, and the resource's good and bad points. The reviewer should include sufficient description to give others a clear idea of the purpose of the resource, its major features, the accessibility and usability of the resource, and the quality of the accompanying documentation. Below is a list of some of the items to consider when writing reviews; not all items may be appropriate for all resources.

  • purpose
  • general description
  • contents
  • intended audience
  • major features
  • accessibility
  • usability
  • advantages over other formats of the same item, if any
  • deficiencies and disadvantages, if any
  • technological administration issues
  • timeliness
  • brief comparison to other similar products

Reviews must be submitted in electronic format via email, preferably as an attached file from a standard word processor such as Microsoft Word. Reviews should be double-spaced and typed and normally should not exceed two to three pages in length (four pages is the maximum). Reviews exceeding four pages, double-spaced, eleven-point type may be edited for length. The number of photos, figures, illustrations, and tables is limited to one per review. The image should be provided as tagged image format files (TIFF) or camera-ready art. Detailed information about requirements for figures can be found in the JMLA Information for Authors.

The following elements (when available or applicable) should be included in the bibliographic information at the beginning of the review:

  • title (including version number)
  • date of publication
  • ISBN, ISSN, and/or URL
  • author or editor (last name, first name, and/or initials)
  • publisher with electronic and postal contact information
  • price (or pricing structure)
  • technical requirements

Turning Research Into Practice (TRIP). Jon Brassey, TRIP Database, 12 Llansannor Drive, Cardiff, United Kingdom, CF10 4AW.;; free website.

Evidence Matters. Evidence Matters, 78 St-Joseph West #209, Montreal, QC, H2T 2P4, Canada; 866.843.0756;;; institutional subscriptions only, contact for pricing.

At the end of the review, include:

  • reviewer's full name
  • abbreviations of any advanced academic degrees, professional degrees, or certifications (e.g., MLS, PhD, MD, RN, AHIP)
  • email address
  • institutional affiliation, city, and state (do not abbreviate)

Richard Nollan,, Health Sciences Library, University of Tennessee, Memphis, TN

Carolyn M. Brown,, Health Sciences Center Library, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA

The editors reserve the right to make editorial changes if these changes do not affect the overall content of the review. Substantive changes will be discussed with reviewers. The editors reserve the right to reject reviews that are deemed unsatisfactory in quality.

Please refer to the Information for Authors and the MLA Style Manual for further information and guidance, including information about References. References in electronic resources reviews should conform to MLA style.

Copyright and Disclosure Agreement

The JMLA requires authors to include a copy of the JMLA copyright license agreement and disclosure form, dated and signed, when submitting material for possible publication in the JMLA. All coauthors must sign the agreement and disclosure form; it is the responsibility of the first author to ensure that coauthors sign and submit the forms.

Please note that papers not adhering to JMLA guidelines, including word count, reference style, and inclusion of the copyright and disclosure forms will be returned to the submitting authors.

Submission of Reviews

Deadlines are based on the production schedule for the JMLA, and adherence to them is necessary to ensure timely publication of reviews. Reviewers will be notified of the actual publication date for the reviews they prepare.

Send reviews to the associate editor for electronic resources reviews, Janet A. Crum, AHIP, and Emily McElroy.