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How to Write a JMLA Book Review

Purpose and Scope

The purpose of the book review section is to provide critical appraisals of new books and serials that will assist readers of the Journal of the Medical Library Association (JMLA) in selecting works for their own professional use or for addition to their library collections. Reviewers are chosen based on their knowledge of and experience in areas relevant to the library and information world.


Reviews should contain a brief overview of scope and content, so that readers can determine the book’s interest to them. Reviewing each chapter of a book in detail is not necessary. For a research or historical work, please comment on its significance in relation to the focus area as well as to the field as a whole. For an applied or descriptive work, be sure to comment on its usefulness. In both cases, compare the book with similar publications in its area and indicate its potential audiences, where relevant. When quoting the text, indicate page numbers in parentheses at the end of the quote. References in electronic resources reviews should conform to MLA style. See Reference Style in the Information for Authors and References in the MLA Style Manual for further information.

Reviews must be submitted in electronic format via email when possible, preferably as an attached file from a standard word processor such as Microsoft Word. Only one copy is needed. 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. Detailed information about requirements for figures can be found in the Information for Authors for the JMLA.

The following elements must be included in the bibliographic information at the beginning of the review:

  • Author (last name, first name and/or initials)
  • Title (bold)
  • "Edited by," with name(s) (not inverted)
  • Edition
  • Place of publication
  • Publisher
  • Date
  • Series title (in parentheses)
  • Number of pages
  • Price
  • ISBN

Bielefield, Arlene, and Cheeseman, Lawrence. Technology and Copyright Law: A Guidebook for the Library, Research, and Teaching Professions. New York, NY: Neal-Schuman Publishers; 1997. 213 p. $49.95. ISBN 1-55570-267-8.

World Wide Web and Other Internet Information Services in the Health Sciences: A Collection of Policy and Procedure Statements. Edited by Virginia A. Lingle and Eric P. Delozier. Chicago, IL: Medical Library Association; 1996. $25.00 members, $31.00 nonmembers. (MLA DocKit No. 7)

If the book is printed on acid-free or alkaline paper, please add the infinity symbol at the end of the citation.

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

Richard Nollan,, University of Tennessee, Memphis, TN

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

Reviewers will find helpful suggestions in chapter 10, "The Book Review," of Why Not Say It Clearly: A Guide to Scientific Writing by Lester King (Little, Brown, 1978), and chapter 7, "Editorial Review of Manuscripts," of the CBE Style Manual, fifth edition, (Council of Biology Editors, 1983).

The editors reserve the right to make minor editorial changes if these will not affect the reviewer’s meaning and will discuss substantive changes with reviewers.

Please refer to the Information for Authors and the MLA Style Manual for further information and guidance.

Copyright and Disclosure Agreement

The JMLA requires all 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.

Download the JMLA copyright license agreement and disclosure form

Submission of Reviews

Deadlines are based on the production schedule for the JMLA, and adherence to them is necessary to ensure timely publication of your review. Please send your review directly to the book review editor:

Elizabeth Connor, AHIP
Book Review Editor
Journal of the Medical Library Association

Submission of Books for Review

Please submit items for review to MLA headquarters at 65 E. Wacker Place, Suite 1900, Chicago, IL 60601.