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Sion Romaine's picture

Sudden Selector's Series - overview & purpose

The ALCTS Sudden Selector’s Series has been developed to help new subject librarians or library selectors become acquainted with the tools, resources, individuals, and organizations that can assist them in developing collections in new or unfamiliar subject areas.

Guides in this series are not intended to provide a general introduction to collection development but to furnish tools quickly to help librarians perform successful selection in a particular subject area. It is assumed that the new selector will have already have a basic understanding of reference and instructional skills as well as experience with answering reference questions or consulting individually with library users to determine their information needs.

Guides are written in an outline format with each section being written in such a way as to give the reader some clear concise instructions on how to accomplish the main purpose of the guide. The outline format of the Guide facilitates the presentation of this type of information through its logical organization of information. Each section of a Guide is not longer in length than what is needed to provide an adequate explanation of a particular topic and practical strategies for accomplishing its intended goals. Guides are not written in an essay or research paper format. Guides are meant to be comprehensive, but not necessarily exhaustive, as the goal of the guides is to provide a starting point from which the necessary knowledge and skills can be quickly developed. The total length of a Guide generally does not exceed 250 pages, double-spaced type.

While the exact outline format will vary depending on the subject being covered, guides should contain most of the following sections in the indicated order. An Appendix, Glossary and Index may be included if deemed necessary.

Suggested Guide Format:

  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction
    • Includes a "Statement of Purpose" of the Guide
    • Includes information on organization of the Guide
  • Main Sections of the Guide
  • Appendix - if necessary
  • Glossary - if necessary
  • Bibliography
  • Index - if necessary

While authors do not need to be overly concerned with the outline format, it is important to indicate section and subsection changes. Each major section of a Guide should be identified by a whole number. Subsections begin with the number of the major section they are a part of followed by a decimal point and the next successive number. Subsections can be further broken down with the addition of another decimal point and number. This can be followed by letters, then numbers, in traditional outline format.