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Acquisitions Guides Series - Suggested Format for Publications

The ALCTS Acquisitions Guides Series has been developed to introduce new acquisitions librarians and/or acquisitions staff to the procedures, operations, and potential difficulties that they will encounter on-the-job, but may not have been exposed to through their education or previous work experiences.

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 not meant to over a subject in its entirety but to provide a starting point from which the necessary knowledge and skills can be developed. The total length of a Guide generally does not exceed 250 pages, double-spaced type.

While the exact outline format will vary from Guide to Guide 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 is 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 sucessive 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. For example:

5. Subscriptions
5.1 Definitions and Characteristics
5.2 When to Use
5.3 Options
5.3.1 With an Agent
        a) EBSCO
        b) Harrassowitz
5.3.2 Direct
5.3.3 Memberships
5.4 Advantages and Disadvantages

For more information, contact any member of the ALCTS Acquisitions Publications Committee.