About the Journal

As of 2020, The Reading Room: A Journal of Special Collections has ceased publication. This scholarly journal was committed to providing current research and relevant discussion of practices in a special collections library setting. The Reading Room sought submissions from practitioners and students involved with working in special collections in museums, historical societies, corporate environments, public libraries and academic libraries. Topics included exhibits, outreach, mentorship, donor relations, teaching, reference, technical and metadata skills, social media, “Lone Arrangers”, management and digital humanities. The journal featured single-blind, peer-reviewed research articles and case studies related to all aspects of current special collections work.

ISSN: 2375-6101


Molly Poremski, University at Buffalo
Amy Vilz, University at Buffalo
Marie Elia, University at Buffalo

Editorial Board

Jodi Boyle, University at Albany
Rosemary Davis, Yale University
Melanie Griffin, University of Arkansas


The Reading Room: A Journal of Special Collections is now available for download.


The Reading Room: A Journal of Special Collections publishes research articles and case studies that emphasize unique intellectual and technological developments in special collections. All papers and bibliographies will be in APA (American Psychological Association) format. Please refer to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, (6th ed., 2nd printing). Submit only original articles that have not appeared elsewhere, and which are not currently submitted elsewhere.

Narrative Features

2,000-5,000 words. Collections tell stories, stories that are revealed by librarians, curators, and researchers within the reading room. Yet there are limited outlets for these types of articles in a peer-reviewed environment. The Reading Room endeavors to fill this niche. Examples include unique circumstances relating to the donor or acquisition of materials, significance of documentation within a collection or an institution’s collecting area, or how the format of materials in a collection enhances or inhibits understanding of the collection.

Interpretive works on collections are welcome and encouraged. Feature articles should offer insight into a collection’s significance (either a discrete collection or collection holdings at large) and address the context within its applicable field or within institutional holdings.

Research Articles

3,000-7,000 words, including bibliography. Research articles present and describe original research on topics of current importance that impact modern special collections practice. Manuscripts provide clear and complete methodology and include all necessary figures, tables, and illustrations.

Case Studies

2,000-5,000 words. Case studies describe mature projects and programs that highlight innovative special collections practices, partnerships, programs, projects, etc., in any special collection setting. Case studies should clearly describe the project or program and address the impact of the work.

Student Scholarship

2,000-5,000 words. The Reading Room strives to include one research article or case study per issue by a student scholar. Student authors are required to submit a proposal of no more than 200 words to the journal editors prior to article submission. Authors should be undergraduate or graduate students with significant experience in special collections, museums, or similar cultural repositories (either as a staff member or researcher), at the time of article submission. Submit only original articles that have not appeared elsewhere, and which are not currently submitted elsewhere. Please identify the submission as student scholarship in the proposal.


  • All parts of the manuscript should be typewritten, double-spaced, with margins of at least one inch on all sides.
  • Manuscripts will be submitted in Microsoft Word format.
  • Number manuscript pages consecutively throughout the paper.
  • Each article should be summarized in an abstract of not more than 100 words. Avoid abbreviations, diagrams, and reference to the text in the abstract.
  • Following the abstract, authors should provide up to six keywords describing the manuscript.
  • Submitted manuscripts must use APA style.

Image Guidelines

  • As an author you are required to secure permission if you want to reproduce any figure, table or extract text from any other source. This applies to direct reproduction as well as "derivative reproduction" (where you have created a new figure or table which derives substantially from a copyrighted source).
  • Up to 6 images.
  • 300 dpi or higher.
  • Minimum of 600 x 800.
  • JPEG or TIFF formats.
  • All images should be properly credited. Use the following as a guide in developing captions: Figure #. Description. Images courtesy of ....
  • Submit as separate files, noting placement in the manuscript. Use [Insert "file name"] in the text.

Publication Frequency

Individual items will be published as soon as they have completed the peer review and editing process. These items will be collated into one issue per year (one volume per year). Additional issues may be created as needed.


The peer reviewer has two basic roles: to determine if the article is suitable for publication in The Reading Room, and to help the authors to improve their manuscript in order to make it “publication ready”. The reviewer will examine the paper in terms of its overall value, and its contribution to special collections literature. The quality of the content or research and the way it is presented is also taken into account, as is the effectiveness of the final product.

Peer reviewers will be asked to evaluate the article on a scale of 1-5. These questions related to the quality of the content, and if the manuscript is appropriate for the journal.

The peer review comments should be readable and as succinct as possible while guiding the authors toward an effective revision. The reviewer should keep in mind that s/he is providing information to guide both the author and the journal editors.

The Reading Room uses the Scholastica platform to submit, manage and publish manuscripts. For instructions on how to use the Scholastica platform to review the article assigned to you, please see: http://help.scholasticahq.com/customer/portal/articles/1255823


Copyright for articles published in The Reading Room is retained by the authors. Authors grant first publication rights to the journal. Authors also extend to the Editors of The Reading Room the right to redistribute their articles via other scholarly resources and bibliographic databases at their discretion. This extension allows the authors' copyrighted content to be included in some databases that are distributed and maintained by for-profit companies.

This is an open access journal which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author. This is in accordance with the BOAI definition of open access.

The Reading Room is licensed under a CreativeCommons Attribution-Non Commerical-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Editorial Board members may submit manuscripts to The Reading Room with the following proviso: Board member will be excluded from all acts of review for the submission (including but not limited to peer, editorial, copy, etc.).

Reading Room editors-in-chief are disqualified from publishing peer reviewed articles in this journal. Editors-in-chief may publish in The Reading Room outside of the peer review process (such as editorials).

Contact Us

We’d love to hear from you! Let us know what you think about The Reading Room or any other general feedback or inquiry.

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