(Version of January, 1995)
Rec.arts.books.reviews (r.a.b.r. for short) is a newsgroup for reviews of books of interest to readers, school and public librarians, bookstores, publishers, teachers and professors, and others who desire an "educated opinion" of a book. Please send suggestions/clarifications/modifications to Danny Yee
. This FAQ consists of the following questions: 1. What materials may be reviewed here? 2. What is a review? 3. Are there standards that each review must maintain? 4. Can this area be used for book publicity? 5. Can those reviewing textbooks make recommendations for their use in classes? 6. Can this area be used for discussion of books? 7. Can people place reviews in rec.arts.books.reviews that are written by others? 8. Can the reviews posted here be downloaded and used in other media, such as newsletters, and print and electronic magazines? 9. Can people post requests for books they are looking for? 10. Can people ask for reviews of certain books? 11. Can reviewers post profiles of themselves? 12. What else should reviewers do if they post a review here? 13. Is there any way one can find out how many times a certain book has been reviewed? 14. Do the reviews have to be in English? 15. Are there archives of book reviews on Native American topics? 16. I review science-fiction books and post the reviews to rec.arts.sf.reviews, which is also moderated. How do I avoid the conflict of sending reviews to two moderated groups? QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS 1. What materials may be reviewed here? Any book, fiction or non-fiction, used or new. "Book" includes short stories, novellas, textbooks, anthologies, references, and graphic novels. "Book" also means text on compact disks and books read aloud on audiocassettes. 2. What is a review? A review consists of evaluative commentary on the work by someone who has read (or, in the case of an audiocassette, listened to) it. The review is posted with the goal of helping the reader decide whether or not to read (or listen to) the work or use it as a text or reference. 3. Are there standards that each review must maintain? The only standard is that the review be fair and well written. If there is a criticism of a book, concrete reasons should be stated. The same is true for praises. Enough bibliographic information should be provided so that the reader may be able to find the book easily. Title, author, publisher (name, address, and, if possible, phone number for orders), number of pages, price, binding (cloth or paper), and ISBN should be included. If the publisher has their catalogue on the Internet or the capability of taking orders via the Internet, please mention it. Here is a sample of the format I use: ON THE HOME FRONT: THE COLD WAR LEGACY OF THE HANFORD NUCLEAR SITE by Michele Stenehjem Gerber. University of Nebraska Press, 901 N. 17th St., Lincoln, NE 68588-0520. The University of Nebraska Press online catalog is available on the Internet by telneting to CRCVMS.UNL.EDU, username INFO, choosing UNIVERSITY PRESS, and ONLINE CATALOG. Illustrated, index, glossary, maps, notes. 312 pp., $35.00 cloth. 0-8032-2145-2 Be careful what you say in the review. Readers are very astute and opinionated themselves. They will catch the most minor errors and roast you for them. 4. Can this area be used for book publicity? This is not an area for book publicity or promotion, but book information and criticism. 5. Can those reviewing textbooks make recommendations for their use in classes? Since almost every college and many public schools in the United States has an Internet connection, professors and teachers use rec.arts.books.reviews to look for recommendations for textbooks to use in their classes. If a book is particularly useful as a textbook, please indicate so. Technical and business books may be recommended for corporate libraries. 6. Can this area be used for discussion of books? There is a newsgroup just for book discussions - rec.arts.books. I will cross-post most reviews there for discussion and direct followups there by placing "rec.arts.books" and other subject- specific newsgroups on the "Followup-To:" line. For example, a book by Isaac Asimov could be placed in rec.arts.books.reviews, and cross-posted to rec.arts.books.reviews, rec.arts.books and alt.books.isaac-asimov. Reviews of art books may be posted to rec.arts.fine. There are many other newsgroups that welcome reviews of books relevant to their areas of discussion. 7. Can people send reviews to rec.arts.books.reviews that are written by others? Yes, as long as it is credited to the person who wrote it. 8. Can the reviews posted here be downloaded and used in other media, such as newsletters, and print and electronic magazines? This is a decision to be made by the individual reviewer. Please do not reprint a review without their permission. 9. Can people post requests for books they are looking for? No. Searchers will do better by posting their requests to rec.arts.books and rec.arts.books.marketplace. 10. Can people ask for reviews of certain books? They may do so in rec.arts.books, but if the book isn't new, a certain title probably won't have a very good chance of being reviewed. Also, if there is any sort of deadline involved for the review of a new book, it's better not to ask. Publishers try to have review copies ready, but even if they are, the U.S. mail, the processing time, the reading time, and the writing time cause a lag. So ask away, but don't keep your fingers crossed. Those looking for a review of a certain title, and not finding a review in rec.arts.books.reviews or the archive, may look in the "Book Review Index" or "Book Review Digest" in the reference section of their nearest academic or public library. "Book Review Index" is also available via Dialog, for those who have passwords. 11. Can reviewers post profiles of themselves? Yes, this is a good idea. If this is done, the credentials of the reviewer should be mentioned, as well as the types of books that they review. A good frequency would be every other month. 12. What else should reviewers do if they post a review here? If a review is posted here, please send two copies of it to the publisher's publicity department. They will retain one copy for their files and send the other to the author. It's only common courtesy. I encourage authors to post to rec.arts.books if they have a complaint about a review. 13. Is there any way one can find out how many times a certain book has been reviewed? More than one review of a specific book has happened several times. With more reviewers posting, though, this will undoubtedly happen more. The archive is searchable, and that is probably the best way to find multiple reviews of a particular title. 14. Do the reviews have to be in English? No, but reviewers in a language other than English will want to be more aware of their areas of distribution, i.e. to areas where that language is primarily spoken.
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