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Authors' Guidelines

If you'd like to write for ONLINE, please contact me to discuss an idea. I'd also be happy to review an outline or draft proposal. Author Guidelines are provided here.

Marydee Ojala
ONLINE P.O. 78225 • Indianapolis, IN 46278
317-876-8100 • Fax: 317-876-8300


ONLINE: Exploring Technology & Resources for Information Professionals is written and edited for librarians and other professionals who routinely use online services for information delivery, research, and knowledge management. Articles are directed to the "hands on" searcher and to managers of information resources in business, professional, government, and educational environments. ONLINE stresses practical, how-to advice on the efficient and effective use of electronic information. The readership runs the gamut from novice to experienced researcher. ONLINE covers the entire range of electronic information topics, including industry trends; new products and technologies; professional, business and consumer online services; the internet; enterprise-wide information management; practical search and information management techniques; information professional roles and responsibilities, electronic content; quality issues; web design from an information professional perspective; intranet/extranet creation and promotion; and search engines.


  • We stress original work (as opposed to a synthesis or overview based on previously published work).
  • Write in simple, straightforward English.
  • Short, pithy, fact-filled articles are much better than long, wordy pieces.
  • Write tersely, in popular magazine style, not in verbose, academic prose.
  • Begin the article with a paragraph or two to attract the reader's interest. Boring, background introductions are not appropriate.
  • Stress "dos and don'ts" and "tips and techniques" that can be applied to readers' situations.
  • Use examples to enhance the text; gather comments from colleagues or users when appropriate and include them.
  • Use subheads frequently to break up text (make them descriptive - not just a single word).
  • Provide photos and screen shots where appropriate, also diagrams, charts, tables, and graphs. Do not embed these in the text.
  • Do not capitalize database names, or use boldface or italics, unless the producer does; use the producer's preferred style and exact wording.
  • Keep cited references to a minimum, and follow our preferred style.
  • Identify references in the text [e.g., "Sally Smith, writing in the Nov. 2004 ONLINE, noted that..." then add a [1], [2], etc. for the full reference (Note: Use square brackets.)
  • The byline should include the author's full name, title, and affiliation.
  • Some preferred terms are as follows: online, database, offline, internet, web, printout, update, logoff, menu-driven, disk, e-mail, logon, host, end-user, CD-ROM, hardcopy, user-friendly, in-house, multimedia, URLs, MB (4MB), KB (24KB), U.S., U.K.


  • Please use a spell checker.
  • All parts of an article must be submitted in electronic format, preferably via e-mail. This includes sidebars, tables, charts, printouts, etc. Discuss formats in advance with the editor.
  • Length should be from 1500 to 4000 words, according to your discussions with the editor. Use the word count feature of your word processor to determine length.
  • Use as little formatting as possible in the manuscript since it must be removed and revised to suit our production requirements. Do not use a word processor's "style sheets."
  • Use carriage returns only at the end of paragraphs, not after every line.
  • Do not indent at beginning of paragraphs, instead use a double linefeed between paragraphs.
  • The edited manuscript will be sent to the author for proofing. (Necessary corrections can be made at this point, but not extensive revisions or rewrites.)


  • Submit all illustrations by e-mail if possible. Discuss file formats with the editor.
  • When making screen captures for illustrations, be sure to open your capture screen to the maximum monitor size.
  • Charts and tables should have tabs, not spaces, delineating the columns. Set the appropriate tabs on your word processor, using one tab per column. Do not use the Table feature in your word processor.
  • Submit screen captures and other graphics each in a separate file. Acceptable file formats include: TIF, PICT, BMP, PCX, JPG, GIF.
  • If you include search printouts or search examples, format them as separate figures.
  • Each printout and figure must have a descriptive title, and a line or two of explanation since it is possible it will appear elsewhere than near the part of the article where it is mentioned.
  • Keep the length of search printouts and screen captures to a minimum, using vertical ellipses where possible to eliminate repetitious parts.
  • Good photographs or other illustrations are welcome and encouraged. Use high resolution.


  • Journal citations: Cite the volume, the number, and the complete date of the journal article. All three elements are essential. (Example: Webster, Peter. "Breaking Down Information Silos: Integrating Online Information." ONLINE 28, No. 6 (November/December 2004): pp.30-33.)
  • Book citations: Cite the author, title, place of publication, publisher, date of publication, and total page count. (Example: Bates, Mary Ellen. Building and Running a Successful Research Business: A Guide for the Independent Information Professional. Medford, NJ: CyberAge Books, 2003. 472 pp.)

    URLs: Web sites referred to within the text of the article should be in paarentheses, where possible, e.g., ( If the URL does not begin with www, include the http://; otherwise leave out the http://, e.g. ( When a number of sites are mentioned, these should be summarized in a separate list (including title and URL) that will be in a box or sidebar near the end of the article.


Manuscript deadlines are set by the editor, and are staggered according to publication schedules and work flow. Missing the scheduled deadline may jeopardize publication of your article since timeliness is often of critical importance. Lead time for actual production is about three or four months due to the rigorous editing, proofing, art, and production efforts expended on each manuscript. If a manuscript needs fact checking or review by outside experts, database producers, Web site owners, or online services, additional time is required to complete the editorial process.


Payment for a manuscript varies according to the article's complexity, length, quality, and original research. Payment is determined by the publisher, with a recommendation from the editor, after the manuscript has gone through the editorial process. All authors are paid except those whose employer does not permit payment and those employed by online suppliers (and consultants to suppliers) who are writing about their employers' products and services. Payment is made upon publication; a check and a complimentary copy of the issue are sent to the author on publication.

Authors will be asked to sign a publication agreement prior to the editing process, granting to Information Today, Inc. the right to publish the article in ONLINE magazine in print and electronic formats. (Information Today, Inc. will copyright the issue to protect the entire issue as an entity.) The agreement also stipulates that the author not publish any version or excerpt of the article prior to, or for 90 days following, its publication in ONLINE.

Unacceptable manuscripts will not be returned. Information Today, Inc. is not responsible for lost manuscripts or photos.

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