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FAQ for rec.arts.books.reviews (December, 1996)


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Archive-name: books/reviews-faq

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                 FAQ FOR REC.ARTS.BOOKS.REVIEWS
                  (Version of December, 1996)

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
brock@ucsub.colorado.edu.

ARCHIVE:  Reviews posted to r.a.b.r. are archived at
gopher.colorado.edu (gopher to gopher.colorado.edu, and choose #11
from the first menu and #1 from the second menu).  The archive is
searchable by title, author, name of reviewer, and any keyword.

Book reviews posted to r.a.b.r. and this FAQ are also archived on
the WWW at:

http://ucsub.colorado.edu/~brock

and

http://www.anatomy.su.oz.au/danny/usenet/rec.arts.books.reviews/i
ndex.html.

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, whether published many years ago
or just yesterday.  "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?

Absolutely not.  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, many 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 are newsgroups just for book discussions: rec.arts.books,
alt.books.reviews, rec.arts.books.childrens, rec.arts.mystery,
rec.arts.sf.written, rec.arts.books.hist-fiction, and many others. 
I will cross-post most reviews there for discussion and direct
followups 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, alt.books.reviews,
rec.arts.sf.written, rec.arts.sf.reviews, 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 the reviewer's permission,
especially since many of the reviews are copyrighted.

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 or alt.books.reviews, 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.  Since several authors have a net presence, I encourage
them to post to rec.arts.books if they have commentary or 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,
and with more reviews being written every day, this will
undoubtedly happen more.  The archive is searchable by title, 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.

15.  Are there archives of book reviews on Native American topics?

Yes.  Book reviews are part of the archive at ftp site:
ftp.cit.cornell.edu.  At the ftp prompt, type: cd
pub/special/nativeprofs/nativelit.  Also, the reviews are collected
from NativeNet and archived at the Inter-Tribal Network, a division
of City News Service.  Gopher to: cscns.com, from the main menu,
choose #11 (Inter-Tribal Network), and #1 (Book Reviews).

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?

Those sending reviews to other moderated groups should send a short
note to the moderator of r.a.b.r., letting them know that they sent
the review to more than one moderated newsgroup.  As long as
rec.arts.books.reviews is in the Newsgroups: header, when the
moderator of the other group sends the article to their group, it
will automatically go into rec.arts.books.reviews.  In this case,
reviewers do not have to send the article to r.a.b.r.

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