Interactions (ACM)

Publication analysis


About the publication

Title: Interactions

ISSN: 1072-5520 (Print) and 1558-3449 (Online)1

Website: http://interactions.acm.org/

Purpose, objective, or mission: Interactions is a trade magazine that is interested in the specific locus of culture, communication, and technology. While the magazine is not librarian specific, most of its content is relevant. From the website: “It is a multiplicity of conversations, collaborations, relationships, and new discoveries focusing on how and why we interact with the designed world of technologies.”2

Target audience: Professionals interested in best practices and methodologies regarding communicative interactions. “Each issue reaches thousands of designers, managers, researchers, and product specialists who wield great influence within their own companies and institutions and throughout the computing industries.”3

Publisher: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

Peer reviewed? No. Submissions to Interactions are reviewed by an internal review board, and then may be returned for edits and changes before final acceptance.4

Type: Information professional and interface design trade magazine.5

Medium: Electronic and print.6

Content: Practical essays on design, computing, research methods, best practices, etc. as they relate to technology, and more importantly, the interaction between people and technology. “Interactions has a special voice that lies between practice and research with an emphasis on making engaging human-computer interaction research accessible to practitioners and on making practitioners voices heard by researchers.”7

Frequency of publication: Six times a year.8

About the publication’s submission guidelines

Location of submission guidelines:

Interactions guidelines: http://interactions.acm.org/submissions

ACM guidelines: http://www.acm.org/publications/authors/submissions

Types of contributions accepted: From the site:

“Word document (minimally formatted text and graphics) that includes a short, crisp working title or headline, and a standard byline: author name, affiliation, email address.”9

“All articles should contain no more than six endnotes/references.”10

“Brief author biography (50-word maximum) for each author listed in the byline. A bio generally includes the author’s current affiliation and his/her research interests.”11

The submission page also states specific formatting guidelines for images, and asks that writers have permission to use any third-party material in their submission.12

Submission and review process: From the website: “Articles go through several rounds of editing: first with the magazines editors-in-chief and forum editors for relevance, clarity, and groundedness and then with ACM’s managing editor and copy editor for grammar, punctuation, and length. ACM staff will send authors the copyedited version for their review. Once they have approved the copyedited version, authors will not review the copy again. Authors may be asked to review any redrawn figures.”13

Editorial tone: The publication’s tone is direct, inclusive, and conversational. Authors should avoid jargon, academic language, and references.14

Style guide used: The ACM uses a citation style that is detailed here: https://www.acm.org/publications/authors/reference-formatting

Conclusion: Evaluation of publication’s potential for LIS authors

Interactions has great potential for LIS professionals. Looking through the archives, one can see such essay topics as “Bridging the gap between accessibility and usability,” “Digital government information services: the Bureau of Labor statistics case,” “Web 2.0 and beyond,” and “Designing useful and usable questionnaires: you can’t just ‘throw a questionnaire together’.” While the magazine is not specific to librarians and does seem to focus on user interface design, its primary stated theme is the interaction of humans and technology. LIS professionals, whether they are reference librarians, information architects, or database administrators, all have direct experience and knowledge in this subject that can inspire meaningful written work.15

 

Audience analysis


About the publication’s readers

Publication circulation: No numbers given. According to the section “For Advertisers”: “Each issue reaches thousands of designers, managers, researchers, and product specialists who wield great influence within their own companies and institutions and throughout the computing industries.”16

Audience location and language or cultural considerations: International. The members of the Interactions advisory and editorial boards are located throughout the United States and as far as Korea.17 English is the dominant language of Interactions, but because it is both print and electronic the readership is dispersed geographically. As such, area-specific language should be avoided — especially since the specific focus of Interactions is the practices that increase better communication.18

Reader characteristics: Judging from the articles in Interactions archives, the average reader is most likely a professional working in field that utilizes technology as an interface with other patrons, clients, and customers. A quote from the history page and attributed to John Rheinfrank and Bill Hefley states that, “Today a widely distributed diverse community of working professionals is inventing a reality where the use of computing resources will have a profound impact on the quality of everyday life. And so we are practicing in a field where the gradient of change is staggering, the boundaries fuzzy, and the component parts only loosely aggregated.”19 This description very much includes LIS professionals, and as such the language used can be technical, but should not be library-specific.

Judging from the portions of the articles available without a subscription, and correlating this to the magazine’s readership, potential authors can be assured of at least one thing regarding their readership: an interest in innovative ideas relating to the intersections of culture, technology, and interaction. The magazine is certainly not just for LIS professionals, but if a librarian had a piece that was fresh, innovative, and surprising, the piece could easily find a home in Interactions.20

Knowledge of LIS subject matter: The average reader will probably not have both a clear and broad knowledge of LIS subject matter; however, the average reader will probably have a very good understanding of human/technology interactions (user interfaces, information architecture, web 2.0, content management systems). Thus, those LIS professionals interested in writing about this aspect of the profession should have a easy time understanding for whom they are writing.21

Conclusion: Analysis of reader characteristics and their potential impact on authors

After perusing the site, I can easily imagine both upper level managers in software companies looking for potential market edges and 30-something punk-rock designers interested in community development and technology reading this magazine. The two most important elements for potential writers to keep in mind are to display some degree of “lateral thinking” and/or to write on unique and, above all, useful perspectives regarding interaction and technology; these could be reports, analyses, experiments, or original research.

Interactions is a multidisciplinary magazine that overlaps with many topics in which many librarians are interested. Some technical jargon is to be expected, and readers will be well acquainted with terms relating to user-interfaces, web design and aesthetics. Because this publication is published by the Association for Computing Machinery, terminology relating to computers and software is likely to be well understood by the journal’s readership.

Authors should not, however, assume that any piece they have written relating to computers or interfaces will be appropriate for the journal. Interactions is very specifically interested in communication and technology.22 Thus a piece written on the research and production of a clever piece of code would not be appropriate to the journal. A piece talking about how some clever coding affected users’ interactivity with the interface or each other would be, however, perfect.

Last updated: June 11, 2019


References

Show 22 footnotes

  1. Association for Computing Memory, “Interactions,” accessed February 16, 2019, https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=3190768&dl=ACM&coll=DL
  2. Association for Computing Machinery, “About ACM Interactions,” accessed February 16, 2019,  http://interactions.acm.org/about
  3. Association for Computing Machinery, “For Advertisers,” accessed February 16, 2019, http://interactions.acm.org/for-advertisers
  4. Association for Computing Machinery, “Submissions,” accessed February 16, 2019, http://interactions.acm.org/submissions
  5. Association for Computing Machinery, “About ACM Interactions.”
  6. ProQuest, “Interactions (New York),” Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory, accessed February 16, 2019, http://ulrichsweb.serialssolutions.com.libaccess.sjlibrary.org/title/1412282554209/237122
  7. Association for Computing Machinery, “About ACM Interactions.”
  8. ProQuest, Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory.
  9. Association for Computing Machinery, “Submissions.”
  10. Association for Computing Machinery, “Submissions.”
  11. Association for Computing Machinery, “Submissions.”
  12. Association for Computing Machinery, “Submissions.”
  13. Association for Computing Machinery, “Submissions.”
  14. Association for Computing Machinery, “Submissions.”
  15. Association for Computing Machinery, “Archives,” accessed February 16, 2019, http://interactions.acm.org/archive
  16. Association for Computing Machinery, “For Advertisers.”
  17. Association for Computing Machinery, “About ACM Interactions.”
  18. ProQuest, Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory.
  19. Association for Computing Machinery, “Archives.”
  20. Association for Computing Machinery, “Archives.”
  21. Association for Computing Machinery, “About ACM Interactions.”
  22. Association for Computing Machinery, “About ACM Interactions.”
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