Reference & User Services Quarterly

Publication Profiles > LIS Scholarly Journals > Reference & User Services Quarterly


Publication analysis

About the publication

Title: Reference & User Services Quarterly (RUSQ)

ISSN: 1094-9054


Purpose, objective, or mission: Reference & User Services Quarterly (RUSQ) “is the official journal of the Reference and User Services Association of the American Library Association. Its purpose is to disseminate information of interest to reference librarians, information specialists, and other professionals involved in user-oriented library services.”1

Target audience: Reference librarians, information specialists, students, and information professionals worldwide, as well as members of the Reference and User Services Association.

Publisher: American Library Association.2

Peer reviewed? Yes.3

Type: LIS scholarly journal.

Medium: Online, open access to all issues.4

Content: RUSQ disseminates information in areas of interest to librarians, including “reference services, collection development, reader’s advisory, resource sharing, technology for reference and user services, and other aspects of user services.”5 Further, “through its many columns, reports, and reviews the journal also publishes an array of useful professional information.”6 Regular columns include From the President of RUSA, For Your Enrichment, Information Literacy and Instruction, Management, Amplify Your Impact, Readers’ Advisory, The Alert Collector, and A Reference for That.

Frequency of publication: Quarterly.

About the publication’s submission guidelines

Location of submission guidelines: Submissions.

Types of contributions accepted: Potential authors need to read the article “Thoughts on Scholarly Writing: Suggestions for Authors Considering Publishing in RUSQ,”7 by Barry Trott, the journal’s editor. This article explains RUSQ‘s acceptance, review, and publication process. It is also a helpful resource for authors who want to publish in any scholarly journal.

RUSQ “publishes empirical (quantitative and qualitative), theoretical, and historical research and essays as peer-reviewed featured articles.”8 Manuscripts submitted to RUSQ need to be within the journal’s scope, which includes “all aspects of library services to adults in all types of libraries.”9

Submission and review process: Manuscripts are submitted in a digital format as an e-mail attachment to the editor.10 Manuscripts go through a double-blind peer-review process.11 The peer-review, acceptance, revision, and publication process is detailed in Trott’s article.12

Editorial tone: The overall tone is scholarly with clarity. Articles should be grammatically correct and written in a simple, readable style.13

Style guide used: Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, and its companion website. The submission guidelines offer examples of the required endnote format. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition, or the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary should be consulted for questions relating to spelling and word division.14

Conclusion: Evaluation of publication’s potential for LIS authors

RUSQ is the journal of the Reference and User Services Association, which is a division of the American Library Association. As such, it is a leading journal in the field of adult user services. RUSQ is an ideal place for librarians and LIS professionals in public, academic, and special libraries to publish research and scholarship that uniquely contributes to the theory and practice of reference services to adult library users and that moves the profession forward. It may be a better forum for advanced, rather than novice, LIS writers.


Audience analysis

About the publication’s readers

Publication circulation: Data not available.

Audience location and language or cultural considerations: RUSQ is a U.S.-based journal written in English. The journal is affiliated with the American Library Association, so readers are concerned with issues related to libraries in America, and they are aware of and seek out more global perspectives on these issues. RUSQ became an open-access journal in order to reach more readers worldwide and to benefit librarians everywhere, especially where subscription costs are prohibitive.15 

Reader characteristics:  RUSQ readers are librarians, information professionals, and students in academic, public, and special libraries who have a keen interest in developments in the field of adult reference and user services. With the open-access policy, RUSQ‘s readership is expanding outside of North America, and writers should assume a global audience of professionals and students. Trott addresses RUSQ editors’ and readers’ expectations: “Prospective authors will make their manuscripts more attractive to editors and to readers by looking for areas that have not already been widely explored. If you are examining a topic about which much has been written lately, you need to make clear what your work brings to the discussion and how it forwards that discussion in useful and perhaps provocative ways.”16

Knowledge of LIS subject matter: RUSQ readers are very familiar with LIS subject matter. However, the journal’s style emphasizes that articles be readable and clearly written. “The tone of feature articles in RUSQ should be scholarly, but scholarly writing does not need to be impenetrable and obscure. Active voice, declarative sentences, and attention to language are all important.”17

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

Readers of RUSQ are LIS professionals and students working in all types of libraries and information centers. Potential authors must take into consideration the fact that readers belong to a certain segment of the library and information science field, particularly on the service side of librarianship, and articles must be aimed at informing and advising this portion of the profession. Authors should keep in mind the journal’s international scope and its emphasis on scholarly but straightforward writing.

Last updated: March 6, 2018.


Show 17 footnotes

  1. Home, Reference & User Services Quarterly, accessed March 5, 2018,
  2. “Journal Sponsorship,” Reference & User Services Quarterly, accessed March 5, 2018,
  3. “Editorial Policies,” Reference & User Services Quarterly, accessed March 5, 2018,
  4. “Editorial Policies.”
  5. “Submissions,” Reference & User Services Quarterly, accessed March 5, 2018,
  6. “Editorial Policies.”
  7. Barry Trott, “Thoughts on Scholarly Writing: Suggestions for Authors Considering Publishing in RUSQ,” Reference & User Services 53, no. 1(2013):2-4,
  8. “Editorial Policies.”
  9. “Submissions.”
  10. “Submissions.”
  11. “Editorial Policies.”
  12. Trott, “Thoughts.”
  13. “Submissions.”
  14. “Submissions.”
  15. Barry Trott, “RUSQ Moves to Full Open Access,”Reference & User Services Quarterly 57, no 1(2017):2-3,
  16. Trott, “Thoughts.”
  17. Trott, “Thoughts.”
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