Perspectives on History

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Publication analysis

About the publication

Title: Perspectives on History

ISSN: 1940-80481


Purpose, objective, or mission: Perspectives on History is the news magazine of the American Historical Association (AHA); it serves as the, “…principal source for news and information about the discipline of history.”2

Target audience: Members of the AHA; although many members are not affiliated with an academic institution, the content of Perspectives is heavily oriented toward faculty interests.3

Publisher: American Historical Association.4

Peer reviewed? No. Content decisions are made by the editorial board.5

Type: Civilian: Perspectives is the primary news publication of the historical profession.6 While some members of the AHA might also be information professionals (and many other members will have a strong understanding of the library profession), most members will not be intimately familiar with the LIS profession.

Medium: Print and online.

Content: In addition to a letter from the president, and administrative news from the AHA, each issue of Perspectives on History contains several articles on diverse topics of interest to historians. While some will present original research, more common are opinion pieces, news reports on developments affecting historians, and reports on new approaches or tools for teaching or research. Each issue also contains letters to the editor, as well as extensive listings of job openings, grant programs, and upcoming conferences.7

Frequency of publication: Nine issues per year (September to May).8

About the publication’s submission guidelines

Location of submission guidelines:

Types of contributions accepted: Articles (approximately 1,500 words), reviews, and shorter letters to the editor.9

Submission and review process: While Perspectives on History does commission articles, it also accepts both completed submissions and proposals. Articles and letters are reviewed by the editorial board, and, in the case of article submissions, the board may make suggestions for revisions.10

Editorial tone: The submission guidelines state a preference for a journalistic or conversational style. In general, the articles in Perspectives on History are written with a semi-formal tone. Additionally, authors are asked to limit the number of citations in their articles.11

Style guide used: The Chicago Manual of Style (16th ed.). For copy-editing, the editors also use Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.) as well as in-house guidelines, such as gender-neutral pronouns when possible.12

Conclusion: Evaluation of publication’s potential for LIS authors

The organization and preservation of information are central to the tasks of both the historian and the LIS professional, and so it is not uncommon for their interests to intersect. Many developments in the Information field would be of interest to historians, especially if those developments were presented specifically for that audience. Such a presentation could generate a significant amount of name recognition if received favorably by some of the more than 15,000 members of the AHA.13

While Perspectives on History is not, strictly speaking, a scholarly publication, it does possess enough prestige that an article printed in it would add weight to a tenure or promotion cause. However, this is not a venue for early-career publishing.


Audience analysis

About the publication’s readers

Population circulation: Nearly 15,000.14

Audience location and language or cultural considerations: AHA members are generally based in the United States, and the magazine is published in English.15 AHA members will be familiar with many of the same research terminologies that librarians use, but they will be completely unfamiliar with much of the jargon of information science. Similarly, historians have their own jargon, and an author writing for a history publication would do well to familiarize themselves with it.

Reader characteristics: Readership includes, “More than 60 percent of the Association’s members are professors of history, with the remaining 40 percent consisting of students, teachers, administrators, and publishers in the field.”16

Knowledge of LIS subject matter: As historians, the members of the AHA will generally have a strong understanding of research and research tools. However, they will not be familiar with aspects of LIS subjects outside those that apply to their discipline.

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

The historians who comprise the membership of the AHA are, like most faculty, very busy people. It is essential, when writing for them, to show them — in their own terms — how you can save time or make their research easier. Perspectives on History is primarily a newsletter, even though it does publish some research-based articles. A librarian writing for this history magazine would do well to simplify the presentation of their research, and focus primarily on the practical application of their results.

Last updated: September 13, 2018


Show 16 footnotes

  1.  Perspectives on History, Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory, accessed March 27, 2018,
  2. “Perspectives on History,”, accessed September 13, 2018,
  3. Perspectives on History.”
  4. Perspectives on History.”
  5. “Submissions,”, accessed September 13, 2018,
  6. Perspectives on History.”
  7. Perspectives on History.”
  8. “Subscriptions,”, accessed October 20, 2016,
  9. Submissions.”
  10. “Guidelines for Articles,”, accessed October 21, 2016,
  11. Guidelines for Articles.”
  12. Guidelines for Articles.”
  13. “Advertise with the AHA,”, accessed October 21, 2016,
  14. Advertise with the AHA.”
  15. Advertise with the AHA.”
  16.  “Advertise with the AHA.”
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