Code4Lib Journal

Publication analysis

About the publication

Title: Code4Lib Journal 

ISSN: 1940-57581

Purpose, objective, or mission: According to the website, “the Code4Lib Journal exists to foster community and share information among those interested in the intersection of libraries, technology, and the future.”2 It “aims to help engender collective understanding and the necessary support for improving library technology and digital services.”3


Target audience: The target audience includes anyone who is involved in the “wider library community” who has an interest in libraries and technology.4

PublisherCode4Lib. Publication began in 2007.5

Peer reviewed? Yes. Journal submissions are reviewed by an editorial committee6, and the committee views its process of selecting articles as an open peer review. According to a message from the 2020 coordinating editor, “The author and the designated editor work together to improve a paper before publication. The author knows the name of the editor and other readers on the editorial committee and vice versa. We’ve found that this process works best for us and produces consistently high quality and relevant content for our audience.”7

Type: Open access with Creative Commons license. Although the editorial committee consists mainly of those involved in the academic library community, contents do not necessarily have the format of a traditional scholarly research article, and the journal does not use a traditional blind peer review. Articles can vary in formality and can include case studies and personal opinion pieces. Articles do not generally include extensive literature reviews. For these reasons, the journal is currently classed here as ‘professional news’. Articles tend to be focused on the practical application of the ideas presented.8

Medium: Code4Lib Journal is available online.9

Content: From the Call for Submissions, “the editorial committee is looking for content that is practical, demonstrates how to exploit technology to create digital library collections and services, or offers insight and forethought regarding the use of computers in any type of library setting.”10

The journal publishes articles on a multitude of subjects, as long as they support the mission statement, and is flexible with length (1,500 to 5,000 words is an approximate word count). The types of articles published in the journal include:

  • Case studies of projects (failed or successful), how they were done, and challenges faced.
  • Descriptions of projects in progress, project updates, and new project proposals.
  • Effective processes for project management.
  • Reviews/comparisons of software, frameworks, libraries, etc.
  • Analyses and case studies of using library metadata in technological application: novel applications or solutions, or unsolved challenges,
  • Thought pieces on the big problems associated with library and technology, ideas for new solutions, visions for the future.
  • Findings on user behavior and interaction with systems.
  • Best practices.11

Frequency of publication: It is published quarterly in March, June, September, and December.12

About the publication’s submission guidelines

Location of submission guidelines:

Types of contributions accepted: The types of articles the journal is looking for include:

  • Book & software reviews
  • Code snippets & algorithms
  • Conference reports
  • Opinion pieces13

Submission and review process: Submissions can be sent in the form of either an abstract or a complete draft. Submit articles using the online form, or via email to Once submitted the article goes through an editorial process, and not a peer review.14

Editorial tone: “Writers should aim for the middle ground between, on the one hand, blog or mailing-list posts, and, on the other hand, articles in traditional journals.”15

Style guide used: From the article guidelines: “While articles in C4LJ should be of high quality, they need not follow any formal structure or guidelines.”16 However, endnotes and references should be cited using the Council of Science Editors (CSE) Style Guide.17

Conclusion: Evaluation of publication’s potential for LIS authors

This journal provides a semiformal setting in which to discuss issues of technology in the library and information science world. The information in the journal is concentrated around technology, and its place within the library setting, so it would be a good place for anyone with an interest in this subject to find a home for one of their articles.


Audience analysis

About the publication’s readers

Publication circulation: Since the journal is 100% online, there was no information on the exact circulation available.18

Audience location and language or cultural considerations: The editorial committee is based throughout the United States, but the writers come from both within and outside the United States.19 The journal is written in English, and although the editorial committee is American, not all of the contributors are. (Article guidelines note that articles should be written in English, and that “American or British usage is accepted, but not a mixture of these.”)20  Also, due to the online nature of the journal, people from anywhere in the world would have the ability to access the articles. Because of this, it would most likely be prudent to explain the use of any language or content that was too culturally specific.

Reader characteristics: Code4Lib is a “volunteer-driven collective of hackers, designers, architects, curators, catalogers, artists and instigators from around the world, who largely work for and with libraries, archives, and museums on technology ‘stuff’.” From looking through the author’s information supplies with the articles, it appears that almost all of the contributors work in academic libraries, although their actual job titles vary quite a bit. These job titles range from web designer to information technology coordinator to systems librarian. While this information is about the writers, it goes to show that the journal is of interest to all different types of professionals involved technologies in libraries. Of course, they also all have a professional interest in the intersection of libraries and technology. Code4Lib is of interest to “technology folks in libraries, archives, and museums to informally share approaches, techniques, and code across institutional and project divides.”21 The readers of this journal are likely to have established opinions about the place of technology in libraries. A look at the mission statement shows that the readers are likely to feel that technology holds a key position in the future of libraries.22

Knowledge of LIS subject matter: The readers of Code4Lib Journal would have a good knowledge and understanding of LIS topics and issues. They would also be familiar with library jargon. On top of that, due to the technical nature of the journal, they would also be familiar with most technical jargon.23

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

The common thread running among these readers is an interest in, and a passion for, technology and its use within a library setting. Their level of technical knowledge would be rather high, and this would be an important thing for writers to keep in mind. In fact, it would also be a necessity for the writers of a proposed article for Code4Lib Journal to have significant expertise in technology.


Show 23 footnotes

  1.  Code4Lib Journal, Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory, accessed May 4, 2020,
  2. Code4Lib Journal. (2020). Mission. Code4Lib Journal. Retrieved from
  3. Code4Lib Journal. (2020). Mission. Code4Lib Journal. Retrieved from
  4. Code4Lib Journal. (2016). Mission. Code4Lib Journal. Retrieved from
  5. ProQuest. (2020). The Code4Lib Journal. Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory. Retrieved from
  6. Code4Lib Journal. (2020). Process and Structure. Code4Lib Journal. Retrieved from
  7. Email from Peter Murray, coordinating editor, Code4Lib Journal, on behalf of the Code4Lib Journal editorial committee (May 21, 2020).
  8. Code4Lib Journal. (2020). Issue 25, 2014-07-21. Code4Lib Journal. Retrieved from
  9. ProQuest. (2020). The Code4Lib Journal. Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory. Retrieved from
  10. Code4Lib Journal. (2020). Call for Submissions. Code4Lib Journal. Retrieved from
  11. Code4Lib Journal. (2016). Article Guidelines. Code4Lib Journal. Retrieved from
  12. Code4Lib Journal. (2020). Call for Submissions. Code4Lib Journal. Retrieved from
  13. Code4Lib Journal. (2020). Article Guidelines. Code4Lib Journal. Retrieved from
  14. Code4Lib Journal. (2020). Article Guidelines. Code4Lib Journal. Retrieved from
  15. Code4Lib Journal. (2020). Article Guidelines. Code4Lib Journal. Retrieved from
  16. Code4Lib Journal. (2020). Article Guidelines. Code4Lib Journal. Retrieved from
  17. Code4Lib Journal. (2020). Article Guidelines. Code4Lib Journal. Retrieved from
  18. ProQuest. (2020). The Code4Lib Journal. Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory. Retrieved from
  19. Code4Lib Journal. (2020). Editorial Committee. Code4Lib Journal. Retrieved from
  20. Code4Lib Journal. (2020). Article Guidelines. Code4Lib Journal. Retrieved from
  21. Code4Lib. (2020). About. Code4Lib. Retrieved from
  22. Code4Lib Journal. (2020). Mission. Code4Lib Journal. Retrieved from
  23. Code4Lib. (2020). About. Code4Lib. Retrieved from
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