Wikipedia:Wikipedia Signpost/Newsroom/Review desk

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The Signpost
Review desk

Review desk

This is The Signpost review desk. Its purpose is to coordinate reviews of new books that explore topics of relevance to the Wikipedia community.

The Signpost's managing editor will solicit review copies of appropriate books for prospective reviewers. Publishers are often willing to provide us with one or more review copies, although there is no guarantee they will do so. If you are interested in reviewing a book, please briefly explain on the talk page your relevant experience (on- and/or off-wiki) pertaining broadly to the topic of the book you want to review. Reviewers need to email their mailing address to Go Phightins! or Gamaliel. Please sign up only if you are willing to commit to writing a review. Publishers often ask reviewers to email them a link to the review when it appears.

If you know of an upcoming book that Wikipedians would be interested to read about, please list it. Books already published are also an option, but generally publishers send review copies only for new books.

Guidelines for Signpost reviews[edit]

  • Readership. Reviews should be written with The Signpost audience in mind—Wikipedians and others with an active interest in Wikipedia and similar projects—but should be accessible to general readers as well. For books not directly related to Wikipedia, show how the subject is relevant to Signpost readers by drawing connections between the topic and the perspectives of its author, on the one hand, and the concerns of Wikipedians, on the other.
  • Writing style. This is a matter for individual writers. Naturally, our readers enjoy a crisp, direct, engaging style. A good review typically presents both commentary and a summary of the book's content, and does not necessarily give equal attention to all parts of the book. Most reviews clarify the reviewer's attitude to the book at or soon after the start. Readers like either tension or enthusiasm, as long as there is enough formality in the review to build its authority.
  • Genre. A book review is a different genre from a Wikipedia article, and indeed from the rest of The Signpost. There is less emphasis on citations (usually there are no page references), and as an opinion piece it is less bound to the project's policies on neutrality, verification and original research. Nevertheless, please remember that the review will be very public, and should be in good faith even when manifestly critical of the subject.
  • Word length. Reviewers should use their writer's judgment. While there is no set length, between 600 and 1200 words is a rule of thumb. A review much shorter than 600 words risks not seriously engaging with the book beyond a mere summary; a text much longer than 1200 words may not hold readers' attention to the end.
  • Opening format. "Book review" is already included in the template, so it is best to avoid the words "Book review" or "Review of" in your own title. Beneath this, please include the publisher's name (short or long version), the number of pages, the ISBN number, and the month of publication (e.g., "Chicago University Press, 203 pp., ISBN 944-0-7558-9809-7, May 2010").
  • Images. Book-cover images are almost always copyrighted, and because The Signpost is in WP space, fair use media are not permitted. The judicious use of free media is encouraged.

Previous publications[edit]

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