Getting Started in Research & Publishing

On April 27, 2023 the ACRL Arts Section Publications & Research Committee hosted a webinar, Getting Started in Research & Publishing. A panel of journal editors shared their expertise:

The session was not recorded, but here are a few takeaways based on the panelists’ discussion:

  • How did you go about publishing your first scholarly work?
    • Responding to calls for papers (CFP), something that fits with their research interests. Good to have built-in deadlines rather than just writing on the fly
    • Book chapter – Helped them understand how easy it is to lose control of your work. The publisher would not give a free official copy of the completed work, requiring authors to purchase one.
    • Co-edited a book with a colleague, and wrote a chapter within it. 
    • First peer-reviewed article: a collaboration with a professor. Writing usually about something they’ve been working on.
    • Invited by Art Documentation to turn a survey result into an article. Later asked to edit a monograph.
    • Turned a seminar paper from an MLIS course into an article. Helps to be around other colleagues who are publishing and work collaboratively. Helps to have support from your home institution.
  • Where is the best place to look for opportunities and where do you post your calls for content?
    • Discussion lists/list-servs. Look at websites of journals for your speciality area. Look for opportunities to collaborate with colleagues, make sure they know your interests to connect you with relevant opportunities.
    • Library writing blog: Invites people to submit articles after seeing conference presentations. 
    • Calls for reviews via ARLIS-L, often forwarded to others – networking is important. 
    • Talking to people at conferences/at the regional chapter level.
    • If you’re not sure if a topic is a good fit for the scope of a journal, write to the editor for feedback. Being a reviewer is also a good thing to do – helps someone else with their writing, helps you be a better writer.
    • Favorite place to find CFPs is
  • What are some options for writing opportunities beyond the traditional scholarly route–Do you have any advice on getting started?
    • Editorials (opinion pieces) for journals. CNRL News. 
    • Book reviews – look at other people’s reviews for structure, format. Note: when you write a book review you get a free copy to keep.
    • Some journals have a section for feature articles that aren’t scholarly.
    • Annotated bibliographies on a topic, less structured than a literature review.
    • Good reference tool for book reviews:
    • Exhibition reviews/notable graphic novel reviews for ARLIS.
    • Open Educational Resources (OER) – low barrier to entry. Creating one or modifying an existing resource. Good opportunity for collaboration, may lead to grants or other opportunities. There is a big need for OER in art. 
    • C&RL March issue’s Editorial is a video panel of book reviewers and they talk about their experiences:
  • What are some emerging topics of research that you’ve noticed? 
    • AI e.g. ChatGBT. AI as a tool and a source. Worth having conversations around bias in content, info-literacy, critical thinking. Communicating about it without alarmism. Also the issue of digital inclusion, basic intro to technology – digital native does not necessarily mean digitally literate, especially with adult learners, helping users have the confidence and skill to navigate resources.
    • Research is more data-driven than it has been in the past. Intellectual freedom and censorship.
    • Accessibility (e.g. on libguides/websites), DEI, Open Access, OER
    • Labor and work/life balance, compensation.
    • Being a reviewer is a good way to learn about current topics of discussions.
  • As an editor, what are your biggest pet peeves or things that you think potential contributors should avoid? 
    • Don’t ghost an editor by starting a discussion about a potential publication and then ceasing to respond. Also peer reviewers starting and not completing projects. If you can’t complete a project, communicate that. 
    • Please read the instructions for submissions carefully (e.g. if you need to anonymize your paper). That will expedite the process, demonstrate your professionalism, and save you time.
    • Don’t assume a topic has been done to death. You never know what others are interested in + you can discuss options with your editor.
    • Use the required citation style (e.g. APA 7th edition MEANS APA 7th edition)
    • Reminder nudges/questions to your editor are welcome during the publication process.
    • Can’t make a deadline? You may be able to delay until a later publication. 
    • If you’re reviewing a publication you don’t like, you could potentially do a negative review – work with your editor.
    • Don’t forget the point of why you’re writing, e.g. a book review is to help others decide if they should read/purchase the book, not rehash the content.
  • Is there a good way to approach someone outside your institution for collaboration?
    • Send a well-written, polite email that is clear about what you’re looking for and see what happens. Talking with people after their conference presentations is another good opportunity
  • What resources would you suggest for learning to plan out research? Making timelines, etc?
    •  I find it tempting to get caught up in resources, so I like to keep it simple with Zotero

ACRL 2023 Reprise Session: No Thoughts, Just Vibes?: Interrogating Algorithms through Visual Art and Information Literacy

The Arts Section hosted a reprise presentation of the only art-focused session at the ACRL 2023 Conference in Pittsburgh, No Thoughts, Just Vibes?: Interrogating Algorithms through Visual Art and Information Literacy. The impact of AI on both art and education is a hot topic, and this session thoughtfully addressed the issue and provided inspiration for art librarians on how to engage with this evolving technology.


  • Stephanie Grimm | Art and Art History Librarian, George Mason University
  • Maggie Murphy | Art & Design Librarian, UNC Greensboro
  • Mackenzie Salisbury | Information Literacy Librarian, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Mimosa Shah | Associate Curator, Schlesinger Library, Harvard Radcliffe Institute

Session Description:

“Building on the work of contemporary artists who use creative practice to surface and disrupt the influence of algorithms in society, we seek to introduce friction into students’ algorithmic experience, highlighting where algorithms intersect with bias, visibility, privacy, serendipity, inspiration, and authorship in our information literacy pedagogy. In this moderated panel, we will discuss some key questions, including: How can students engage creatively with algorithmic environments while maintaining a critical focus? In what ways does art allow us to reframe and rethink our use of technology?”

Originally presented on March 18, 2023
Reprise webinar on March 29, 2023

Session Recording:

Slides & Notes

Download a copy of the session slides with notes: No Thoughts, Just Vibes?: Interrogating Algorithms through Visual Art and Information Literacy – Slides


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