Digital Projects Review Guidelines

Digital project reviews carry on the traditions and guidelines of book reviewing in the American Quarterly, including the careful selection of projects based on the importance and relevance of their topics, methods, and theories for scholars working within the American studies tradition.

American Quarterly will publish digital project reviews on a regular basis, with single-project reviews running between 2,500 and 3,000 words. Reviews should be addressed not merely to scholars of digital media and methods but to the broader American studies audience. Digital project reviews should evaluate the contribution of the work under consideration to the field of American studies, taking careful note both of the methods involved in creating the digital project and the arguments developed in it. Each review should strive to include:

  • the project’s genre
  • its principal participants and their roles
  • its scope
  • its presumed audience
  • its efficacy as a scholarly intervention
  • its usefulness as a teaching tool, if applicable

Like book reviews, digital project reviews are designed to foster a respectful and rigorous scholarly dialogue about specific subjects and methodologies.  In addition, the digital projects review section draws attention to high-quality, relevant scholarship that, because of its mode of publication, may be missing the wider recognition in, and interrogation from, the wider American studies field. For the creators of digital projects, post-publication peer assessment is especially critical, since prepublication peer review outlets and opportunities are often so limited.

As with book reviews, reviewers have the responsibility: to summarize the authors’ and architects’ scholarly interventions fairly and accurately; to locate the projects under review within a broad scholarly (print and digital) context; and to emphasize the theoretical and methodological implications of any given work for future research in American studies. While reviewers have the right to make normative judgments about the projects under review, personal attacks, ridicule, and distortion are not acceptable.


All digital project review essays are commissioned. Authors and directors of digital projects may suggest that their project come under review at the American Quarterly by contacting the digital project review editors via email. A potential reviewer may propose a project review by sending a one page proposal and a current CV to the digital project review editors via email as well. The digital project review editors will review proposals in light of reviews already commissioned and may suggest alterations accordingly. The digital project review editors will inform principal authors and directors that their digital projects are being considered for review prior to the commissioning of any reviewer.


Reviewers should title their review. In addition, each review should cite the project title; principal project authors or directors; the place and name of the publisher, if applicable; the dates of publication; the method of ‘publication’ (website, stand-alone application, etc.); the url of the project, if applicable; and any cost for accessing the project, if applicable.


Walt Whitman Archive. Edited by Ed Folsom and Kenneth M. Price. Lincoln: Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, c.1995-2015. Online. Accessed April 2015.

Reviewers should also include a short biography that will appear on the Contributors page of the journal. Please format your manuscript using the Chicago Manual of Style’s 15th edition. Reviews should be submitted in ODF, RTF, or Word format.

Please send review proposals, notices of digital project publication, and completed reviews to the digital project review editors Aleia M. Brown, Kristy H.A. Kang, and Carly A. Kocurek at