How to Submit an Article
BRANCH is now accepting unsolicited submissions. Please submit any queries to firstname.lastname@example.org
Articles can be as short as 1,000 words; however, very few articles are actually that short. In fact, after the first half million words were published, the shortest article (by Christopher Lane) was 1,500 words, the longest (by Marjorie Stone) over 20,000. I’m happy to say that, given the medium, we do not have to worry too much about length, though you should endeavor to be as concise and accessible as possible, keeping in mind that a large part of our readership will be students and non-academics. Still, I’m happy to have your article(s) grow to the length necessary given what you wish to argue or explain—within reason, of course. The average length is about 5,000 words, and articles have been trending longer.
I think that variety is a good thing. The first submissions vary not only in length but also in accessibility. Most could easily be assigned in an undergraduate classroom, and I do ask that you try to make your articles as accessible as you can since, after all, we will have a World Wide audience. However, other articles are more designed for a graduate classroom, and I think that’s just fine. After all, graduate teaching IS an important part, for many of us, of our teaching mission.
Multimedia and reproduction rights
The resource will be free. The advantage of this to you is that you should not have difficulty acquiring reproduction rights for any image you may wish to reproduce in your article—a fact that will be particularly important for those of you who wish to discuss works of art. A good example from RaVoN is an article by Joseph Viscomi on Blake that we published a few years back—with 36 illustrations:
Our format will allow me to include images, sound and film clips, anything you think will help to exemplify your point. I ask, however, that you be responsible for acquiring reproduction rights where needed and that you provide me with the files. Since we are publishing BRANCH on the web as a free resource following creative-commons licensing protocols (see below), it should be relatively easy for you to gain reproduction rights for any image you may want to use.
As for resolution, I would suggest 300KB but 150KB is just fine (that’s the resolution for Joseph Viscomi’s images) and 75KB would work as well since that is the resolution of a computer screen. JPEG is the easiest file format. If a copyright owner is concerned about download of the image from the BRANCH site, offering to present the image in a smaller version at a lower resolution should get around the issue.
Here’s an example of the text that should accompany your image at the point in your article where you’d like it to appear:
[Figure 3: Songs of Innocence and of Experience copy C, plates 3 and 29. Used with permission. Lessing J. Rosenwald Collection, Library of Congress. Copyright (c) 2005, the William Blake Archive.]
Please provide text similar to that, specifying permissions, where necessary, and source.
Articles submitted to BRANCH will follow creative-commons licensing protocols, which is to say that you will retain copyright of the work (just acknowledge the original publication in BRANCH when you reproduce your article somewhere). For more on creative commons, go here:
Please follow MLA guidelines for your entries, as outlined here:
It would be a significant drain on my insignificant resources if my copy-editors had to convert even a few articles that used a different documentation convention. British contributors need to pay special note to the differences from the practices to which they are accustomed. This will save us a great deal of time at the copy-editing stage. As it happens, one of the more useful guides to MLA practice is maintained at Purdue, so there is no need to purchase a copy of the MLA style guide:
Even those of you who are familiar with MLA style may want to take a look at the changes implemented in the 2009 edition, particularly with regard to the citation of material on the web, including material that originally appeared in print but was accessed through an online database. Most notably, see section 6.7.4 of the MLA Style Manual on “A Periodical Publication in an Online Database.” I cite an especially useful example below:
Tolson, Nancy. “Making Books Available: The Role of Early Libraries, Librarians, and Booksellers in the Promotion of African American Children’s Literature.” African American Review 32.1 (1998): 9-16. JSTOR. Web. 5 June 2008.
As you can see, these new guidelines ask us to keep track of just how we are doing our research, so, to avoid headaches, I suggest that you note accession info as you work. Also, if citing an online-only journal such as RaVoN, keep in mind that quite often you will have to indicate the lack of pagination, as in this example from section 6.7.3:
Landauer, Michelle. “Images of Virtue: Reading, Reformation and the Visualization of Culture in Rousseau’s La nouvelle Héloïse.” Romanticism on the Net 46 (2007): n. pag. Web. 8 Nov. 2007.
In addition to your article, you need to include some paratextual material: 1) Your event—you can add a title, if you’d like, but that is not necessary; 2) Name and affiliation; 3) your date or dates; 4) an abstract; 5) at the end of your article, before your Works Cited and Endnotes, a short biographical blurb. I elaborate below:
Please begin your article with your name and affiliation (no need for a title, unless you’d like one), followed by any date discussed that you would like to see added to the timeline: be as specific as possible. So, rather than “1832 Reform Bill,” you could offer: “7 June 1832: Reform Act,” since that’s the date of the Royal Assent, after which the Act became law. Follow that with a short description of what this date/event means. I’m looking for the sort of short description one traditionally finds in such timelines—the more succinct the better. These descriptions will appear on the floating window that will appear when someone clicks on a date in the timeline.
You should include any dates that are significant for your article, anything you’d like to see plotted onto the timeline; however, they should be central to what you discuss. Each of these events can then be linked to your article. So, for example, someone writing on the 1832 Reform Act may wish to see the earlier failed efforts to pass the bill included on the timeline or any other events of importance to its passage that are discussed extensively in the article (e.g., “26 June 1830: Death of King George IV”; “1 March 1831: First Reform Bill”; and so on). Include a succinct description for each date that you’d like to see on the timeline—again, this for the floating window. Here’s a full example from an actual BRANCH article:
Jan 1779: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman [In January 1792, Mary Wollstonecraft publishes A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, which laid out the tenets of what today we call ‘equality’ or ‘liberal’ feminist theory. She further promoted a new model of the nation grounded on a family politics produced by egalitarian marriages.]
The first part of your date entry needs to be as concise as possible—it needs to be so that the timeline itself does not get overly messy with too much text, so, here, simply the title of the work. Since ‘publication of’ is implied, I have moved ‘publication of’ to the square brackets. The material in square brackets will appear in a floating window when someone clicks on the abbreviated text in the timeline, so any further explanation can always be placed there.
Also, may I ask that you have a look for information about month or even day for your event? So, Jan 1792 rather than just 1792 for Wollstonecraft’s Vindication. If you cannot find any info on the month of publication, please add a note: “exact month of publication unknown.” In such instances I will default to Jan of the year specified, with a note asking for information from users. So, for example,
1779: Époques de la Nature. [Using thermal data, Compte de Buffon publishes Époques de la Nature, in which he projects the inevitable refrigeration of the Earth through secular cooling, in what Percy Bysshe Shelley would later call “the great Winter.” Exact month of publication unknown; if you have information about the correct date, please email email@example.com with this information.]
The Victoria listserv might be a handy place to hunt down such information if a Web or archive search fails. If your event covers a length of time, start and end dates are needed. That will allow me to create a color band that spans your dates on the timeline.
After your timeline date or dates, please provide an abstract of your article, something that makes clear how you will be approaching or interpreting the date/ event you have chosen.
Finally, please provide a brief biographical blurb (2-3 sentences), which should appear at the end of your article but before your Works Cited and your Endnotes.
Once I receive your article, I will send it out for peer review. My hope is that you’ll find helpful any comments and suggestions received from your peers.
Copy-editing will be undertaken by a team of graduate students and recent PhDs from around the world (especially Purdue, Ryerson, U Exeter, and U Birmingham), all with experience at this sort of thing thanks to their previous work for RaVoN and BRANCH. Once articles are ready, I will convert them to XML/RDF. You will have a final chance to proof your work after your article in BRANCH goes live. At this late stage, I ask that you keep changes to a minimum.