Comparative Analysis of Professional Journals

As part of my journey to learn more about the LIS profession I have analyzed two professional journals about two very different career paths. The Indexer: the International Journal of Indexing is a a peer reviewed journal compiled by the Society of Indexers. American Archivist is also a peer reviewed journal, which is published by the Society of American Archivists.

I chose to read The Indexer because I find the career path somewhat intriguing, but would probably not pursue it myself as a profession. The Indexer was first published in 1958, a year after the founding of the Society of Indexers. Its primary audience is indexers. It is published four times a year in print and online. It accepts articles on subjects relating to indexing and related matters. As mentioned above The Indexer does peer review its full length articles. the articles are submitted to reviewers anonymously, which appears to be a common practice in peer review. Contributors to the Indexer are expected to obtain permissions for any third-party copyright material (The Indexer, 2012).

The Indexer contains primarily full length articles, however, the feature, “Indexes Reviewed” appears in each issue. “Indexes Reviewed” contains brief reviews of electronic and print indexes. The reviews are usually short and concise, which gives the feature the look of an annotated bibliography. The journals in 2012 were very focused on e-books and readers,especially e-book indexes. Other topics that were widely discussed were web resources for indexers and XML indexing. There were also articles that pleasantly surprised me including an article about indexing wine and another article about indexing quilt patterns.

The second journal that I examined was The American Archivist, which is published by the Society of American Archivists semi-annually. The intended audience of this journal is archivists, librarians, records managers, and curators to some extent. The American Archivist does not solely focus on technological issues as seems to be more of the case of The Indexer. It covers archival theory and developments in the profession.Like The Indexer, The American Archivist’s articles are anonymously peer reviewed. The authors are expected to use the Chicago Manual of Style for their articles, which is interesting to me since as of right now my papers in the Wayne State SLIS must be written  using the APA Style Guide. It accepts research articles, case studies, perspectives, International Scenes, professional resources, and reviews of books and other products by archivists such as finding aids, websites, and exhibits (The American Archivist, 2012).

The articles that I read for the year of 2008 in The American Archivist were very diverse in nature. Topics that came up often were DACS, EAD implementation, and institutional repositories. A feature that was enjoyable in this journal were the reviews-especially those of finding aids. The Fall-Winter 2008 journal included a fascinating inventory guide to the Vatican Archives.

The American Archivist and  The Indexer share few commonalities. They are both peer reviewed. While The American Archivist features a large proportion of technology based articles it is still not as technology driven as The Indexer. The American Archivist still includes a fair amount of articles that cover archival theory. The large number of articles about developments in technology in both journals demonstrates how technology driven LIS careers are right now. Following trends in technology and theory in LIS journals can help those who are new to the LIS profession make intelligent decisions about continuing education.


The Indexer. Notes for Contributors. (2012). Retrieved from

The American Archivist. Editorial Policy. (2012.) Retrieved from policy


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