What Is an ERIC Digest?
Digests are short reports providing a basic introduction to and overview of topics of current interest in education. Although they cannot be comprehensive in coverage due to their length, digests are self-contained syntheses that aim to stimulate readers' interest in obtaining more information.
Digests are targeted specifically at teachers, administrators, and other practitioners, but they are also intended to be useful to the broad educational community including parents, policymakers, and researchers.
Each clearinghouse in the ERIC system produces digests in its scope area. The ERIC Clearinghouse on Information & Technology (ERIC/IT) publishes 10-12 digests per year on topics in Educational Technology and Library/Information Science. Samples of recent digests are attached.
For authors, writing a digest is an opportunity to attain high visibility and promote their scholarship among a widespread readership while also helping the ERIC system to demonstrate its sensitivity to user needs.
How Are ERIC/IT Digests Distributed?
ERIC/IT digests are widely disseminated to the educational community through a variety of channels:
Over 15,000 copies of digests are distributed by ERIC/IT in a typical year, and countless users are exposed to digests through multiplier groups and online services. ERIC/IT digests are in the public domain and may be reproduced freely. Charges for ERIC/IT digests are limited to postage and handling fees.
- New titles are regularly announced in The Vertical File Index, ERIC's Resources in Education, and the ERIC/IT Update, ERIC/IT's semi-annual newsletter;
- presentations, at local, state, and national professional conferences, and in response to user inquiries;
- Copies are sent to over 100 ERIC/IT "multiplier groups," including professional associations, graduate schools, and other organizations concerned with Educational Technology and Library/Information Science; and
- Access to the full text of many digests is provided by online information services.
What Should an ERIC/IT Digest Include?
A digest can provide an overview of a topic, define and describe a controversial topic, report on the current status of research in an area, or any combination of these. In any case, the content of a digest should be substantive, objective, and based on well-documented sources. A digest may make an example of a local project within a fuller discussion of the main topic, but in order to be valuable to a broad and varied audience, it should not be limited to the author's own project(s) or experience(s).
A reference list of four to eight significant works for further information should be included. References may be to commercial publications, journal articles, or other sources used in developing the digest. References to ERIC documents are desirable, and ED numbers should be supplied.
What Are the Technical Specifications for an ERIC/IT Digest?
Length. The text of a digest should be 1,000 to 1,500 words in order to fit on two sides of a single 8 1/2" x 11" sheet after desktop formatting. Longer manuscripts will be cut.
Format. For ease of reading, one of the following styles is preferred:
(1) question and answer format; or
(2) text divided by 3-6 headings or subheadings.
Style. The text of a digest should consist of clear, concise, informative sentences. Extremely long sentences should be avoided. Short lists within the text or bulleted sections may be used to provide reading variety. References must be complete and accurate, using APA style format.
Graphic Information. Charts, tables, and graphs may be used. However, because most digests will be entered in a full-text database without graphics, all essential information in the digest should be summarized, enumerated, or listed in the text, in addition to its graphic representation.
How Is an ERIC/IT Digest Reviewed?
After initial editing, an ERIC/IT digest is reviewed internally by a project monitor for the clearinghouse or another senior member of the ERIC system. The digest is also submitted to a subject expert for an external review. Reviewers' suggestions are applied to the manuscript at the editor's discretion. When substantial changes are made to a manuscript, a revised copy is sent to the author for approval. A sample review form is attached.
How Should a Digest Be Submitted to ERIC/IT?
Digest manuscripts should be submitted in paper copy. To facilitate the editing process, an electronic copy should also be supplied.
IBM Disk Copy. Submit a 5 1/4" or 3 1/2" disk, formatted in IBM Version 3.1 or higher (or on a compatible system); text can be in WordPerfect (Version 5.0 or higher); in ASCII (DOS); or Microsoft Word for Windows. (No "Fast-Save" versions, or compressed text)
Macintosh Disk Copy. Submit text on a 3 1/2" disk, in WordPerfect (Version 1.0.1, 1.0.3, or 3.0); ASCII (text) format; or Microsoft Word. (No "Fast-Save" versions, or compressed text)
Electronic Mail. Send copy to email@example.com
Direct questions and submissions to:
ERIC Clearinghouse on Information & Technology
621 Skytop Road, Suite 160
Syracuse, New York 13244-5290
(315) 443-3640 (800) 464-9107
Fax: (315) 443-5448