Smarthistory is a consortium of 30 editors and more than 500 contributors drawn from more than 200 colleges, universities, research centers, and museums.
Refer to the checklist below when preparing an essay for Smarthistory
❒ Essay length: 800–1500 words (this can be modified in some cases)
❒ Writing is engaging, conversational, and at times even experiential
❒ Starts with a “hook” to draw the learner in and make them want to continue reading
❒ Makes the case for why the reader should care about this topic
❒ Specialized terms (geographic, religious, political, and methodological) are defined in parentheses (we will often turn these into pop-up definitions, like this).
❒ Content is object-based. Biography, historical context, and other information flows from the discussion of the object or monument
❒ Short engaging subheadings (1-5 words) are included that organize the content into easy-to-read sections and to invite the reader to explore further (this is essential for web-based text)
❒ Time is spent on formal analysis that invites the reader to carefully examine the work of art by making reference to details that we can illustrate
❒ Only essential dates are included in the text (we generally do not include birth and death dates or the dates of the reign of a ruler unless it is absolutely necessary)
❒ Footnotes are included for direct quotes and for some other circumstances, but are kept to a minimum
❒ A succinct but compelling conclusion is included (just a few sentences)
❒ A list of additional resources (both online and print) is included below the essay (the first link should be to the institution, or site where the object can be found). A short bibliography can offer direction for further study, but need not be exhaustive. You can find information about citation style on our “contribute an essay” page.