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SIRS® Editorial Practices
For decades, K-12 librarians and educators have trusted SIRS for its editorially curated, reliable information and ease-of-use. Since 1973, the mission of SIRS has remained steadfast – to deliver relevant, age-appropriate resources to support the most common research assignments in schools and colleges. SIRS content editors support this mission as subject matter experts with degrees in a variety of disciplines.
Most SIRS content is licensed from third-party sources – a wide variety of newspapers, magazines, scholarly journals, and reference books. SIRS content editors search through a broad range of international sources to ensure a global perspective on issues in the news. They write and periodically update a small selection of contextual pages – such as overviews and timelines. For additional value, editors curate supplementary sources including images, charts, statistics, photos, editorial cartoons, primary sources, and noteworthy speeches.
SIRS content editors are committed to:
- Accurate and reliable information
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Editorial independence and fairness
- Levelled and age-appropriate content
- Rigorous accountability to our standards and to our customers
Accurate and Reliable Information
Editors update SIRS’ sources and topic pages with new text and image documents on a regular basis to ensure currency. They select content only from sources with a proven track record for accuracy.
Editors monitor current events, national and state curriculum standards, common classroom assignments and customer requests when determining what content to add or what to create.
Any text written by a SIRS content editor is both fact checked and reviewed before being published.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Editors are committed to the inclusion of authoritative materials that reflect a diversity of voices and perspectives. They ensure that written and selected content represents a wide range of voices in breadth and depth, that discriminatory language is avoided, and that bias is minimized as much as possible. Editors are dedicated to continuously challenging themselves and deepening their own understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion. As part of that process, content written by our editors is periodically evaluated and edited as needed based on learning and feedback from customers and advisors.
In 2021, a SIRS Advisory Panel was created, composed of teachers and librarians with diverse backgrounds. The Panel advised the SIRS editorial team about the framing of social issues and the use of terminology to ensure that contemporary understandings, underrepresented voices and historically marginalized perspectives are visible in SIRS. The SIRS Advisory Panel is only the latest example of ProQuest’s ongoing commitment to minimize bias and present diverse points-of-view in our writing and content selection.
Editorial Independence and Fairness
Editors carefully select every newspaper, magazine, and image to ensure balanced coverage on each topic page. Editors do not select content on behalf of any cause or agenda. They attempt to reflect the most widely represented stances on each issue. Inclusion of content in SIRS databases is not an endorsement or a reflection of ProQuest’s positions or opinions.
All content is presented in its original format and historical context and, therefore, may contain language considered biased or stereotypical today. For example, users are likely to come across historical information that refers to slaves, instead of the current accepted term enslaved people. SIRS editors have no legal authority to modify or edit republished content, the intellectual property of which belongs to the original copyright holder.
Levelled and Age-Appropriate Content
SIRS content selection criteria consider the needs of all learners, offering support for different reading levels and various learning styles (visual, textual, and auditory).
The audience for SIRS Discoverer is upper elementary and middle school students (grades 4-8). Editors ensure SIRS Discoverer content is levelled for those grades. They do not select material that is inappropriate for the intended audience.
Editors avoid graphic material not appropriate for novice researchers. They avoid language and terminology that is dehumanizing or derogatory.
Rigorous Accountability to Our Standards and to Our Customers
SIRS editors are committed to a cooperative process of curating and reviewing content before it is published in the SIRS database and made available to users. Editorial decisions are regularly reviewed to ensure that SIRS editorial standards are followed and that the most accurate content is published.