A book review is a critical and evaluative description of a newly published work written for a particular magazine, journal or newspaper. The review can be "popular," giving the general public an idea of the book's contents, or it can be "scholarly," subjecting the book being reviewed to close scrutiny in its particular field. The feature that distinguishes reviews from other critical writings is its immediacy to the time of publication of the book. Reviews appear shortly after publication, and may be located in indexes using the book's copyright date.
- Databases (library research tools)
Both Expanded Academic Index and Academic Search Premier can be searched for reviews of books appearing in the 1200+ publications indexed in each database. Reviews are indexed under the name of the author and the title of the book. In each citation the words "book review" in parentheses will appear to indicate that that particular article is a book review. One may directly find a review (if it exists in the database) by doing a keyword search on the book's title. Reviews appearing in general interest publications as well as a few scholarly journals in most academic disciplines can be found in these databases. Both of these databases can be found under library research tools by subject (general category) or name.
Newspaper databases, such as Texshare Newspapers, are also excellent sources for book reviews appearing in local, regional and national newspapers. Both of these databases provide full text articles. The list of databases by name in the libraries research tools also includes several individual newspapers, all full text and fully searchable, such as the Houston Chronicle, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Victoria Advocate. These are also good sources for book reviews.
- Book Review Digest. New York : H.W. Wilson, 1905-1997. (Ref Z1035.C95)
Consult the annual volume corresponding to the copyright date of your book. Entries contain citations to the original magazine or newspaper that published reviews and includes summaries of the reviews. While most publications are general, some scholarly journals are covered. Reviews are arranged by author's name, and there is a separate author/title index covering the years 1905-1974 and the years 1975-1984.
- Book Review Index . Detroit: Gale Research, 1965-2002. (Ref Z1035.B6)
Consult the annual volume corresponding to the copyright date of your book. Annual volumes list reviews (without summaries) by author's name. Information in each citation includes publications that contain a review of that book. Some scholarly journals are covered. See study guide on Book Review Index for further help in using this source.
INDEXES TO REVIEWS IN SCHOLARLY JOURNALS
- Databases (library research tools)
Many databases listed among our research tools are for specific subjects and academic disciplines. ERIC (Education), PsychInfo (Psychology), MLA International Bibliography (Language and Literature), and Business Source Premier (Business and Management) are examples of subject-specific databases that index reviews of scholarly books in each respective field. JSTOR is another database that provides book reviews on scholarly books on many topics. This database is primarily useful for finding reviews of books written from the late 19 th century through the first ¾ of the 20 th. If interested in finding a review of a specific book the following search statement may uncover it: "title of the book and book review"--i.e. Alternatively searching on the name of an author and "book review" would uncover any reviews in the database on books by that author.
- Combined Retrospective Index to Book Reviews in Scholarly Journals 1886-1974. Evan Ira Farber, Senior Editor. Arlington, VA: Carrollton Press, 1979-1982. 15 vols. (Ref Z1035.C8)
Contains citations to reviews of scholarly works published during the years of coverage appearing primarily in history, political science and economics journals. Volumes 1-12.index by author, volumes 13-15 by title
- Combined Retrospective Index to Book Reviews in Humanities Journals, 1802-1974). Evan Ira Farber, Senior Editor. Woodbridge, CT: Research Publications, Inc. 1982. 10 vols. (Ref AZ221.C6)
Similar in format to the previous index. The reviews cited appear in journals in the humanities (art, music, literature, philosophy etc.)
- Cumulative Index of the Southwestern Historical Quarterly . Austin, TX: Texas State Historical Association, 1950-present. 4 vols. (Ref F381.T451).
An index to articles, including reviews, appearing in the Southwestern Historical Quarterly from 1897 through 1984. An excellent source for reviews on works about Texas. Entries are by author, title and subject. The titles of works reviewed are in italics followed by "reviewed, vol." (the vol. # of the SW Historical Quarterly containing the review): and then the page numbers on which the review is found.
NOTE: This study guide does not include all of the sources found in our library for uncovering book reviews. There are many more general and subject specific sources, although the indexes listed here will help you find reviews for most books which have had reviews published. If you are still having difficulty finding what you need ask a librarian for assistance.Study Guide updated 11/05