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Library Tutorials: Book Reviews

Tutorials covering library processes and technology.

How to Find Book Reviews

How to Find Book Reviews

Step One- Identify the year the book was first published.
Check the copyright information on the title page, or search WorldCat  for the first edition.

Step Two- Find a source that indexes articles that were published when your book was first published.

Keep in mind, some books never get reviewed at all!

General Indexes that include Book Reviews

Academic Search Premier - Most useful for books published after 1990. 
Search for the title of the book, and under Refine Search, choose Document Type "Book Review".

JSTOR - For books published from the 1800's through the early 2000's
Search for the title of the book, and narrow your search to article Type "Review"

LexisNexis Academic Universe - Most useful for books published after 1990.
An index to hundreds of newspapers and trade and professional journals. To find book reviews follow the following steps:

  • Within LexisNexis select "Guided News Search"
  • In the first pull down menu select "Arts & Sports News"
  • In the second pull down menu select "Book, movie, music and play reviews."
  • Adjust the time frame to cover the publication date of the book.
  • Type in the author's name and a few words from the title.

Literature Resource Center - Books from all time periods

  • Search by Title.
  • Once in your search results, choose the "Literary Criticism, Articles, & Work Overviews" tab
  • Select the "Article" sub-section, under the main tabs.
  • Scan article descriptions for those listed as "Book Review".

New York Times Book Reviews

Books- New York Times Website Searchable reviews from 1981 to the present.

New York Times Retrospective - All articles from 1851 to the early 2000's.
Choose Document Type "Review", in the drop down search boxes, or under "More Search Options"

Major Book Review Sources

Book Review Digest. 1905-. (Special Shelving -- Government Documents)
Since 1905, this source has provided citations to and excerpts of reviews from a selective list of periodicals. To be included, non-fiction works must have received two reviews, and fiction must have received four reviews in the periodicals covered. Entries are arranged alphabetically by author, though there is a Subject and Title Index. Information includes bibliographic data, a synopsis of the book, and citations to the reviews with excerpts from 3 or 4 reviews. Each citation includes the reviewer's name and the number of words.

Book Review Index. 1965-. (Special Shelving -- Government Documents)
A rather exhaustive index, now covering reviews in more than 470 periodicals, this source provides only the citation to the review. Entries are arranged alphabetically by author, but a Title Index is included. Because the Index contains such a large number of review citations, it is by far the most complete source of book reviews since 1965.

Subject Discipline Indexes that include Book Reviews

Art Abstracts
Indexes periodicals on art and film, 1984 to present.

Art Index Retrospective
Indexes older periodicals on art and film found in Art Index, 1929 to 1984.

ATLA Religion Database
Indexes international periodicals, multi-author books, and reviews in religion, 1949 to present.

Education Abstracts
1929-1983. Printed. Index Shelves.

General Science Abstracts
Indexes periodicals on astronomy, biology, chemistry, earth sciences, math, medicine, and physics.

Index to Periodicals by and about Blacks. 1950-2001. Printed. Index Shelves.
Black American periodicals are thoroughly indexed in this source, but there is no coverage of non-American sources or topics. Book reviews may be found under the name of the author, name of the reviewer, or under the subject heading Book Reviews.

Philosopher's Index
Indexes and abstracts books and journals of philosophy and related fields, 1940 to present.

Women's Studies Abstracts. 1972-. Printed. Index Shelves.
As a major access point for women's studies, this source is particularly useful for reviews of books concerning women and women's studies. Although earlier volumes contained the review itself, the practice for several years has been to list citations to reviews in BOOK REVIEWS, the concluding section of most issues.

Retrospective Indexes to Book Reviews

The following sources are particularly useful in locating reviews of books published in the 1800s and early 1900s.

Combined Retrospective Index to Book Reviews in Humanities Journals, 1802-1974. 1982-1984. Index Shelves. An index to book reviews in about 160 scholarly journals in the humanities. Volumes 1 and 9 are arranged by author; volume 10 is an index to titles. Our holdings are checked in the front of volume 1.

Combined Retrospective Index to Book Reviews in Scholarly Journals, 1886-1974. Index Shelves. An index to reviews in about 500 scholarly journals in the social sciences. The first thirteen volumes are arranged by author, and the two index volumes by title.

Poole's Index to Periodical Literature. 1802-1881; Supplements 1888-1906. Index Shelves.
As virtually the only periodical index for the time period covered, Poole's can be quite valuable. Book reviews are included, but may be difficult to locate because they are entered under the subject. Reviews of poetry, drama, fiction, or any work that does not have a "subject" is entered under the author's name.

Finding Book Reviews on the Web

Book reviews on the Web are good examples of the pluses and minuses of Web content. You may find a terrific review written by a knowledgeable reviewer or you may find a review by a nut, and sometimes it is hard to tell because there are few if any clues to help you decide. To test the accuracy of a review on the Web you will want to find published reviews that can be compared with the insights of the Web review.

There are two approaches to finding a review on the Web.

  • Use Google and enter the author's name and the title of the book.
  • Use Amazon.com.

Reference Help

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