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A book review is a descriptive, evaluative account and discussion of a book written by a contemporary critic, often a scholar. According to L. King, a book review "can first of all indicate to the reading public some general idea of the contents and it can offer a critique, an evaluation of merit. These two functions are rather distinct and yet they belong together".
Indexes and abstracts, among other databases, will help you locate book reviews. In order to locate a book review you must have the following information.
- Author's full name
- Full title of the book
- The year in which the book was first published. Check the back of the title page for this information or consult the catalogue.
related to finding and writing book reviews.
- Choose an appropriate database.
- Find a reference for a review and if the text is not available on-line, write down the name of the journal it is in, the volume, issue and page number(s).
- Type the full title of the journal into the catalogue to locate the periodical(s) in which the reviews appear.
- Consult several reviews of the same book for a more balanced assessment.
When using any of the "print" sources in this guide, begin with the volume for the year the book was published. If a review is not listed in this volume, you should check at least two successive years. Reviews may be published a few years after the book's release.
- JSTOR [Coverage varies, typically to Present minus 3-5 years] Under Item Type, select Reviews.
- Lexis-Nexis Academic Click on Advanced Options, select Newspapers and then using the "Select a Segment" option, pick Subject and then type in Book Reviews within the ( ).
- ProQuest Platform Databases. Under Document Type, select Review.
- Web of Science [1900 to present]. Search the title of your book and then, when you get results, in the Document Types section (left), limit your results to Book Reviews.
- Book Review Digest [1903 to 1982} Many citations include a brief excerpt.
- Book Review Index [1965 to 2005] REF Z 1035 A1 B6 Selects reviews from a much broader range of periodicals than Book Review Digest. Arranged alphabetically by author's last name with a title index at the back. Journal titles are abbreviated. Full titles are listed at the front and back of each volume.
- Readers' Guide Retrospective [1890 - 1982]
- The Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals, 1824-1900 INDEX AI 3 W45: 5v. Vols. 1-4 list the contents of 43 British periodicals. To find reviews, scan the tables of contents of each journal starting at the year of publications and look for the title of the book.