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History 255 City Life in Modern Europe

Finding Book Reviews

  • Historical Abstracts (1954- )
    Indexes and provides abstracts for articles and book reviews on the history of the world (other than the US and Canada) from 1450 to the present.

  • Academic Search Premier (1975-present) – Multidisciplinary database indexing and abstracting over 8,000 journals. Includes full text for about half of the titles indexed.  This database indexes many of the major book review sources so it’s a good place to begin your search.  However, you may want to use MHLinks to locate another print or other electronic copy of the reviews because ASP’s linked full text does not always include reviewer information.   Search tip: To limit your search to just book reviews, use the “Document Type” drop-down menu to select “Book Review.”
     
  • Book Review Digest (1983-present)  Retrieves book summaries, bibliographic data, full-text reviews, review excerpts, or basic citations of fiction, nonfiction, children's books, reference works in the humanities, social sciences, and general sciences.  Search Tip: To limit your search to just book reviews, use the “Document Type” drop-down menu to select “Book Review.”  Note: This may not be the best source for very recently published books as it does not seem to be updated as regularly as some of the other databases.
     
  • National Newspapers (1980s-present) – Includes a balance of national and regional newspapers chosen for their journalistic excellence and regional representation.  Some full text.  Search Tip: To limit your search to just book reviews, choose to do an “Advanced” search and, in the "Search Options" > "Document Type" section of the search page, select "Review."

Evaluating Reviews

Questions to ask about the source (print or electronic periodical, web site, etc.) containing the review:

  • Who is the target audience?
  • Is it trying to sell you something?

Questions to ask about the review itself:

  • How long is it? Is it just a paragraph introducing the book or a page or more including some qualitative analysis?
  • Is it objective or biased?
  • Is it signed?
  • If signed, what do you know about the author and her/his credentials?

Further reading on evaluating information:

 See Purdue University Libraries’ guide to evaluating information. This helpful guide includes sub-sections on Evaluating Books, Evaluating Periodical Articles, and Evaluating Web Sites.

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