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Finding Book Reviews

Subject Databases

Subject Indexes/Databases

These are the most interesting to use because of the variety they represent. Mostly, they will help you identify reviews in professional and scholarly journals. This is not meant to be a complete list.  However, these particular ones include a large number of book reviews. Their subject coverage is fairly apparent from their titles.

For each database, be sure to look at the dates of coverage carefully as they vary quite radically. Remember this date refers to the years reviews might appear in. So, for example, a book published first in 1972 could, theoretically, have reviews published in 1972 and any year after that. Most likely, scholarly reviews will appear anywhere from the same year to 3 or even 4 years later. And, if the book is reprinted or republished at some subsequent date another cluster of reviews could appear.

With the exception of Ethnic Newswatch, they are searched in much the same way as Academic Search Complete, a very general database.
The instructions here for searching are CRITICAL  
to finding book reviews.

Once in the database, you need to search using a unique strategy to be sure to get BOOK REVIEWS. It is critical that you search following strategy outlined here exactly! You are going to use ONLY the surname of the 1st author listed and keywords and phrases from the TITLE of the book. Whenever possible, ignore words containing internal punctuation.


Consider the two books whose covers are pictured below.



The ADVANCED searches for these would go like this:



Notice that I put the author's surname on one line and selected keywords and phrases from the title of the book for the other line. You need to put and between the keywords you selected unless they are adjacent. That is why I put an and between america and the phrase democracy inaction. Notice, too, that I didn't choose to use '44 in my search. It's best to avoid words with punctuation in them or 2-letter words in this database.

In addition to selecting the right words and not making any typos, it is TRULY CRITICAL that you do one more thing and that is to tell the database you are searching specifically for BOOK REVIEWS. In most cases, you do that by scrolling down to the area labeled Limit your results and looking for a pulldown box where you can specify DOCUMENT TYPE or PUBLICATION TYPE of Book Review or maybe just Review, like this:



Many of the reviews cited in these database are going to appear in FULLTEXT. Often you will even have a choice of HTML or PDF.  Select the PDF whenever possible to avoid missing some information and so you can be sure to get page numbers. If all you get is a citation or reference to a review, click on the  link to do a search of both our print and electronic journals. You COULD get a link directly to the fulltext of the review or you could be directed to the database containing the periodical with the review or to an OSCAR record for the print periodical. And, if we do not have the periodical in any form, you will be sent to an interlibrary loan form. If you fill out that form, you will get an email with the PDF file of the review in a few days.