Book Reviews: A Finding Guide
Book Reviews: A Finding Guide
Book Reviews: A Finding Guide Book Reviews: A Finding Guide Introduction Book Reviews vs. Literary Criticism Online resources Print resources Chronological list of resources Postscript INTRODUCTION Reviews are important tools for evaluating books. Online databases have made finding book reviews quicker and easier. This brief guide lists the major resources available to Cornell users for finding book reviews. The print resources listed are available in the reference collections of Olin Library. This is not an exhaustive list of ways to find book reviews. Many disciplines have indexes that may be used to locate book reviews for that subject area (literature, history, religion, and so on).
A few examples are listed here. Reference staff can guide you.
Book review indexes provide a citation to the review appearing in a newspaper, magazine, or journal. Search the newspaper, magazine, or journal title in the Cornell Library Catalog to find all the formats we own for that journal. Amazon.com, ARBA online, Bowker's Books in Print, JSTOR, ProQuest Research Library, [formerly known as Periodical Abstracts], and ProQuest Historical Newspapers have the full text of at least some reviews (or online links to them). For further information or to locate titles not listed here, consult a reference librarian. DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN BOOK REVIEWS AND LITERARY CRITICISM The simplest criterion for distinguishing book reviews from literary criticism is the time of publication of the review/critical article compared to the original publication date of the book.
Book reviews are written around the time the book was originally published; literary criticism appears in later years. For example, reviews of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby that appeared in 1925 or 1926 (right after the novel was published) are book reviews, while literary criticism about the novel continues to be written today. MLA Bibliography is an important index of literary criticism. In general, the sources cited in this guide find reviews that reflect the response near the time of a book's publication. ONLINE RESOURCES FOR FINDING BOOK REVIEWS Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature (ABELL).
(Part of Literature Online)
1920 to date. "ABELL, which can be accessed via the Criticism screen in [Literature Online's] Search: Criticism and Reference, contains more than 860,000 records covering monographs, periodical articles, critical editions of literary works, book reviews, collections of essays and doctoral dissertations published anywhere in the world; unpublished doctoral dissertations are covered for the period 1920-1999. The bibliography consists of 77 volumes, beginning in 1920 and issued annually; a number of items published between 1892 and 1919 have been indexed retrospectively.
All aspects and periods of English literature are covered, from Anglo-Saxon times to the present day.
British, American and Commonwealth writing are all represented. Coverage is international, including scholarly material in languages other than English." [from LION's Information Centre] Amazon.com. Free online resource. Date coverage unknown. Primarily a bookselling site, Amazon.com sometimes includes the full text of some published book reviews--"Editorial reviews". Their "Search inside the book" function allows viewing of selected, scanned pages-- usually the covers, table of contents, index, and an excerpt from the main text. Also includes user reviews, of highly variable quality and usefulness.
Overall, a very useful site for evaluating recent trade and academic books. Access to the scanned table of contents and index is very useful for nonfiction titles. America: History & Life. Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio. Covers 1954 to date. Book reviews in U.S. and Candian history only. Indexes about 6,000 book and media reviews from over one hundred academic journals. NB: there are no reviews in the sister database, Historical Abstracts. To limit your search to reviews, use Advanced Search and enter r* in the Document Type search box.
ARBA Online. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 1997- . Covers 1997 to date; see print version for earlier coverage. Reference reviews only. Reviews CD-ROMs and Web sites as well as books. ATLA Religion Database. [S.l.]: American Theological Library Association. Covers 1949 to date. Book reviews in religion only. Incorporates the printed Index to Book Reviews in Religion (IBRR). Primarily academic titles. Book Review Digest. Bronx, NY: H. W. Wilson, 1983- . Covers 1983 to date; see print version for earlier coverage. Use the online version only as a last resort. It's confusing to search and has limited coverage.
Prefer other resources listed here. Reviews of English language adult and juvenile fiction and non-fiction titles. Book reviews are selected from journals in the humanities, sciences, social sciences and library review media. Bowker's Books in Print. New York: R. R. Bowker, 2000- . Coverage limited to titles in print or recently out of print. A database of bibliographic records for books, audio tapes, and videos from over 44,000 North American publishers. Many records include full-text reviews. Titles with reviews are starred. Click on the book title to open the record, then click on the Reviews tab.
Full record also may have synopses/annotations, book jacket text, media mentions, list of awards, and the full text of first chapters [aka Dial a
Book]. IBR: International Bibliography of Book Reviews. Osnabrück, Germany: F. Dietrich. Covers 1988 to date; see print version for earlier coverage. Emphasis on reviews appearing in European social sciences and humanities journals. German or English interface. For coverage of 1911-1943, see BDR. JSTOR: The Scholarly Journal Archive. New York: JSTOR. Covers from the beginning of the journal (earliest is 1665) up to within three to five years of the present [the "moving wall"]. Rich in book reviews and review journals for specific subjects and disciplines, JSTOR is a fully-searchable, full-text database containing the back issues of several hundred scholarly journals in the humanities, social sciences, mathematics, music, ecology and botany, business, and other fields.
List of journals included and years covered. To find book reviews, select Advanced Search. In the Advanced Search page, type one or two keywords from the book title in the first search box. Under Narrow Your Search to "These Types," check the Review box. Click Search. Periodicals Index Online. [was PCI: Periodical Contents Index] Covers 1770-1993. Searches can be restricted to book reviews only. Click the box under "Scope" on the search page. Provides comprehensive indexing to the contents of 4,250 periodicals in the humanities and social sciences, from their first issues (some as far back as the 18th and 19th centuries) to 1993.
The scope is international, including journals in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and other Western languages. Journals that are indexed in PCI which have full text available in JSTOR are linked at article level to enable users to search the index and navigate directly to the article in the JSTOR archive. ProQuest Historical Newspapers.
Full image access to three major U.S. Newspapers: The New York Times, 1851- 2006; the Wall Street Journal, 1889-1992; and the Washington Post, 1877-1993. Most useful for the Times and for the drawings and illustrations that sometimes accompany Times reviews. Searches by document type can only be limited to "reviews." This includes theatrical and musical reviews. ProQuest Research Library (was ProQuest Periodical Abstracts). Ann Arbor: University Microfilms International, 1986- . Covers 1986 to date. Indexes general interest magazines and scholarly journals in the social sciences, humanities, and sciences.
Also included are citations and abstracts for some newspapers and selected television and radio programs. The full text of some articles is provided. To find reviews, use Advanced Search. Choose Document type from the drop down menu and enter reviews in the search box.
Project MUSE. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. Coverage varies by title, beginning no earlier than 1993, and running through the current issue. Project MUSE covers the full text of over 200 journals in literature and criticism, history, the visual and performing arts, cultural studies, education, political science, gender studies, economics, and others. To find book reviews, choose Advanced Search and use the pulldown menu under Limit Search and By Type to select Review. Advanced search page also has a list of journals and years available.
Reference Reviews Europe Online.
Firenze: Casalini Libri. Online at http://rre.casalini.it Covers 1994 to date. "Each year Reference Reviews Europe offers around 300 English-language reviews of European reference titles. The journal is published in two forms: the electronic Reference Reviews Europe Online (RREO) and the printed Reference Reviews Europe Annual(RREA) (Olin Z 1002 .R32, 1995- , latest volume in Reference). Much of the content consists of abstracts in English of reviews that originally appeared in the German journal Informationsmittel: IFB (IFB) [previous title Informationsmittel für Bibliotheken]. IFB, edited by Klaus Schreiber of the Württembergische Landesbibliothek in Stuttgart, and formerly published by the Deutsches Bibliotheksinstitut in Berlin, currently is available only online.
Since its inception in 1993, it has reviewed more than 500 titles per year, covering reference materials in all subjects and formats. Although German- language publications predominate in IFB, titles in other European languages, including French, Icelandic, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, and Spanish are also covered. The reviewers for IFB are mostly German librarians and academics. The abstractors for Reference Reviews Europe are mainly North American librarians." [from the RREO Website; more information] Web of Science. Philadelphia: Institute for Scientific Information. Science Citation Index covers 1945 to date; Social Sciences Citation Index covers 1956 to date; Arts & Humanities Citation Index covers 1975 to date.
A multi-disciplinary set of three databases indexing thousands of titles. To limit your search to book reviews, select Advanced Search and highlight "Book review" in the box under "Restrict search by languages and document types." PRINT RESOURCES FOR FINDING BOOK REVIEWS American Reference Books Annual. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 1970- . (Olin Ref Z 1035.1 .A55; last 5 volumes in reference) Covers 1970 to date. Reviews of reference titles only. Bibliographie der Rezensionen. [see title changes below] Leipzig, Germany: F. Dietrich, 1900-1943 .
(Olin + AI 9 .B583) Covers 1900 to 1943. Like its successor, IBR, there is extensive coverage of book reviews in the European journal literature. Numerous title changes as follows: Bibliographie der Deutschen Rezensionen [1900-1911], Bibliographie der Rezensionen [1911-1914], Bibliographie der Rezensionen und Referate [1915- 1921], and Bibliographie der Rezensionen [1921-1942/1943]. For coverage from 1971 to date, see IBR. Book Review Digest. New York: H. W. Wilson, 1905- . (Olin Ref Z 1219 .B72) Covers 1905 to 1999/2000 (Olin). A digest of book reviews appearing in approximately 80 periodicals, reviewing some 4,000 books annually.
Entries are arranged alphabetically by author and include price, publisher and other bibliographic information. This is followed by a descriptive note or synopsis of
the book, then citations to the reviews with excerpts from as many reviews as are necessary to reflect the evaluations of the articles. Each citation includes the name of the periodical, page and date of review as well as the number of words in the review. Published monthly and cumulated annually into a bound volume containing a subject and title index at the back. Every fifth year a cumulated subject and title index was published. After 2000, BRD is only available online. Book Review Index. Detroit: Gale, 1965- . Monthly.
(Olin Ref Z 1219 .B721) Covers 1965 to date. Five-year cumulated indexes ease searching.
Indexes reviews of books and periodicals appearing in over 500 scholarly, popular, and professional periodicals. Titles reviewed include children's, young adult, and reference books. Each record includes: author and title of the work being reviewed, journal title abbreviation, date of review, page number, and indication of the length of the review. Abbreviations and full journal titles are listed in the front of each volume.
Book Review Index to Social Science Periodicals: 1964-1974. Ann Arbor: Pierian Press, 1965- . 4 volumes. (Olin Ref AI 3 .I3671) Covers 1964-1974. Four volumes. Volume 1 covers 1964-1970; volume 2, 1971; volume 3, 1972; volume 4, 1973-March 1974. SupplementsBook Review Digest and Book Review Index, complements Index to Book Reviews in the Humanities, and forms the predecessor to review coverage in Social Sciences Index and Current Book Review Citations. Book Reviews in Historical Periodicals. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1972-1977 . 6 annual volumes.
(Olin Stacks Z 6205 .I38) Covers 1972-1977.
A short-lived effort by John W. Brewster and Jospeh A. McLeod at North Texas State University. Because it indexes reviews of books about non-North American history (and therefore supplements what is available in America: History & Life), I include it here. Also as an example of the other obscure book review sources that lurk in the Olin stacks. For a guide to the obscure, see the Postscript. Combined Retrospective Index to Scholarly Book Reviews in Scholarly Journals, 1886-1974. Arlington, VA: Carrollton Press, 1979. 15 volumes. (Olin Ref AI 3 .C73) Covers 1886-1974. Indexes "one million book reviews which appeared in the complete backfiles of 459 scholarly journals in History, Political Science, and Sociology." [Introduction] Current Book Review Citations.
Bronx, NY: H. W. Wilson, 1976-1982. (Olin Ref Z 1219 .C98) Covers 1976-1982. Compiles citations to the reviews that appeared in all the Wilson indexes (Reader's Guide, General Science Index,Humanities Index, Social Sciences Index). Over one thousand journals are covered.
French Periodical Index. Westwood, MA: F. W. Faxon, 1973-1995. Annual cumulations. (Olin Ref AI 7 .F87)
Covers 1973-1995. Mainly in French, this is a general periodical index intended for college students in advanced French language classes. Began indexing 7 titles in 1973; 63 titles indexed in 1995. Book reviews are under the subject heading "Livre." Index to Book Reviews in England. Compiled by Antonia Forster. Vol. 1, Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1990; vol. 2, London: British Library, 1996. (Olin Ref AI 3 .F73) Covers 1749-1800. Volume 1 covers 1749-1774; volume 2 covers 1775-1800.
"[R]eviewing, in anything approaching the modern sense of the term, began in the eighteenth century, with the Monthly Review [available in the Early English Newspapers microform set: Film 5053, reels 1215-1247] in 1749, and there is much to be learned about its place in and impact on eighteenth-century literature" [Preface to volume 1]. Books reviewed are likely to be found in ECCO (Eighteenth Century Collections Online).
Index to Book Reviews in the Humanities. Williamston, MI: P. Thomson. (Olin Ref AI 3 .I367) Covers 1960-1990. Annual index. Internationale Bibliographie der Rezensionen geistes- und sozialwissenschaftlicher Literatur = International bibliography of book reviews of scholarly literature on the humanities and social sciences. [aka IBR] Osnabrück, Germany: F. Dietrich, 1971- . (Olin + AI 9 .I612, latest 5 years in Reference) Covers 1971 to date. Extensive coverage of book reviews in the European journal literature. Appears annually in two half year parts. Each part contains five sections--A: Autoren/Authors index, B: Rezensenten/Reviewers index, C: Titel/Titles index, D: Sachgebiets/Subjects index, E: Zeitschriften/Periodicals index.
The Literary [and Historical] Index to American Literary Magazines. Compiled by Daniel A. Wells. 3 volumes by various publishers, 1980, 1996, 2004. (Olin Ref Z 1225 .W38x) Covers 1800-1900 in three volumes. See note below. An index to writing about literary and historical Americans from the period. Book reviews are labelled with the abbreviation "rev." Note: The orginal volume covering 1815-1865 appears to have indexed only two titles not included in the last two volumes--Harbinger, a weekly from Brook Farm, and New Mirror, a brief successor to New York Mirror; otherwise this volume is superseded by the latter two.
Reference Reviews Europe Annual. Firenze: Casalini Libri.
(Olin Z 1002 .R32; latest year in Reference) Covers 1995 forward. For details, see Reference Reviews Europe Online (above), which begins with 1994. Referencias criticas autores chilenos. Santiago de Chile: Biblioteca Nacional, 1968- 1994[?]. (Olin Stacks Z 1701 .R33) We own 1968-1985, 1987-1988. A book review index in Spanish published by the National Library of Chile. Another example of a printed index that lurks in the Olin stacks.
Science Fiction Book Review Index. Detroit: Gale, 1975, 1981. (Olin Ref Z 5917 .S36 H17 and Z 5917 .S36 H171) Covers 1923-1973 and 1974-1979 in two volumes.
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF BOOK REVIEW RESOURCES 1665 or later to the "moving wall" -- JSTOR: The Scholarly Journal Archive. 1749-1800. -- Index to Book Reviews in England. (Olin Ref AI 3 .F73) 1770-1993. -- Periodicals Index Online. 1800-1900. -- The Literary [and Historical] Index to American Literary Magazines. (Olin Ref Z 1225 .W38x) 1886-1974. -- Combined Retrospective Index to Scholarly Book Reviews in Scholarly Journals, 1886-1974. (Olin Ref AI 3 .C73) 1900-1943. -- Bibliographie der Rezensionen. (Olin + AI 9 .B583) 1905-2000. -- Book Review Digest. (Olin Ref Z 1219 .B72) (print version) 1920 to date.
-- Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature (ABELL) 1923-1979. -- Science Fiction Book Review Index. (Olin Ref Z 5917 .S36 H17 and Z 5917 .S36 H171) 1945, 1956, or 1975 to date. -- Web of Science: Science, Social Sciences, and Arts & Humanities Citation Index.
1949 to date. -- ATLA Religion Database. 1954 to date. -- America: History & Life. 1960-1990. -- Index to Book Reviews in the Humanities. (Olin Ref AI 3 .I367) 1964-1974. -- Book Review Index to Social Science Periodicals. (Olin Ref AI 3 .I3671) 1965 to date. -- Book Review Index. (Olin Ref Z 1219 .B721) 1968 to 1985, 1987-1988. -- Referencias criticas autores chilenos. (Olin Z 1701 .R33) 1970 to date. -- American Reference Books Annual. (Olin Ref Z 1035.1 .A55; last 5 volumes in reference) 1971 to date. -- Internationale Bibliographie der Rezensionen geistes- und sozialwissenschaftlicher Literatur = International bibliography of book reviews of scholarly literature on the humanities and social sciences.
[aka IBR] (Olin + AI 9 .I612, latest 5 years in Reference) 1972-1977. -- Book Reviews in Historical Periodicals. (Olin Stacks Z 6205 .I38) 1973-1995. -- French Periodical Index. (Olin Ref AI 7 .F87) 1976-1982. -- Current Book Review Citations. (Olin Ref Z 1219 .C98) 1983 to date. -- IBR: International Bibliography of Book Reviews. (online version) 1983 to date. -- Book Review Digest. (online version) 1986 to date. -- Periodical Abstracts (now called ProQuest Research Library). 1993 or later to date. -- Project MUSE.
1994 to date. -- Reference Reviews Europe Online. In print. -- Bowker's Books in Print.; Amazon.com POSTSCRIPT
The following title, an annotated bibliography of book review "citations" ("a book review citing source ... which cites reviews from more than one periodical. Such sources may be book review indexes per se, periodical indexes, serial bibliographies, monographic bibliographies and specialized tools such as Science Citation Index" [Introduction]), is useful for finding obscure book reviews, including many in non- English-language sources. A Guide to Book Review Citations: A Bibliography of Sources.
Compiled by Richard A. Gray. Columbus: The Ohio State University Press, 1968.(Olin Stacks Z 1035 .A1 G78) Another approach to finding reviews not otherwise uncovered by the above resources is to enter the phrase books reviews in the Cornell Library Catalog as a subject search. Browsing the list of subject headings generated by this search reveals many additional sources of book reviews. And remember that the reference staff is available to assist you.
Updated 2 November 2009 (moe) Michael Engle Reference Services Conditions for the use of this Web page