How to Locate Book Reviews

Steps to Follow

  • First
    • Identify the author, title, and date of publication for the book being reviewed.
    • Have the original copyright date. Dates of new editions or reprintings may not be useful in locating reviews.
    • Consult Minerva, the online catalog, or other bibliographic databases (such as WorldCat, Books in Print, etc.) to obtain any necessary information that you are lacking.
  • Second
    • Consult the databases and indexes listed below. For databases make sure the date range of coverage matches the year needed.
    • For print resources check the year when the book was published, or the following year, under the author’s last name. Print sources may have a cumulated index covering a number of years. Check current issues of the print index for a recently published title.
  • Third
    • If the full text of the reviews are not available, print or copy the complete citations, including journal title, volume number, pages, etc.
    • Be sure to check preliminary pages of the print index to interpret symbols and abbreviations found in the citations.
  • Fourth
    • Consult Minerva, the online catalog, to determine if the review source is owned by the University Libraries if the review is not available full text within the database.

Sources to Use

Electronic Resources

Book Review Digest Plus., Book summaries, bibliographic data and full text reviews from more than 100 journals. Covers fiction, non fiction, children’s books, and reference works. Covers 1983-present.

Book Review Digest Retrospective. Use this to supplement Book Review Digest Plus. It covers 1905-1982.

EBSCO Academic Search Complete Contains full text for over 4,600 periodicals in a wide range of subject areas. Covers 1990-present, some indexing goes back to 1975.

Article First Index of articles from nearly 12,000 journals in science, technology, medicine, social science, business, humanities, and popular culture. Covers 1990-present.

MLA International Bibliography Bibliographic records pertaining to literature, language, linguistics, etc. Covers 1963 to present in over 4,000 journals, series, and monographs.

Print Resources

Book Review Index 1965+. Ref Z 1035 A1 B6 Indexes more periodicals than Book Review Digest Plus (above). Title index at end of each volume and issue.

Combined Retrospective Index to Book Reviews in Scholarly Journals 1886-1974. Ref Z 1035 A1 C74x

Combined Retrospective Index to Book Reviews in Humanities Journals 1802-1974. Ref AI 3 C652x Indexes over two million book reviews from scholarly journals in history, political science and sociology. Provides a more scholarly analysis of the book written by a specialist in the field. Volumes arranged by author.

Reviews in a Particular Subject Area

If you have difficulty in finding a review of a book in a particular subject area, try looking in a periodical index or databases for the subject area; for example, to find reviews of books in the field of art, try using Art Index.

Many periodical indexes include sections exclusively for book reviews.

Literary Criticism

If you need to find criticism of a novel, short story, poem, or other literary work, consult the Quick Guide to Literary Criticism guide, also available in the display rack by the Reference Desk This bibliography identifies a number of compilations of criticism on particular literary genres. Each lists critical pieces on the works of particular authors alphabetically, first under the author’s name and then under the specific work being criticized. These compilations serve the same purpose as cumulated indexes to book reviews, providing convenient access to critical writings over a long period of time.


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