Tutorials

Finding Book Reviews in History

Before You Begin

Before you start searching for book reviews, you will need the following information:

  • Book author
  • Book title
  • Original date of publication

For this example, we will use David McCullough’s book The Johnstown Flood originally published in 1968.

Using Electronic Databases to Find Book Reviews

JSTOR

JSTOR is a full-text database that indexes core journals from the 1800s – early 2000s.

  • From the History Research Guide, choose JSTOR.
  • Click on Advanced Search
  • Type in the name of the book (in our case Johnstown Flood) and the author (in our case McCullough).  Select Review.  Click on Search.
  • All articles are available full text in JSTOR, so download or print any available reviews.

jstor1_000

America: History & Life and Historical Abstracts

America: History & Life is a database that indexes articles on United States and Canadian history.  Historical Abstracts is a database that indexes articles on world history.

jstor2

  • Select Historical Abstracts from the list and then click OK. You are now searching both databases.
  • Click Advanced Search.
  • Enter the book title and author's name.  Then change the Document Type to Book Review and click on Search.

Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature & Readers’ Guide Retrospective

Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature is a database that indexes magazines and journals from 1983-present.  Readers’ Guide Retrospective indexes magazines and journals from 1890-1982.

  • From the History Research Guide, choose Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature .
  • Click on Open Database Selection Area

clip_image019_000

  • Select Reader’s Guide Retro.  You are now searching both the Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature and Readers’ Guide Retrospective.

clip_image021_000

  • Type in the name of the book and the author.  Change the Document Type to Book Review.  Click on Start.

clip_image023.jpg

Academic Search Complete

Academic Search Complete is a multidisciplinary database that indexes a variety of scholarly journals and popular magazines.

clip_image027.jpg

  • Type in the name of the book in quotes, and the last name of the author.  For Document Type, select Book Review.  Click on Search.

clip_image029.jpg

Research Library

Research Library is a multidisciplinary database that indexes a variety of scholarly journals and popular magazines.

clip_image032.jpg

  • Click on More Search Options

/clip_image034.jpg

  • For Document type: select Book review

/clip_image035.jpg

  • Type in the name of the book and the last name of the author.  Click on Search.

clip_image037.jpg

Using Print Indexes to Find Book Reviews

All book review indexes are located in the Reference Alcove near the Reference Desk of Odum Library.

Book Review Index

Book Review Index (REF ALCOVE Z1035.A1 B6) covers book reviews published from 1965-present.

  • Select the volumes for the year the book was published, as well as the following two years; book reviews can be written the year that the book was published and up to two years after.  Therefore we will search in the Book Review Index volumes for 1968, 1969, and 1970.
  • Books are listed by author’s last name, and then by title.
  • We notice that there are 12 periodicals that have reviews of The Johnstown Flood.

/clip_image039.jpg

  • Publications are listed alphabetically by title.  The titles are abbreviated.  They also list the author of the review (if available), volume, date, and page number of the reviews.
  • To find the full title of the publication, check the list of publications indexed in the front of the volume. For example, “Am Hist R” stands for theAmerican Historical Review.

clip_image041.jpg

  • Once you have a list of publications, you can search to see if the library has access to the journals.
    • From the Odum Library homepage, click on the Journals tab.  
    • Then search by journal title for electronic journals
    • If it is not available in electronic journals, then from the Journals tab search by journal title for print journals. 
    • Look by volume & date to see if we have it.  For our example, I will see if we have The New Yorker volume 44 for May 1968.  After searching, I see that we do not have electronic access for 1968, but that we do have the print journal from 1944-present.  I can then go to the bound journals to find the book review and photocopy it.

Book Review Digest

Book Review Digest (REF ALCOVE Z1219 .C96) covers book reviews published from 1906-present.

  • Select the volumes for the year the book was published, as well as the following two years; book reviews can be written the year that the book was published and up to two years after.  Therefore we will search in the Book Review Digest volumes for 1968, 1969, and 1970.
  • Books are listed by author’s last name, and then by title.  Book Review Digest also includes a short summary of the book with a selection from the text of some book reviews.

clip_image042.jpg

  • Publications are listed alphabetically by title.  The titles are abbreviated.  They also list the author of the review (if available), volume, issue, date, and the approximate length of the review (in number of words).
  • To find the full title of the publication, check the list of publications indexed in the front of the volume.
  • Once you have a list of publications, you can search to see if the library has access to the journals.
    • From the Odum Library homepage, click on the Journals tab.. 
    • Then search by journal title for electronic journals
    • If it is not available in electronic journals, then from the Journals tab search by journal title for print journals. 
    • Look by volume & date to see if we have it.  For our example, I will see if we have The New Yorker volume 44 for May 1968.  After searching, I see that we do not have electronic access for 1968, but that we do have the print journal from 1944-present.  I can then go to the bound journals to find the book review and photocopy it.

An Index to Book Reviews in the Humanities

An Index to Book Reviews in the Humanities (REF ALCOVE Z1035.A1 I63) covers book reviews published from 1960-1990.

  • Select the volumes for the year the book was published, as well as the following two years; book reviews can be written the year that the book was published and up to two years after.  Therefore we will search in An Index to Book Reviews in the Humanities volumes for 1968, 1969, and 1970.
  • Books are listed by author’s last name, and then by title.  Citations include the review author’s name (if available), index number (underlined below in red), date of publication, and page number.

clip_image043.jpg

  • Flip to the front of the volume, and look up the index number, which provides the name of the publication in which the book review is published.

/clip_image044.jpg

  • Once you have a list of publications, you can search to see if the library has access to the journals.
    • From the Odum Library homepage, click on the Journals tab.. 
    • Then search by journal title for electronic journals
    • If it is not available in electronic journals, then from the Journals tab search by journal title for print journals. 
    • Look by volume & date to see if we have it.  For our example, I will see if we have The New Yorker (index number 442) for May 1968.  After searching, I see that we do not have electronic access for 1968, but that we do have the print journal from 1944-present.  I can then go to the bound journals to find the book review and photocopy it.

Current Book Review Citations

Current Book Review Citations (REF ALCOVE Z1035.A1 C86) covers book reviews published from 1976-1982.

  • Select the volumes for the year the book was published, as well as the following two years; book reviews can be written the year that the book was published and up to two years after.  Since The Johnstown Flood was published in 1968, we know that reviews of that book won’t be available in Current Book Review Citations.
  • Current Book Review Citations includes both an author index and a title index in each volume.  In our case we will browse the author index.

clip_image045.jpg

  • Books are listed by author’s last name, and then by title.  Citations include the abbreviated publication name, volume, pages, date, and author’s name (if available).
  • As with Book Review Index and Book Review Digest, full publication titles are available in the front of each volume.
  • Once you have a list of publications, you can search to see if the library has access to the journals.