Boston College University Libraries

Finding Book Reviews: Home

The purpose of this guide is to provide an overview of print and electronic resources which index reviews of books.

About This Guide

The purpose of this guide is to provide an overview of print and electronic resources which index reviews of books.

The guide begins with some points to bear in mind while researching book reviews. In subsequent sections are descriptive lists of the prominent indexes, databases, and free web sites where reviews of general interest books, as well as reviews of books in the broad humanities, social sciences, and general sciences, may be found.

Retrospective indexing sources are noteworthy for their coverage of reviews in scholarly humanities and social sciences journals, many of which were omitted from the more general book review indexes. Finally, the guide notes databases which index reviews of books in more specific subject areas.

Any questions or comments may be directed to Lopa Williams at lopa.williams@bc.edu; or at 617-552-4468.

Getting Started

Book reviews may be found in a number of places depending upon the subject matter of the book. Reviews of books for the general reader, or popular books, may be found in sources which index general interest periodicals, while reviews of books written on specific subjects may be found in sources which index more scholarly, or academic, publications.

  • It is useful when looking for book reviews to know:
    • The author's full name.
    • The book's complete title.
    • The publication year of the book.
  • As reviews of books do not always appear in same year as the books' publication, it is frequently necessary to consult index volumes for two or more years following the publication date. Remember also that the great majority of books never get reviewed at all.
  • Sometimes a new edition of a book will receive reviews, especially if it is a lengthy period between editions.
  • It is generally useful to consult several reviews of a book to make a more balanced evaluation.
  • It is of utmost importance that you choose appropriately the index(es) for finding the reviews. For example, it probably would not be very useful to seek a review of a book about Renaissance art in an index to medical journals or a review of a book about Apple computers in an index to nineteenth century periodicals.
  • It is important that you yourself know as much possible about the book before you attempt to seek a review. For example, is it a current or historic work? Is it a popular title or is it more scholarly? Good prior knowledge of the type of book it is will help you to choose the most appropriate printed index or electronic resource when you want a review.

Subject Guide

Lopa Williams