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Book Reviews

Resources for book reviews

Book Review Digest (Ref. 2nd floor - Z1219 .C95)

Book Review Digest (BRD) is located on the 2nd floor of the library in the reference collection. Each book in the series is categorized by year; we have years 1905 to 2013. The entries within the books are alphabetized by author's last name.

You'll need to know the name of the book on which you want reviews, the author of that book, and the year it was published. Once you know this information, here's how you start:

STEP 1: Locate the year of BRD that corresponds with the year your book was published. For example, if your book is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, you should start looking at BRD year 1925. Sometimes, reviews may also appear the year after a book's publication; in this example, it might be worthwhile to also check BRD year 1926.

STEP 2: Now, look for the author's name. Here's an example of what a page in BRD looks like:

Book Review Digest screenshot

You'll notice that snippets of reviews from various resources are provided. If you need the full review, you'll need to make note of the source and its bibliographic information (e.g., volume number, year of publication, etc.) But also note that some sources that are listed do not include snippets; for example, notice that the source "NY World" appears in the list, but has no review. If you wanted to read any of it, you'd have to locate it in full. The 'plus' and 'minus' signs next to a review indicate whether the review of your book is positive or negative.

STEP 3: Let's look at the review from the source "Bookm" as indicated above. This is an abbreviation for a periodical called "Bookman." For all abbreviated sources, you can look at the legend in the front of each BRD book as shown below to find out the full title of any given source.

Book Review Digest screenshot

STEP 4: If you want to locate any of the full reviews, use the complete title of the resource and bibliographic information to begin searching. Before you start, understand that SFA library does not have access to all of the sources so you may end up needing to using Interlibrary Loan (ILL). If you've never used ILL before, talk to a librarian and we'll help you.

In the above example, here's the bibliographic information we know:

  • Source name: "Bookm" = Bookman
  • Volume: 61
  • Page number: 469
  • Month: Je = June
  • Year: 1925

Using the source name (i.e., the name of the periodical), you'll need to find out if we have access to Bookman. To do that, you'll need to do a periodical search for it here: Simply type in the title "Bookman" and click Search. This search yields no results, meaning that we do not have access to this source. Your only option at this point would be to submit an ILL request to see if we can get it for you from another library.

If we did have access to it, you'd get some results showing the coverage. If this happened for this example, you'd need to make sure we had volume 61 from year 1925; it could be available electronically in a database or in print on the library shelves. 

FINAL NOTE: Depending on the nature of your assignment, you may not need to locate the full reviews; the snippets available in BRD may be adequate enough. Check your assignment and consult with your professor if necessary.