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Evaluating Your Sources: Books and Book Chapters

How do I know it's a book?

Many research databases will simply tell you.  (Most of the time they're right)  For example:

book citation

But in case the database doesn't tell you, citations for books and book chapters contain particular information that other publication types don't have. Among these are the following:

  • Publisher
  • Place of publication
  • ISBN (International Standard Book Number)


A citation to a particular chapter within a book will typically have

  • an author and an editor
  • two titles (the chapter title and the book title)
  • page numbers for the particular chapter
  • Possibly the word "in" after the information about the chapter and before the information for the entire book

For example:

Evaluating Books and Book Chapters

In addition to looking at issues of authority (the book author's credentials, the publisher, etc.) a good way to evaluate a book is to read reviews of it.

The best reviews of scholarly books will be found in journals covering that field. From the library's home page, click RESEARCH BY SUBJECT and select the academic discipline of your book, then click the ARTICLES tab within that discipline's guide to find databases that may have relevant book reviews.

For non-academic books, or books for which you can't find reviews in subject databases, try some of the resources on this book reviews guide.