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STS 340: Finding Order in Nature: Books and Book Reviews

Search Primo

Tips for Identifying Scholarly Books and Reviews

  1. Start your Primo search with a known title, such as scholarly work suggested to you by your professor or cited in a bibliography in a subject encyclopedia entry.  Compare: 

                        Primo search results for keyword search of "Charles Darwin"

                        Primo search results for a specific title, Darwin's Pictures: Views of Evolutionary Theory, 1837-1874, by Julia Voss.
  2. Look at all of the results on the first page.  Often, you'll find scholarly reviews of the book as well!
  3. Click on "Item Details" and then navigate to the Library of Congress Subject Headings for that book.  Click any of these subject headings to discover additional titles that share this same subject heading.
  4. In general, seek books published by university presses.

Finding Useful Book Reviews

Avoid general newspaper reviews and personal book reviews, like those on blogs or on These can't help you analyze your book like a scholar. Two tips for finding book reviews:

  • Check to see when your book was published. If it was published more than twenty years ago, and you aren't finding reviews online, you'll need to look beyond online sources and check print indexes.
  • If you're having trouble finding a review, check with a librarian for help and to cover all your bases, but remember that some books are never reviewed. If that's the case, think about what that might mean about the book's scholarly importance.