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Finding Book Reviews in the Sciences: Journals to Browse for Book Reviews

How to locate book reviews to evaluate something you want to read.

Journal List

The best way to locate book reviews in physics journals is to use a database like the Web of Science, located at webofknowledge.com. From the main screen, click on the Advanced Search tab.

Your main search will follow the example, such as TS=(quantum mechanics). Restrict the results to the Book Review type.

A search for quantum mechanics limited to book reviews.

It is likely that you will not go directly to the search results. The Web of Science will show you a Search History preview. Click on the number of results for your latest search to see them.

Click on the search result number in the searches table here to see your results.

This search yielded 378 results. You can click on the Yale Links button to find a copy of the review at Yale or click on an item title to read more about it. 

Here are some of the journals represented in the results:

  • Nature
  • ISIS
  • Philosophy of Science
  • British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
  • Science
  • Contemporary Physics
  • Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
  • Physics Today
  • American Journal of Physics
  • Current Science
  • Nuclear Physics

Of course, if you search for something else — like cosmology (or cosmolog*, which will catch more forms of the word), string theory, telescopes, colliders, and other topics (either using the topic search or the all fields search), the journals that come up may be a bit different. The important thing to do is to explore your options!

Some publications may not be indexed in the Web of Science. Here are a few more resources to explore:

There are two major ways to find book reviews you need in Earth sciences journals. (If you're looking for introductory content or don't know if the review for a specific book title will be in a scholarly journal or not, please see the tabs on finding book reviews in Articles+ and Choice Reviews.) The first is to use the GeoScienceWorld platform, and the second is to use the Web of Science.

Outside of databases, a good, general-purpose place to explore book reviews is the AGU portal on the Wiley Online Library. You can search for the book title or a topic with the words book review included in the search.

GeoScienceWorld

Go to the GeoScienceWorld.org main page. From there, use either the basic search or the advanced search to query the topic you need. From here, there are two basic things you need to do to find all book reviews on your topic.

When you search, first add book review. Some items ingested into GeoScienceWorld have not been tagged as book reviews even though they are; this is because GeoScienceWorld is aggregating information from many sources. If you search for Cambrian book review, you will see results like this:

Searching for Cambrian-related book reviews.

Second, you can just do a basic search for something like Cambrian Explosion and select Article Type — Book Review on the lefthand side. That will catch most of the remaining reviews.

A search that narrows down to Book Reviews (the facet).

Web of Science

The Web of Science Advanced Search will help you find book reviews in the scholarly literature. If we do a search for the word Cambrian in the advanced search like so:

A search for Cambrian in the Web of Science that limits to book reviews.

and we see 28 results for this search, most of them in the geosciences. 

Here are some of the journals represented:

  • Science
  • Geographical Journal
  • Nature
  • Albion
  • American Historical Review
  • Annals of Science
  • Geological Magazine

The journals you find will vary depending on the topic you are searching for.

MathSciNet, the premier literature database in mathematics, makes it possible to look at book reviews in the search. The following search is for fractal* (where the * serves as a wild card to include other forms of the word). 

Use the drop-down menu to select where you want your search term to appear — such as "anywhere" — and choose the publication type "Books" from the radio menu just below.

The search screen, with the limits mentioned in the text above applied.

Once on the results list, use the left-hand filters to narrow down to "Reviewed." The reviews you see will be a mix of peer reviews from MathSciNet and publishers' descriptions (from a publication's table of contents).

The results page before the filter for Reviews is selected.

For popular works, we recommend looking at the tabs Finding Book Reviews in Articles+ and Web Sites for Book Reviews. If you would like more assistance locating books in mathematics, please contact our mathematics librarian, Andy Shimp (andy.shimp@yale.edu), who contributed content for this page.