What is a book?
A book may be fiction or nonfiction. It is written to be read from beginning to end.
It is "nonperiodical," that is, not published on a regular schedule like a magazine or journal.
How do I know it's a book?
Whether your book is in print, on a computer or e-reader (e.g., Kindle, Nook, iPad), it is typically:
It may be illustrated with drawings, artwork, photographs, maps, or charts.
Note: A pamphlet or brochure is shorter and less substantial (and cited using its own form).
Does the database I'm using include books?
Skim the database description to check that your source is a book (vs. a reference book).
Who contributes to a book?
How do I evaluate a contributor's authority?
A contributor's expertise and credentials should relate to your subject. A credible book author might:
Every author has opinions and a worldview that shape his or her treatment of a subject. As you read the book, ask yourself how the author's views and affiliations might affect the presentation or omission of information.
What is a scholarly edition of a book?
A scholarly edition is a version of a classic work with an editorial overlay. A scholar, rather than the original author (who may no longer be alive), edits the new edition for publication.
Note: Edited collections of critical essays are cited as anthologies.
How do I know my book is part of a series?
If the series name is listed on the title page or copyright page, add it to your citation.
What is a popular book series?
What is a scholarly book series?
How do I preview a book for relevance?
Skim the book's advertising (e.g., book description, jacket, back cover) to decide if the book might contain relevant information.
Does the book have information I need?
Always check: Does this add something new to my research?
How do I evaluate a book's currency?
If recent information is important to understanding your topic, check the following:
Tip: Subtract 6-12 months from the copyright date to estimate when the information was actually compiled.
How do I evaluate a book's credibility?
Corroborate: Compare information from different media (e.g., magazines, reports, newspapers, blogs) to gather diverse viewpoints.
How do I cite a book?
Use the title page and copyright pages (not the cover or jacket) to find: