Why use reviews?
Reviews provide information about a work and often appear following publication or performance. They will supply you with evaluative comments and give critical reception of a work. The most common types of reviews are for books, films, music (performance or recording) and theater.
Use the following sources to locate book, film, music, and theater reviews.
- Academic Search Ultimate
Enter book title and author name in separate search boxes. Select “Book Review” under “Document Type” and click “Search.”
- Books in Print
Contains all U.S. books in print and soon-to-be published titles as far as six months in advance.
- Book Review Index Plus
Citations to reviews of any type of book, periodical, or reference work that is at least 50 pages long. Also includes reviews of audio books or electronic media if they are presentations of previously published books.
- New York Times Book Reviews (Print Source)
Good historical source for book reviews from 1896 to the 1980s.
- Literature Resource Center
In Advanced Search, enter the title of the work and/or the author name in the search boxes. Select “Book Review” under “Document Type.”
- Academic Search Ultimate
Enter movie title (and director/actor names if appropriate) in search boxes. Select “Entertainment Review” under “Document Type” and click “Search.”
- Film & Television Literature Index
Enter movie title (and director/actor names if appropriate) in search boxes. Select “PS Reviews & Products” from the drop-down menu to search only reviews.
- New York Times Film Reviews (Print Source)
Covers 1913-present. Good historical source for film reviews.
- International Index to Music Periodicals
Enter name of artist or group and select “Performance Review” or “Recording Review” (other options available too) from the “Document Type” list and click “Search.”
- Performing Arts Periodicals Database
To search for theater reviews, select “Theater Review” under “Document Type.”
- New York Times Theater Reviews (Print Source)
Good historical source for theater reviews, particularly for original New York openings of productions.
- A Guide to Critical Reviews (Print Source)
Lists opening dates, runs, and indexes reviews for older plays.
What if I can’t find reviews?
The sources for locating reviews may vary. If you’re unsuccessful in one source try repeating your search in a different database.
While a majority of sources and reviews are available online, the UIUC Library’s Reference Collection contains a number of particularly useful print resources. If you’re unsure of how to find these sources feel free to ask or drop in to the Undergraduate Library’s Research and Writing consultation hours to get help searching for reviews.