Books are initially reviewed by publishers or editors for quality of content and writing style, as well as marketability. Established, reputable publishers take great care in maintaining a certain quality in the titles they publish. Others, however, such as vanity presses, may be privately funded ventures and might use different criteria for determining quality.
When evaluating a book, check these basic points:
- Author or editor -- located on title page; brief biographical information may be included in introductory pages or at end of book
- Publisher -- located on title page
- Date of publication -- located on title page
- Intended audience -- determined by examining the content, preface, and introduction.
- Purpose of the information -- determined by examining the content, preface, and introduction.
In research libraries, library faculty or professional bibliographers cull through published material in their subject specialties and carefully select the sources that will be added to the library's shelves. However, the viewpoints expressed in any book may not be universally accepted because a quality collection includes multiple viewpoints in order to represent a balanced perspective on a given topic.
Consult these evaluation questions for a more in-depth analysis of a resource.