Evaluating Information Sources: Books

Provides guidance on evaluating the credibility of information sources, including books, journals, the open Internet, and primary sources.

Academic Publishers

As a general rule, use books when you need an in-depth, comprehensive treatment of a subject, historical event, or person. The Library Catalog is the primary tool for identifying and locating books.

The majority of non-fiction books owned by the library are scholarly, academic works, but there are exceptions. When considering authority, the identity of the publisher often indicates whether a book is likely to be scholarly in nature. You may want to look for:

  • university presses (Oxford University Press, Princeton University Press, etc.)
  • commercial publishers that specialize in academic titles such as SAGE, Routledge, Elsevier, Springer, or Wiley Blackwell (more examples from Colorado State Univ. Libraries)
  • professional organizations such as American Psychological Association or National Council of Teachers of English

If you have questions about a specific publisher, please contact us.

Find Information about an Author

Look in a book's introductory and end pages for information about an author. Additional information sometimes can be found in the following:

A Related Classic

Additional Resources

Get Information about a Book from the Library Catalog

From the records in OneSearch, you can identify a book's publisher and date of publication. If there is a "more info" link, you usually will find the book's table of contents and a summary. A review from an academic source sometimes will be provided, also.

Shows browse screen link for "more information" and location of publisher name and date

In addition to publisher, publication date, "more info," and possible contents notes, a detailed record view may have additional information that will help you consider the appropriateness of a book:

  • Click the hyperlinked author's name if you want to check whether the UHCL, UHD, and UH libraries own other books by that author. To search beyond the UH libraries for other works an author may have written, perform an author search in WorldCat database.
  • A Google Preview of the book may be available and sometimes also includes brief biographical information about the author.

Shows detailed record link for author's name, Google Preview button, and contents note 

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