Chemistry book reviews serve as an aid to collection development, as well as an educational function for bibliographers and subject specialists. This study aims to outline a methodology for locating book reviews for a subject literature and characterizing the books reviewed.
This study utilized UlrichsWeb Global Serials Directory to identify chemistry periodicals containing book reviews. Criteria were applied to limit the periodicals identified to those publishing ten or more book reviews in 2009 and held by 25 or more libraries. The books reviewed by the periodicals were characterized in terms of the quantity, subject coverage, overlap, lag time, and compared to chemistry books published in 2009. Books reviewed by the chemistry periodicals were also compared to general science and other periodicals known to contain chemistry book reviews.
A total of 11 chemistry periodicals met the criteria and collectively they published 445 book reviews in 2009. Three chemistry periodicals accounted for 72.1 percent of the chemistry books reviewed, thus following Bradford's Law of Scatter. The LC Classification of the books reviewed ranged widely and QDs only comprised 41.1 percent of the 380 unique titles reviewed. The overlap was low with only 17.5 percent of the chemistry titles reviewed more than once. Books reviewed were generally representative of the chemistry books published based on publisher. Few, if any, chemistry books were reviewed by general science periodicals.
This paper provides a methodology that is applicable to other disciplines, as well as updating and expanding previous research by characterizing the subject coverage of books reviewed.
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