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Library Research Skills: Evaluating Books and Articles : Book Author

How to evaluate book author(s)

Consider the following:

What is his/her education level?

What is his/her career?

Has he/she published other works?

Has he/she won any awards (especially for writing about or in relation to the topic)?

What is his/her point of view?

Where to find the information online

There are two databases available through the library, Gale Biography in Context and Gale Literature Resource Center that contain information about authors. 

To find authors in Gale Biography in Context click the link on the library webpage or the link below.  On the next page, enter the name of the author you’re looking for, last name first, in the box at the top of the page. If the author’s name appears on a list of names, click on it.  On the next page, find the sections labeled “Reference” or “Biographies” and click any one of the resources in those sections. Preferably look for entries in the “Reference” section from “Contemporary Authors” for information about the author’s life, career, education, and writings.

 

To find authors in Gale Literature Resource Center, click the link on the library webpage or the link below, and go to the link labeled “Person Search” which is located just below the main search box at the top of the screen.  On the next page, enter the name of the person you’re looking for, last name first, in the box next to the blue Search button, and click Search. Click on the correct author’s name.  On the next page you’ll find groupings of sources such as “Literary Criticism,” “Multimedia,” and “Biographies.”  Go to the “Biographies” section and look preferably for something from “Contemporary Authors Online.” If there isn’t one, use another source from the “Biographies” section for information about the author’s life, career, education, and writings.

Additional Resources

Not all authors will be found in Gale Biography in Context or Gale Literature Resource Center. In these cases you may need to go to the Internet to find information about the author. To find an author using Google, type the author’s name in quotes in the search box. Look for results from book publisher websites or college or university websites.  These tend to have the best information about the author. You may sometimes find authors have created their own personal websites with information about their credentials. 

Another possible electronic resource is Amazon. Search the book in Amazon and look at the “Publisher’s Description” section of the entry for the book.  This will often include brief information about the author.