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Evaluating Print (Non-Web) Sources: At First Glance...

At first glance...

Do a quick analysis of the material by looking for the author, publisher, and date of publication.  You may need to do a couple of searches on the author and/or publisher to make sure that you uncover any possible issues that aren't immediately apparent just from looking at the material.  For example, if a book is self-published by the author, it may be missing the high level of editing that is inherent in the corporate or academic publishing process.

Author analysis

·         Who is the author or authors?

·         If no author is listed, who is responsible for the material?

·         What are the author’s qualifications?

o   Does the author have an advanced degree in this subject/field?

o   What organizations does the author affiliate with?

o   What else has the author written?

o   What is the author’s reputation?


Publisher analysis

·         Who is the publisher?

·         What type of publisher is it?

o   Academic/University press

o   Popular press

o   Vanity press / self-published

·         Does the publisher have a reputation for publishing materials with a certain viewpoint?



·         When was the material published?

·         Is the information current or outdated?

o   Do you need current or historical information for your paper?

o   Is it a seminal/important works in your field that you should know about, regardless of date?

·         If there are multiple editions of the material, do you have the current edition?