Evaluating sources is a crucial step in the process of library research. Whether you're looking at a web page, citation, a physical item or an electronic version of a book, article or review, ask yourself the same questions. Is it a useful, reliable resource for your specific research need? Why?
When evaluating a book, look for these:
The date - how old is the book, has newer information be published since this book was published? In some fields, especially the sciences, information changes rapidly making older books less useful.
Edition - has a newer edition come out, making the information in the book outdated?
Publisher - Books published by university presses tend to be scholarly
Content/Coverage - Does the book update other sources or give new information about the topic?
Writing style - Is the book organized logically, is there an index or table of contents? Is the book easy to read?
Author's credentials - what are the author's credentials?
Reviews - locate reviews of the book (try Proquest, Academic Search Premier or JStor) and see what others in the field thought of the book.