Books are excellent sources for information such as:
- Broad overview of a complex topic
- In-depth information
- Background information, such as history and chronology
- Discovering resources through bibliographies and suggested readings lists
Do not read a book cover to cover! To determine how useful a book might be, first skim through the following parts:
- Title Page - look at authors (credentials?), date of publication
- Table of Contents - look at chapter titles to get an idea what the book is really about and if any chapters are relevant to your topic. You usually don't need to read every chapter, just those that are relevant!
- Index - browse to find specific terms relevant to your topic, also note any potential new terms that can be used as search terms in a database
- Preface/Forward/Introduction - usually highlights the author's purpose/intention for writing the book
- Bibliography (either at the end of each chapter or end of the book) - find additional resources!