Electronic Resource Reviews

These are the basic guidelines of items to cover in a database review. Not all of them are always applicable and other components can also be included.

In general, reviews are to be descriptive and evaluative, designed to make readers aware of new databases or online services, for use as a selection tool. It is appropriate to be as open as possible about the evaluation -- both positive and negative comments are welcome.


  • Title of Database or Service
  • Publisher's name and address
  • Name of reviewer, position, organization, e-mail address


  • General product description
  • Authority of publication
  • Scope, content, currency, and intended audience
  • Bibliographic record format
  • Searchability: search capability and functionality
  • Interface: display and navigation, appearance, ease of use, searching options, help screens and output
  • Search features: basic and advanced search, keyword searching, natural language queries, sorting, pattern matchers, limits, and browsing
  • Search Results: quality and quantity of records, search history, display of results, and manipulation of search results
  • Added features: links to full text and URLs, ability to obtain statistics, links to library's OPAC/holdings, thesaurus capability, graphs and image capabilities, and document delivery
  • Authentication
  • General limitations
  • Technical requirements
  • Suggestions for improvement
  • Vendor's support
  • Pricing options
  • Contract provisions/options
  • Comparison with other vendors
  • Comparison with other databases


No specific limits but probably a minimum of 1,000 words would be ideal. Feel free to use examples from the text to support your evaluation.

The review editor will consult on any changes necessary before submitting it to ISTL for final publication. 


Nestor Osorio, nosorio@istl.org