The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 14, 2008

Book review: NoveList offers great resource for readers

Are you looking for something new to read, want to know the next title in a series, or just have a favorite book and would like to find similar books? NoveList can help.

NoveList is a reader’s advisory database that you can use in the library or from home with your library card. A staff of 35 professionals read and review books across all types of fiction and for all ages.

NoveList is very easy to use and updated frequently. The database has over 150,000 fiction titles covering all ages, from infant through adult. On the opening screen you can do basic searches, limit to age, browse award winners, look at read-alikes and recommended reads, or view discussion guides and feature articles. Help is available on every screen and a click on the Tour NoveList link takes you to a support site where you can view a video, sign up for a training session or access online help sheets.

There is also a Spotlight feature highlighting special parts of the database for adults and teens/older kids. It also has a What’s New link to update you on enhancements and new content for all age groups. If you want to explore the different types or genres of fiction, look under the Readers’ Advisory tab. Outlines are provided that identify the components of the genre, key titles and the authors to read.

When searching in NoveList you have the option to do the basic search on the opening screen or click on the Advanced Search link. Under Advanced Search you can combine terms, search in different fields and/or choose the lists or categories you would like searched.

A basic search on “Cinderella” results in 404 titles. These titles cover all age ranges and include everything from the classic tale (including a pop-up version) to variations on the tale to works with Cinderella in the title or description such as Sarah Strohmeyer’s “Cinderella Pact.”

You can browse through all 404 books or you can limit by the tabs on the top of the results lists. By choosing a tab you can look at the titles in the list that are award winners, books on the Grab and Go or Recommended lists and books in series. You can also find titles that have book talks available and Curricular Connections. Curricular Connections provide help for those teaching sections using books such as “Multicultural Cinderellas.”

On the results list you get not only the title and author but also publisher and year of publication, the popularity of the title (1-4 stars), the age group and a summary. For some books you can also get an author biography and/or reviews. A click on the title opens the full record with additional information on reading level, grade level and subject headings. You have the option to print, e-mail, save or add to a list.

You can also find similar titles to the one you have displayed. From a list of the subject headings you can choose a subject heading and click on it to find additional titles. If you want to find books from similar authors instead of similar subjects, look at the Read-alikes on the opening screen.

NoveList also has the option to create your own account. It is a very simple process and allows you to save lists, save preferences for your use of NoveList, save your search history, share your folder with other people and create alerts and RSS feeds. With the alerts and RSS feeds you can be notified when something new is added to the database that meets the criteria you set for a search.

So the next time you want a new author because you have read all of the Janet Evanovich books, you need to know the order of the Mitford series or you want a list of good books to read, try NoveList and discover all the ways it can help.

Patty Crane is the reference librarian at Joplin Public Library.