“Can you recommend a good book?” This deceptively simple question can often prove to be the most difficult to answer and can strike fear into the hearts of even the most well-read amongst us. Along with several Central Library colleagues I recently participated in a ‘webinar’ on NoveList Plus in an attempt to learn more about this readers’ advisory tool. A trainer from Ebscohost in Sydney gave us an online demonstration of many of the hidden features of this database. These are some of the features we discovered:
- Did you know NoveList covers both fiction and non-fiction? The NoveList Plus version we subscribe to includes over 50,000 ‘readable’ non-fiction titles in areas such as Travel, Biography, Business and True crime.
- One of the most useful aspects of NoveList is the Author Read-alikes tool. Use this to help customers who want to know who else writes like a particular author. Try an Author search on ‘Jodi Picoult’, click on the Author Read-alikes tab and you’ll find similar authors in the resulting article. The great thing about this tool is that it gives you an explanation of the particular features of each author which match Jodi Picoult – more useful than a traditional booklist.
- A huge range of articles and booklists for young adults can be found under Curricular Connections, such as ‘Best Fiction Titles to Hook Reluctant Teen Readers’ and ‘Coming of Age Stories for Girls’. Although based on North American curricula, these could be useful for students looking for books to fulfil the requirements of NCEA wide reading or simply looking for a good read.
- The Feature Articles sections for adults and teens present explanations of various genres and sub-genres with suggested titles. The topics covered are as varied as ‘Big Women, Big Love: Novels Featuring Pleasingly Plump Heroines’ and ‘A Hypochondriac’s Guide to Bio-Thrillers’. These could be used in your library not only to recommend reads for customers but also to assist in getting ideas for displays and booklists.
- Also useful are the Genre Outlines (under Getting Started in RA). These are great guides for familiarising yourself with a genre which you don’t read. For example, the ‘Getting up to Speed in Fantasy’ guide explains what the genre is, why people like fantasy, who the key authors and titles are, and how to talk with Fantasy fans.
- If a customer wants to know the order of books in a series you can search Series Title for this and print the resulting list for the customer in reading order e.g. try a Series Title search on ‘No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency’.