NoveList is a database available to all OCPL patrons. It is kind of like an enhanced library catalog, allowing users to find books not only by traditional aspects like subject or genre but also by the book’s general style, tone, and character. It can also direct you to books or authors you might enjoy, based on those you already like.
To get to NoveList, first go to OCPL’s Databases page. Scroll about 2/3 of the way down. Click on the View Resource button. You’ll be taken to a log in page where you enter your library barcode & PIN.
There are several ways to use NoveList, but in this post I’ll focus on using Genre, Themes, and Appeal. I’ll talk below about the tools you can use to explore these dimensions, but first a few words about what NoveList means by the terms themselves.
You’re probably familiar with what to expect under Genre. These are traditional classifications like Science Fiction, Mystery, Romance, and so on.
Themes are types of story line, so there is often a decent correlation between genre & themes. For example, themes like Falling for a friend (teen)/Friends to lovers (adult) or Hating to dating (teen)/Enemies to lovers (adult) will probably only apply to Romance fiction. On the other hand, themes are not simply subgenres, and there are many themes (for instance, Novels of place, Ensemble casts, or Unhappy families) that will apply to books in several (all?) genres.
Appeal is a more complicated quality combining aspects like Character, Illustration, Pace, Storyline, Tone, and/or Writing Style along with Genre & Theme. The Appeal that NoveList assigns to a book is basically all of the various simpler concepts that they break books down into that actually apply to that book.
Now head up to the Browse By menu item in the upper left part of the NoveList menu.
If you choose Genre, you’ll get a page with lists of new and popular books organized by genre. When you first get to the page, it will have the lists for adults, but you can switch to the lists for teens, 9-12 year olds, or younger children by clicking on the appropriate tab just above the lists. Browsing the lists works just as you would expect.
If you choose Themes under Browse By, you’ll go to a page that lets you then choose a genre to explore the themes common in that genre.
Going into Science Fiction, we see a list of themes like Alien invasions, Altered memories, Band of survivors, and Battle royale.
Choosing a particular theme then takes you to a screen that looks quite a bit like a library catalog’s listing of items matching a search.
Just like in OCPL’s catalog, you can click the heading for the title to get more information. Alternatively, clicking the Check the Library Catalog link will take you directly to OCPL’s catalog where you’ll see the results of a search for the title and author.
The last type of search I’ll look at is to browse by appeal.
The Browse by Appeal page gives you a form that allows you to choose up to 3 appeals and get a list of books that NoveList judges to have those appeals. Note that many combinations will come up with an empty list.
Here I’m looking for works that have a nonlinear storyline with an amusing tone. NoveList found 10 books that fit both of those criteria.
Further down the Browse by Appeal page, you can find some prepackaged appeal combinations. Note that both the prepackaged lists and the elemental appeals vary according to the age group you select.