The NoveList Story
In the late 80s Duncan Smith, an avid readers' advisor, struggled with the fact that readers' advisory services were only as good as the individual librarian's memory and ability to read a wide range of genres. Although there are many librarians with an impressive knowledge of books, genres and reader needs, Duncan felt that their effectiveness could be increased if there was a database that allowed them to search for additional titles based on level, subject, title or author. In 1990, he formed a small company with two programmers, Roger Rohweder and John Strickler. They began creating NoveList part-time while maintaining their "day jobs."
In 1994, they sold their first copy of NoveList and shortly after, Duncan and Roger joined CARL Corporation, quitting their other jobs and working full-time on NoveList. NoveList launched as a DOS product with 20,000 adult titles and 1,200 reviews!
NoveList continued to grow and in 1999, EBSCO acquired NoveList from CARL. At that time, NoveList had five employees, counting Duncan and Roger.
In 2000, NoveList changed strategic and philosophical direction by becoming a data creator instead of just a data aggregator. Feature Articles, BookTalks, and Book Discussion Guides were added first, with Author Read-alikes, Readers' Advisory training content and a variety of other reader and staff materials added later.
Other products and innovations followed, and today NoveList offers products in several area including reading recommendations, book discovery, catalog enrichment, email newsletters, library marketing, and more. The NoveList division of EBSCO has grown from its original three founders to a dedicated group of more than 40 professionals. Their core mission continues to be helping libraries help readers.