December 15, 2016

New! Explore books by culture

Place and identity intersect in profound ways, both in life and literature. They are also an opportunity for you to empower readers to find books that reflect their own experiences or to help your students understand global and regional perspectives. Want to find meaningful recommendations for readers? We’ve got lots of tools to help you probe NoveList’s powerful data to answer the unique needs of your readers.  

Exploring books by culture through author data

At NoveList, we have an unequaled team of metadata librarians who compile author characteristics, so that you can easily find authors from a particular country or culture.

For example, we use Author Nationality to identify the country where the author lives or has spent a significant amount of time. We use Cultural Identity to pinpoint the cultural, ethnic, or national group the author associates with, regardless of where the author was born or lives.

All the information required to search by Author’s Nationality and/or Cultural Identity is on the Advanced Search page. Or, if you already know what you’re looking for, you can use field codes:

AY: Performs an exact search on the name of the country. For example, AY Canada returns books written by Canadian authors.

AC: Performs an exact search for an author’s cultural identity. For example, AC Australian returns books written by authors who identify as Australian.

The next time you think, “I’d like to read a book by a Nigerian/Icelandic/Belgian/etc. author,” now you know how to find a good list. And it’s NoveList, so you know you’ll find appeal factors, reviews, read-alikes, and other information to help you sort that list and find your perfect book.

Exploring books by culture through setting

If you’re looking for a particular book setting, we can help you find that, too. NoveList’s librarians index books by city, state, region, province, and country in the subject field. Head over to the Advanced Search page to narrow your keyword searching to subject or make use of your field code skills again. Or, you can use the location limiter on the left of any results page.

For example, SU Chicago, Illinois returns books set in the Windy City.

Have a patron who plans trips by checking out both novels and travel guides? Show them how to search NoveList by setting. They’ll love it!

Exploring books by culture through appeal

We developed a specific appeal vocabulary to apply to children’s books to provide better access to books that authentically portray diverse characters. Some examples: ability diverse, religiously diverse, and more. This blog post on Finding books with diverse characters in NoveList goes into greater detail about what these terms are and how you can use them.

And we’ve got guides you can use to perfect all these searches! Your mind is probably already reeling with ideas, so check out our Exploring Books by Culture search strategy and video. We’ve got a search strategy for finding diverse books, too. While you’re on our search strategy page, check out the other ways you can use NoveList to tackle those common -- and challenging -  reader questions. If there’s a reader question you face regularly that you don’t see on that list, drop us a line at

Lisa Schimmer is the Collection Development Coordinator at NoveList.


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