Database Training: Novelist Plus (part 2)

Posted on June 30, 2011. Filed under: Reference | Tags: , , |


Welcome to part 2 of Novelist Plus training

Want to review part 1?

Ready to move on? Open Novelist Plus: Go to the Premium Sites page, scroll down to NoveList, click on the link or simply click either on the NoveList logo above or here.

Searching for books with certain plot characteristics:

In Novelist, you can search for books with certain plot characteristics using the All radio button at the Basic Search box. 

Try this example: A patron wants to reread a book, but can’t remember the author or the title. It’s about a boy who lives on his grandfather’s farm. The grandfather will have to sell the farm if he can’t raise a lot of money, fast. The boy enters a dogsled race to help raise the money.

In the Basic Search box with the All radio button selected, enter the words: boy grandfather farm dogsled race, and click Search to find the title: Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner.

Search for a series:

You can search for a series from the Basic Search box by entering a series name and selecting the Series radio button. An exact match will take you to the Series Detail page, which includes a list of all of the titles in reading order. If multiple series match your search, they will be listed under the Series tab, where you can click on the link to the Series Detail page.

Additional Notes on the Basic Search:

  • The AND Boolean operator will be automatically applied between the search terms entered, searching each term individually. For example, typing in space shuttle will pull up results for space AND shuttle. Enclose your search terms within quotations to search for an exact phrase, e.g. “space shuttle.”
  • Using Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) can help you narrow your search, and any included in your search phrase will be automatically used as the Boolean operator. To include AND, OR, or NOT as a word within your search, place quotation marks around the search phrase. For example, if you don’t put the title “Bud not Buddy” in quotations, your results will include all titles with the word “bud” excluding those that include “buddy.”

Novelist Plus Help Sheets

You can access a number of Help sheets here:

Finding Title Recommendations Help Sheet

Finding Similar Authors Help Sheet

Finding Series Recommendations Help Sheet

Browse List and Articles Help Sheet


Novelist Plus – Quiz

  1. When I was a child I read a lovely book about two children who sleep in the museum inNew York. I’d love to read it to my children.  Can you find it for me?
  2. I’ve worked in public libraries for more than 20 years.  I’m going to write a tell-all memoir.  Has anyone else written one?
  3. I’ve just finished reading Sahara by Michael Palin.  Can you suggest any other travel books I might like.
  4. My teenage daughter devoured the Twilight series.  What’s going on with the vampires?  I’m not sure I approve.   Can you suggest anything else she might like to read? 
  5. I’d like to buy a book as a present for a person who’s passionate about the environment.  Recent and non fiction would be good.
  6. Is The Little House on the Prairie the first book in the series? 
  7. I’m trying to find a children’s book about tiny people who lived in a house and borrowed items from the people who lived there.
  8. I’ve read everything that Alexander McCall Smith has written.  What else can you suggest?
  9. I’m starting up a book club and we’re quite serious – can you suggest some good “quality” reads for us. 

Get in touch if you want to discuss your results or search strategies.


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Database Training: Novelist Plus

Posted on June 27, 2011. Filed under: Reference | Tags: , , , |

Another EBSCO suite database, Novelist Plus is fantastic for Readers Advisory work. Novelist Plus helps fiction and nonfiction readers find new authors and titles. It contains materials for all ages including picture books, children’s “chapter” books, young adult titles and books for adult readers. Novelist allows readers to find read-alikes, reviews, book discussion guides, book talks, as well as school and readers’ advisory resource materials. This is a great tool to promote to your customers. This self-paced training aims to help you familiarise yourself with this database, so that you can confidently promote it to your patrons.

Watch video tutorials

Watch the NoveListPlus Overview video (approx. 3 min). At the end of this introductory video you are given options to access other video training sessions, or alternatively access them directly here by clicking on the title:

How can you use NoveList to find the answers you need (approx. 4 min);

How do you view and print your results in NoveList (approx. 5 min);

How do you find books based on appeal in NoveList (approx. 3 min);

How can NoveList help me find great title, author, and series recommendations (approx. 4 min);

Accessing NoveListPlus

Go to the Premium Sites page, scroll down to NoveList, click on the link or simply click either on the NoveList logo above or here.

Searching NoveList  Plus: Basic Search box

You can use the Basic Search box at the top of each page to search for a title, author, series, or topic. When you use the default All radio button, NoveList will search for your terms in the full text of all NoveList content, including annotations, reviews, and proprietary content (articles or lists). 

You can conduct a more focused search by selecting the Author, Title or Series radio buttons. 

Try these:

1- Type Barbara Kingsolver in the Basic Search box and click Search (using the default All setting). The search results will default to the Books tab which includes her books and books about her. You will also see a Series tab, an Author tab, and a Lists & Articles tab. The Author tab will have a link to the Barbara Kingsolver Detail page.

If you type Barbara Kingsolver in the Basic Search and select the Author radio button, you will be taken directly to the Kingsolver Detail page because there is only one match on your entry.

2– To find titles by an author written under a pseudonym, type their name, e.g. Nora Roberts, and click Search. You will see the Books tab, Series tab (with all of her series), Author tab, and Lists and Articles tab. Selecting the Author tab will display links to the Detail page for Nora Roberts and her pseudonym J.D. Robb.


In Part 2, we look at “Searching for books with certain plot characteristics” and “Searching for a series“. You also get the chance to do the NoveList Quiz.

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Database training: PoV (part 2)

Posted on December 7, 2010. Filed under: Reference | Tags: , |

Welcome to part 2 of the Points of View Reference Centre database training!

Want to review Part 1? Click here. To watch the short video tutorial (about 5 minutes) again, click here.

You can access PoV via our Premium Sites page or click on the logo button above to access the database directly.

Points of View Reference Centre database training (part 2): Contents

  • Explore: View All Topics
  • Explore: Basic Searching
  • Explore: The Research Guides and the In the Spotlight sections
  • Exercises: practice (makes perfect?) with PoV quiz

Explore: View All Topics

From the Home Page of PoV, click on the View All Topics tab. Explore the topics covered.

Find the Library Records topic, click on the link. Points of View displays the PoV tab containing four items for the selected topic: Overview, Point, Counterpoint, and a Guide to Critical Analysis:

  • Overview – The Overview essay includes general information about an issue
  • Point –  The Point essay presents one argument or “side” of an issue.
  • Counterpoint – The Counterpoint essay presents an opposing argument to the Point essay.
  • Guide to Critical Analysis – The Guide to Critical Analysis helps students further explore an issue by offering exercises and assignments. This encourages students to scrutinize essay text, evaluate differences between fact and opinion, research other perspectives, and form individual opinions.


  • Each Points of View Point and Counterpoint essay begins with a Thesis statement and a Summary paragraph. The essay consists of an Introduction and a main body. Following the essay material, the Ponder This section presents a series of evaluation questions that assist in further exploration and understanding of the topic. Each essay concludes with a Further Reading section that contains links to more articles on the topic.
  • When available, Points of View essays contain Related Information links. These are links to related items that exist for a specific source type. For example, related items in Newspapers, Books, or Periodicals.
  • When available, Points of View essays contain images that are related to the topic. You can click the image or the description below the image to view an enlarged copy of the image in a new window. 

Explore: Basic Searching

As we have seen previously you can use the categories and topics provided on the Home Page. Another search option is the Basic Search. Enter your search terms in the Find field and click Search.  

PoV will display a Result List.

If there are Points of View essays related to the terms you specified, Points of View displays the Points of View tab listing the Points of View content for the topic. Try this with Nuclear Power as search terms. Then click the All results tab.

If no essays exist, Points of View displays the All Results tab. Try this with Wikileaks as search term.

Explore: The “Research Guides” section


Explore: The “In the Spotlight” section

Below the Research Guides, you will find the In the Spotlight section. It aims to highlight key content in the Points of View Reference Center. The Spotlight topic is rotated on a regular basis. As this is a US database, you will find that the content tends to be US biased.


Practice: The Points of View Quiz

(Thanks to Kathleen Alexander from the State Library of NSW for the quiz) 

Try to answer all or some of these questions:

I’ve been watching Big Love on SBS television. I’d like to know more about polygamy.  What are the arguments for and against? 

My friends want me to join Facebook. I’m undecided. Can you provide any information to help me make up my mind? 

Most of my teenage daughter’s friends are vegetarian.  She says it’s better for her and the planet. I’d prefer her to eat what we eat.  Is there another viewpoint? 

We are doing population growth in geography. I’d like some maps of how world population has changed over the years. 

We are introducing RFID for our Library Collection. One of the staff members feels strongly that RFID technology threatens civil liberties.  I’m not sure where he is coming from.  Can you provide some background on this view? 

I have to participate in a debate in school. Our team is putting the case for genetically modified foods.  I need some facts.  I’ve never given a talk – can you help me with that too? 

I have to write a letter to the editor for my English class.  I’ve chosen the topic “ban bottled water”. Can you help me write a persuasive argument? 

I’m doing a personal interest project for Society and Culture on the role of the media in shaping body image. Where can I start? 

I need to provide a diagram of the greenhouse effect for a project for primary school. 

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Database training: Points of View Reference Centre (part 1)

Posted on November 29, 2010. Filed under: Reference | Tags: , |


Points of View Reference Centre database training (part 1): Contents

  • Read: Overview of Points of View Reference Centre (PoV)
  • Watch: Video Tutorial
  • Explore: The Points of View Essays and the Browse by Category tab

Read: Overview of Points of View Reference Centre

Points of View Reference Centre is a full text database designed to provide students and schools with a series of controversial essays that present multiple sides of a current issue. Essays provide questions and materials for further thought and study and are accompanied by supporting articles from political and societal publications.

In Points of View, there are 34 categories representing over 290 of the topics most frequently researched. Some topic examples include: affirmative action, cloning, DNA profiling, HIV/AIDS disclosure, immigration,  nuclear proliferation, stem cell research.

The Points of View Browse by Category tab identifies the general subjects in which Points of View essays exist. The concept of Points of View essays is explained below. Each Category contains three or more Topics. Note that if you hover the mouse over a category, you will see a box with an indication of the topics covered. Clicking a Topic displays Points of View essays on that specific issue.

The Points of View View all Topics tab identifies the issues in which Points of View contains essays.

Information on topics where there are no Points of View essays is also available from newspapers and periodicals, radio and TV transcripts and other sources.

This database will be particularly useful for the Society and Culture HSC subject.

Watch: video tutorial

Click here: Points of View Reference Centre Training Flash Video

Note that there is no time restriction to watch this video as it is not on YouTube. It is about 5 minutes long. Just watch it for now, you will get to practice later.

Accessing PoV

Go to the Premium Sites page, scroll down to PoV, click on the link or simply click either on the PoV logo above or here.

Explore: The Points of View essays and the Browse by Category tab

Points of View essays are a starting point for research. Clicking on a topic brings you directly to the Points of View tab which shows four foundation Points of View essays:

  • Overview – background that provides a neutral starting point of reference
  • Point – presents one argument or side
  • Counterpoint – presents an opposing argument
  • Guide to Critical Analysis – directs students delve deeper into the topic; discern fact from opinion, compare and contrast, research for other perspectives, and formulate opinions

For example: Try this by clicking on the Arts and Culture category, then on Literacy. Open Decline of Reading: An Overview. [Or pick any other topic that takes your fancy]

  • Note that you can choose to have the article read out to you, with a choice of accents and speed! Could this be an option for English as a Second Language students?
  • Check out the Related Items section which links to the other articles in the series on this topic.
  • Note that the bibliography includes books, periodicals and websites.
  • Note that like other EBSCO products you can print, email, save and/or add the article to folder.

  • Explore the content of the other 3 sections: Point, Counterpoint and Guide to Critical Analysis
  • Explore what you find under the other results tabs.

Exercise: using the categories provided by PoV, where would you find Points of View essays on the teaching of intelligent design in schools?

  • Click on the PoV logo to return to the home page.

 End of Part 1

This concludes the first part of PoV database training. Still to come: a look at Browsing all Topics, Basic and Advanced searches, an overview of some of the additional features available and some exercises for practice. Feedback of the database and/or training is welcome.


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Database Training: Consumer Health Complete (part 3)

Posted on September 24, 2010. Filed under: Reference | Tags: , , , |

Welcome to part 3 (the last one) of Consumer Health Complete database training. Nearly there!

Need a refresher? See Part 1 and/or Part 2. Watch the 4 minute training video again here.

Access Consumer Health Complete via the Premium Sites page or directly by clicking on the logo button above.

Advanced Search

To access the Advanced Search screen, click on the Advanced Search link towards the top of the screen.

The Advanced Search gives you the option to limit by document type, dates and more. Have a look around. Try some searches. Would you see some benefits to use this search in some cases?

Create an account

It is possible to create an account which will be valid with all EBSCO databases. 

Create an account for yourself.  At some stage down the track, I would like to give you some info on how account settings can be personalised. But feel free to experiment!

Directing patrons to the database

Instruct your patrons to go to the council web site, select Library Services, select Premium Sites on the menu on the left hand side, then select the database. If they are accessing the database from home, they will be prompted to insert their library membership number to gain access.


Here are some exercises for you to practice some of the search options you have looked at over the 3 parts of this training:

  1. My doctor says I have to have a bone scan.  Please tell me what’s involved.
  2. I’m pregnant and was wondering if you had any videos about what to expect during pregnancy and for the birth?
  3. I need some information on echinacea.
  4. I’m doing an HSC Personal Interest Project on anorexia. Have you got any resources?
  5. I need a lateral view of the brain. 
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Database Training: Consumer Health Complete (part 2)

Posted on September 17, 2010. Filed under: Reference | Tags: , , , |

Welcome to part 2 of the Consumer Health Complete database training! In part one, we explored some of the search options. Here we will look at more options and on how to search for particular formats.

Want to review Part 1? Click here. To watch the short video tutorial (about 4 minutes) again, click here.

You can access Consumer Health Complete on our Premium Sites page or click on the logo button above to access the database directly.

Browsing a resource

With Consumer Health Complete, you can search for information within a particular resource. Look at the titles listed under  Browse Popular Sources. Explore one or two. Is this a search that could suit some of your health information queries?

Searching the Medical Dictionary

Not sure about a particular term? You can also use the Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary. It may be useful to clarify meaning or spelling. Click on the Medical Dictionary link and enter a search term. It functions as a browse search, so you can only put the beginning of a term. Try these perhaps: “amphiblastic”, “sabadilla”, words starting with “myo”. Once you have looked up an entry, click search for your word in Consumer Health Complete. Explore the results.

Search by Topic

You can select a topic and maybe  a sub-topic. Your search will then be limited to the topics you have selected. For example, select the topic beauty, then select plastic surgery, then enter botox in the find box. Explore the results.

Multimedia formats

Videos, animations, Images and Diagrams

Consumer Health Complete offers a range of formats. The animations help patients understand diagnostics and surgical procedures. The videos provide information about common diseases, conditions, and procedures. Included with each video is a full HTML transcript of the video dialogue.

How to search for videos or animations, and images and diagrams

One way is to select the Videos & Animations or Images and Diagrams as source-type. The results will show a different icon for videos and for animations. Images and diagrams results have a thunmnail version. Try a search using heart as a keyword for each source-type. Explore the results.

Another way is to do a Basic Search first and then select the Videos & Animations or Images & Diagrams tabs, should results be available there. Try it using heart again. You should get the same results.

Part 3 is next!

We will look at the advanced search features, creating an account and other bits and pieces.

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Database Training: Consumer Health Complete (part 1)

Posted on September 10, 2010. Filed under: Reference | Tags: , , , |

Consumer Health Complete: content of training (part 1)

  • Read: Overview of Consumer Health Complete
  • Watch: Video Tutorial
  • Explore: Basic searching;  Source-type searching; Quick-find searching; Browsing a resource; Searching the Medical dictionary;

Read this: Overview of Consumer Health Complete

Consumer Health Complete offers up-to-date health information in a range of formats.

How do I access Consumer Health Complete (CHC)? CHC is a database part of the EBSCO and suite and it can be accessed via our Premium Sites page.

What content is available on Consumer Health Complete?

  • Encyclopedias and Reference Books
  • Evidence-Based Reports
  • Drug Information Frequently Updated
  • Videos
  • Images
  • Human Atlas Animations

Finding Information

Consumer Health Complete (CHC) offers various options to find information such as Basic and Advanced searching, the Quick Find feature, the Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary. We will explore these searching options and others below.

Watch this

Click here: Consumer Health Complete Training Flash Video

Note that there are not time restriction to watch this vid as it is not on YouTube.

Explore these searches… (practice breeds confidence)

Basic Search

Using the Find box on the Homepage, find information on “tennis elbow” (or your favourite/current health issue). Explore the results under the various tabs. Email yourself an item.

Source-type searching

Search in Drug and Herb Information for information on olive leaf (or anything that takes your fancy). Explore the results.

Quick-Find Search

Search for information on Hay Fever (or whatever you like) using the Quick Find search. Explore the results. Check out the Related Information. Expand on the topic by selecting the More InDepth Information on this condition link, where available.

Other parts of the training

Click here for Part 2.

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