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NoveList Appeal: Frequently Asked Questions

What are appeal factors in NoveList, and how are they different from subject headings?

Subject headings refer to concrete aspects of a book--the who, what, where, and when--while appeal factors tell more about the readers’ experience--how a particular book feels to them.  Appeal is a way of determining why people enjoy the books they read.

Recommending books based on appeal rather than by subject alone is a concept practiced by many prominent Readers' Advisory librarians. Taken together, appeal factors and subject headings give librarians a set of powerful tools to find the best titles, authors, and series for their readers.

How are appeal factors used in NoveList?

NoveList has been matching readers with books for over 20 years, and we believe that a key to successful matchmaking is appeal – the “chemistry” of readers’ advisory.

Appeal is a way of determining why people enjoy the books they read. Some readers already have a good vocabulary for talking about the books they love, while some do better in talking about books they never want to read again – but framing these conversations in appeal is the foundation for helping people find what to read next.

Starting with the work of the pioneering librarians who introduced appeal, NoveList catalogers created an evolving vocabulary organized in several different categories, including: Storyline, Pace, Tone, Writing Style, Illustration, and Audio Characteristics (in NoveList Plus only).

Appeal terms augment NoveList’s rich cataloging information on genre, subject, geographic location, and reading level. Appeal terms are separately searchable, or can be searched in combination with other cataloging terms.

To learn more about the use of appeals in NoveList, see  

Where can I find a list of the appeal terms used in NoveList?

You can find a list of appeal terms in NoveList Help.  Access NoveList Help from any page in NoveList, using the Help link in the top right corner.  You will find a link to our appeal terms list under the Appeals section of Help.