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Young Adult Literature

Databases: Books

If you want to find titles of Juvenile Fiction, or Young Adult Literature, the best database in which to begin your search is WorldCat, which searches for books and materials in libraries worldwide. Remember that the advantage of WorldCat over Books in Print, which can be accessed through the website of The State Library of Louisiana, is that WorldCat finds only books that are already published and housed in libraries. The WorldCat Advanced Search screen will allow you to limit your search by language, number of libraries, audience (Adult vs. Juvenile), content (Fiction vs. Non-Fiction), and year of publication. Limiting your results to those books held in 500 or more libraries will guarantee that you are pulling popular titles, which will be sorted according to their popularity.

You might want to try as one of your search terms the keyword fiction. Your other keyword(s) can be specific types of Young Adult Literature, such as those texts that deal with religion, magic, history, magic, or girls, for example. If you want to find a title that is similar to one you have read, begin by searching for the book you read. For example, you can do a title search for Godless, by Pete Hautman. When you get your result list, click on the title of the text in question. As you scroll down the length of the record, you will see Subject terms such as water towers–fiction and religion–fiction. You can copy/paste either of those into the Advanced Search, and by using the Juvenile audience limiter, find YA books with a similar theme or concern.

Databases: Articles

To look for articles about the genre, the best databases are the following:

Academic Search Complete is the world’s most valuable and comprehensive scholarly, multi-disciplinary full-text database, with more than 7,000 full-text periodicals, including nearly 6,000 peer-reviewed journals.

ERIC, the Educational Resource Information Center, which contains more than 2,200 digests along with references for additional information from over 980 educational and education-related journals.

Library/ Information Sciences & Technology Abstracts (LISTA) with Full Text , which indexes journal articles from more than 600 publications plus books, research reports, and conference proceedings.

MAS Ultra, designed for use by high school students, with access to 253 full text reference books, nearly 100,000 biographies, 76,000 primary source documents, and an image collection of 116,000 photos, maps and flags.

The MLA International Bibliography, the electronic version of the literature bibliography that dates back to 1963 and contains over 1.7 million citations from more than 4,400 journals and series and 1,000 book publishers.

Primary Search , which provides full text for more than 60 popular, magazines for elementary school research.

Databases: Book Reviews

To find book reviews, your best database possibilities are these:

Academic Search Complete
Library/Information Sciences & Technology Abstracts (LISTA) with Full Text

The default search term in these databases that will pull reviews is book review, which you can combine with either a title, such as Coraline, Godless, or Annie on My Mind, or with a theme, such as prejudice, magic, race, boys, or history. The former search combination will get you reviews on specific books, and the latter will help you to produce a list of books on a specific topic.

The Web

You can also find useful information about YA Literature in general, and on specific aspects and/or authors, by searching the internet. By far, the best search engine on the World Wide Web is Google, which is located and maintained at Stanford University. Google allows for phrase searches, for combination (boolean) searches, and for domain limitations. For example, you could type in either of the following (including spaces and punctuation):

“young adult literature” site:.edu
“young adult literature” site:.org

The Google command for domain limitation is site: followed by the domain you wish to limit results to, such as government agencies (.gov), universities (.edu), not-for-profit organizations (.org), and military sites (.mil). By typing site:.edu or site:.org in the above search, you are telling the search engine to return only those sites that come from universities and educational institutions or organizations, such as the NCTE. The Google command for a phrase search is enclosing the phrase within quotes. So when you typed “young adult literature” (in quotes), you tell the search engine not to return sites with the word young in them, unless that word is immediately followed by the words adult and literature. The space between the commands takes the place of the boolean operator AND, thus allowing you to combine terms.

Of course, you can also click on Google’s Advanced Search options, which would allow you to more graphically envision your search strategy. And as always with the web, keep in mind that site evaluation is important, as this web tutorial instructs.

Now try typing the following into Google:

“pete hautman” godless review
This search will over 9000 hits.

The other excellent search engine on the web is called All The Web. However, it is not as intuitive as Google. You have to click on Advanced Search in order to get it to handle phrases correctly, or in order to limit your results by domain extension. Still, alltheweb.com allows some commands that Google does not, so if you need to do an expert search, give it a try. Where both Google and All The Web allow you to search for images, only All the Web will allow you to find video and audio files.

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