June/July 2014

Discover the World of Audiobooks

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Listening Librarians ® My husband was not a fan of audiobooks ini- tially. But I'm a firm believer that it just takes the right audiobook to convert anyone. In his case that turned out to be Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl, based on her experiences as a food and restaurant critic and filled with delectable descriptions. We were driving all day from Albuquerque to Denver, and by the time we arrived, we were both starving—and he was hooked.—R.Y. Unsure of what she wanted in a career, Renée Young joined the Army in 1998 right out of high school. After basic training, she was sent to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA, to study Russian. She has a strong memory of listening to Elizabeth Peters's Trojan Gold while she was there. "I love the Vicky Bliss series and Barbara Rosenblat, and that book was set in Munich and Garmisch. I remember thinking, 'I wish I could go to Europe . . . ' It must have been kismet because I was posted to Bad Aibling, Germany, and also spent time in Garmisch for a Serbo-Croatian conversion course." After the Army came college and graduate school while simulta- neously working in various libraries. Today she is Supervisor of Juvenile Cataloging at NoveList and heads up the audiobook project. What are the main tasks of NoveList's audiobook team? Not long after I joined NoveList, EBSCO acquired Net Library and decided to make NoveList records for audiobooks. Cataloging them was a really extensive team effort, and one of the challenges was that audiobooks are released in multiple formats. After much discussion and research we decided to create a single record for each title that has the same narrator and abridgment. It seemed the most intuitive way. On May 1, we launched the version of NoveList Plus that includes more than 30,000 audiobook titles with all their formats, and we are constantly adding more. NoveList is known for "read-alikes." How did you develop "Listen-alikes?" That is the other big piece of the team effort. We looked at audiobook reviews and listened to sound samples to find important aspects of the narrator's performance. And we created a special appeal vocabulary of these terms we call Audio Characteristics. For this process, it's important to find honest and informed reviews, such as those from AudioFile, because they allow us to track ways a narration succeeds or may fall below standard. You were part of choosing the current RUSA Listen List? Yes, and I'm now the committee chair. It's a fantastic experience. The seven of us each get to suggest titles, and we all listen to everything, so I have a steady stream of exceptional audiobooks on my iPod, which is like being sent to audiobook listener heaven.[For recommendations, see listenlist].—Priscilla Grant Renée Young: NoveList's Audiobook Project Leader Road Trip Conversion 68 ■ AudioFile/ " I've always loved languages, and I've always loved listening." Listener Advisory Do you love a full cast of characters? A single, strong voice? Audiobooks read by the author? A narration that's comedic, or melodious, or wry? For more on how NoveList helps librarians, see 1998-2003 Cryptologic Linguist, United States Army 2004-2006 BA Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque 2005-2007 Circulation Clerk, Rio Rancho Public Library, NM 2007-2009 Research Asst., Carolina Academic Library Association, Chapel Hill, NC Upper and Middle School Librarian, Trinity School of Durham and Chapel Hill, NC 2009 MSLS Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC. 2009-Present Juvenile Cataloger (now Supervisor) Audiobook Project Team Lead, NoveList/EBSCO, Durham NC Snapshot: Renée Young

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