Frequently Asked Questions
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What is NOVELNY?
NOVELNY is an online library of literally hundreds of magazines, newspapers, maps, charts, research and reference books that are available to every New Yorker.

Is there a fee to access the NOVELNY databases?
The NOVELNY databases are free to every resident of New York State through their local public, academic or school library.

How can I access the NOVELNY databases from my home or office?
First, you need to be a registered borrower of your local public, academic, or school library and have a borrower number and/or PIN.  Or you may use your New York driver license or DMV nondriver ID. Libraries offering remote access can give you the URL and password for each database.

Can I change my password?
No.  Passwords are assigned by the NOVELNY Help Desk in accordance with the database vendor's formulaand denote the library's region, name, etc.

Is there a time limit on my NOVELNY database account during a single session?
No, there is no time limit. However, some people may occasionally lose their connection or be "timed-out", depending on their Internet provider.

How many simultaneous users can access NOVELNY databases?
The number is unlimited.

Is there training available for the NOVELNY databases?
Individual library users may seek assistance in using the NOVELNY databases from their local library staff.  Regional training sessions for librarians are conducted periodically;  member libraries are notified of these opportunities through their system offices. 

How can I learn what resources are available from each NOVELNY database?
Title lists are included in each database by clicking on the appropriate link.

Something isn't working. Whom do I call?
If you are an individual library user, contact your local library with which you are registered. If you are a registered NOVELNY library, contact the Help Desk. Always check the messages on the NOVEL-DB e-mail list where any general problems with databases will be posted and updated.

How do I cite the NOVELNY database resources?
Assistance in citing the NOVELNY database resources (magazine, newspaper, journal articles, etc.) is provided within the databases themselves. Columbia University and The Chicago Manual of Style are excellent resources as well.

What if I lose the URLs and passwords for the different NOVELNY databases?
If you are an individual library user, contact your local public, academic or school library for this information. If you are a registered NOVELNY library, the NOVELNY Help Desk may be able to help you.

What if NOVELNY asks for a password?
If you are an individual user, please contact the library through which you are registered for the NOVELNY databases. If you are a registered NOVELNY library you should first check to see if the IP addresses have changed. Next, determine whether a "firewall" or a proxy server has been installed. Contact your library's technical systems person to ask about other possible changes.  If all else fails, call the NOVELNY Help Desk.

Where can I find a copy of the NOVELNY database contracts?
Visit the New York State Office of General Services website, and search for vendor.

Who decides what databases will be selected for NOVELNY?
When EmpireLink was launched in 1999, a committee of librarians from around the State decided what subject areas were most important to their users. The committee determined that health, business, newspapers, and K-12 resources were the four most important categories. When NOVELNY was launched in 2001, a steering committee of library representatives from all types of libraries collaborated with New York State Library staff to select the databases. Periodic electronic surveys, posted on the NOVEL-DB e-mail list, continue to gather input from all over the State.

What’s the best way to stay current with the NOVELNY databases? 
The NOVEL-DB e-mail list is the prime source of current information for the NOVELNY databases.  Subscribe here.


Only some of my search results show up at first.
How do I get to the next page of results?

The heading at the top of the results for each database will indicate how many results were found and how many are displayed. If all results are not displayed (e.g., if the heading says something like "Results 1 to 20 of 54") you will see a "Next set" button at the bottom of the list of results for that database. Click it to see the next batch of results.

Please note: To get to the next page or pages of results, the drop-down menu for "Results display mode" must have "grouped" (the default) selected.

How can I tell what databases are included if I click on a
subject like 'History' or 'Science'?

The databases included in a search are listed at the bottom of the search page, which lists both the subject categories and all the individual databases. When you check (or uncheck) a subject on this page, you will see the corresponding databases checked (or unchecked) in the list below.

How do I search a specific database?
The bottom section of the search page lists all the individual databases available for searching. Click on the "Clear" button to clear the form, including any databases already checked. Then check the box next to the databases you want to search, enter your search term(s), and click on "Search."

How do I search for articles in a specific magazine?
Use the "Find a magazine or newspaper by title" search box, (readily available on the home page).

Can I do searches with truncation or wild cards?
The search engine works with the native search interface for each database it searches, so the answer depends on the database(s) searched. If a database's search engine does not allow truncation, or stemming, then the federated search will not allow it, either. To maximize results, it might be best to use Advanced Search and enter both -- or all -- forms of your keyword (e.g., singular and plural) as search options.

Wildcard searches do not seem to work with any databases, perhaps because even the databases that do allow wildcards can use different symbols as a wildcard.


Can a database be linked to our library's web site?
Yes, as long as it connects to the library’s URL.  We suggest that the NOVELNY logo be integrated.  Please remember that due to contract agreements, the library’s database passwords may not be listed on the website.

What are the policies regarding K-12 use of the NOVELNY databases?
School librarians may provide the URLs and passwords to teachers and students so that they can access the NOVELNY databases anywhere in the building or from their homes.  The URLs and passwords may not be published on the school library’s website, but can be provided in hard copy to faculty, administrators, and students. 

How does a library in New York State become eligible for access to the NOVELNY Database program?
A library must be a not-for-profit member of one of the 73 library systems in New York State. Currently, corporate libraries are not eligible to participate (a vendor decision). Proprietary colleges (example: business institutes, vocational colleges) are eligible to participate if they are accredited by the New York State Education Department, are degree-granting institutions, and are current members of a library system in New York State.

My library is registering for the NOVELNY databases. I am filling out the registration form and it's asking me for an IP address. What is that?

IP stands for Internet Protocol. Each computer has a unique IP address. An IP address is recognized by the database vendor and allows the library's computers to access the Internet without using a user name or password. If you don't know your library's IP address, please check with your technology contact. You will also need the IP address of the library's proxy server, if there is one.

My library registered for the NOVELNY databases over 3 weeks ago and hasn't heard anything.
Call the NOVEL Help Desk to verify that your registration was received. Some database vendors can take as long as six weeks to process an application. Registered libraries are notified by an e-mail which gives them their URL and password information.

My library's IP addresses have changed. Whom do I contact?
Contact a site administrator by e-mail at

How can my library receive monthly usage statistics?
Contact the Help Desk for instructions. Each database vendor has a different procedure, but it is possible to get monthly and yearly statistics.

My statistics are showing "0" for my library, and I'm sure there was usage. What happened?
If your library’s IP is shared with another institution (example: all libraries in a system use one proxy server), the statistics may be captured by another library's code. To find your library’s statistics, please check to ensure the library is using the correct URL. Contact the Help Desk to verify that the library is using the same URL that shows in the Help Desk's records.