Friday, May 27, 2011

Finding Foreign Language Fiction Books at Bangor Public Library (& Elsewhere in Maine)

Bangor Public Library has recently added to our collection two new fiction books written in Chinese.

One of these books is Luo di / Ha Jin zhu, yi (English translation: A good fall by Ha Jin).
Here is a permanent link to our catalog record of this book:

The second of these books is
Jin yue / Ailisi Xibode (English translation: Almost Moon by Alice Sebold).
Here is a link to the record for this book:

Locating books available in Maine written in Chinese is possible, though slightly more complicated than a regular catalog search. In searching in the URSUS catalog, limiting to Chinese as the preferred language is an option. However, you would need to start with a simple keyword in order to limit later. For example, in searching a simple keyword of "fiction" in URSUS,
you would get 32000 (the maximum) results. If you then clicked Modify Search and then for the Language selected Chinese, you would narrow in to 38 results.

Of these 38 results, though, only a few are books written in Chin
ese. Most are English translations of Chinese works.

In MaineCat, you can get better results for Chinese works and obtaining those results is not as difficult. [Though, even this trained librarian had difficulty in finding the easiest way -- it took a few tries to get it right].

From the original MaineCat screen at, click on Word Search. This will take you to a page that looks like this:
In the top search box, search "fiction" then select Chinese as the language. This search will net 76 results, the majority of which are clearly Chinese language titles, not English translations.

Limiting to fiction works in other languages is also an option on MaineCat. An Italian fiction search nets 157 titles, Latin 38 & Portuguese 23, including
Ah, os lugares aonde voce ira!, a Portuguese version of Dr. Seuss' Oh, the places you'll go!

Let me know if you have questions or comments. Or if you have better tips at using URSUS or MaineCat for looking foreign language books.

Patrick Layne
Bangor Public Library
Reference Librarian

Bangor Public Library

Bangor Public Library
Bangor Public Library,
145 Harlow Street,
Bangor ME 04401