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Young Readers Database of Literature (YRDL)

On April 28, 2022, Nichole Nomura, Quinn Dombrowski, and Jennifer Wolf debuted their work on the Young Readers Database of Literature (YRDL).

The Young Readers Database of Literature is a collaboration between Lab members and affiliates in Education, English, and the DLCL. The database contains rich metadata for over 25,000 works of children’s, middle-grade, and YA fiction novels from the 20th and 21st century, including publisher information, Goodreads data, Horn Book reviews, readability metrics, and awards status, as well as a full-text corpus. Our initial database-building stage prioritized several subgenres—including “Hi-Lo” novels, LGBTQ+ novels, and popular series for girls—that have often been overlooked in favor of prestige literature, opening up new possibilities for quantitative research on young readers’ fiction that reaches beyond award-winners and immediately-recognizable titles.

The team introduced the database and corpus and share our results from some preliminary investigations, including an exploration of “dangerous” (or exciting) key terms like “sex” and “drugs,” mapping explicit identity mentions (with a focus on Asian and Asian-American identities) across the corpus, and the beginnings of work with canon-creation projects like The Horn Book Guide and queer bibliographies.