Wednesday, May 6, 2009

For the Reader's Toolkit

I have been so disappointed in the last two books that I have read that I don't want to spend any more time thinking about them - even the time to write a blog post. So I am going to alert you to a new tool that I discovered that may help you answer the perennial question: "What should I read next?"

What happens when you combine artificial intelligence with social networking (don't stop reading - I promise that you won't have to participate in any network)? The result is Among its features are Gnod's Suggestions: if you type in the names of three authors that you like, it will suggest the name of another author that you might like. If you don't like that suggestion or haven't heard of that author you can continue to cycle through additional suggestions. I couldn't find on the website any explicit explanation of the algorithm or engine that is used to generate the suggestions but I can imagine that it is based on other readers' input.

You can also select the Map of Literature. After you type in one author's name, it will generate a wordle-type map of authors including yours. The closer the names are in the map, the greater the likelihood that you will like both of them.

I guess the better strategy would be to try the Map of Literature first with an author that you have read and see if you agree with the choices presented as neighbors in the map. If that gives you confidence in the engine, then you could try Gnod's Suggestions.

There is also a discussion forum but that requires joining Flork and I promised no networking required. Gnooks is just one child of the "mother" site: which seems to have the same functionality for music and movies.

Let us know how it works for you and if you find it helpful.

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