DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Aug 9 2010

Exploring the Literature Map

by Jesse M

For today’s post I’ll be sharing another readers’ advisory tool I discovered to supplement some of the other excellent resources discussed in this ShareReads post from a couple weeks ago. Gnooks is “a self-adapting community system based on the gnod engine”. The gnod engine is described as an “experiment in the field of artificial intelligence…a self-adapting system…[that functions as] a search-engine to find things you don’t know about”. Both gnooks and gnod are the brainchildren of German developer Marek Gibney. Gnooks works by asking site visitors to input the names of three authors that you like (try it yourself), after which it will recommend a fourth author it believes you might enjoy. It then asks you to indicate whether you like, don’t like, or don’t know this author. This process enables the gnod engine to develop associations between authors and make recommendations based on the strength of those associations. Gnooks then creates a visualization of these relationships and their relative strengths, called the Literature Map. To use the literature map, simply enter the name of an author you like, and the names of several dozen additional authors will appear on the screen and after an initial burst of movement settle into place in a constellation surrounding the first author’s name. The closer the recommended author’s name is to the original author, the more probable it is that someone will like both of them. Here is an example, using the author of the popular Millennium trilogy, Stieg Larsson:

A glance at the map shows us that author Jo Nesbø is likely to be popular with fans of Stieg Larsson.

To conclude, I’ll share a couple of links to some of the other readers’ advisory tools available online.

  • Novelist is perhaps the most useful and versatile of all the tools I’ll mention today. Available through DCPL as one of our reference databases, there are a variety of different recommendation methods. Try it out and see what works best for you!
  • The blog Lifehacker has compiled a list of the five best book recommendations services. Also worth a look.

Good hunting!

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