January 16, 2022

BookLamp, a "Pandora Like" Book Recommendation Service Set to Go Live Next Week

BookLamp.org has announced that their service will go live next Tuesday (August 16, 2011).

It will actually be a relaunch of the service after five years of, “hard work and research,” according to a post in a BookLamp forum.

We first learned about BookLamp back in 2008 and three weeks ago the organization received some attention after articles on Mashable, TeleRead, Ubergizmo, Wired UK and elsewhere were published.

From the BookLamp FAQ:

BookLamp is a book recommendation system that uses the full text of a book to match it to other books based on scene-by-scene measurements of elements such as pacing, density, action, dialog, description, perspective, and genre, among others. In other words, BookLamp.org is a Pandora.com for books, based on an author’s writing style. If you match against multiple books, the self-learning system adjusts your formulas to make the match specific to your tastes. As the system moves out of beta, it will also incorporate human feedback into the recommendation systems, blending the strengths of social networks with the strengths of computer analysis. Ultimately, we want users to be able to create and share their own formulas, creating a community of book lovers that have tools to discover and share books in a way never before possible.

Because the system matches books through objective data from the text itself instead of relying solely on social networks to generate recommendations, the recommendations are impervious to outside influences such as advertising or author marketing.

The FAQ has a lot more info including a section on their technology.

Next Week

From a BookLamp Forum Post:

On August 16th, 2011, BookLamp.org – the home of the Book Genome Project and the result of 5 years worth of hard work and research – will re-open its doors, roll out nifty tools, a functional book database with nearly 20,000 books in it, and show the world what we’ve had behind closed doors all this time.”

“By putting the announcement here, we’re now committed to the relaunch date.  We’ll push out what we have on the 16th, and then watch, listen, and improve – as any good website should.  We will not be a commercial site, as that’s not our goal, but instead a service for readers that empowers our other business offerings to publishers, and a stake in the ground that says, “Look at the cool things you can do with this technology.  Now let’s go change the world together.”  It’s a call to publishers, who we need to step forward and provide content to our database in order to make this a real “Pandora for Books”, or however you want to think about it.”
Finally, here’s a video of a BookLamp demo that’s available on their site or via Vimeo. It runs 8 1/2 minutes.

We’re excited to put BookLamp through its paces. This the type of service could be useful but for that to happen they do need to go WELL BEYOND 20,000 books (obvious comment). We’re also interested to see if the library community embraces the service. Publishers are another issue.

Of course, if the technology works well (or has the potential to work well) it’s likely that one of many companies will come calling and try to acquire the technology. We also wonder if in the future BookLamp’s technology could be useful with content from serials and newspapers.

Stay tuned!

Direct to BookLamp.com

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.