The New York Public Library (NYPL) launched today a state-of-the-art book recommendation tool in its online catalog, BiblioCommons, to help Library users discover new books based on their reading preferences. Powered by Bookish Recommends from New York startup Zola Books, the online program connects people to a broader selection of the library’s vast collection by offering relevant book suggestions.
“Discovering a new book is essential to further a love of reading. Working with Bookish Recommends, the Library is able to offer our users a unique resource that supports their interests and fosters the joy of discovery,” said Mary Lee Kennedy, NYPL’s Chief Library Officer.
Bookish Recommends uses an algorithm that identifies recommended books based on similar characteristics. Unlike recommendations that are based on what other readers are checking out, the Bookish engine matches users to books based on dozens of attributes and filters out irrelevant titles. Users visiting the Library’s online catalog can find recommended books by clicking on a selected title to see a set of related titles that might be of interest.
After examining options to build and license technology for book recommendations, the Library selected Bookish Recommends for its robust and growing breadth of titles. The Library, together with its digital systems partner BiblioCommons, then integrated the Bookish application programming interface (API) to seamlessly include the recommendation database into the online catalog in a matter of weeks.
“By using the Bookish Recommends API, and newly developed logic that filters for titles owned by the library, we’re able to offer the most relevant recommendations possible while maintaining a seamless environment for the patron.”
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