The bar gets raised higher

I just finished adding my 2 cents to Dave Pattern’s short and quick survey on OPACs. In it he asks about the relative importance of such items as user tags, suggested titles, comments and reviews and other items that users have grown to expect.

Fast forward two clicks in my Bloglines browser and I stumble across this short post from Seth Godin’s blog. Amazon has recently added new feature that allows you to see what other books are cited within another book's pages.

" Citations is a program that helps customers discover books related to those in which they're interested. Amazon scans every book in the Search Inside!™ program, looking for phrases that match the names of books in our catalog. We make a note of these "citations" and display them to you in one of two ways.

• If a book cites two other books, we show you which two books it cites, and provide links to the pages in the book where the citations first appear.
• If a book is cited by two other books, we show you which two books cite it, and provide links to the pages in those books where the citations appear.

Please note that Citations is not a comprehensive list of all existing citations. For example, an author may cite a book using a form of its name that differs slightly from that which appears in our catalog, or a title may be mentioned in a book that is not yet part of the Search Inside! program. In such cases, we will not find a match. If you are a publisher or author, you can increase your books’ lists of citations by adding them to the Search Inside! program."

Leave it to Amazon to continuously raise the bar higher.

PS: Add your thoughts to Dave's survey if you haven't. He offers great food for thought.

PPS: My one additional wishlist before this discovery item was online fines & fees by debit/credit. Fortunately we do finally have this, but not because it came with "the package." We invested in talent and time to build it ourselves. :) What's yours?

1 comment:

JH said...

Thank you for sharing this. I was thinking about OPACs at work today. I know it would be a huge undertaking, but I'd love to see our system implement aspects of social networking within our OPAC. In my head I was calling it MyLibrary. Wouldn't it be neat if you could do the following through your online library account:

1. Voluntarily share reading lists, like "Books I've Read This Year" or "My Top Picks"
2. Comment on books and materials
3. Suggest books for other users using a comment style system. Imagine logging in to discover that someone had recommended a book for you. You could then reserve the book from within that same interface.
4. Participate in online book discussions
5. Blog about what you are reading, watching or listening to

In a perfect world OPACs would evolve into a whole portal for retrieving AND sharing information. Imagine