As a public librarian, we are asked all the time for recommendations for books, movies, even music sometimes.
Here’s a free tool to use for this that’s very visual in nature (and fun, too).
If you don’t know about it already, check out GNOD: the global network of discovery (www.gnod.com). Today’s libraries are all about discovery, so this site will fit right into that aspect of library service!
This site is unique because it uses a mapping tool that allows you to see visually how similar books, music, movies, and even artists are with each other. There are ads on the pages that are only slightly distracting, but you can turn them off.
For books (gnooks) and movies (gnovies), you type in the name of an author and film, respectively, and the site produces a visual map of author names/movie titles with your selection in the center and a wide variety of options that are similar spaced around it. The names move around on the screen until they reach their final similarity map. The closer the options are to each other, the more similar they are. For this example, I chose JoJo Moyes. If you click on another author (or movie), the map shuffles the names to place that new choice in the center and adds in similar options around that one.
For the music (gnusic) and art (gnod art), you type in 3 groups/musicians or artists.
From that it displays options (“predictions”) and allows the viewer to “filter” their options based on their preferences (like, don’t like, or i don’t know). Not quite as visual, but definitely interactive.
I don’t know what criteria they use to make their recommendations, but the mapping and “predicitons” approaches are both very serendipitous (also desirable for discovery).
So the next time you’re faced with a patron wanting some quick recommendations, why not give gnod a try. They will be impressed by your access to such a unique tool and they’ll leave with some good suggestions. A win-win!
Julie Raynor, Vice-Chair, TNT RoundTable
Come back next Friday, July 22 for our next installment of Free Fridays!