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Recommendations from a friend's library

Recommend Site Improvements

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1sturlington
Jun 21, 2011, 5:31pm Top

You know what would be a neat feature? If I could get a list of books from a friend's library that are recommended for me based on my library. For borrowing/mooching purposes. For instance, my husband is putting in his books right now, and it would be cool to quickly get a list of his books that I might enjoy.

2timspalding
Jun 21, 2011, 6:57pm Top

That's the best original idea I've heard in some months.

3sturlington
Jun 21, 2011, 7:44pm Top

Wow, does that mean I can expect to see it go live ... oh ... tomorrow sometime?

4Foretopman
Jun 21, 2011, 8:01pm Top

No, it'll be more like ... wait for it ... TWO WEEKS! :)

5AnnaClaire
Edited: Jun 21, 2011, 8:59pm Top

No, not two weeks. "Two weeks." There's a big difference in those quotation marks.

It's an interesting thought. I probably wouldn't use it much myself (I don't friend people on LT if I don't know them well enough in real life to identify them here) but I can see why such a feature would be useful to other people.

Edited to get rid of weird unintended meaning.

6jjmcgaffey
Jun 21, 2011, 10:26pm Top

5> But this idea is only useful for those people you _do_ know well enough in real life. And not all of those - one of my friends is my sister on the other coast of the US; I'm unlikely to be borrowing books from her or vice versa. But if my parents, or my sister only one state away, had this...yeah, it might come in handy. I look anyway, at their physical books, but if LT could tell me more specifically it might be useful.

Note that I hardly ever look at recommendations - they seem to be overwhelmingly either books I own (in omnibus editions, etc), books I've read and didn't like enough to keep (before I listed such things on LT), or books I've skimmed or read others by the author and decided I'm not interested. But possibly, if I knew it was right over at my parents', I might take another look...

7timspalding
Jun 22, 2011, 4:53am Top

Yeah, it'll probably never happen...

9justjim
Jun 22, 2011, 7:16am Top

Less than twelve hours from 'What a good idea' to 'There you go'! I'm impressed.

10timspalding
Edited: Jun 22, 2011, 7:20am Top

Members are going to say "if you can do this, why can't you do..." but this is a case where the data was just there.

All I had to do was take your existing recommendations data—which is cached nicely and quick—remove stuff someone didn't have and express the recommendations by the respective books, not works. There was no new data to get, no scaling problems to solve and nothing to store. It took me only 3-4 hours total, and an hour of that was setting up the pages, adding it too the profile.

11_Zoe_
Jun 22, 2011, 7:24am Top

You could easily add rating and author filtering to the for-user recommendations as well.

12timspalding
Jun 22, 2011, 7:26am Top

>11 _Zoe_:

I've added ratings showing.

I'm not going to add ratings filtering because I think filtering is best when the data set is large. Also, this feature is mostly for people you know, so low ratings are conversation-starters.

13_Zoe_
Edited: Jun 22, 2011, 7:31am Top

>12 timspalding: No, I'm talking about the general recommendations, in response to your #10 about this improvement being particularly easy. 1000 is easily enough to make filtering useful.

14timspalding
Edited: Jun 22, 2011, 7:42am Top

>13 _Zoe_:

I could add it as a one-off feature, but the real feature is to filter and dampen in a bunch of ways—same author, same series, ratings. That gets hard both as data and user interface, and doing only part of it—eg., ratings—doesn't really help making the full thing when I do. I could add a headlight to a bicycle, but it ought to be a car, and I haven't really moved in the direction of the car by doing it.

Fun:

What books should Thomas Jefferson and John Adams borrow from each other:
http://www.librarything.com/profile/thomasjefferson/recommendations/whatshouldyo...

What books should Thomas Jefferson and Marilyn Monroe borrow from each other:
http://www.librarything.com/profile/thomasjefferson/recommendations/whatshouldyo...

etc.

15_Zoe_
Jun 22, 2011, 7:53am Top

>14 timspalding: There are times when a lot is lost by rejecting the good in hopes of having the perfect one day. It's just silly to hold off on a very useful and easy feature for years because you may eventually do it better.

Especially when we already had part of the feature (exclude authors in your catalogue) and it was removed for no apparent reason. Blech.

16reading_fox
Jun 22, 2011, 8:40am Top

I agree with _zoe_ on this one. Especially for the same author. At least a by rating sort would be helpful.

17lorax
Jun 22, 2011, 10:08am Top

This also points to the need to get work-to-work relationships working. The top three books it thinks I should borrow from _Zoe_ are all things that I have in my catalog, but she has the individual volumes and I have omnibus editions, so LT doesn't know they're related.

This is fun, though!

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