BookLens is still being actively worked on. There are missing features that we want to release as soon as we have finished implementing them. The site will be updated as we improve our site's design and style.
As a research lab at the University, we had to weigh the value of opening BookLens to the public and how long it will take us to finish it. Right now it is usable, if not complete, and we are eager to have people start using it.
By joining BookLens now, you can provide us useful feedback and help shape the direction that BookLens grows. If you have any suggestions, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have worked hard to streamline your interaction with BookLens and how it integrates into your online catalog browsing experience. Libraries automatically create a BookLens account associated with your patron account. When you login to their catalog, their servers contact our servers to tell us your associated BookLens account is active. Don't worry though! They don't send any identifying informatino like your barcode to us when the account is set up.
Behind the scenes, BookLens uses the same authorization strategy as Twitter, Flickr, or Gmail to protect your passwords from the site you are connecting to.
If you created an account explicitly, you can log into the this website and customize your account name, change email address and password, and opt in or out of research opportunities. However, if a library crated your account automatically, you have no password to log in with.
This is okay. First visit the library that created your account and log in to their site with your usual patron information. Then mouse over the little book icon next to any star widget and click the 'About BookLens' link. It will take you back to this site and you will be logged on to your BookLens account. At this point you can add a password or change settings as desired.
Okay, that's not really a question, but you might be wondering about it. When you join BookLens, we know nothing about you until you start rating books. As you rate more books, you should see your predictions getting better and you will improve the prediction quality of other users in the community.
Additionally, predicting ratings for books is a much harder problem than predicting ratings for movies. There are so many more books to choose from and less data available compared to movies that sometimes BookLens just gets it wrong.
When this happens, feel free to rate the book as you normally would and BookLens will learn from its mistakes. We are doing cutting-edge research into solving this problem with books, and your participation is of great help to us. Over time the quality will get better and better, especially with your participation.
At the moment, the best way is to visit a partner library's catalog to find and rate books.
BookLens is currently in a public beta so our site does not yet do everything we want it to. You can re-rate books you've already rated by visiting My Ratings. This can also be a convenient way to keep track of what you've read.
Yes. To change your rating, mouse over the star widget to choose a more accurate rating and click to save the rating to BookLens. To delete the rating, you can click the icon that resembles a star with a cross through it.
BookLens will show a book's prediction or rating as a star widget when viewing a book's information. The star widgets will also show up in the search results on a library catalog. The color of the stars tells you whether it is a prediction or rating. Each library has a different color scheme to match their theme. To help with that we add a textual banner above the stars to explain what is going on.
- Be the first to rate - no one from any partner site has rated this book.
- Average rating - the stars show the average value, the number of ratings that were averaged is shown in parentheses.
- We predict - the stars show a personalized guess for you.
- Your rating - the stars show the value you gave us.
When no one has rated, the stars are blank (e.g. light gray or white). Stars showing the average rating or prediction use the same color, generally yellow. Stars displaying your rating use another color, usually darker and complementary like green, blue, or red.
Partner libraries have to send their catalog data to BookLens on a regular basis. If a book was just added to the library, there's a chance we just haven't got it yet. We may also have had trouble processing it because it didn't have important information that we need like an ISBN or other metadata.
Sometimes the libraries and us have agreed to exclude certain types of documents because they don't fit well with the conventional book recommendation service. A good example of this is government documents and policies that some libraries maintain in addition to their regular catalog.
Books are often published in many formats or editions, such as large print, audio, or just small revisions and title changes. For the most part, the content is the same, but they do represent different "books" to publishers and get their own ISBNs. At BookLens HQ we figured most people would be interested in discovering new content and not being recommended five different copies of the same Harry Potter novel or Shakespeare play.
Using a process called FRBRization that groups books that represent the same work into a single item that BookLens will recommend. That means that regardless of the particular publication you interacted with on a catalog, your ratings and reviews are applied to the work. This is also part of how multiple library communities are able to share data with BookLens.
Ideally we'd say that never happens. Unfortunately FRBRization is a complicated and slow process so sometimes books that humans can easily identify as the same work just aren't combined. Other times it might be the system hasn't processed them yet and once they do everything will be shared. When this happens, all ratings and reviews that were applied to either of the books are combined into the new work.