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Keeping Track of Books and Reading Progress was a session at IndieWebCamp West 2020.

Watch: ▶️1:03:05s

Notes archived from etherpad: https://etherpad.indieweb.org/indiereads

IndieWebCamp West 2020
Session: Keeping Track of Books and Reading Progress
When: 2020-06-27 17:00




Chris Aldrich helped a lot with forming the idea for this session too

gRegor Morrill uses Goodreads to help him remember to read stuff, he like sthe progress indicator, later started experimenting on his own site Created https://indiebookclub.biz/ in response

Want vs read post distinction (reading motivation) Started vs reading distinction (reading progress) Shelving vs categorizing distinction (reading organization)

Joseph shelves groups of books (currently, want-to, wish list) – rarely leaves reviews Amazon redundantly sells you books you already own

gRegor Morrill questions need of ISBN as metadata when he already has book and author to create citations and such

Chris' issue is reading books vs reading magazines/newspapers/other online things to easily search and re-find them Read post, Want post with subcategory that indicates reading progress, also writes a review in notes on his website Uses Indigenous on Android Considering building a view on his site that creates distinction between books vs magazines/newspapers/etc

Paulo would like all those pieces in an easy to use system....uploads and uses tags to track.

Paulo uses DevonThink, would like a simplified system wherein he can write a post about a topic and mention a bunch of references he has for different magazines and articles

Ryan mentions tension between shelving of books, separately there are posts (want-to-read, progress, have-read, review – things in the past). Only has the shelving use-case, not the posts related to info from the past. But how do people approach those use cases? Ideally both would be based on the same data so they don't conflict – how do you go about updating that progress, or re-reads?

Angelo, in regards to Indiebookclub.biz, mentions three statuses. 'Read' state is like a Reddit post based on Reddit's original purpose, he draws parallels between the two post types Temporal pieces vs less temporal types of writing have their place, how do we treat each appropriately? He'd like to see more real-time analysis of thing being posted to the IndieWeb

Locking all data into /bookshelf, one resource on your page to aggregate shelving/read-status information gRegor Morrill Tags would work pretty well for this if you have a citation or a bookmark, e.g. using a #to-read tag to creat your 'To Read' bookshelf

Scott Gruber Anyone remember https://blog.readmill.com/ A service that lets you upload DRM books and PDFs, and it lets you have book notes, and other people can see them too – similar to GoodReads, but non-DRM

hibs note-taking aspect is important for book tracking as well Tiddlywiki book notes: http://meet-me-in.space/

gRegor Morrill used to post his book status progress as a comment or note to the original post (would appear due to web mentions)

Scott Gruber Reads so many different things at once, so keeping progress is really important to him Finds relations between books that he's reading, will read on multiple subjects at the same time – tags may help with this Tried to build some book schemas (book table, author table, article table, etc) Is there a database way to do this? gRegor mentiosn there's a way to do this based on ISBN

gRegor Morrill: I just discovered Jacky Alciné's library: https://jacky.wtf/library.html

Scott Gruber: It would be nice to have a way to do shared book notes

Ryan mentions decentralized aspect of IndieWeb in this case. There's a qualitative difference between a silo like GoodReads and one like IndieWeb We can use IndieWeb-friendly tools that still help us do discovery and search (eg "What book is someone reading?")

Chris Aldrich one of the things I'd like to have is a ranking tool to help sort my level of "want to read" so I can better prioritize what I want to read.

gRegor mentions profiles already exist for indiebookclub (based on user's domain name), but can this be expanded upon?

Chris Aldrich also uses GoodReads for prioritizing things. Having a numerical scale for whatever's on his list is an advantage to him, likes that GoodReads lets you do that Uses it all the time to reprioritize his 'Want to Read' list Goodreads gamification of 'how many books you read' – wishes it gave you more reminders/pushes near end of year, e.g. during last two weeks of the year, to give you a chance to finish books you're neary done reading

Referred by Scott: Altmetric uses a DOI to track social interaction of a published work https://www.altmetric.com/

  • They do this in a webmention-y sort of way too!
  • Different use case of how papers can be tracked
      • Academics are interested because it helps them see how much attention their work is getting

gRegor demos Jacky's library mentioned above

Jordan Brady has a list of books that she's reading or has read https://mjordan.codes/books-read/ It's an annoying process to update this info, but she loves to track how much she's reading every day in an excel doc

Scott Gruber interested in tags in regard to his year list. How many books about geographical areas or topics and other subjects is he reading? e.g.: How many books by women is he reading per year?

hibs mentioned production value of yearly read reports

  • Goodreads yearly reading report at the lower end of the spectrum
  • Spotify yearly listening report at higher end of the spectrum

Angelo asks if anyone uses any web-based e-readers? For annotation ability, does everyone have web copies of these books?

  • Amazon Kindle
  • For academic stuff, Chris buys PDF, stores it locally, and uses Hypothesis for tool for annotating and highlighting it. His website has a backend that then feeds it into a format that makes all that reading info sortable, taggable, etc.
      • It's harder to find non-PDF copies of things to read in this workflow though
      • A French publisher has been using TiddlyWiki to provide portable versions of books that have built-in annotation/highlighting tools
  • Scott uses Libby https://libbyapp.com and Hoopla because he checks out a lot of EPUB books from the library, mostly reads them on his iPad

Angelo follows up: For annotation ability, does everyone have web copies of these books? Are there public books you can link to specific pages, for example?

  • Ryan mentions Google Books lets you link to individual pages
  • Hibs mentions Web Archive also lets you do this

Scott's seen more PWA books being made available, e.g. primarily a website, but he hasn't seen any annotation abilities on any of them, although some have offline capabilities and include listening options Andy Clark "Transcending CSS Revisited" https://stuffandnonsense.co.uk/transcending-css-revisited/ Erin Kissane "Elements of Content Strategy" published by A Book Apart http://elements-of-content-strategy.abookapart.com/ Jeremy Keith "Resilent Web Design" https://resilientwebdesign.com/

Gutenberg provides HTML versions of books, but no real annotation options

We can do pure IndieWeb annotation! It's just a fragmention (https://indieweb.org/fragmention) to any available web version of the book, to the specific section you want to annotate, with your annotation text as the content.

Chris Aldrich mentions frustration of proprietary nature of annotation based on where you read your book Mentions web tools with hooks that help you pull the annotations out of these proprietary reading silos Spaced repetition being implemented with your reading list helps you remember in the long term the things you read

  • hibs has used Anki for spaced repetition learning of book notes
  • As an example, here's an Anki deck I've made of the most frequently appearing words in Classical Latin: https://ankiweb.net/shared/info/180623737
  • Mnemosyne is a related flashcard tool

Manton mentions how most people want their reading progress to be public, not private "What are we creating here? A blog post? A reading post? What is it?" At what point does this go from "I'm reading this book" (narrow use-case) to "here's a full blog post analysis"

  • is this still a read post, or just a blog post, or just a bookmark?

gRegor goes back to plumbing analogy with read posts with extra properties rather than creating 'read of' property, should it be presented in a different way, e.g. a bookmark of this book? how should progress indication be handled? Initial 'want to read' post is less of a read post or reading progress post

Manton mentions potential private nature of bookmarks as a reason to not count this as a bookmark

gRegor: post visibility support is being built-in via a dropdown on IndieBookClub

Chris Aldrich asks who's currently using IndieBookClub:

  • Manton – mentions people seem to like it, but people keep wanting more GoodReads functionality
  • gRegor
  • Joseph
  • Chris

When Manton thinks of Goodreads, it's two-sided: 1. Social aspect 2. How can you make clicking on and finding a book easier? (e.g. what if you could auto-complete book names on IndieBook Club?)

Created a sharing app from GoodReads to blogging app

Ana uses Goodreads actively, but mostly uses it to keep track of friends' reading Keeps notes separate from GoodReads Went from disorganized note-keeping, but now uses static site generator and book meta-data structures to format it Her main interests are: 1. keeping tracks of thing she's read, 2. keeping track of what freinds are reading, and 3. reading wish list

Would love to have a simplified version of GoodReads that's not part of the Amazon ecosystem

In the short-term, the things gRegor's planning ot implement:

  • Ability to add comments
  • Ability to add annotations (notes, quotes, etc)
  • Reading progress indicator (percentage read)
  • Post visibility (if using MicroPub, and you want to post privately, you can do so) – everything's currently public by default
  • Ryan suggested a news.indiebookclub.biz idea that lets you aggregate info?

Discovery and the Friends List are things Goodreads is really good for.

Scott asks if there's a way to bulk import from GoodReads?

  • gRegor mentions their API has a limit

Scott has also used Library Thing: http://www.librarything.com/ He's currently using Craft in his workflow

Angelo asks if anyone knows if a book printed in 1945 is safe from copyright Chris mentions 1923 is currently the cut-off for public domain media

David mentions Meetable and the page for events where other people can post (user-generated content) – is there a similar way to display info on IndieBookClub.biz

  • This would allow the content to be aggregated
  • IndieBookClub ISBN page is close to this

IndieBookClub has a lot of features that just haven't been fully exposed yet!

gRegor mentions the messiness of canonical versions of books vs referenced version, etc

Chris: Create a book club around indieweb.xyz

  • so people would create threads, etc in here

Few use cases of listed on https://indieweb.org/bookmark

Ryan's: https://snarfed.org/books https://blog.readmill.com/ Joseph Dickson random notes https://www.linuxbookpro.com/keeping-track-of-books-and-reading-progress/

What do we want from a reading and progress status item Author, Title, Cover Image, media type (ebook, physical book, magazine, blog post etc.)

See Also