Keeping Track of Books and Reading Progress was a session at IndieWebCamp West 2020.
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
- gRegor Morrill (facilitator)
- Ana Ulin
- Joseph Dickson
- Scott Gruber
- Ryan Barrett
- Angelo Gladding
- Manton Reece
- ...add yourself
- I would like to discuss the use-cases and experiences of using our websites to: 1) track books we want to read 2) categorize (or “shelve”) books 3) track reading progress. More at https://gregorlove.com/2020/06/i-am-proposing-a-session/
- Posting about what books one is reading online has long been a pattern online and there's a rich tradition of book blogging. Corporate silos like Goodreads and LibraryThing have moved into the space and now own the lion's share. How can we design better, more decentralized online shared reading experience? How might one make an open hub for aggregation and discovery while still allowing users to own and control their data? Rather than developers always trying to reinvent the wheel, can we come together and map out some common patterns and collaborate on distributed solution that works everywhere?
- See also:
- FediReads (https://github.com/mouse-reeve/fedireads) - an ActivityPub based Goodreads like service with https://openlibrary.org/; Demo available on Glitch; (see also https://twitter.com/tripofmice/status/1230235138341998592)
- Readlebee (https://gitlab.com/Alamantus/Readlebee) - An attempt at a viable alternative to Goodreads, has a solid list of features for implementation/UI
- josephine - Book catalogue system in Python 3/Django3, modeled after GoodReads and books.hansdezwart.nl. Comes with a GoodReads import script.
- Hans de Zwart's Books (https://books.hansdezwart.nl/) - Interesting example on a personal site with some reasonable UI design on presentation. (apparently done in php, but not opensource)
- Nice reads (https://glitch.com/~nice-reads): Twitter/Google-based app on Glitch
- Adactio proposal for microformats to create a decentralized Goodreads: Reading (https://adactio.com/journal/16803)
- Could a system like news.indieweb.org or indieweb.xyz be used as a template for a discovery hub?
Chris Aldrich helped a lot with forming the idea for this session too
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
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
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
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
What do we want from a reading and progress status item Author, Title, Cover Image, media type (ebook, physical book, magazine, blog post etc.)