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CODE4LIB  January 2004

CODE4LIB January 2004

Subject:

Re: ILS component for book reviews?

From:

Shaun Ellis <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 27 Jan 2004 11:53:34 -0500

Content-Type:

TEXT/PLAIN

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

TEXT/PLAIN (62 lines)

This is a very interesting thread.  I see two ways to start adding reviews
to books in existing library catalogs:

-------------------------------------------

#1.  A developer can utilize existing review content that Amazon provides
free via their XML-API Amazon Web Services 1.0:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/browse.html/104-0253357-5826372?node=3435361

http://www.webservices.org/index.php/article/articleview/959/1/1/

Amazon is providing this service for users with fan sites, who may want to
receive a commission on product referrals.  However, the developer can be
selective as to which content he/she pulls and doesn't have to display any
"shopping information".

Of course, there are a few downsides to using Amazon data. First, the
library relinquishes control over the ownership and censorship of the
reviews.  Furthermore, it's not the library community writing the reviews,
but an international community of Amazon users.  Finally, the license
agreement requires a link to the Amazon page whenever Amazon data is
displayed.  This alone may be reason enough for most libraries to be wary.
However, if the book is available at the library or can be recalled, most
library website/catalog users would prefer to check it out rather than
purchase it.  Otherwise they would have gone to Amazon in the first place.

The advantage is, of course, that the library starts with a plethora of
content for many books that could help the concept get off the ground.
Developing a review system is one thing... getting content in there is
another.  I definitely don't see this as an all-in-one long term solution,
but initially integrating it with #2 could work...

-------------------------------------------

#2. Use an existing open-source product/book review system or develop one.

ReviewScript (see link below) seems to do emulate Amazon's review module.
It's $50, which I think is a deal.  At the very least, it could serve as
an educational tool for any developers who may want to embark on the
journey themselves.  The ReviewScript developers may also be interested in
working with someone who wants to extend it to include a book referrals
module(i.e. - Those who checked out this book also checked out these
books):

http://www.review-script.com

-------------------------------------------

Of course, with either of these approaches, I see integration with
proprietary cataloging systems as the second biggest hurdle. (The first
would be acquiring funding to pay for any custom development.)  Then
again,
I have web application development experience, but no experience w/ the
cataloging systems themselves or the business politics involved.  It may
not be as difficult as I suspect.


******************
Shaun Ellis
RUL Web Developer
732/932-7505

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