On Sep 14, 2017, at 1:48 PM, Ken Irwin <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I wonder what tools folks are using to make reading level/lexile/etc. information available in their catalogs. I'm interested in:
> * how you get the information for each book
> * how you record it in the catalog (MARC fields, etc)
> * how you make it searchable / limitable
> Bonus points for III/Innovative systems, but ideas from outside that realm are good too.
> Our catalog record: http://ezra.wittenberg.edu/record=b1267488~S0
> Has a link called
> Look Up Grade Level @ Scholastic: https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/bookwizard/?search=1&filters=&prefilter=books&text=Where%20the%20wild%20things%20are%20by%20Maurice%20Sendak
> It's better than nothing, but it sometimes fails (book not in scholastic's catalog, or weird statement of responsibility monkeys with the link-maker), and the information is not stored anywhere in our system.
> I bet there's a better way, and I wonder what you all are doing.
I’ve been advocating such an enhancement to the bibliographic record for a long time.
Reading levels can be computing with any number of algorithms, but they require full text access to the materials. These algorithms take into account things such as length of text, length of sentences, length of paragraphs, size of vocabulary, and frequency of unique words. Thus, longer items with larger vocabularies and more unique words are deemed more difficult to read. If we — the library profession — were to include in the bibliographic record reading levels as well as size of text based on number of words (not number of pages), then the reader could search do queries such as, “Find me a short book about Plato that is easy to read.”
One one really wanted to, then a librarian could:
1. identify an item in the catalog
2. identify a digital version of the item
3. compute one or more reading levels against the digital item
4. save the result(s) in the bibliographic record
5. index the result
6. go to Step #1 until done (or tired)