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RA FOR ALL...THE ROAD SHOW!

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Friday, March 12, 2010

RA Resources for All: Gnooks

In the past I have mentioned one of my favorite RA resources for when I am completely stumped: Gnooks.  You can click here to see the other posts where I have talked about this unique resource.  But for those of you who cannot tear your self away from this current post, here is a basic Gnooks primer.

Basically, Gnooks is a computer generated list of author readalikes. People input authors they like and don't like and the gnod engine uses its trademarked algorithm to create a visually stunning display of similar authors.

When you type in "Stephen King," you get this. Each of the authors you see floating near King's name can also be clicked on. That author is then made the center of his or her own map. The visual representation of how author's works may be near one and other is very useful to patrons; however, since these maps are completely computer generated, I do not like to trust them as my only resource when assisting a reader.

They do however help you the librarian, especially if you have no idea who an author is. It literally places him or her on a map where you or your patron may see other familiar authors. It is also a good resource to use to check your other findings against.

So why, you may ask am I revisiting Gnooks in today's post? Well, I am also grading student midterms right now, and one, Bethany wrote this about Gnooks in her paper:
I like to think of Gnooks as a compass. It's won't tell you how to get home, but it'll keep you from getting lost.
I think that perfectly describes how Gnooks can help you. Go type in your favorite authors right now. If you are not happy with what you find, you can change the results by entering the authors you like and don't like. The more people who participate and input their preferences, the more useful Gnooks gets.

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