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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Resource Alert: YourNextRead for Visual Book Recommendations

I am always looking for new book discovery resources to pass on to all of you. My theory is the more varied the sources we consult, the better chance we will discover more appropriate titles for our readers.

I am also learning to be more aware that different people process information in different ways. For example, I am a text driven person. I am sure you can tell that by the layout and design of this blog. It is clean, crisp, and word driven.  However, one of my best friends is an extremely visual person [she was an electrical engineer and now is a professional potter]. We joke about how she can barely write a coherent paragraph and I cannot do origami to save my life.

But my conversations with her and my years of helping thousands of different people find their next good read has reminded me to search out not only resources that have a different book matching philosophy, but also those that express their results in different ways. And specifically, I force myself to consider more visually based options, ones I would not be naturally drawn to myself. I take the ALL in RA for All very seriously. I want to help ALL, all staff and all readers.

Which is all a long winded way to introduce a new [to me] resource, YourNextRead. From their "Further information" page:
At YourNextRead we only feature books you have told us you have read, enjoyed and recommended for others to read. If you do not understand what you are meant to be looking for then YourNextRead is for you...! There are many ways to search for your next read, here are some of the most common ways to get the best recommendations:  
Books or authors you have already enjoyed  
Search for a book you have already enjoyed and we will give you other people's book recommendations. There should be quite a few book recommendations to go through and each one has descriptions and reviews from Amazon and goodreads (with more to come in the future). We have tried to make the sources of the information as clear as possible. If you would like to see information from any other book sources you know of then please let us know at feedback@yournextread.com.  
A book you have heard of being talked about  
Search for the title or author of the book. Our collection of books is large so hopefully you should be able to find it. Click on the book and we will give you the recommendations from your fellow YourNextRead readers.  
How do we find these books?  
We find these books because you tell us about them! We believe that people are the best analysers of the intangible connections which link great books together. So we thought of a simple way to recommend books - the thumbs up/down button you see in our "map of books". By clicking on the thumbs up/down buttons you tell YourNextRead and, more importantly, the world that these two books are recommended as similar. If you don't like any suggestion you see on the screen, then you can always click on the thumbs down button, though please only do this if you have read both books :D  
Keep discovering and sharing with YourNextRead...
The focus here is clearly on book lovers sharing what they like. It defies the logic we try to put into book suggestions because sometimes people like what they like even if all of our professional resources say those books are completely opposite of each other. So just for this reason alone-- allowing readers to be readers and simply say what they enjoy without trying to make readalike matches-- this source has value to us.

But the reason I am drawn to using it more is their Beta “My Map” feature. Below is a screen shot with the help window open:

Click here to pull up the map
These maps are a complicated web of community connections that you can personalize and save. You can visually see every possibility, or only the ones you have made yourself. The more you personalize it, the better the results.

This is a wonderful reading recommendation engine for visual processors.  Think about Goodreads which tries to incorporate lots of graphics, but in reality, it is driven by text reviews and tags to connect books. YourNextRead is completely visual.  For this reason using it makes me-- the text processor-- anxious. I can’t focus and it doesn’t help me. But think about my friend; it is perfect for her.

So today, I hope you not only look at YourNextRead and try it out, but you use this post as an example and inspiration to make sure you are considering all of your patrons’ learning preferences and embrace resources that take into account how we all take in information best in completely different ways.

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