Booklamp.org is a unique non-profit site that helps users find books they may be interested in reading. There are a lot of websites now that offer book recommendations such as Goodreads.com, Shelfari.com, and LibraryThing.com. Those websites are considered social recommendation engines and they base their search results on books that are popular among their customers buying patterns and what’s currently popular in the industry. These social recommendation sites are helpful in recommending books that your friends have read and those books that are most popular right now.
What these sites lack though, is the whole picture. What about the book did you like? Did you like the fact that the main character was a detective or a journalist? Did you like that a subplot in the book centered around animals? Did you like that the book contained elements of true crime, art history, a jury trial, or that it shared a lot of factual information on medieval weapons and armor? For a truly thorough book search like that, you need a site like Booklamp.org.
Booklamp.org is the outcome of the Book Genome Project. This project was created in 2003 by students and programmers from Stanford University, Florida State University, and Boise State University. The programmers wanted to create a unique search engine algorithm which seeks to break a story down into all of its “thematic ingredients.” Or, in other words to create a virtual DNA for each book by breaking the story down into all the individual themes it covers. By doing this, users would be able to search for a book not only in a specific genre such as mystery, but they would be able to specify what exactly they liked about the book – journalism/ photography/cooking, etc…
Booklamp.org is basically like Pandora.com (which was the “practical outlet” of the Music Genome Project) but for books instead of music. The project is still at the beginning stage and they have to work with publishers individually to be to have the rights to list books on their site. So currently the catalog of books to search is not very large. But as the site grows and more publishers are willing to work with the organization — Booklamp.org should be able to have much more wide variety of books to add to their storyDNA databases!