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!
Since this month is National Nutrition Month, I thought it would be a great time to highlight several iPhone apps that can help people with their nutritional goals whether it’s for losing weight, maintaining a healthy weight, or just to keep track of overall fitness and health. This is just a sampling of some of the nutrition apps available.
- Lose It: This is a great free app available from Apple iTunes. This program works by setting a daily calorie goal and you can then choose the foods you’ve eaten throughout the day from searching through the food database. At a glance you can see how many calories you have available throughout the day, how many calories you’ve burned with exercise, etc… Many users cite they love the feature that allows them to tally the calories in recipes they make frequently.
- Slim Down Shopping List: This app (also available from Apple iTunes) created by the editors of Women’s Health helps you to choose the healthiest food options in your grocery store. Each item listed has nutritional information such as calories, fat, carbohydrates, protein etc… This is a great app that can help to “trim” your shopping list to help you find healthier foods to meet your nutritional goals.
- Mint Nutrition: This is a great app for keeping track of meals by building a “plate” of food. It will calculate all nutritional information for the entire meal (instead of just having to keep track of foods individually). It also provides excellent nutritional information for foods & meals available from restaurants which is perfect for the person on the run who needs to eat out frequently, but still wants to keep track of their calories.
- The Carrot: This app is designed to help people keep track of their health in a number of different ways. The Carrot allows you to not only keep a journal of your foods & calories, but also of your fitness goals, your health goals such as blood pressure, medications, your cholesterol level, etc… This is a very comprehensive tool to track not only your calories, but the overall health of your entire body.
- Good Food Near You: Another great free app available from Apple iTunes. This app allows you to find local restaurants that offer healthy food options on their menu. On the run? Visiting a town you’re not familiar with? Simply enter in your zip code and this app will find restaurants offering healthy meals in your area using GPS technology. While currently, the most common restaurants found in this app are fast food restaurants and chains, the company is working to add more local restaurants in future versions.
Feel free to share your favorite nutrition apps for the iPhone or other device in the comments section below.