Amazon Keeps Trying Things Out

Maybe this has been around for awhile but I just noticed it. On Amazon, for the books that have the Search Inside feature enabled, there is now also a concordance of the top 100 words used within a specific title. For example, I was looking at Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Tools for the Classroom by Will Richardson. When I clicked on the concordance link the resulting page provided me with a tag cloud of the most often used words in the book. When I clicked on one of the words I was able to view the pages with that word on it.

Why is this important to mention? Well, imagine if teens could search through books they might use in research in this way. They would get a good sense of what the focus of a title is by looking at the frequently used terms. They might get ideas for terms to use in their own searches on the topic. The concordance tag cloud could ultimately prove to be a great way to evaluate content and to evaluate whether or not content meets a particular need.

When it comes to fiction the concordance tag clouds present different opportunities. For example, character names appear boldly in the tag cloud but sometimes so do ideas that might not at first be readily apparent to readers of the novel. A perfect way to get some discussions of a fiction title started.

Previous blog posts talked about tagging the library catalog, but what about tagging books in the library collection in this way? Imagine if teens could look at each title in the library collection via a tag cloud of words used in the specific title. This could prove to be an interesting method for getting teens into books beyond covers, keywords and subject headings, etc.

About Linda W Braun

Linda W Braun is a YALSA Past President, the YALSA CE Consultant, and a learning consultant/project management coordinator at LEO: Librarians & Educators Online.
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One Comment

  1. Amazon is also in Second Life-www.secondlife.com. Soon, avatars might be able to walk into a 3D amazon shop, look at and buy books, and sit down to have conversation with someone.

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