How are you today? Imagine a Web site where you could plug in your favorite author's name and you'd see an interactive map showing several other authors who are closely associated with your chosen author.
Well, there is such a Web site, and of late I have been having a great time experimenting with it. Here is the address:
GNOD, The Global Network of Dreams, is a recommendation system for music, movies and authors of books, created by Marek Gibney. A user entering one of the three areas provides three favorites, adding to GNOD's database of associations. GNOD will then return a clickable spring graph, centered on a musician, movie or author specified by the user, and containing other names that have previously been chosen as favorites alongside the center name. The graph is animated, providing an attractive interface. Although GNOD is advertised as being an experiment in artificial intelligence, it is likely that the link forces are simply counts of the number of times a particular pair have been favorites of the same person.
Three observations: (1) Marek Gibney hails from Hamburg, Germany, so unless you speak German, you'll have a difficult time navigating his personal Web site; (2) little is known regarding the "artificial intelligence" that surrounds the Gnod project; and (3) because Amazon.com is tied into the Gnod project, you can be reasonably confident that the Amazon.com customer database is the back-end source of all Gnod book/music/movie "association" data.
Check out the project's Gnoosic site if you want to investigate the music and Gnovies site if you want to probe the movie components; thus far I've been so busy querying authors (there is also Gnooks—forgot about that one!) that I haven't yet made time to delve into other media types.
Speaking of querying authors, I ran Literature Map searches on a handful of my very favorite authors and compiled a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet of what I can only assume Literature Map considers to be "Tim's Essential Reading List."
Not that I would be so arrogant to assume that any of you would want my "reading list"; nevertheless, I'll make the file available to you in any case. As it happens, I've read over half of the authors on my "reading list." Literature Map is frighteningly accurate—at least it is for me! That having been said, the manifest I'm providing is in no way comprehensive. 'Tis only a sampling of my personal tastes in literature.
Tim's Essential Reading List-Authors Only (.XLS spreadsheet inside a .ZIP archive, 3 KB)