March 24, 2014 – The New York Public Library (NYPL) launched today a state-of-the-art book recommendation tool in its online catalog, BiblioCommons, to help Library users discover new books based on their reading preferences. Powered by Bookish Recommends from New York startup Zola Books, the online program connects people to a broader selection of the library’s vast collection by offering relevant book suggestions.
“Discovering a new book is essential to further a love of reading. Working with Bookish, the Library is able to offer our users with a unique resource that supports their interests and fosters the joy of discovery,” said Mary Lee Kennedy, NYPL's Chief Library Officer.
Bookish Recommends uses an algorithm that identifies recommended books based on similar characteristics. Unlike recommendations that are based on what other readers are checking out, the Bookish engine matches users to books based on dozens of attributes and filters out irrelevant titles. Users visiting the Library’s online catalog can find recommended books by clicking on a selected title to see a set of related titles that might be of interest.
“Discovering great books on library shelves when I was a kid made me the huge reader I am today. So to be able to partner with one of the best libraries in the world to offer the serendipity of book discovery online through Bookish Recommends is a tremendous thrill,” said Joe Regal, CEO of Zola Books. “We are hoping that readers enjoy those unexpected connections that make recommendations so important.”
After examining options to build and license technology for book recommendations, the Library selected Bookish Recommends for its robust and growing breadth of titles. The Library, together with its digital systems partner BiblioCommons, then integrated the Bookish application programming interface (API) to seamlessly include therecommendation database into the online catalog in a matter of weeks.
"The BiblioCommons platform allows libraries to easily integrate content from their preferred providers directly in the catalog,” said Patrick Kennedy, CEO of BiblioCommons. “By using the Bookish Recommends API, and newly developed logic that filters for titles owned by the library, we're able to offer the most relevant recommendations possible while maintaining a seamless environment for the patron.”
Visitors can see Bookish recommendations at nypl.bibliocommons.com.
About The New York Public Library
The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources atwww.nypl.org. To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at nypl.org/support.
About Zola Books
Zola Books' mission is to enable the ultimate reading experience through innovative technology. Zola’s state-of-the-art book recommendation engine is a new way to find great reads you might otherwise miss. Zola’s social reading app is a unique way to read with friends. Zola also shares profits with booksellers who recommend books online and off. In January 2014, Zola Books acquired Bookish, a book recommendation platform founded by Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group (USA) and Simon & Schuster. For more information, please visit http://www.zolabooks.com and follow @zolabooks.
Public libraries worldwide have partnered with BiblioCommons to establish an exceptional online patron experience.BiblioCore integrates seamlessly with existing ILSs to create a complete OPAC replacement with intuitive searching, account integration, e-book integration, new tools for discovery, and the ability to create a community around your library collection. Other BiblioCommons services include a mobile suite, CMS, BiblioEvents, and integrated microsites for Summer Reading programs.