Finding fiction

Lorcan 2 min read

FictionFinder has been available for quite a while. Check out the new version.
This is a prototype which has several motivations. It takes fiction records from Worldcat and shows how the data can be made ‘work harder’ to create useful and interesting experience. It offers a ‘frbresque’ view of the data, clustering records under works; it aggregates data from multiple records to create a fuller ‘work’ level record; it richly indexes the data allowing searches on fictitious characters, settings, language, and so on, alongside the usual attributes like author and title; it ranks results by OCLC holdings (the number of libraries we know about which hold the item). You can search for things like mystery novels set in Ohio, and there is a browse by genre, character, settings and subjects. So far, this is based on existing catalog data. We are also using FAST headings and broad audience levels. Everything that can be is internally linked, and it links out to also.
The ranking is a nice feature: wherever you are, it gives a sense of ‘popularity’ (as measured by the number of holding libraries). Here, for example, are the top ten dystopias in Worldcat.
1. Animal Farm / Orwell, George
2. Nineteen Eighty-four / Orwell, George
3. Brave New World / Huxley, Aldous
4. Fahrenheit 451 / Bradbury, Ray
5. Lord of the Flies / Golding, William
6. Time Machine / Wells, H. G.(Herbert George)
7. Handmaid’s Tale / Atwood, Margaret Eleanor
8. A Clockwork Orange / Burgess, Anthony
9. A Canticle For Leibowitz / Miller, Walter M
10. Oryx and Crake / Atwood, Margaret Eleanor
Here are the top ten novels by Saul Bellow:
1. Herzog / Bellow, Saul
2. Adventures of Augie March / Bellow, Saul
3. Humboldt’s Gift / Bellow, Saul
4. Mr. Sammler’s Planet / Bellow, Saul
5. Dean’s December / Bellow, Saul 35
6. Henderson, the Rain King / Bellow, Saul
7. More Die of Heartbreak / Bellow, Saul 20
8. Seize the Day / Bellow, Saul
9. Him With His Foot In His Mouth and Other Stories / Bellow, Saul 19
10. Ravelstein / Bellow, Saul
Here are the top ten with Soccer as a subject:
1. Tangerine / Bloor, Edward
2. S.O.R. Losers / Avi
3. Froggy Plays Soccer / London, Jonathan
4. Franklin Plays the Game / Bourgeois, Paulette
5. Soccer Halfback / Christopher, Matt
6. Double Fake / Wallace, Rich
7. The Million Dollar Kick / Gutman, Dan
8. Willy the Wizard / Browne, Anthony
9. Soccer Game! / Maccarone, Grace
10. Home of the Braves / Klass, David
And the top ten with Racism as a subject:
1. To Kill A Mockingbird / Lee, Harper
2. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry / Taylor, Mildred D
3. Bluest Eye / Morrison, Toni
4. Invisible Man / Ellison, Ralph
5. Heart Is A Lonely Hunter / McCullers, Carson
6. Secret Life of Bees / Kidd, Sue Monk
7. Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman / Gaines, Ernest J
8. Go Tell It On the Mountain / Baldwin, James
9. Let the Circle Be Unbroken / Taylor, Mildred D
10. Gathering of Old Men / Gaines, Ernest J
Diane Vizine-Goetz, Roger Thompson, JD Shipengrover and colleagues worked on FictionFinder.

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