Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Resource discovery: Revish

I've got a passing interest in reader development (see this post, and I'll write a follow-up asap because the podcast has been available for yonks), so I was really pleased when I got in on the closed beta of Revish a couple of weeks ago.

Revish does a lot of the things I'd like to be able to do in order to support reading, online, in public libraries. As a reader, I can keep a list of what I'm reading - mostly science fiction and tech stuff - and rate the books when I'm done. I can add brief comments or write a longer review. The reviewing process has a really nice touch: there's a minimum word requirement which makes the reviews more usable.

I can add comments to other people's reviews too, which hits the reader dev bullseye for me: interactivity! And meaningful interactivity at that, because it can spark debate and it can run indefinitely, just like a good real-world reading group does. The obligatory images of book covers are in place, with links to your favourite online bookstore and maybe even your local library as well.

The site uses forums for discussion, submission of faults (the purpose of beta testing, after all), and other random chitchat. It's a small(ish) community, but it's a community united by a pretty clear purpose: people who love reading seem to love Revish. It's also worth looking at if you like to dabble with online applications. There's a strong emphasis on APIs and repurposing data, which looks promising.

One of the more interesting things to note is that Revish isn't in competition with LibraryThing: it links through to LT from every record. The philosophy behind this is that LT is a cataloguing tool, but Revish is primarily about high-quality reviews. It's a great idea and it's well-executed.

The beta is now open, so head over and sign up. I'm here, there's a Library Nerds group here. Definitely a bandwagon worth jumping on!