Alexandria Digital Literature, one of the earliest e-book stores (though the store portion of the site is now defunct), has gotten its collaborative filtering literature recommender, Hypatia, up and running again after a while of being down, and is accepting new accounts.

Hypatia is a unique system that is still entirely unmatched on the web today. To use it, you go in and spend time rating books and stories. You might rate a book you truly love as “Fabulous”, one that you enjoyed a whole lot but doesn’t quite reach the level of “love” as “Excellent,” and so on.

Once you have rated a sufficient number of books, Hypatia will compare your tastes to those of thousands of other patrons on file, see which ones are the most similar to yours, and then display a list of books they loved that you haven’t read yet. This gives you a great basis for making out your next check-out list at the library or searching for e-books.

Back in Alexlit’s heyday, I discovered many of my current favorite authors through the recommender. Perhaps you can do the same.

One caveat: Alexlit currently runs on a trial version of a database server that allows only five simultaneous users, so it is possible the site might hit capacity fairly quickly. If that happens, just try again in a few hours.

For more information on Alexlit, check out this summary of the podcast interview I did with its founder, Dave Howell, three years ago.


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