Linking as well to this great reply from Matt Webb building on Tom’s initial proposal:
- Ability to subscribe to others’ lists would be awesome
- Might make sense to just use RSS rather than some new format
- And overall could split into two formats: one for a
library (collection of lists), one for the
book list itself (collection of multiple book objects)
- This way, could leverage existing RSS tools / ecosystem
- And for the library, may be able to use OPML (way to group RSS feeds)
To which the main counterpoint is probably:
- RSS is annoying to work with
- Might feel too heavyweight, less fun and loose for experimentation
I don’t know enough about RSS / OPML to have super specific opinions on implementation, but separating the sub / pub mechanism from the book data spec & piggybacking on existing tech where possible sounds like a good direction to explore. I wonder if there’s a way to keep it more simple and lightweight for now, but with an eye towards how it might be e.g. integrated into RSS-y ecosystem stuff later on.
One other thing that comes to mind is separating the source data from the aggregated “hub” data — also relates to my above comment about using Goodreads to jumpstart initial data.
I could imagine e.g. a way to allow a user to pull from their Goodreads lists as a canonical source, and then parse that into whatever format (JSON / RSS / etc) that a) others can subscribe to from the hub site or b) the user could embed or somehow pull back to their own personal site etc. if they like.
Basically the hub site could support converting / aggregating some of the most popular existing book lists out there (Goodreads, LibraryThing, Open Library, etc.) as a way to support more data sources upfront and merge into a collection of libraries with more standard form…