I’ll start with sharing some cool annotation tools. According to Library Journal:
Web annotations are an attempt to recreate and extend that functionality as a new layer of interactivity and linking on top of the Web. It will allow anyone to annotate anything anywhere, be it a web page, an ebook, a video, an image, an audio stream, or data in raw or visualized form. Web annotations can be linked, shared between services, tracked back to their origins, searched and discovered, and stored wherever the author wishes; the vision is for a decentralized and open annotation infrastructure.
One way to annotate on the web is by using Hypothes.is, which lets you “annotate with anyone, anywhere.” All you need to do is install a Chrome plugin, and you’re good to go. The idea is to make it easy to have discussions about anything online.
Annotation Studio, which is being developed by MIT, is another great example. You can use their tools to create group discussions, organize research, and link to images and video.
There’s also Infinite Ulysses, a project that lets readers make annotations on the book Ulysses. They can also filter notes, comment on notes, highlight, and more.
Displaying Data Interactively
Now on to tools to help you display all sorts of data in cool ways (perfect for non-programmers). First up is Cloud Stitch, which lets you “power your website with Google Docs.” If you know how to input data into a Google doc spreadsheet, you can create an interactive site. If you only have three projects under 100 MB, you can use Cloud Stitch free. An example of what you can do include adding Google maps to a story.
Next up is EditData and Flatsheet (the two work together). EditData lives on Github, and is a simpler version of Flatsheet. Flatsheet is a “realtime editor for curating data.” The project is open source, and the use case example on the website is a map that shows a Seattle non-profit’s “locations of art installed in empty storefronts around the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle, WA.” Employees at the non-profit, who are not technical, can “update artist profiles, and the map markers are positioned using the lat/long values from each row in the sheet.”
For more examples of interactive, digital annotations, read The New York Times’ “Skills and Strategies | Annotating to Engage, Analyze, Connect and Create.”
Know of any cool tools? Please share in the comments!
I’m a big fan of data. I love reading about all the ways people are gathering analytics on books, how data helps drive decisions, and being able to know how effective people are at reaching out to others.
And that’s why for the past month or two, I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Facebook and Twitter. I’ve known these platforms for a while—Facebook was only one year old when I joined in college (back when only people with college email addresses were allowed to use it) and according to my Twitter profile I joined in April 2009.
And though I’ve been using both platforms for my author platform, it wasn’t until this year that I decided to take my platform building more seriously. So, I’ve installed Google page analytics on all my blogs and websites, though it’s still too early for me to figure out how that best works for me, and I’ve been paying close attention to engagement metrics on my Facebook and Twitter accounts.
I have two official Facebook pages and two Twitter accounts. Here’s how it breaks down: Continue reading
If you want a solid introduction to analytics and what to look for, then I recommend Segment’s Analytics Academy. Lessons cover how to choose metrics, how to create a plan, what tools to use, and more. Google Analytics recently added a new tool, Calculated Metrics, which “are computed from existing metrics and drive more relevant analyses and enable greater actionability without leaving the product.” Continue reading
You may already know, but I’m a big fan of data. It’s so useful, and can help streamline and make book marketing so much more effective, among other things.
One great way to collect data is to do surveys. One great example of how survey data pays off is musician Jim Bianco’s album, Cookie Cutter. NPR reported that all 17 songs were inspired by a fan who filled out his 69 question survey. Fans shared intimate answers, and Bianco got back “stories about reunited lovers, runaway pets, ballerinas, brain cancer survivors, Jesus Christ and — everyone’s favorite — death.” Continue reading
Earning a living as an indie author is very difficult. There are no advances, and books compete with well-known authors as well as other forms of entertainment, such as movies, TV shows, and music.
A couple years ago, many people claimed that most self-published authors earned less than $250 (even only a few traditionally published authors sell enough books to be rich). Now, more people are claiming that indie authors are often much more successful. Continue reading
Recently I attended an online seminar by Aptara, Bridging the Digital Revenue Gap, that focused on the benefits of semantic strategies.
Semantics focuses on the meaning of words. For example, the word orange can mean a color or a fruit.
According to the webinar, “with semantic technologies, content can more easily be
Here is an example of semantic tagging:
Using classes such as “telephone”, “ingredient,” “name,” “amount,” and “color” gives more meaning to the words. And, having all this data, lets a computer understand the meanings.
In publishing, there is a lot of data in words. Using semantic tagging can help to analyze an audience and predict what customers want, which makes it easier to focus on what to work on next.
When tagging semantically, you should have a list of categories to use, and score keywords based on importance. Netflix is a great example of a company that has benefited from semantic tagging. According to The Atlantic, Netflix has “76,897 unique ways to describe types of movies.” The company used the tags to create algorithms to suggest what people want to watch next, keeping users engaged. And they know exactly how much time you’re spending watching movies or TV shows on their site.
Tags can also be based on sentiment, such as rating words that are positive or negative, can be used to help promote relevant content to the sentiment. An example of a site that uses sentiment is BookVibe, a book recommendation system that uses Twitter.
Having semantic tags can help show related content, which can recommend new content to readers.
Another benefit of semantics is discoverability. Having keywords that fit contextually help search engines, such as Google and Amazon find certain books. Aptara is working on discoverability tools that leads to conversion.
Other benefits include linking, summarization, and reuse. Semantics provide more possibilities. For example, tags can be linked to urls to make the experience more interactive for the reader. Tags can also point to content chunks that can be spun out into new, separate products. An example of re-use could be using semantically tagged math questions as a list of questions about algebra (turned into quizzes or flashcards).
In order to implement semantics successfully, it’s important to have a plan and define the metadata to use. The next step is to deploy and then maintain, meaning update regularly for the best results.
Digital Book World hosted an interesting webcast today, called Finding Books Without Borders: Discoverability in a Digital and Social World. Two fairly new companies, Jellybooks and Readmill, talked about how they tackle the issue in their own ways.
Andrew Rhomberg, the founder of Jellybooks, talked about the four ways that his company helps solve the discovery problem.
Covers are worth more than 1,000 words, and on Jellybooks, book cover images help to make discovery more fun.
Social discovery is another way of saying word-of-mouth, but Jellybooks focuses on the word of mouth that happens on social networks. For example, it takes advantage of Facebook’s open graph to show more metadata on books. Jellybooks also uses Pinterest strategically, where every pin for every book has a title, cover, synopsis, and sample button to encourage users to click on the sample link and download part of the book.
People learn about books through a variety of methods, whether its mentioned in a footnote of a paper, a newspaper article, or through some cultural connectivity. To help readers become more aware of a book, Jellybooks uses special widgets. Authors, bloggers, and publishing partners can embed the widget on their webpage, and it will work like a Facebook “like” box, except instead of liking a book, you can download a sample of the book.
This week was the last of the BISG’s series of webinars on metadata. The third and last webinar was Navigating the transition from ONIX 2.1 to 3.0, presented by Graham Bell, Chief Data Architect of EDItEUR. (You can read about the other two webinars on my posts The BISG’s Metadata Research Project and Understanding Metadata). Continue reading