What We Learned from Thousands of Goodreads Reviews

This post is by student researchers Emma and Chris:

If you’ve ever combed through Goodreads, you may have noticed the range of ratings and reviews on the site. While some books may receive thousands of comments, others only gather a hundred (or less). You might also wonder have much disparity there is in ratings for any single book.

We wanted to know what Goodreads reviewers said about some of the “One Book One Chicago” books we’re studying as part of the Reading Chicago Reading project. Comments on Goodreads can, of course, come from anywhere in the world. But did Chicago’s choice of Read more

Interactive maps from the ACH 2019 Conference

Our most recent mapping experiment explored whether CPL programming influences circulation for the Chicago-themed “One Book” selections in our dataset. If so, to what degree? What correlations, if any, could be inferred when mapping CPL events and OBOC checkouts for the three Chicago-themed books, The Adventures of Augie March, Warmth of Other Suns, and The Third Coast? Our hunch was that events have a considerable impact on the number of checkouts; however, the data reveals different trends.

Ana and Mihaela made useful visualizations. Because at the Pittsburgh ACH conferenceRead more

What do CPL branch libraries have in common?

As we finish our omnibus white paper on the project, some maps and visualizations have been augmented to include the latest book seasons and recolored to show the branch clusters and checkouts per book. We’ve also excerpted some of the explanation.

 

 

In order to create Figure C, we performed unsupervised clustering of the branches based on their demographic characteristics. We used the Partitioning Around Medioids (PAM) algorithm [Kaufman 1990], which is known to be more robust to noise and outliers compared to the more widely-used k-means algorithm. PAM is more computationally-intensiveRead more