Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Further Adventures in Social Bookmarking: The Internet Speculative Fiction Database and the Internet Book List

Further adventures in social bookmarking have produced the Internet Book List and the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. The Internet Book list appears, not unlike the Internet Book Database mentioned in the previous post, to facilitate recommendations more than social networking per se. The IBL appears to be a private project (its creator describes the site as a hobby). Like a wiki, titles and author lists can be updated and edited by users, although the site functions essentially as a searchable database. I typed in several prominent Toronto authors and found incomplete listings of their work, underscoring the reality that the database does not pretend completeness and features the titles its users enjoy and/or have read. The IBL was probably innovative when first created in 2003; now, however, it seems superseded by other 'social bookmarking' sites like LibraryThing. I was impressed by the database itself however, mainly because I would love to have one for the Imagining Toronto library.

The second site I have come across is the Internet Speculative Fiction Database, a true wiki project still in beta testing but now open to the general public for editing. This site, hosted by the Cushing Library Science Fiction and Fantasy Research Collection and Institute for Scientific Computation at Texas A&M University, seems especially promising for scifi, fantasy, and speculative fiction readers. I have to admit finding it quite delightful, mainly for its democratic character. As soon as I brush up on my wiki editing skills, I'm going to create an entry for Toronto-focused speculative fiction, fantasy, and science fiction. It's not a genre I read generally, but one of the chapters in the Imagining Toronto manuscript focuses on Toronto-based genre fiction and I'm currently exploring connections between the possible worlds of speculative (and noir, detective, and mystery) fiction and the real city. Really fascinating stuff.

NB: Toronto-area scifi and fantasy buffs might want to check out the Merrill Collection of Science Fiction, Speculative, and Fantasy literature located at the Lillian H. Smith Library on College Street. You're likely to see me there this summer, doing research.

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