February 5, 2012 5:34 PM   Subscribe

I was wondering if the quality of an authors books dropped over time. I imagined that they would, but as I had a bunch of chores to do this Sunday, I wrote "degradation" instead. Type in an author name, type "search" and it'll show you reader ratings for all that authors books over time. You can hover over the line to see the book titles.

Ratings data pulled from GoodReads. It's maybe not the fastest or most stable app in the world, but I hope you like it.
Role: I maded this project.
posted by seanyboy (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Cool! What did you make it with? It's heroku'd, so is it githubbed as well?
posted by the dief at 7:10 PM on February 5, 2012

I typed "Greene" into the searchbox. A message came up asking me: "Did you mean Jane Austen?"
posted by philipy at 5:30 AM on February 6, 2012

Nice little app.

If you want to take this project further, here's something things I discovered from playing around a little bit that might be worth taking into account in some way...

- What's reviewed is not so much a work as a particular book / edition. This matters in that things like "Best Short Stories of X" get published late in X's career or even after their death and get high ratings, but the stories were actually written earlier than appears in the timeline.

- The works include novels, plays, non-fiction etc. Not sure if it would be a good idea to stick to the same kind of writing at least to see if there's a trend.

- Some obscure works score very highly. I'm guessing that's at least partly because those works are only even read by hard core fans who rate everything from that author highly. So maybe some allowance for works that don't have many reviews.

Example authors I looked into (because they wrote a lot and I have some idea of the general consensus re quality of different works): Graham Greene, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Agatha Christie, Tolkien, Asimov.
posted by philipy at 5:57 AM on February 6, 2012

I'd make the points on the time lines more clear. As it is you have to mouse along the line until you happen upon a publication.
posted by oddman at 10:52 AM on February 6, 2012

Along the same lines as oddman's point, it would be great if you could just see where the major works are on the timeline without having to mouseover at all. Either by having labels on the graph, or showing info in a separate panel.

You'd have to take a stab at guessing what's major, perhaps based on number of reviews.
posted by philipy at 11:28 AM on February 6, 2012

- Labels on the x-axis would be sweet.
- Is there a way to change the scale, or move further along in time? My test case was Stephen King, and I expected a downhill slump in late 1990s to 2000s, but it tops out at the year 2000. (Also, I am really surprised people hated Needful Things so much.)

Fun toy! Congratulations.
posted by whatzit at 11:14 AM on February 7, 2012

What's with the suggestion engine?

Chesterton: Did you mean Louisa May Alcott?
Thomas Fleming: Did you mean Voltaire?

I have to admit that if these are jokes, they're funny. Nice work.
posted by michaelh at 2:05 PM on February 7, 2012

Seems to be true for a lot of classic sci-fi authors fwiw.
posted by asok at 5:28 AM on February 17, 2012

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