Related searches

October 25, 2007


When you search for something now on BookMooch, you will see some “related searches” shown to you, such as this search for “bukowski

I was surprised by the high quality of the recommendations, but I guess I shouldn’t be: there is much more data in BookMooch about searches than mooches, since people search for a lot more books than they mooch.

Up to 3 recommendations are displayed on the search results page.

Clicking the “…” link will lead you to a longer list:


leads to:


Here is how the related searches are arrived at:

* for a year now, every search that everyone (who is logged in) makes, has been saved

* so, for a single search, BM first looks to see which other members have also searched for these words you’ve just searched for

* all the words those other members have ever searched for are all aggregated

* search words that occur less than 3 times are discarded as too infrequent to be relevant

* the list of search words is sorted, in order of how often it it is searched by these other members

* searches that would yield “no results” are automatically not displayed. This is a time consuming process for BookMooch, as it means BM actually has to run the full search for each recommendation it would make. For this reason, I’m caching recommendations for 24 hours, and that’s also why only 20 “related searches” are shown at one time (you have to page next/previous through them)

A related feature I’m thinking of adding is “personalized search recommendations”, where BookMooch looks at all the searches you’ve ever done, finds other people who search for these things, and then totals up all the things those other people search for.

And on that same topic, I should be able to add a “find people with similar book tastes to mine” based on both searches you have in common with them, and mooch history (and wishlist). This might be a useful feature for browsing their inventories to see what you might want to mooch.

And about that photograph on the top right of this blog entry, that’s comedian Conan O’Brien, and Finland’s President Tarja Halonen, they definitely seem like a “related search” (grin)

One Response to “Related searches”

  1. Taneli T said

    This related search feature seems handy, noticed it a few minutes ago when doing a search.

    The O’Brien/Halonen picture explains it well. 🙂

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