Read Pirate Book Chest by Michael BeckwithMichael Beckwith (
If you’ve ever talked to me about books and reading, then there’s chance that I’ve brought up GoodReads and how I’m pretty active there. I can’t claim so active that I’m updating daily. I do, however, make sure to keep my current book statuses accurate. On the flip-side, as highlighted b...
Mad respect to Michael for going all in on the “pirate life” by reading Treasure Island and experimenting with reading/book posts and naming his digital shelves “Chests”!
Replied to a post by Katherine M. MossKatherine M. Moss (
I wonder how on earth one finds the ISBN of a Kindle-only book? I’m wondering whether or not the IndieWeb book resources should begin going by ASIN instead of ISBN … seems that the ASIN is easy to find if on GoodReads.
Each publisher should be assigning individual International Standard Book Numbers to each format for each different edition, but in practice they don’t always. Often they’ll assign a single ISBN number to all e-book versions (regardless of file format) and sometimes they’ll incorrectly use the same number as the paperback or hardback editions.

Things can be worse for more independent or self-published works where the author doesn’t know how these things work. These may often have no ISBN at all regardless of the format.

The least “indie” thing one could do would be to use the Amazon Standard Identification Number which is a number assigned by Amazon. ASINs are easy to find on Goodreads solely because they’re owned by Amazon. In many cases, there are far more editions on Goodreads than actually exist because of the lack of use of ISBNs and de-duplication of editions which they import from a variety of data sources, including Amazon itself.

To my knowledge, the only true way to find the “correct” ISBN is to copy it directly from the book/source itself.

Replied to a tweet by Katherine Moss (Twitter)
There’s a proposed session (IndieWeb GoodReads) to discuss just this at IndieWebCamp West 2020. If you have other ideas for sessions, feel free to brainstorm something or propose it in the etherpad.
Read Read feeder by Neil MatherNeil Mather (doubleloop)
Ton made a post recently about federated bookshelves, sparked by a post from Tom. It’s an idea that Gregor has done a good bit of thinking about from an IndieWeb perspective. Book recommendations is something I’m always interested in. At base, all it needs is a feed you can follow just of what p...
I love that more people are publishing their reading to the open web! It’s great to see more example of how people are doing it and how things could be better.
Replied to a post by Brett KosinskiBrett Kosinski (The “B” Ark)
Taking back control of my content, I’m pulling my (modest) book reviews from Goodreads back to my blog. An underrated favourite of mine is Last Chance to See by the astounding Douglas Adams. #ownyourdata

Congrats! I love the increasing number of people I’ve seen even in the last few days working on this! Are you using to post to your website?

I’m waiting for people to start documenting examples of owning their knitting on their websites and syndicating to/from Ravelry. #​IndieWebKnittingChallenge 

Read Posts with Read Status via PESOS using GoodReads and Micropub

Today I accidentally realized that both the WordPress Micropub server and the Post Kinds plugin support read-status values of “to-read”, “reading”, and “finished”. I’ve managed to tweak my PESOS work flow with to also include these experimental pieces using the following additional snippets of code appended to the “Body” fields I’ve described before:


I’ve added one of the three snippets to the appropriate recipes for  Goodreads feeds to create the appropriate output. Here’s the first post I’ve made using the new recipe for bookmarking a book I’d like to read:

Previously I’ve been using simple notes to create read posts for books and just adding a “read” category to give me more control over the data in the posts. (I only used read posts previously for online articles.) Now that I’ve got the ability to provide some better differentiation for my progress, I think I’ll switch to using read posts for all my reading (books and articles).

Incidentally following and Indigenous for Android which added support for these earlier today, my method may be the third to use these microformats in the wild. Thanks to gRegor Morrill, Kristof De Jaeger, David Shanske, Ryan Barrett, and Charlotte Allen for their prior work, experimentation, code, and examples for allowing me to get this working on my website. 

Read Add review to Goodreads from Schema markup by Terence Eden (Terence Eden’s Blog)
I write book reviews on my blog. I also want to syndicate them to Goodreads. Sadly, Goodreads doesn't natively read the markup I so carefully craft. So here's the scrap of code I use to syndicate my reviews.Goodreads API Keys Get your Keys from You will ...
I’ve just noticed that in addition to my relatively obvious user RSS feed on Goodreads, there’s a separate hidden feed of just my reading status updates. It’s of the form where #######-user-name is the typical user number and name combination at one’s profile page.

Social Reading User Interface for Discovery

I read quite a bit of material online. I save “bookmarks” of all of it on my personal website, sometimes with some additional notes and sometimes even with more explicit annotations. One of the things I feel like I’m missing from my browser, browser extensions, and/or social feed reader is a social layer overlay that could indicate that people in my social network(s) have read or interacted directly with that page (presuming they make that data openly available.)

One of the things I’d love to see pop up out of the discovery explorations of the IndieWeb or some of the social readers in the space is the ability to uncover some of this social reading information. Toward this end I thought I’d collect some user interface examples of things that border on this sort of data to make the brainstorming and building of such functionality easier in the near future.

If I’m missing useful examples or you’d like to add additional thoughts, please feel free to comment below.

Examples of social reading user interface for discovery


I don’t often search for reading material directly, but Google has a related bit of UI indicating that I’ve visited a website before. I sort of wish it had the ability to surface the fact that I’ve previously read or bookmarked an article or provided data about people in my social network who’ve done similarly within the browser interface for a particular article (without the search.) If a browser could use data from my personal website in the background to indicate that I’ve interacted with it before (and provide those links, notes, etc.), that would be awesome!

Screen capture for Google search of Kevin Marks with a highlight indicating that I've visited this page in the recent past
Screen capture for Google search of Kevin Marks with a highlight indicating that I’ve visited his page several times in the past. Given the March 2017 date, it’s obvious that the screen shot is from a browser and account I don’t use often.

I’ll note here that because of the way I bookmark or post reads on my own website, my site often ranks reasonably well for those things.

On a search for an article by Aaron Parecki, my own post indicating that I’ve read it in the past ranks second right under the original.

In some cases, others who are posting about those things (reading, commenting, bookmarking, liking, etc.) in my social network also show up in these sorts of searches. How cool would it be to have a social reader that could display this sort of social data based on people it knows I’m following

A search for a great article by Matthias Ott shows that both I and several of my friends (indicated by red arrows superimposed on the search query) have read, bookmarked, or commented on it too. is a great open source highlighting, annotation, and bookmarking tool with a browser extension that shows an indicator of how many annotations  appear on the page. In my experience, higher numbers often indicate some interesting and engaging material. I do wish that it had a follower/following model that could indicate my social sphere has annotated a page. I also wouldn’t mind if their extension “bug” in the browser bar had another indicator in the other corner to indicate that I had previously annotated a page!

Screen capture of Vannevar Bush’s article As We May Think in The Atlantic with a browser extension bug indicating that there are 329 annotations on the page.

It doesn’t do it until after-the-fact, but has a pop up overlay through its browser extension. It adds me to the list of people who’ve read an article, but it also indicates others in the network and those I’m following who have also read it (sometimes along with annotations about their thoughts).

What I wouldn’t give to see that pop up in the corner before I’ve read it!’s social layer creates a yellow colored pop up list in the upper right of the browser indicating who else has read the article as well as showing some of their notes on it. Unfortunately it doesn’t pop up until after you’ve marked the item as read.


Nuzzel is one of my favorite tools. I input my Twitter account as well as some custom lists and it surfaces articles that people in my Twitter network have been tweeting about. As a result, it’s one of the best discovery tools out there for solid longer form content. Rarely do I read content coming out of Nuzzel and feel robbed. Because of how it works, it’s automatically showing those people in my network and some of what they’ve thought about it. I love this contextualization.

Nuzzel’s interface shows the title and an excerpt of an article and also includes the avatars, names, network, and commentary of one’s friends that interacted with the piece. In this example it’s relatively obvious that one reader influenced several others who retweeted it because of her.


Naturally sites for much longer form content will use social network data about interest, reviews, and interaction to a much greater extent since there is a larger investment of time involved. Thus social signaling can be more valuable in this context. A great example here is of Goodreads which shows me those in my network who are interested in reading a particular book or who have written reviews or given ratings.

A slightly excerpted/modified screen capture of the Goodreads page for Melanie Mitchell’s book Complexity that indicates several in my social network are also interested in reading it.

Are there other examples I’m missing? Are you aware of similar discovery related tools for reading that leverage social network data?

Reply to Chris Finazzo about Jekyll and GoodReads alternatives

Replied to a tweet by Chris FinazzoChris Finazzo (Twitter)
I think Pelle Wessman has a Micropub solution for Jekyll which might allow you to use gRegorLove’s indiebookclub as a start. Asking in chat may help get you moving on other ideas/help if you need them.