PAL: Toward a Recommendation System for Manuscripts

  • Scott Ziegler Louisiana State University
  • Richard Shrake

Abstract

Book-recommendation systems are increasingly common, from Amazon to public library interfaces. However, for archives and special collections, such automated assistance has been rare. This is partly due to the complexity of descriptions (finding aids describing whole collections) and partly due to the complexity of the collections themselves (what is this collection about and how is it related to another collection?). 

The American Philosophical Society Library is using circulation data collected through the collection-management software package, Aeon, to automate recommendations. In our system, which we’re calling PAL (People Also Liked), recommendations are offered in two ways: based on interests (“You’re interested in X, other people interested in X looked at these collections”) and on specific requests (“You’ve looked at Y, other people who looked at Y also looked that these collections”). 

This article will discuss the development of PAL and plans for the system. We will also discuss ongoing concerns and issues, how patron privacy is protected, and the possibility of generalizing beyond any specific software solution. 

Author Biographies

Scott Ziegler, Louisiana State University
Scott Ziegler is Head of Digital Programs and Services.
Richard Shrake
Richard Shrake is a library technology consultant based in Burlington, Vermont.

References

"Subject Guides and Bibliographies," American Philosophical Society, accessed February 27, 2018, https://amphilsoc.org/library/guides; "Exhibitions," American Philosophical Society, accessed February 27, 2018, https://amphilsoc.org/library/exhibit; "Galleries," American Philosophical Society, accessed February 27, 2018, https://diglib.amphilsoc.org/galleries.

"Aeon," Atlas Systems, accessed February 27, 2018, https://www.atlas-sys.com/aeon/.

Michael Mönnich and Marcus Spiering, "Adding Value to the Library Catalog by Implementing a Recommendation System," D-Lib Magazine 14, no. 5/6 (2008), https://doi.org/10.1045/may2008-monnich.

Matthew Reidsma, "Algorithmic Bias in Library Discovery Systems," Matthew Reidsma (blog), March 11, 2016, https://matthew.reidsrow.com/articles/173.

"AmericanPhilosophicalSociety/PAL," American Philosophical Society, last modified September 11, 2017, https://github.com/AmericanPhilosophicalSociety/PAL.

"William Parker Foulke Papers, 1840–1865," American Philosophical Society, accessed February 27, 2018, https://search.amphilsoc.org/collections/view?docId=ead/Mss.B.F826-ead.xml.

"Recommendation System to Suggest Items to Researchers Based on Users with the Same Research Topic," Atlas Systems, accessed February 27, 2018, https://uservoice.atlas-sys.com/forums/568075-aeon-ideas/suggestions/18893335-recommendation-system-to-suggest-items-to-research.

Published
2018-09-26
How to Cite
Ziegler, S., & Shrake, R. (2018). PAL: Toward a Recommendation System for Manuscripts. Information Technology and Libraries, 37(3), 84-98. https://doi.org/10.6017/ital.v37i3.10357
Section
Articles