1/17/2014

Recommended for YOU

Have you ever noticed the ‘recommendations for you’ section on many retail webpages, and do you wonder how the items are chosen? Well, if you go by Amazon, you’ll have to do some mind meld with the techies in that company, because they won’t share the algorithm they use to determine recommendations. There seems to be some connections being made from our searches, purchases and even the amount of time you spend on a product’s page that can influence the items Amazon will recommend for you.

My job here in the Book and Document Delivery department requires us to obtain publisher information, page counts, the ISBN, (International Standard Book Number, in case you wondered what ISBN stood for) even book size/dimensions. I use Amazon as a reference tool to locate information about items we do not own.

Of course this can really throw a wrench in the suggestions I receive, since my searches range over the wide selection of areas of study here at UB. From highly technical writing to poetry to books on fly fishing. Here are the titles of the top 5 recommended books for me from Amazon this week:

F in Exams: The Very Best Totally Wrong Test Answers

Practical Candleburning Rituals: Spells and Rituals for Every Purpose

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

Research Methods for Everyday Life: Blending Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches

Female Authority: Empowering Women through Psychotherapy

Have you ever checked out the items recommended for you from Amazon? Do you think they “know” you better than you know yourself? In my case, I must answer “no”. I guess that would be a way for my boss to determine if I’m “shirking my duties” ... if she ever looks up my recommendations and all she sees are books on gardening, low-carb cooking and murder mysteries. Then she would know what I’ve been doing all day.

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