(This post was originally written for the “Social Media in the Enterprise” course at Syracuse University, taken as part of the curriculum for my MLIS degree. The original post may be accessed at the class blog, RotoloClass. Direct link here.)
A coworker recently introduced me to a new website he thought I’d enjoy, as he quickly surmised that I’m an avid reader. Small Demons definitely appeals to the persnickety interdisciplinary bibliophile in me.
From the “About Us” page:
“Small Demons is a Los Angeles-based company that believes powerful and interesting things can happen when you connect all the details of books.”
According to its CrunchBase profile, it was founded by former Yahoo! and Myspace employees in October 2009.
Basically, the site exists to connect all the people, places and things in books.
Search by People, Places or Things
Every category includes both real and fictional entities.
From the homepage, you may enter a keyword search for nearly anything: title, product, people, place, etc., and then filter the results by books, people, places, and things.
As an example, I looked up Batman and received 33 results, which included the character himself, his alias, various films he has appeared in, writers who have penned his stories, artists who have drawn him, and of course, books and comics he has appeared in.
Alternately, searching for “Gotham” in Small Demons delivers 13 results, with many of them not being obviously related to Batman’s Gotham City.
Each main category—people, places or things— has its own tab in the navigation bar, and is then broken up into various subcategories.
My favorite of each category is the “Most Referenced” feature. In the United States, the most referenced places are New York and California. The New York Times, World War II and the Bible top the “Most Referenced Things” list.
In addition, hovering over any image within a topic will give you the number of “mentions” it has in the Small Demons world.
Just as with other familiar social networks, Small Demons has incorporated a “Like” feature across the site. Liking any topic adds it to your own Storyboard, which is touted as a reflection of Small Demons, curated by you, the individual user. Your Storyboard will include Books, Series & Authors, Passages, and People, Places & Things. The Storyboard allows you to see the connections among your interests, or likes.
As the site is still very new, most new facts are added by the Small Demons team or by user feedback submitted via email or a public forum. In the future, the site will include a number of features that will make the Small Demons experience much more collaborative, such as ranking, editing capabilities, photo-sharing, and gaming elements such as points and badges. Currently, Small Demons is looking for people interested in pilot-testing some of these new features. Additional upcoming features and expanded content are listed here.
Overall, I love Small Demons’ capacity for discovery. I can start out at one point and end up somewhere completely unexpected. But unlike a search giant like Google or Yahoo!, the Small Demons universe feels a little more contained, possibly because its so new. I also love that the homepage features a random book and a random connection, as shown in the screenshot below:
Check it out and have fun with it. It may lead you to books or information you never would have considered or discovered otherwise.