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April 24, 2012 7:00 PM   Subscribe

Small Demons is a website that tracks the connections between people, places, and things in books.

The site uses publisher data and reader contributions to track who and what might be mentioned in which books.
It's something like an index for books.
The entry for Ryan Adams reveals that he's been mentioned in four books and includes the quotations.
Adam Lisagor (Lonely Sandwich) made this video about the site. The site requires (free) registration.
posted by sweetkid (13 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Is the name a reference to Sologub's Der kleine Dämon?
posted by Nomyte at 7:04 PM on April 24, 2012


Together they create something vast, wonderful and entirely new. A Storyverse. A place where details touch, overlap and lead you further. To new music to listen to. New movies to watch. Places to visit. People to know. And of course, new books to read.

So I like books and I need a site to tell me what music and movies to watch. Or what travel destinations and friends await me.

But, really, I just like books.
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:08 PM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tangential: I like GoodReads for "new books to read".

Small Demons an interesting idea, and feels like it has potential. But when I looked up "Walter Mitty", I got a lot of references to people's 'Walter Mitty' tendencies rather than the actual character turning up and fantasising about stuff. It could use some work.
posted by WalterMitty at 7:16 PM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


LibrayThing does this better with its Common Knowledge database. Books that mention the city of Troy for example.
posted by stbalbach at 7:28 PM on April 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't understand why I have to register just to be able to view content?
posted by Enki at 7:59 PM on April 24, 2012 [4 favorites]


I don't understand why I have to register just to be able to view content?

Because it's a startup with no discernible way to make money other than being seen as "social" by potential suitors?
posted by rh at 9:48 PM on April 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm very old-fashioned, but in my day you could read a book without it becoming a social media event.

Lazy days, lying in a hammock in the sun, thumbing the yellowed pages of a literary classic, rarely interrupted by invitations to look at anything else. Good times. Bygone times, I suppose.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:27 PM on April 24, 2012 [3 favorites]


I would like to try out this site, but it ain't worth my time to pick out yet another login and secure password just for this when it clearly doesn't need it except to be "social."

I am so sick of social media, you have no idea.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:23 PM on April 24, 2012 [8 favorites]


The company has several of my former co-workers, who are some of the best people I've worked with in just about any metric I can think of and I really miss working with. Both because of liking them an awful lot and because this is such a unique idea, I hope they do great.

Oh hey! I'm having lunch with a couple of them, who I haven't seen in ages, tomorrow. I get to tell them they're on my favorite website. A website that appears to have a vast private well of serendipity.
posted by flaterik at 12:53 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am so sick of social media, you have no idea

Maybe we would if you updated your twitter occassionally!
posted by Midnight Rambler at 4:14 AM on April 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh hey! I'm having lunch with a couple of them, who I haven't seen in ages, tomorrow. I get to tell them they're on my favorite website. A website that appears to have a vast private well of serendipity.

Could you tell them that I allowed it to access my twitter login despite my better judgement, and then got some crap about "popup blocked?" Of course it was blocked! I even allowed popups for the site, but I was still getting the error message. So I said "fuck it," and will likely never return.

The lesson: if you make it a chore to view your content, I won't bother. And I don't think that I'm alone.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:29 AM on April 25, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hi folks, I'm going to out myself as working at Small Demons. So here's a few answers!

Regards the need to sign-up: it's not to make it social. It's simply that the way the site is architected requires, developmentally, a rhythm that was first purely private, then invite-only, now registration required, then, in the next couple months, open site. No social conspiracy then, just life in the early phases of a start-up.

Apologies to Mayor Curley—your experience is atypical and ought to be rectified pretty soon.

The name comes not from Sologub's Der kleine Dämon (though damn, you've inspired me to find out more about that) but rather from Borges' Tlon Uqbar Orbis Tertious: “The history of the universe… is the handwriting produced by a Minor god in order to communicate with a Demon.”

Flaterik: say Hi from me to whichever of my colleagues you're meeting! (I'm based in NYC, everyone else is in LA or Seattle.)
posted by richardnash at 8:17 AM on April 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Small Demons is a website that tracks the connections between people, places, and things in books.

Really? It looks like a website that tracks my cultural consumption preferences in order to monetize them.

Regards the need to sign-up: it's not to make it social. It's simply that the way the site is architected requires, developmentally, a rhythm that was first purely private, then invite-only, now registration required, then, in the next couple months, open site.

With respect, Richard, that only barely makes sense, and doesn't do anything to convince me it isn't an attempt to cash in on selling "social" data to advertisers.

But, giving you and the site the benefit of the doubt, I feel like I should say that having a request to link my facebook account to your site being the first thing I see when I load your site - before I even get to see the site itself - is not a good way to convince me you're interested in anything but datamining. And I'll never know, because I clicked "back" as soon as the HEY CAN WE SPY ON YOUR FRIENDS MAYBE form popped up.

Sorry.
posted by regicide is good for you at 11:23 AM on April 25, 2012


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