Librarians as books – part 2

Here’s a few more…

By the way, if anyone would like an image “bookifying” then feel free to email it to me: email[at]

Stephen Abram (

(largest version – 3,420 book covers)

Sarah Houghton-Jan (

(largest version – 4,680 book covers)

Casey Bisson (

(largest version – 2,700 book covers)

Meredith Farkas (

(largest version – 3,000 book covers)

John Blyberg (

(largest version – 4,080 book covers)

Jessamyn West (

(largest version – 2,040 book covers)

(largest version – 3,480 book covers)

Michael Casey (

(largest version – 2,940 book covers)

note: the largest versions are hosted on my home PC, so you’ll probably have time to make a cup of coffee, run a bath, and rearrange your entire library stock by the colour of the spines before they finish downloading 😀

Librarians as books – part 1

…or should it be “books as librarians”?

Anyway, some more playing around with book covers and average colours…

Michael Stephens (

(largest version – 3,720 book covers)

Stephen Abram (

(largest version – 2,460 book covers)

(largest version – 2,040 book covers)

Kathryn Greenhill (

(largest version – 3,600 book covers)

Hopefully the people who took the original photographs don’t mind me using the images, and the librarians concerned don’t mind being “bookified” :-)

I should also point out that the book covers are pretty much chosen at random as being the closest colour matches, so you shouldn’t read anything into the titles that were used!

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night…

As reported at the Gordian Knot, Pat Sommers (CEO, SirsiDynix) has resigned.

I don’t think we were expecting Pat to come to the joint EUUG & Dynix User Group Conference in Barcelona, but it will be interesting to see if anyone from Vista attends.

The conference programme is shaping up nicely, so I’m looking forward to seeing new sights and old friends, as well as making new friends. Just in case anyone is undecided about attending, here’s what the view should be like from your hotel bedroom window…

(Cathedral of Santa Eulàlia)

p.s. if you are planning to attend, please let me know if you’d like adding to the Google Map for the event!

1000 Frames of Hitchcock – part 5

Here are the last two for this week…

Frenzy (1972) (60 seconds)


Shadow of a Doubt (1943) (60 seconds)


I couldn’t resist using the frames from Uncle Charlie’s speech — as he speaks the final words, he turns and stares straight into the camera…

The cities are full of women, middle-aged widows, husbands, dead, husbands who’ve spent their lives making fortunes, working and working. And then they die and leave their money to their wives, their silly wives. And what do the wives do, these useless women? You see them in the hotels, the best hotels, every day by the thousands, drinking the money, eating the money, losing the money at bridge, playing all day and all night, smelling of money, proud of their jewellery but of nothing else, horrible, faded, fat, greedy women… Are they human or are they fat, wheezing animals, hmmmm? And what happens to animals when they get too fat and too old?

Michael Stephens = Norman Bates?!?

Following on from searching for books by the colour of the cover, it would be just plain rude if I didn’t have a stab at ripping off retrievr at the same time!

Once Iman gets back, I’m going to grill him mercilessly about the best way to analyse and match images. In the meantime, here’s my first stab at searching…

Using ImageMagick, I resized the book covers to 8×8 pixels and then stored the hex colour value of each of the 64 pixels in a database table.

For example, Nielsen’s “Designing Web Usability” changes from…

…to something like this (I’ve added the black lines)…

You can then give it an image like this one to search for…

…then cross your fingers and see what pops out the other end…


The search works by comparing the hex colours of the 8×8 version of the search image with the corresponding pixels of the book covers. Each book cover then gets ranked by how well it matches the search image.

The only catch is that it currently takes about over 30 seconds to complete the search, hence the need to get Iman on the case.

Anyway, I’m sure what you really want to know is what the lowdown on Michael Stephens is — here’s what came out the other end when I gave it a well known image of Mr Stephens…

Continue reading Michael Stephens = Norman Bates?!?

Go John, Go!

Just spotted that Ann Arbor now have suggestions on their OPAC — yay!

The suggestions on our OPAC are very much driven by books recommended on the student reading lists, so it’s going to be fun comparing suggestions from a public library to see how similar they are.

Taxi Driver (DVD) (Ann Arbor / Huddersfield)
Our DVD collection is mostly art films, with a few mainstream/popular titles thrown in, so our top suggestions include “City of God”, “Y tu mama tambien”, and “The Godfather”.
The Ann Arbor suggestions are a much broader range — from “The Aristocrats” thru to “King Kong”, via “The Killers” (1946)

The Hobbit (Ann Arbor / Huddersfield)
This almost looks like a LibraryThing unsuggestion, but our only suggestion is for “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus”!
The Ann Arbor suggestions include lots more Tolkein, along with quite a few GA McKevett titles.

Ulysses (Ann Arbor / Huddersfield)
We’ve got an interesting selection of classics, poetry, and classical music (inc. Mozart, Nyman, and Bartok).
The Ann Arbor suggestions include at least three books on how to pay for college, along with books by Asimov and Stephen Baxter.

I’d love to see more libraries offering suggestions. Imagine if you were able to easily compare your borrowing trends with other libraries — how much common ground would there be, and how much to local demographics come into play?

Searching for books by the colour of the cover

Iman and Jonathan’s comments on my previous post got me wondering how accurate searching by the average colour of a book cover would actually be…

Here’s a quick & dirty prototype:


It’s so quick & dirty that you’ll need to enter a hex value for the colour you want to search for (e.g. FF8C00 or 9370D8) — if you’re not that familiar with the hex values, then try this page.

Alternatively, just hit the “pick random colour” button to make something up!

There are currently around 12,000 book covers that it knows the average colour for, but I’ll keep adding more once I’ve finished indexing them.