To set a new reading goal, click the “Set reading goal” button (highlighted above) and enter the number of books that you’d like to read in the input, and press the “Submit” button.
Upon submission, the “Set 2023 reading goal” button is replaced with a progress bar.
Changing or Removing your Reading Goal
Want to change your reading goal? It’s okay to change your goal! Any time before December, you will be able to adjust your reading goal by clicking on the “Edit” link next to your yearly reading progress bar.
Want to change or unset your reading goal? If at any time before December you’d like to stop tracking your progress and remove your yearly reading goal, you can click the “Edit” link and update your reading target to the number 0. You can easily opt back in later, should you choose.
Tracking Your Reading Progress
Progress towards your reading goal is made by submitting a “check-in” with the date that you finished a book. Once you have marked a book as “Already Read”, you will be given the opportunity to also set a progress check-in with a completion date. The check-in prompt will appear below the reading log button:
There are three date options for progress check-in. First, clicking the year option will create a check-in which indicates that you have finished reading the book at some point during the year. Second, clicking “Today” will automatically set the read date to today’s current date. Finally, if you finished reading the book on another day, you can set custom date by clicking the “other” link.
The custom date form allows for both full and partial dates. For instance, if you forget exactly when you’ve finished a book but you have a rough idea, you may simply choose to set the year (or the year and the month). As long as a year is provided, the book will still be counted towards that year’s reading goals.
Viewing & Managing Your Check-ins
Once set, the last read date will be displayed beneath the Reading Log button. These dates can be edited or deleted by clicking the “Edit” link and will appear both on the Book Page as well as your Already Read shelf of your Reading Log.
If a book with a check-in is moved to the “Currently Reading” or “Want to Read” shelf, the check-in can still be seen and edited.
Careful! When a book is removed from your Reading Log, the books check-ins will be deleted! In these cases, you will be warned that the book’s check-ins will be deleted and prompted for confirmation:
As a small team, we’re doing the best we can to roll out value to our patrons, knowing well that the feature won’t work perfectly for everyone’s needs. As you set out to achieve your 2023 reading goals there are some important things one should note. These limitations noted, we hope you enjoy reaching your goals with Open Library!
Q: Can I delete a previous year’s reading goals?
A: There is not yet an interface for deleting previous year’s goals, however we’d like to make this possible. If and when we do add the ability to delete previous yearly reading goals, all of your reading check-ins will stick around — only the yearly goal number will be removed. For now, if you’d like to delete a previous year’s goals, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do our best to help!
Q: Are my yearly reading goals public?
As of the initial release, only you will see your yearly reading goals but in the future it may be visible to your friends and followers according to your Reading Log Privacy settings.
Q: What if I read multiple editions of the same book? Can I add progress check-insfor each edition?
The short answer is not yet. We’ve build the Yearly Reading Goals feature to allow check-ins at the edition level but currently the “Already Read” shelf operates at the Work level and so it will take us some time to develop a UI that supports per-edition check-ins. This means currently there’s no UI for checking-in multiple different editions of the same book.
Thank you to Jim Champ, on the core engineering team of Open Library, for leading the development of this feature.
This year we’ve had the great fortune of collaborating with Samuel Grunebaum, 2022 Open Library Design & Engineering Fellow. Samuel is wonderfully positioned at the cross-section of software engineering, design, and education, making him capable of rapidly prototyping new designs, ensuring these designs are clear and instructional, and bringing these designs to life through engineering. It’s rare I find someone, like Sam, who can so easily and effectively switch contexts between design and engineering while also keeping bigger product pictures in mind. This set of skills has not only made Sam essential to early prototyping stages, we have also benefited greatly from Sam’s ability to uniquely recognize and raise challenges about component accessibility and mobile/desktop compatibility we likely would have otherwise missed. In addition to being a 2022 Open Library Fellow, Sam co-directs a software & design consultancy that is accepting new freelance projects, tutors college, high school, and intro-level computer science and is accepting new students, and is open to the right mission-aligned, full-time role.
Hello, I’m Samuel Grunebaum and I’ve been working with Open Library as a Design & Engineering Fellow, contributing designs and code to the My Books redesign process. I’m currently transitioning into a career in software design and front end engineering after working as a Computer Science educator at the Horace Mann School in The Bronx, New York and as a freelance designer, developer, and teacher in all things software.
Open Library patrons and stakeholders alike identified the My Books page as a major pain point in the site’s navigation and information hierarchy. At the beginning of the project the desktop interface loaded by clicking the ‘My Books’ button in the header looked like this:
Perhaps the most confusing issue with this flow, is that the ‘My Books’ button brought patrons to their account’s Loans page. Another problem that was continually observed with the existing design is the mobile navigation on this page:
The mobile design took the desktop sidebar menu and added it directly below the site header, creating three layers of navigation and a very confusing split in the My Books page interface.
The central problem of the existing design for My Books was that there was no true My Books page, but rather a My Books button driving to the Loans page. This meant that there was no single place for patrons to find their books, whether books they had on loan or books they had added to one of their reading logs.
The previous menu design also had the unfortunate side effect of burying the Reading Log options, as well as Reading Stats, Notes, Reviews, and Import/Export options deep below the fold in an already confusing mobile menu.
Digging deeper into this problem and hearing from Open Library stakeholders, patrons, librarians, and the community at large clarified the direction we would take: working towards a mobile-first consolidated My Books interface that gives patrons an understandable and discoverable way to access the books associated with their account, as well as the other account specific sections including Stats, Notes/Reviews, and Lists.
Before beginning the design process in earnest, we decided an interim fix would be helpful to mitigate the confusing nature of the mobile My Books navigation. The solution we decided on was an extremely quick fix, able to be implemented in just a few minutes.
The adjustments made used a darker color to differentiate the menu from the rest of the header and the page content, as well as making the menu section smaller with an adjustable height click-and-drag feature:
After meeting with members of the Open Library team to discuss the main issues, we agreed that the central areas to focus on were:
Creating an interface unique to My Books that would consolidate a patron’s loans and logs into one page accessed by the My Books button
Improving the usability of the My Books page on mobile by moving towards a responsive, mobile-first design for the My Books page and redesigning the menu on mobile
The next step was to iterate multiple potential interfaces for the new My Books page on both mobile and desktop. With the help of the Open Library team and other design fellows, we came up with the following options for mobile and desktop My Books interfaces:
In conjunction with Dana, another 2022 Design Fellow, we continued to iterate on the designs based on feedback received from Open Library stakeholders, librarians, and patrons.
We settled on the following approach for desktop, which includes new carousel sections for displaying books and creates space for a Reading Stats data visualization widget:
Alongside the new desktop design, the mobile-first redesign that we settled on makes use of the existing sidebar menu to guide the structure of the new mobile interface while making use of an information hierarchy already familiar to patrons.
This mobile design not only improves usability and accessibility to the key components of My Books, but also decreases engineering overhead by allowing for a responsive design using the original sidebar menu:
The first and most immediate step to improving the overall My Books experience was to create a distinct page on the site for an account’s books. The new My Books page now exists at /account/books for any patron of Open Library. The new page is almost a carbon copy of the original My Books page, but with its own content that is separate from the Loans page, which was originally what came up when clicking My Books in the header. Below is an image of the current desktop release of My Books:
After adding the new page at /account/books, I created a new file for the My Books content and added custom carousels to the page for displaying a patron’s loans and reading logs. Beyond improving the flow of clicking the My Books button, this initial redesign aims to increase user engagement with reading logs and will also populate the My Books page with images of book covers from a patron’s own selections, creating a more welcoming and dynamic account page driving from the My Books header button.
Another change in this release is the addition of Reading Stats and Import/Export Options buttons at the top of the page, as these are currently buried at the bottom of the My Books sidebar. In the next phase of the design, there will be a prominent link to Stats at the top of the My Books page with the addition of the data visualization widget.
The creation of this page not only provides an elegant interim solution to the issue of confusing My Books navigation by adding a novel page to the Open Library but also lays the groundwork for a more comprehensive redesign including mobile-first improvements, multiple new custom components, and more prominently featured a patron’s Reading Stats.
Next Steps: Mobile Release and Stats
The next steps of the My Books redesign process will begin with improving the mobile usability by overhauling the My Books interface. The engineering approach I will take is to hide the My Books index content on mobile, instead only displaying the sidebar menu as the whole My Books interface. The sidebar will be responsively designed to display custom carousels on mobile, as rendered in this interactive Figma prototype.
I am so excited to continue working on this redesign process, which has already been a wonderful introduction to the Open Library design system and code base. Moreover, I’m excited to contribute to what is hopefully a welcome improvement to the Open Library ecosystem, increasing both access and usability to some really wonderful account features. My hope is that patrons will be able to more easily save and read books on Open Library once they have one clearly defined place to look at all of their books, whether checked out or saved in reading logs, as well as their reading stats and account information.
Working on this project with the Open Library community has been an amazing experience in UX design, full stack web development, and community collaboration across state and national lines. I am grateful to be able to contribute to a project that is so meaningful to so many people through its unique ability to disseminate knowledge freely to anyone with Internet access. It was also a fun way to expand my web design and development experience.
I am immensely grateful to the Open Library community as a whole for being so welcoming to me when I joined a few months ago and for continuously supporting my design process through helpful critiques and design input, as well as the general kindness shown in the weekly community meetings. I am especially grateful to Mek, my counter-point on Open Library staff, who has taught me so much about the Internet Archive stack and the Open Library design language, and my main collaborator Dana, who has expertly taken the reins on the Desktop interface designs and navigation for the overall site. I also want to extend my thanks to Drini, Lisa, Jim, Abby, and Hayoon who have all had invaluable contributions to the My Books design and implementation process, as well as the ongoing development of a comprehensive Open Library design system. I’m so excited to continue working with this community and for the completion of the My Books redesign.
I sit here, cosily on a cold winter’s night looking out over the Mississauga cityscape, thinking about the important mission we planned for and set out to accomplish almost a year ago: Empowering you, dear readers, to better search for and discover books on Open Library.
For too many years now you’ve been limited in how books can be found from Open Library’s extensive catalogue. Since the dawn of its existence, Open Library’s goal has been to make one web page for every book ever published. And to make those books accessible! But one problem with having millions and millions of book records, is that finding just the book you need can be difficult. Search is your gateway. Your one way to find what you’re looking for. But what if search can’t get you what you need?
Well for many readers, it was impossible to find what they were looking for. The search experience was plagued with limitations. It was impossible to find books in a certain language, or from a certain publisher. Sometimes, your search queries would even return no results at all — even for books actually in the library!
This past week I’ve been busy rolling out our improved search experience as the default across the site. Here are the previously impossible searches that are now possible!
Find borrowable or readable books in a specific language. Previously, the results wouldn’t guarantee that a borrowable or readable edition of the search result was in the specified language. Now you can! For example, for any fellow readers who are trying to learn German, you can now easily find Borrowable or Readable books in German ! Or… how about Spanish? Japanese? Polish? Take your pick!
Search results now prefer editions matching your language. If you have Open Library’s language set to French and you search for “harry potter”, you will see the French cover and title of Harry Potter first. Try it!
Combinations of edition query fields. Now, queries can filter on edition data as well as work data. All these queries used to be impossible on Open Library:
Search results now show the edition that best matches your query. Now, if you search for “one hundred years of solitude”, because your query is in English (regardless of your display language), the English title One Hundred Years of Solitude will be displayed instead of the original Spanish title, Cien años de soledad. Try it! Previously, searching for “one hundred years of solitude” wouldn’t match the correct book at all!
And for any developers out there, these features are also available via the Search API. You just need to add `editions` to the `fields` parameter to get back a new editions subfield with matching edition data.
Search is a behemoth, and there’s always more to do! Here are some of the tweaks and improvements we have lined up to improve upon this work:
Use this information in more places throughout the site
These changes required an overhaul of our core Solr-based search infrastructure to make search results edition-aware. But now that this information is in our search engine, we just need to add it to more and more places. These are features that readers have long desired for searching Open Library. And now, their expectations are reality! Open Library just got a little easier to use, and a little more accessible and inclusive.
Drini (with some generous writing support and photography from Bart Brewinski)