blam! is a weblog add-on for book and other product reviews, linked to Amazon. The interesting bit is that it pulls various bits of information from Amazon into one’s posting automatically (including a link to a book jacket photo if there is one) and can also automatically post your review to blaxm, which is a meta-weblog containing other people’s reviews. (It’s a pity it doesn’t post them into a more flexible database instead, but it’s a beginning).
This is an early example of the kind of collaborative content tool I would like to see- something that lets you express yourself personally but at the same time share the results with the world in a structured way.
I found blaxm a little frustrating in its implementation – but through it I found allconsuming which doesn’t yet provide the same e-z integrated automatic posting that Blam does (or is supposed to anyway) but is built around a database interface and has some interesting features of its own (it’s easier to look at it for your self than to explain).
A minor grievance is that since these rely heavily on Amazon’s database, if the book you have isn’t there, you can’t use these tools to indicate you have read it – at least not easily. Oh well – nothing’s perfect.
Here’s an example review I just did using Blam (together with the sample HTML they recommended I paste in here, which as you can see doesn’t work too well):
A useful academic book for anyone who wants to examine the place of computers in everyday home life (in Australia). It takes an ethnographic perspective which means at the end of the day you can often think, “but that was obvious” – yet it is sometimes useful to state the obvious in an academic form. It looks at such issues as “why do people buy computers?”, “who uses them in the home?” and “where do people place their computers in the home and why?”