LitMatch: Research Literary Agents and Track Submissions

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Preview #4 - Your Turn at the Wheel

In the last preview, I wrote about the new listings that will be part of the redesigned website. The new listings will expand the site's size from its currently respectable 2500-or-so listings to an estimate of over 15,000! That's a lot of data to maintain, and keeping the site up-to-date would be a challenge, even for a full-time staff. So, early in the process, we had to figure out a solution for keeping an ever-changing, ever-growing database as complete and current as possible.

The answer lies in our new philosophy, and the site's new mission.

You see, until now, LitMatch has always been like a car that you could ride in but never drive. There was always a lot of motion, but your impact on that motion was limited. If you saw a change that needed to be made, you'd have to send us an email and wait for us to make that change. That approach worked well enough, but wasn't the best way to get up-to-the-minute results in a rapidly changing world.

The new site, however, is like a car where everyone gets a turn at the wheel. Every aspect of it is socially-driven. I'll expand on that idea in later previews, but what that means for our listings is this: any registered user can add or edit almost any listing at any time.

This new approach puts all the power in the hands of users like you. Find a new market? Just add it in. Read about an agent move? Update the listing. There's no need to wait, and your participation will in turn help thousands of other users. In this way (and in others yet to be revealed), LitMatch becomes a site created by the writing community, for the writing community.

But with this new approach comes yet another challenge: how to keep the listings accurate. If anyone can make a change, then what's to stop someone from making an incorrect change, or worse, trashing or spamming the site on purpose? We've got that covered, and I'll go into detail about the steps we're taking to promote data integrity, as well as some of the mechanics of updating, in the next preview. Until then, I need to get back to building a website, and you need to get back to writing!

Christopher Hawkins
LitMatch.net

2 comments:

Lexi said...

It seems to work for Wikipedia...

Christopher Hawkins said...

Wikipedia was actually one of the sites we looked at when we were modeling the system. Preview #5 has some additional information about how it all works.