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robertogreco : readmill   9

Highlights - Sawyer Hollenshead
[About: https://medium.com/@sawyerh/how-i-m-exporting-my-highlights-from-the-grasps-of-ibooks-and-kindle-ce6a6031b298#.a4fg98jq2

"How I’m exporting my highlights from the grasps of iBooks and Kindle
Using email, AWS, Siteleaf, and GitHub

A few years ago there was a little startup called Readmill that gave a glimpse at what an open, independent reading platform could look like. You could import your books into their beautiful reading app and highlight text as you read. Your highlights would sync with your Readmill account and other people could follow along to see what you were highlighting (and vice-versa). I discovered a bunch of new books and met some new faces this way. I even built a product that tied in with their API. Then Readmill got acquired by Dropbox. The open, independent reading platform was no longer open or independent, and shutdown in July 2014. Since their shutdown, the state of digital reading platforms has been pretty sad.

Now, my reading takes place in a train on my phone (iBooks) or in sunny Prospect Park on my Kindle. I still highlight as I read, but they don’t sync anywhere. They’re typically scattered between two walled gardens, and 99% of the time I don’t come back to reflect on what I’ve highlighted. I might as well be posting screenshots of the text to Twitter like a buffoon (✋guilty).

So after stewing in frustration for quite awhile about the current state of digital reading platforms, I decided to do what any sane programmer would do: Devise an overly complex solution on AWS for a seemingly simple problem (that two companies with a combined market cap of close to a trillion fucking dollars can’t be bothered to solve).

The ultimate product was highlights.sawyerhollenshead.com. (Skip to the bottom for links to the code).

The problem: How do I gather all of my highlights from iBooks and Kindle and put them into one collection, preferably online, where I can share, browse, and reflect on everything I’ve read?
The solution: Email.

Actually, it’s a bit more complicated than just “Email”. Yes, I suppose I could just email the highlights to myself and be done with it. Now that I think about it, maybe I should have started there. But I didn’t, I jumped right to this: I created a new email address (eg. add-highlight@example.com) and hooked it up to Amazon Simple Email Service (SES). Using SES, my email address receives email I send to it and stores the email as essentially a text file in Amazon S3 (aka an online folder that stores files). Amazon S3 is smart though and can notify other services when a new file is added to it. So I setup my S3 folder to notify another Amazon service, Amazon Lambda, whenever a new email is received. Lambda is the “brains” of this whole flow. It’s given an input, the email S3 just stored, and runs code on that input."

Sending and parsing highlight emails

The code that I setup Lambda to run does a few things: First, it reads the email and identifies the source of the highlights as either iBooks or Kindle. Emails with iBooks highlights contain the highlights in the body and Kindle highlights are sent as attachments. Why?

iBooks provides a fairly nice user experience for emailing your highlights, so all I have to do is select the highlights I want to share and email them to my add-highlights@example.com address.

Kindle is a bit more of a monster. For books that I’ve purchased through Amazon, my highlights get synced to the Kindle highlights page, possibly one of Amazon’s most neglected pages. Using a bookmarklet, I export all these highlights as a JSON file. Next, I email the JSON file as an attachment to my SES address.

Publishing the highlights online

Now that my Lambda code knows the source of the highlights, it parses the highlights from the email and we proceed on to the next step: Saving the highlights to Siteleaf. Siteleaf is a content management system that myself and the team at Oak have been working on. Siteleaf allows you to manage your website’s content in the cloud and then publish your site as static HTML to a web host of your choice. Siteleaf also has an API, which I’m using to save my highlights. Once my highlights are saved to Siteleaf, Siteleaf automatically syncs the new highlights to GitHub as Markdown files. At this point, my highlights are saved to Siteleaf and accessible through the CMS and API. They’re also saved as Markdown files in a GitHub repo. Pretty cool. With one more click in Siteleaf, I then publish these highlights to my website, hosted on GitHub Pages. Now they’re also saved as HTML pages and accessible to everyone online. Even cooler.

(Note: The Siteleaf functionality mentioned above is currently in beta and not yet open to everyone. You can apply for access though — I know a guy.)

Drink
The irony that I’m using all of these Amazon services to solve a problem that Amazon itself is a part of isn’t lost on me. Like I said at the beginning, this is an overly complex solution to a problem that seems so simple — but it works for me. Now that I have all the pipes connected, when I finish reading a book, I send one email and my highlights are ready to be published to my site. Whether or not Apple, Amazon, or some other company ever makes browsing your ebook highlights and notes easier, I hope to always have a method of my own. If you have your own workflow, I’d love to hear about it.

View the code on GitHub
Instructions and code for the Lambda function can be found on GitHub. Additionally, the code for highlights.sawyerh.com is also available GitHub."]
via:caseygollan  sawyerhollenshead  books  libraries  digital  digitallibraries  readmill  kindle  ibooks  webdev  siteleaf  html  annotation  webdesign 
march 2016 by robertogreco
User data export - Readmilling
"Readmilling is a collection of scripts for use with Readmill's API. Created by Morbus Iff.
These scripts are not affiliated with or created by the fine chaps and chapettes at Readmill.com.

User data export
You put it in, now get it out.

export user dataBe aware: If we've not seen this user before, or its data has expired, it might take a few minutes before you'll get results."
readmill  export  data  via:maxfenton 
march 2014 by robertogreco
The Art of Writing in (e)Books — Book club — Medium
"That marginalia are a form of writing which, like other more familiar genres (gothic fiction, love poetry, newspaper articles), has its own standards and conventions or unwritten rules that evolve over time; and therefore that marginalia are susceptible of artistry. Some people are better at it than others. Taste, talent, discrimination, style, originality—all these qualities may be displayed and recognized in this medium as well as in others. We might think that marginalia are private and personal but the history of the form strongly suggests otherwise: people write notes in books for a purpose, and that purpose often includes being seen by other people, so there’s usually an element, largely unconscious, of showing off or trying to impress. If that sounds negative, say rather, of urgency, of trying to persuade someone else to share your point of view.

The celebrated annotators are celebrated for different reasons. It might be for the content of their notes (extraordinarily brilliant commentary and analysis, for instance), or for their wit, humour, or vivid character, or for some sort of distinctive flair. Recognition of their brilliance usually comes from their contemporaries and depends on current notions of best practice—which in turn depend upon the examples or models that are available at the time. Whatever great annotators emerge in the digital age, the qualities for which their writing is admired are not likely to be quite the same as those beloved annotators of the past, because the models they incorporate will have been different. (Modern digital annotators are unlikely to have been modelling their way of writing notes on Swift, Blake, Keats, etc.) I would expect digital annotation, for instance, to be more personal and more personally revealing than marginalia have normally been in the past, because of the example of social media."



"I would say that modern digital readers will have no expectation of privacy—so the experience of reading will be psychologically somewhat different for them from what it has been in the past—and that they will look forward to participating in a group response, with subgroups, alliances, and hostilities (disagreements) probably emerging over time. But it has always been the case that once words are published (that is, put out there) the writer loses control over them and the group moves in to interpret as best it can, according to its own background and needs. The risk I foresee with digital “conversation” is that it will be too big and confusing. If readers feel overwhelmed they might eventually not want to participate, and go back to talking to themselves."



"When people write in books, they do it for some purpose and they have usually seen books marked up in the way they eventually do it. But readers typically develop a method of annotation that suits them only slowly, over time. If you are of an impatient disposition, the sort of person who never opens the manual before trying out a machine, you can just plunge in and learn by trial and error. If you are more reflective, you might want to figure out why you are planning to do this and what you expect to get out of it. Are you using notes to take in information, to express opinions, to correct a text or to make connections with other reading? Are you doing it so that some other reader will read as it were with you, understanding the book as you do? If you do that you will work more purposefully and effectively from the start. Both kinds of annotator are likely to find their practice changing, however, so perhaps it doesn’t matter which type you belong to."
readmill  annotation  marginalia  reading  howweread  2013  heatherjackson  lisasanchez  books  socialmedia  ebooks  allsorts  sharing  community  bookclubs  messiness  conversation 
december 2013 by robertogreco
Max Tabackman Fenton
[The delightful copy from May 15, 2012.]

"Hello, I'm Max Fenton.

Knowingly or not, I've enlisted friends, peers, and strangers to unpack a puzzle that involves reading and writing on networks and screens.

You can follow along or participate by reading, clipping, grokking, assembling, questioning, and sharing—while making a path. You'll need electrons, a wish to explore, and an eye for how these pieces might fit together in novel shapes and forms.

My trails are charted through twitter, tumblr, pinboard, readmill, reading, and 2nd hand [flavors.me]."

[As shared on Twitter:

"Made my site a little more accurate [http://maxfenton.com] then read @pieratt's "Transparency" http://pieratt.tumblr.com/post/23108094947/transparency-in-the-evolution-of-technology — Yes."

http://twitter.com/maxfenton/status/202477843534454784 ]

[See also: http://twitter.com/rogre/status/202481485633159168 ]
stockandflow  flow  commonplacebooks  friends  peers  talktostrangers  strangers  networkedlearning  benpieratt  transparency  comments  peoplelikeme  howwethink  howwecreate  socialmedia  participation  pinboard  readmill  flavors.me  reading.am  tumblr  twitter  2012  sensemaking  meaningmaking  clipping  assembling  sharing  questioning  crumbtrails  conversation  howwelearn  howwework  cv  online  web  trails  wayfinding  pathfinding  maxfenton 
may 2012 by robertogreco
The False Novelty of Making Reading 'Social' - Alan Jacobs - Technology - The Atlantic
"So what is it that sites like Findings and Readmill do? I would say that they enable asynchronous interactive digital commentary. That's a mouthful; it's a lot easier to say that they "make reading social." But easier in this case is definitely not better. All these digital possibilities are turning the old and familiar experience of reading on its head, and the language we have to describe the changes hasn't even begun to catch up. It needs to start."
reading  books  commentary  annotation  asynchronousinteractions  asynchronous  social  2012  findings  readmill  alanjacobs 
february 2012 by robertogreco

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