By day Amit Gupta is a busy, mild mannered (my guess) IT manager of a Fortune 100 corporation. In his spare time Amit transforms into a super mashupman – ideator and coder of the E41St that has won him a xBox 360 and jury’s acclaim – a place in the annals of the Adobe Flex and of course praise and the big ‘wow’ from users (and bibliophiles) like me.
When looking for my RSA library books over the internet, or my audio books on Audible, my search reveals a long list. Sometimes I am looking for a specific book and often I am looking for a surprise discovery. A few new titles are interesting, or authors I have heard of – and so to check out what other readers are saying, I head off to two more browser windows and internet sites: amazon.co.uk and amazon.com
E41St is named after NewYork’s Library Street and the site marries the online catalogue of your own library with user reviews from Amazon. A true mash-up since the richness of the site does not lie in it’s database – but in its dexterity to combine and communicate two distinctive, but useful sets of information. And save your choices in your virtual online bookshelf. The site is work-in-progress, changes are being incorporated everday (my request to add RSA London is one of the many).
The site is clean and simple, incorporates AJAX elements and is quite intuitive to use (I shall not go into a detailed discussion here). The clear hierarchy of categories and sub-categories leads to the right panel with a visual display of title pages. A great treat for many designers. And you can keep searching for more. Its like a search along the x and y axis – with some interesting surprises along the way. Then there is your own bookshelf and if you are in the USA, you may find your own library there as well. E41St is worth a visit – and I am sure your comments and feedback will help Amit make his site better – or simply incorporate your library.
Its interesting that users like you, me and Amit can create or contribute to creating sites that can match brands and corporations in terms of size, reach or usefulness – a true media democracy. Marx would have been a happy man for the tools of production have been truly claimed by the workers themselves.
For more details about AJAX, RIA and Flex just run down to the list of the tech links on the right column.