Blog » Post

Site Launch: 1000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die

Next up in our site launch announcements, another sizable site we designed and built (this one, again, using Expression Engine as the CMS):

1,000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die is the official website companion to the book of the same title, by author (and NPR music critic) Tom Moon. This is the latest book in the 1,000 . . . Before You Die series, published by Workman.

While there are many things I could say about the website, I want to note right away that the 1000 Recordings book is just really fantastic, and that it's an invaluable way both to get into more music, and to get more into music. (I've already posted some thoughts about the book / website from a music-lover's perspective on my music blog.)

So, in creating the 1,000 Recordings website, we were starting with this excellent, substantial, body of writing about music. And, we began the project with creative exploration of what that might look like, in web-terms:

  • what are ways this content / data could be findable, navigatable, sortable
  • what are functional interactions (like "buy this CD") that would be of immediate use alongside the text
  • what are modes of participation and conversation that naturally can be woven around the communication

There were several interesting facets to this discussion: what are the different roles of the book content itself (as a "fixed" communication) vs the roles of a blog (written by the book author, Tom Moon) vs related information on other websites (e.g., Amazon reviews) vs comments and discussions that might occur on the site itself.

Additionally, we of course had to factor in business constraints around the role of the website in relationship to the book, as well as time deadlines, tasks that would be handled by staff at Workman vs our team at Juxtaprose, etc.

So, to sum that all up: the website launched with a searchable / sortable version of the list of 1000 Recordings and a subset of all of the content and data from the book. It's now gradually getting filled out with all of the content and data—which is a lot.

Having 1,000 content- and data-rich entries requires a lot of data entry and proofreading. We actually have more than 50 fields of potential data and content for each entry, so one might think about that as 50,000 chunks of content. And we've had interesting situations where some aspect of the entries looked right everywhere we checked—but our representative sample of 450 entries failed to expose a content issue effecting some other set of 100 entries!

The site also now has links to buy CDs on Amazon for the vast majority of the 1,000 recordings. This was also a large undertaking, but was greatly aided by semi-automation, via Amazon Web Services. We have several more sub-projects involving music-related website APIs—look for more of that soon.

The site also launched with a blog, which allows for commenting. Almost immediately after launch, the blog started receiving good and interesting comments on Tom's posts. We're just about to roll-out several other commenting / discussion features, too!

I should end here by noting that Tom Moon's blog is, itself, quite excellent. Tom's a great writer about music and is also posting great music video finds from YouTube (today's Sister Rosetta Tharpe video is awesome!).

Blog Archives

Next post: Community host / policing Flickr

Prev post: Site Launch: Kaufman Center