We've had a joke here in The AURA Project for a while now about a movie recommender that is guaranteed to give a good recommendation. It is a very simple concept. It always recommends "The Shawshank Redemption". "The Shawshank Redemption" is a great, if undervalued, movie. It is a touching story of hope that has fairly universal appeal (thank you, Stephen King; and thank YOU Morgan Freeman). The joke about the movie turned into a joke about a web site called The Shawshankr. That of course turned into an actual web site at www.shawshankr.com.

Now, in addition to being ridiculous, it actually serves to make a minor point about recommendation. Recommendation isn't always about recommending something that everybody likes. Without novelty, a recommender isn't very worthwhile. While working on building a recommender system, we try to keep this in mind. Just because everybody read The Da Vinci Code (and it might sell if you suggest it), that doesn't necessarily make it a good recommendation.



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