Development/Summer of Code/2022/BookBrainz

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This page will discuss the current list of suggested ideas for students to develop proposals for Google's Summer of Code for BookBrainz. If you're a student, feel free to base your proposal on one of these ideas, or pick and entirely new idea that you think might be useful to us.

Getting Started

(see also: Getting started with GSoC)

The first thing to do to get started with BookBrainz is to clone the bookbrainz-site GitHub repository, and follow the file and our developer documentation to get the site up and running on your computer.

We have a testing website at with its own separate database. You can create an account there and use it to get familiar with the website and database without fear of adding inadequate data.

Come and speak to us in the BookBrainz IRC (Libera.Chat/#bookbrainz) if you finish all of that, or get stuck at any point!


Here are some suggestions of projects that would improve BookBrainz. Of course, suggestion means you're not limited to these ideas and can propose your own if after using BookBrainz you find a substantial area you can improve.

Design and implement a unified creation form

Proposed Mentors: Monkey
Languages/skills: User interfaces, User Experience, React, Node.js
Estimated Project Length: 350 hours

Forum for discussion

This project requires a solid knowledge of the BookBrainz schema and edit pages.

As each entity has a separate creation page, users are faced with a complex workflow for simple use cases (such as 'adding a book I have') with lots of repeatition (for example the title of a work repeated for an edition and an edition group, in a simple use case of a book), increasing chances of making errors.

Such a basic workflow should be a lot more straightforward (especially for inexperienced users). The goal of this project is to design and implement a single form that will improve the editing experience.

Some form of separation (like tabs) will be necessary to separate the different entities forms as steps. For each step, entities can be either searched for and selected, or created. While it would be best to show only the strict necessary fields for each step at first to limit clutter, users should have the full range of options of the current forms accessible easily. The form will automatically create the relevant relationships and links between the entities.

Keep in mind that "adding a book" is a simple case, and that we should be able to optionally enter more complicated cases (for example an anthology of short stories will have multiple Works, and the title of the Edition may be different from any of the Works it contains). Or an anthology of various Authors might be attributed on the cover to a single Author.

The first phase should be to make a mockup with a prototyping/wireframing tool (for example: Sketch, Figma, Pencil Project). We will work together iteratively during both the UX and implementation sections of the project.

Here are three example scenarios of different level users. The unified form should allow for each of them and provide the best user experience possible.

Scenario 1 User is new to BookBrainz and adding their first book. They don’t know what the different entities are, or what relationships are. The book to enter is a physical book the user has, a novel. The author’s name and title fo the book are on the cover.

Scenario 2 User has entered some books already for an author, The book is a collection of 20 short stories from that same author, written under a pen name. The pen name is on the cover, and the title of the book is different from the title of any of the short stories. The user has an ebook version and a paperback from another publisher borrowed from the library. The book is a translation, and the translator is well known and their name appears on the first page.

Scenario 3 User has been using BookBrainz for a long time and understands how all entities relate User has a series of magazines (35 issues) they want to add. The magazine has multiple editors

Import the (now defunct) Bookogs database

Proposed Mentors: Monkey
Languages/skills: SQL, Node.js, knowledge of BookBrainz schema
Estimated Project Length: 350 hours

Forum for discussion

The sites Bookogs and Comicogs, sister projects of Discogs, have been closed in 2020; some editors elected BookBrainz to continue contributing open data.

The Bookogs database dumps were made publicly available for download in json format right after the closing of the project. In order to prevent the loss of Bookogs contributions we want to import all the entries from the database dumps, as discussed in this thread.

This will require processing very large json files in a robust manner, creating "adapters" to transform entities from one database schema to the other, allowing for repeating the process without duplicating entries. You will put together a detailed plan fo action ahead of time

Discussions are in progress for matching roles, formats and genres to BookBrainz' schema.

Add subscriptions and email notifications

Proposed Mentors: Monkey
Languages/skills: Node.js, SQL
Estimated Project Length: 350 hours

Forum for discussion

Like on MusicBrainz, users should be notified by default of new edits on an entity they edited. This allows users to verify new edits to entities they know and improves quality of the data overall.

The aim of this project is to allow users to subscribe to entities and receive e-mail updates of new edits for that entity. This will require:

  • Supporting subscriptions in the database schema (SQL, Node ORM)
  • Implementing endpoints for users to subscribe/unsubscribe to entities (ExpressJS)
  • Adding a button on the entity pages to subscribe/unsubscribe (React)
  • Implement a mailing library on the server (Node)
  • Devise and implement a mechanism to know when and to whom to send mails

Extended goals:

  • Allow users to choose whether to be automatically subscribed to entities they edit, and how often
  • The above goal requires to create a user preferences page