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STTR Phase I: Book Discovery through Literary DNA

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1549549
Agency Tracking Number: 1549549
Amount: $224,111.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: IT
Solicitation Number: N/A
Solicitation Year: 2015
Award Year: 2016
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2016-01-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2016-12-31
Small Business Information
86 Lomita Drive
Mill Valley, CA 94941
United States
DUNS: 079626233
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Holly Payne
 (415) 205-8331
Business Contact
 Holly Payne
Phone: (415) 205-8331
Research Institution
 University of Houston
 Thamar Solorio
3551 Cullen Blvd. Room 501
Houston, TX 77204
United States

 Nonprofit College or University

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I project will be to bring modern data analytics to the book publishing industry and apply machine learning to extract and articulate human emotion as applied to the reading of literature for the first time in history. This innovation will dramatically change the way books are discovered, resulting in the first commercial version of a book recommendation system based on the experiential reading value of books. With approximately 1.4 million new books published each year, it's extremely difficult for authors to connect with readers and for readers to find the book that is just right for them. Current recommendation systems are based on purchase history or social networks and fail to provide what readers told us are the most important factors in their reading satisfaction: writing style and how a book will make them feel. The proposed STTR project will lead to a commercially marketable product that deeply personalizes the book discovery process and perpetuates literacy. Not only will the innovation help authors and readers connect, but on an even greater scale, it will impact the way books are written, acquired, distributed and sold. This Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Phase I project proposes to tackle the next challenge in text classification: the higher level experience of reading a book. The computational model of books will learn the relationship between content, genre, author's writing style, and the mixture of sentiments in the book that, together, define how a book will make a reader feel. The opportunity is to extend research beyond what is already possible in analyzing thematic content in texts and stylistic marks that characterize authors' writeprint into those systems that can also understand and articulate the reading experience itself. The knowledge derived from the successful completion of this research represents a new frontier in natural language processing and machine learning akin to machine reading. Using supervised learning to perform the classification of reading experience for books, the project proposes to develop a large corpus of human annotated books to use for training, development and evaluation of the approaches examined. The goal is to initially use multiple human annotators to create the training set from which the machine learning system will be trained. Then we apply machine learning to 19 million current books to generate deeply personalized book recommendations.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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