Little Lists Twitter Bot

Matt Miller
2 min readMar 19, 2018

If you explore this large list of books from the US Library of Congress I made last year you will notice interesting repetitions in titles. Since it is sorted alphabetically you will get runs of titles that start with the same phrase:

"1001 things to do with your kids",
"1001 things to do with your Commodore 128",
"1001 things to do with your personal computer",
"1001 things to do with your ATARI ST",
"1001 things to do with your IBM PS/2",
"1001 things to do with your TRS-80",
"1001 things to do with your Apple",
"1001 things to do with your Amiga",
"1001 things to do with your IBM PC",
"1001 things to do with your Macintosh",
"1001 things to do with your Commodore 64",
"1001 things to do with your Apple IIGS"

This sort of list makes sense, things to do with your computer, or kids. But they often are not so cohesive:

"On the trail of the pigmies; an anthropological exploration under the cooperation of the American Museum of Natural History and American Universities.",
"On the trail of the Russian famine",
"On the trail of the dinosaurs",
"On the trail of Robert Burns",
"On the trail of God",
"On the trail of the little white imp; a message to the boys and girls of America,",
"On the trail of the Tumbling T.",
"On the trail of Lewis and Clark : a journey up the Missouri River",
"On the trail of incredible dinosaurs",
"On the trail of the women warriors : the Amazons in myth and history",
"On the trail of deserters; a phenomenal capture,",
"On the trail of history : a reporter's notebook on Olusegun Obasanjo",
"On the trail of process : a historical perspective on cognitive processes and their training",
"On the trail of bears",
"On the trail of Septuagint translators : collected essays",
"On the trail of the Jacobites",

I liked this repetition of phrasing but not necessarily connected to the context of the rest of the title. It’s a list which seems to make sense but often totally deviates in the last section.

There are close to 300,000 of these types of lists in the Library of Congress cataloged book MARC data they released. I had worked on making a very large list of books earlier this month so I wanted to make something that makes little lists of books.

The Twitter bot Little Book Lists will tweet one of these lists out every few hours with a link to the Library of Congress catalog so you can take a look at the titles in their system.

If you want some spoilers you can look at the data here. All lists are organized but not all lists are useful.