Highlighting bookdown.org book updates? 📚


My most recent experience for this is @yihui, Amber Thomas and Alison Presmanes-Hill’s excellent blogdown book, but it’s really just an example.

I’m totally pro-working-in-public (as Jenny mentions in The unreasonable effectiveness of GitHub browsability, people on the internet love to correct you, and it’s nice to harness that power).

If you go straight to https://bookdown.org/ and/or the title page of most of the books contained therein, they give the :date: of the most recent update. All awesome. The challenge comes when I come across resources by way of search— more specifically if I’m searching for something I’ve looked for before. Search results go roughly into three categories:

  1. Links I haven’t looked at before
  2. Visited links where :thought_balloon:oh yeah, that’s where this info was last time
  3. Visited links where “hmm, I looked there before, and I’m pretty sure the info wasn’t there”

Part of the problem comes from novelty bias (mentioned before in a tidyeval resources thread), but there’s a certain logic to it: (e.g. if you’re looking for oddly-categorized-item-x in the grocery store, you check different aisles— if you remember looking for item x in cereal last time and not finding it, you’ll probably go down a different aisle first).

Bringing this back to the bookdown example, there’s now a ton of super useful stuff in there that wasn’t there before (yay, that’s the goal of a book, right?). But, I think I’ve erroneously ignored some of that material under the assumption that the contents were still in skeleton form/the same as they were however long ago.

Thoughts? Tips? Is this just an outdated mode of wayfinding?


I don’t think that this is an unusual way of finding information. I haven’t worked with bookdown much yet, but in general I find myself searching for information this way quite often. An example of this is when I do Google searches, and the links have a “You last visited this page on…”, it’s super helpful for me because I’ll often remember when I looked for something rather than where.

I’d love to hear other’s thoughts on information gathering methods, as it is becoming quite a large part of my job!


I have been hoping to revamp the bookdown.org homepage but haven’t found time to do it. At the moment, it is just a horribly long list of books, which I absolutely don’t like. I want to use blogdown to rebuild it, and I want to achieve at least three goals:

  1. Provide a way for readers to subscribe to changes. Obviously it should provide an RSS feed. For example, every time a book is updated, we can create a new post.

  2. Organize books by categories and/or tags.

  3. Book authors can submit pull requests to add or update the summary of their books in the list.

Currently the homepage is manually updated. The process is quite laborious and I don’t enjoy it.

If anyone is interested in helping me, please feel free to let me know. Thanks!

If you need a good blogdown exercise, consider helping me revamp the bookdown.org homepage