The Interest Genome Project

The Interest Genome Project powers Shuffle Collective and creates the magical experience of discovering those who share your exact interests and passions. It is the world’s largest and most comprehensive categorization of fields and disciplines, focusing exclusively on communities of practice.

The Interest Genome Project was created by the Shuffle Collective's founding team, alongside a team of library scientists and researchers. As part of creating discipline-specific collectives at Shuffle Collective, we started with the simple idea of listing all disciplines and then breaking them down. That list grew into the current project - a complex ontology that breaks down each interest based on the things that make each person unique within their field. The project has already organized over 30,000 micro-interests, into 200 communities of practice, designed to facilitate cross-pollination of content. An added layer of complexity that makes the Interest Genome Project stand out amongst similar projects, is that it is set up to allow members to interact with it directly. This lets members tell us exactly what interests and experiences matter for them, rather than have algorithms try to infer it behind-the-scenes. So next time you join a collective by adding a discipline, you are in fact, interacting directly with and helping us evolve the Interest Genome Project.

The Origins

The Interest Genome Project was the very first seed of Shuffle Collective. Our aim was to further people in their crafts and interests. In order to do that effectively, we needed a more structured system of organizing all the different interests that exist, across all fields and disciplines. We’ve always felt underwhelmed by the status quo of how sites understood our skills and focus. More often than not, we felt that those communities were too broad, and interests not well-understood - especially the further you move away from the mainstream. So, we set out to create a system that understood the subtleties and granularities within each field; Our goal was to deliver on our vision of helping people to discover niche communities around their specific craft, and create a space in which their online identity would be reflected in the dynamic nature of their interests.

Looking Ahead

The Interest Genome Project is just getting started: It is an ever-evolving project; we still have a list of disciplines that we are working to add, and we hope to be continuously expanding. As members interact with it, the Interest Genome Project will change and further refine our categorization. Our aim is to add and analyze every single discipline (no, seriously). If you are interested in collaborating on this project, reach out to us.