Monday, March 17, 2008

11. LibraryThing Revisited

I know many of you enjoyed our lesson on LibraryThing in Learning 2.0. There has been a lot happening at LT since that post so I thought we'd take a look at it again.

What's the same?

  • Costs $25 for a lifetime membership. Really not that much
  • Can catalog 200 books for free
Some stats:

  • Over 313,000 users have signed up
  • Over 20 million books have been cataloged
  • Users have applied over 26 million tags to their books
What's new or what we didn't cover last time:

LibraryThing for Libraries - basically it allows you to mine LibraryThings wealth of information for your Libraries' catalog.

What does LTFL do?

LibraryThing for Libraries enhances your catalog in three ways:

  • Book recommendations - these show high-quality "recommended" or "similar" books.
  • Tag clouds - tags are descriptive terms about the book, and function as descriptors and points to search from, which is more powerful and flexible than searching using an OPAC alone. ?read more about tags?
  • Other editions and translations - links to related editions and translations of the same work (a "FRBR-like" concept).
Basically rather than relying on your patron base to tag, review and rate. Libraries get access to the collective input from LibraryThing users. Examples of Libraries using LibraryThing for Libraries

LibraryThing Local - If you've been using your LibraryThing account you might have noticed a new tab recently - "Local" This new service kicked off March 3rd and as off writing this post (3/8/08 10:30 am central time) over 13,000 venues and over 1,100 events have been added.

LibraryThing Local is a new sub-site devoted to finding, mapping and describing the world's bookstore, library, book fair and festival—as well as all the readings, signings, lectures and other events they host.
Go take a look at your account. I've added MRRL and our major upcoming events, see if you can find it and "favotie" it. What other ways could Libraries use this?

LibraryThing on your Cellphone - if you have a cell phone with web browsing capabilities this little feature lets you access your account from your phone. Handy if you're like me and have a want to buy list of books a mile long and can't remember which one you've actually already bought when you're standing in the bookstore.

Some more links:


Francesca said...

Wow - those are some cool updates. I like the extra data provided for catalogs that libraries can get. This would mainly benefit popular titles, I looked up some dance videos on participating libraries, and found no information on the nonfiction videos.
Age is only a #: I notice Ashland Public Library is Not yet listed on LibraryThing Local ( I don't suppose you'll feel inspired to figure it out and get it on the map). The cell phone link would really come in handy for people shopping at our booksales!

Marion said...

The map service is nice. It even offers driving directions. I was surprised to find the MU library but not the Columbia Public Library (though the Friends group is listed). The extra info for the catalog could be very useful too. There were an amazing about of groups on the list now too!

absinthekid said...

Wow, thanks for this one! I loved Goodreads, but LibraryThing is bigger, better, and with more functionality. This will take a lot of exploring. First thought: a wonderful use of the internet for bookish people, on many levels--good for cataloging, socializing, and especially reader's advisory stuff.

eyeoh said...

Nice additions to the service. Like many on the net, I can't get enough maps to make me happy. The local library additions are welcome. However, as was pointed out by others, the information is only accurate if users of the service keep it updated.

Robin said...

This (eyeoh's post) brings up a good point - one of radical trust. He says that users need to keep the info updated, but who's vetting the info being put into the system? Google just recently opened up their local maps/search results to editing by *anyone* on the 'net. Does this make Google's info less trustworthy now because of possible vandalism? More trustworthy because business owners can modify their own listings without help? What do you all think about services like this that allow the public to edit information that is then offered up on a trusted publisher's blog?

Bobbi Newman said...

The thing about LibraryThing Local is that users do have to put in the libraries and add venues. This is a fairly new service so some libraries might not have added themselves yet and in some cases there might not be some one at that library who is responsible for things like this. Maybe a patron who loves the library will!

I will admit, as the person at MRRL who does most of this stuff, it can be a bit daunting to remember all the places I've put our info!

I'd really like to see teh events feature take off!

sexybeast said...

map service is superdie duperdie nice, however, not being a map person, you can have too many maps.

It would be a very special patron to keep up on all the information for the library. Goddess bless everyone.

Marion said...

Robin raises a good question. How to know how trustworthy the info is if anyone can edit it? I guess this is one reason to check out a couple of websites to help verify the data. Also, I hppe Google is keeping an eye on this and will respond if needed, like wikipedia attempts to do - so if someone intentionally adds wrong info it can be corrected. Can anyone, anyone edit Google maps or just people with google accounts like gmail?

Anonymous said...

I agree with absynthekid - a good source to catalog books and look for reviews. It's also very handy to look up upcoming activities at your local library.

Thoughts from the CROA said...

I agree with absynthekid - a good source to catalog books and get reviews. It's also a good source to look up upcoming events at your local library.

Skoone said...

I just finished looking at a bunch of libraries that use the LibraryThing application on their catalog and all I can say is I want it! Please Mike and Robin! It provides great Reader's Advisory with links to similar books. Our patrons would love this.

Also, I took a look at LibraryThing local and I think it's awesome we have our programming information out there for all to see. I am disappointed Columbia isn't doing the same. Awesome job Bobbi!

moonbeam said...

I agree with some that this is a great place to catalog books and find reviews.

justme said...

It's a great place to learn what others say about what they are reading, besides the reviews.

leslie said...

I wonder who their cataloging source is? If they offer cataloging as part of the package, where are they getting it from? I couldn't find anything on the site that addressed that. I think that patrons being able to recommend is good. I don't know about the tagging. It would depend on whether or not it is independent of what librarians put into the catalog or in addition to. I couldn't tell for sure.

betterlate said...

This is great! I do not know if I will use it now but it is nice to know this is available!

courtney said...

I was using LibraryThing until I discovered the "Visual Bookshelf" app on Facebook, which was more appropriate for my personal uses (seriously, who has only 200 books? I had to be very judicious when beginning to compile my LibraryThing account. But that's just me). I've read some articles about smaller public and special libraries using this service as their sole catalog. For $25, this would be quite the bargain of an OPAC. I like the addition of the local feature. It adds a more community-like feel to the application.

newbie said...

I really enjoyed the recommendations and the reviews. I signed up for the early reviewers panel for hopefully a free book or two.

madmusing said...

Wow, I love the possibilities of this service. However, the prospect of doing something with my 1,000-plus volumes is too intimidating to contemplate. Maybe someday.

Melody said...

I think this is a great site, a lot of option for book lovers. Though this will take me longer to learn than the goodreads.

Bobbi Newman said...

@madmusing, you should take a look at the barcode scanner they have
it would make adding them MUCH easier. My books are already added but I can't help wanting that cute little scanner