Wednesday, October 21, 2009

23 Things #11

#11 of the 23 Things is: create a LibraryThing account, catalog some books on this site, and blog about it. I already had a LibraryThing account (check out my, um, mediocre library here). So I will blog about what I use the site for and what I like about it.

I love the opportunities for discovering new resources. You can join a group that discusses a particular author or book. I like to search for books that I love and then find other LibraryThing users that have added that particular book as a favorite...and see what else these users read and liked. The "Members with your books" feature is also great for this type of discovery; the site also offers "Recommendations" based on your personal library. The tag clouds are a good discovery tool, as well. Basically, I use this site as a Reader's Advisory tool, like the Novelist database, or's Listmania. I know there are tons of other uses. Some users really get into cataloging their books. Some really take advantage of the site's multitude of special features (author chats, et cetera). I think it is really great that so many authors have their own LibraryThing pages now.

LibraryThing is also interesting, because you can see first hand the benefits and setbacks to tagging. You can really see a folksonomy in action. It is absolutely fantastic. Yes, it is good to discover new books based on langugage that people really use...informal, colloquial language. However, not all tags assigned to books are truly descriptive/benefit the community (i.e. the ubiquitous "read" and "unread" tags). Overall, I think LibraryThing is one of the best new Reader's Advisory resources out there. I have recommended this site to library customers that read a lot and are always looking for new material. I have also used this site to try and find book suggestions for a customer who has very specific tastes. A great, innovative, incredible site.

LibraryThing for Libraries is perhaps the best contribution that LibraryThing has made to the library world! Basically, libraries can enhance their existing catalogs by incorporating tags and other content from LibraryThing. It really makes a catalog more user-friendly/offers more ways for customers to discover new items. Here is a list of libraries that have enchanced their online catalogs by using LibraryThing for Libraries: LTF wiki.

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