LibraryThing

[1]: http://www.flickr.com/
[2]: http://del.icio.us/
[3]: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tags
[4]: http://books.aetherial.net/wordpress/
[5]: http://www.librarything.com/catalog.php?view=kpmartin&shelf=shelf&sort=ratingREV
[6]: http://www.librarything.com/

I know my readers include both those who will yawn at this as old news, and those who’ve never heard of such a thing, but in the spirit of [flickr.com][1], [del.icio.us][2] and similar “social” web offerings, I went ahead and started to set up a [LibraryThing][6] [account][5].

Pretty neat stuff. You’re able to have a very nice catalog of all your books, and you can cross-reference with the other members of LibraryThing, seeing who else has that obscure “Gospel Worship” by Jeremiah Burroughs, and then browsing their library for similar books you might find interesting.

Also, the site uses keywords (or [tags][3]) instead of as well as categories, which means where a book may fall under one major category, you may think of it in more than one context. For example, a book on Fort Sumter may be rigidly classified “history”, but I can keyword it “history, South Carolina, Places I’ve Visited”, “American Revolution” and find it more easily in the ways I think about it.

I can use a barcode scanner (which I got off eBay for less than $20) to enter books into it with one swipe. (The barcode scanner also works with nice, non-web-based software like [Books][4].)

Anyway, [visit and peruse the beginnings of my library][5]. It’s fun. Many of the books that I’ve entered are actually books that I’ve packed away (there were entered by Kenny before they went into the box) so they’re not necessarily my favorite books, but it’s still kinda fun.

2 thoughts on “LibraryThing”

  1. Ken, you wrote the following on the Books for MacOsX blog:

    I’m just looking at this for use for a non-profit client to publish their 3,000 book library. Unfortunately, their original book database is a hand-rolled FileMaker Pro database with no ISBNs, so there’s going to be growing pains.

    I’m thinking of having them use Books and a CueCat to reimport. Not sure yet. Ugh.

    Seems that we have to do something like that no matter what, though. The whole world seems to be going off of ISBNs.

    I was considering writing a script to send out titles, authors, and dates and for those books having one response, using that IBSN; for those having more than one require user intervention. But my PHP isn’t built with the Z39.50 module and I’m just not sure it’s worth my time versus having them scan in the books.

    Argh. Anyway, I think librarything looks cool and interaction between it and Books seems like a very good idea.

    I’ve written a quick script to use Amazon to grab ISBN numbers. I’m not sure if it will be useful for you, but you may wish to check it out. http://bryan.larsen.st/book_scripts

  2. Hi Bryan! Thanks for hunting me down, and thanks especially for the pointer to the script you’re sharing. It looks like a great way to try to salvage some of the work that was done in the old FileMaker system. I’ll give it a run and keep you posted. Thanks again!

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