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LibraryThing: Like Flickr for your books.
September 14, 2005 10:08 AM   Subscribe

LibraryThing. Like Flickr for your books.
posted by monju_bosatsu (31 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
"A free account allows you to catalog up to 200 books. A paid lifetime account allows you to catalog any number of books. At present and for the forseeable future lifetime accounts cost just $10. I conservatively predict the revenue will enable me to recline all day on an enormous pile of gold. "

Haha...
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 10:12 AM on September 14, 2005


I don't get it.
posted by grouse at 10:24 AM on September 14, 2005


25 largest libraries

rglovejoy (1570 books), oakesspalding (1458 books), languagehat (1226 books),...


Got-daymn. Looks like some MeFites have already reaped the rewards of this baby... 1226 books???
posted by mowglisambo at 10:24 AM on September 14, 2005


It makes me feel so wonderfully nerdy... I can't wait to get home and start cataloging my books. Delicious Library never interested me, but seeing other people's libraries makes this all worthwhile. I might get Delicious Library just to make cataloging easier, if they LibraryThing puts their importer back online.
posted by Llama-Lime at 10:34 AM on September 14, 2005


Okay, at first I was nerdily excited by this. My own personal online library! But I think the novelty would wear off pretty quickly... I'd rather organize my books on my shelves than online. It won't be able to tell me how often I read a certain book, or tell me which book is collecting dust and should be given away. I'm guessing the whole point is show off your literary collection to people who can't come to your house? Yawn. I'm way more interested in seeing actual piles of books, picking them up, thumbing through them, smelling the paper, asking if I can borrow them...

Come to think of it, I would be really amused for about 5 minutes if I started putting post-it note "tags" on my books. heheh
posted by jetskiaccidents at 10:41 AM on September 14, 2005


The point is to build links between your books and other peoples books so you can discover new books to read.

I'll be signing up. Hopefully they will add new features like the ability for user reviews ("blogging") and ratings like Amazon (but with a CC or GNU copyright so the reviews can be exported).
posted by stbalbach at 10:58 AM on September 14, 2005


I'd rather organize my books on my shelves than online. It won't be able to tell me how often I read a certain book, or tell me which book is collecting dust and should be given away.

However, if you're spatially challenged (like myself) and only have one bookcase reserved for your personal books and have to put the rest in storage, it's not such a bad idea.

I know I should be ambitious enough to catalog them all in Excel (though I don't have Excel) or something, but this seems easier.

Unfortunately, they don't have a whole lot of the earlier versions of books, unless I'm doing something wrong. I'd like to be able to categorize the exact copy (US, British, paperback, introduction, etc.), and I can't seem to do that with older books.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:00 AM on September 14, 2005


If it's good enough for languagehat it's good enough for me.
posted by OmieWise at 11:00 AM on September 14, 2005



Neat!! I'm going to start imposing overdue fees on myself. Yes yes...oh yes I am...
posted by Skygazer at 11:00 AM on September 14, 2005


Come to think of it, I would be really amused for about 5 minutes if I started putting post-it note "tags" on my books.

Heh. I've done this with library books. Get a piece of construction paper, write a 200-word review, and instant bookmark fun for the next person.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:01 AM on September 14, 2005


Looks like some MeFites have already reaped the rewards of this baby... 1226 books???

Doesn't everybody... Oh, never mind.
posted by IndigoJones at 11:36 AM on September 14, 2005


God, like I need another reason to obsessively catalogue everything...
posted by Katemonkey at 11:39 AM on September 14, 2005


This might be just the thing for my upcoming "Shit, I'm Moving So I Have To Pack And Organize All My Books" project. Does it have an option for "I Read This Book Once In 1998 And It Was Alright, But If You Give Me $1, You Can Have It" ?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:40 AM on September 14, 2005


This is good.
For my own catalogue I use biblioexpress. I wonder how I can merge into LibraryThing.
Precise tagging should lead to being able to share information or find other books / papers by the same author.
posted by adamvasco at 12:02 PM on September 14, 2005


Does it have an option for "I Read This Book Once In 1998 And It Was Alright, But If You Give Me $1, You Can Have It" ?

I call that the Goodwill pile.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:04 PM on September 14, 2005


Doesn't everybody... Oh, never mind.
I thought so too, but in fact I was wrong.
posted by |n$eCur3 at 12:31 PM on September 14, 2005


At least this thread has gotten more comments than my earlier thread on BooksWeLike, which appears to be quite similar.
posted by matildaben at 12:45 PM on September 14, 2005


At least it'll make it easier for Homeland Security to round up the radicals...
posted by fairmettle at 1:48 PM on September 14, 2005


you all need to sit down. this is how a nerd organizes his books online
posted by maulik at 2:40 PM on September 14, 2005


"I meant to post about LibraryThing hours ago, but I just can't stop using it!" (Languagehat)

I saw this and said a little yay for Mefites. And then I thought, "where the hell is languagehat?"
posted by deborah at 4:55 PM on September 14, 2005


1226 books???

I'm not sure whether I say this with pride or shame, but that's just the beginning. I expect the final total to be over 4,000. (One reason I'm doing this is to find out, at long last, how many books I have.) This is a great setup; the Amazon search catches the recent/popular books, the Library of Congress search gets the old/obscure ones. You can enter either an ISBN or phrases from the title/author. Sometimes I'm stupefied at the things it catches; a few times I have to manually enter things, but pretty rarely, and it's not that hard. And I enjoy putting comments on them, for other people's benefit and my own (I've discovered things I never knew about my books, many of which, of course, I've never read).

where the hell is languagehat?

Well, I could claim pressure of work, and that would be part of the truth, but the fact is I've gotten pretty fed up with the personal and political sniping around here. Some people I've liked and respected have been showing the seamy sides of their personalities, and... I dunno... the less I visit, the less I feel the need to. But I won't go away entirely -- the occasional fantastic post, like OmieWises's Beyond the Pale, keeps me coming back.
posted by languagehat at 5:27 PM on September 14, 2005


This isn't cataloging: this concern needs a different word.

The point of classification is that we don't assign our own term to the subject but use universal tags. It's sort of the point of cataloging - that access points are accessible for all users.
posted by goofyfoot at 7:00 PM on September 14, 2005


Man. I've been using PocketLibrary to organize my books electronically. And I thought I was obsessive-compulsive.

Thanks for the link, will now obsess-compulse (?) over this.
posted by micketymoc at 9:33 PM on September 14, 2005


That’s gona be very useful, Thanks.
The interesting thing is that you will find new books of your interest very easy.
posted by persia at 4:26 AM on September 15, 2005


Inevitably Borges come to mind, especially with the cloud function. The large libraries of one genre not but so interesting (even a little depressing), but among those who cast a wider net, well, beguiling, and even useful. Among LanguageHat's holdings I find Abun-Nasr's A History of the Maghrib, which I needed but did not know existed, so there's another check to ABEBOOKS.com.

(Confidential to LH- One good turn- if you liked Crusades Through Arab Eyes, you might like Daniel Goffman's The Ottoman Empire And Early Modern Europe. I won't say it changed my views entirely so much as it is prompting me to further research into that area, which is as good as. I suppose that will include Vryonis, also noted from your list. (Haven't read Marshall Hodgeson in years and years, but I recall that I found him- idiosyncratic. Suppose I should go back.)

And as you like Doughty and Fermor, you might also like Norman Douglas's Fountains in the Sand (Tunisia), and if you like that, you will have to read his Old Calabria, quite possibly the perfect travelogue.

I could go on, but it might be unseemly.))
posted by IndigoJones at 4:55 AM on September 15, 2005


See, that's what's so great about this -- other people can pore through your collection (without getting dust on their fingers), get ideas, and give you ideas. I will definitely look for those recommendations, which sound right up my alley -- thanks, Indigo!

(I should mention that I've started with the books around me in my office; soon I'll move downstairs to the literature, poetry, music, sf, and other sections. And when I've done those, I'll come back and start on the hidden rows behind the ones in front; I decided it would be more satisfying to do the front books in each section first rather than do all the Russian books and all the language books before even getting to Hemingway.)
posted by languagehat at 5:05 AM on September 15, 2005


other people can pore through your collection (without getting dust on their fingers)

Or asking to borrow from it....
posted by IndigoJones at 5:56 PM on September 15, 2005


i have resisted cataloging my book collection, severely resisted. Mostly because I once had a job where I moved entire collections of books for libraries (The Met, Columbia University, NYU, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, Harvard, as well as numerous high schools, middle schools and private collections) Needless to say, Millions of books maybe a billion books passed through my hands in a short four year period. Library of Congress Classification, Dewey Decimal and several Custom Catalog Systems occupied space in my head and just as theraputic behavior, I refuse to have my books be in "order" or to create a catalog. Don't get me wrong- I love books, particularly some really, really intriguingly rare books that I have touched(one of Da Vinci's notebooks, an orginal edition of "Mark Twain" & a Gutennberg; seriously.) Just in my personal space, for at least another decade, I'm gonna have to resist the catalog urge.
posted by N8k99 at 8:05 PM on September 15, 2005


Or asking to borrow from it....

That's actually part of the point of putting my collection online. Well, maybe not borrow...AHEM.
I'm in the Society for Creative Anachronism, and I spend a LOT of time running to our events with a half-ton of books in tow, since my persona/specialty (pre-16th century Ottoman) has connections to so many others, and I have books that no one else on the East Coast seems to. It's nice to know, ahead of time, which books to bring.
I have a SCA Resources site just to get people & books together, and was working on a Wikified update (since blogspam killed the current one), but now I'm contemplating just telling all my peeps to upload onto LibraryThing with a special tag (like, say, sca), and going from there, since it has all the facilities.
posted by Asim at 9:29 AM on September 16, 2005


There's also another site, more concentrated on sociality and folksonomy - Reader&#0178
At least worth looking at :)
posted by kuchin at 10:39 AM on September 18, 2005


Oh, great. Script wrecked site's name. You'll see it on the site itself.
posted by kuchin at 10:41 AM on September 18, 2005


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