Monday, April 21, 2008

#19 (WEEK 8) Check out LibraryThing

Are you a booklover or cataloger at heart?
Do you enjoy finding lost and forgotten gems on the shelf to read?
Then LibraryThing may be just the tool for you. Developed for booklovers, this online tool not only allows you to easily create an online catalog of your own, it also connects you to other people who have similar libraries and reading tastes. Add a book to your catalog by just entering the title (it’s so easy that you don’t even need to know MARC format) or connect with other users through your similar reading tastes. There are lots of ways to use LibraryThing. You can even view your books on a virtual shelf, add a widget to display titles that are in your catalog (see sidebar for sample), or install a LT Search box on your blog.

Not just for personal collections, libraries have started using LibraryThing as well. “Small libraries are using LibraryThing to catalog their collections. Libraries are using the LibraryThing widget on their web pages to recomend books and list new titles.” (via Being a non-commercial site makes LibraryThing a good option for libraries. According to their website, LibraryThing "is exploring relationships with libraries, to offer non-commercially motivated recommendations and other social data." See also a blog comment by the Librarian-in-Black.

So why not join the ranks and create your own library online. With over 95,000 registered users (LibraryThing also has group forum for librarians) and 6.7 million books cataloged, you’re bound to discover something new.

Discovery Exercise:
1. Take a look around LibraryThing and create an account.
2. Add a least 5 books to your library.
3. Blog about your findings and be sure to link to your LibraryThing catalog. How popular were your books? Did you find any discussions about your favorites?

Discovery Resources:
· About LibraryThing
· Library Thing tour
· MoBuzzTV Review (3rd story in the 5 min broadcast)
· LibraryThing blog (updates & news)
· Thingology blog (“LibraryThing's ideas blog, on the philosophy and methods of tags, libraries and suchnot.”)
How libraries are using LibraryThing

Some Libraries using LibraryThing:
Shenandoah Public Library
Creston Public Library
Southwestern Community College LRC
Washington State Library (RSS feed also on their blog; Note - They chose to use Wordpress as their preferred blogging software).

Curriculum Connections:

  • Idea #1: Have your students count all the books in their house (see Curriculum Connection idea for THING #18), then create a LibraryThing catalog of at least 25 books. [Or, some students could make a LibraryThing catalog of the classroom book collection.]