LibraryThing

librarything.gifAs sort of a New Year’s resolution (which I rarely do), I decided I wanted to track all the books I read in 2007, and maybe longer. I thought to myself, “there’s got to be some sort of software or website that does this kind of thing,” After doing a lot of digging, I didn’t come up with a whole lot. I found a few pieces of software that would keep track of media (CD’s, DVD’s, books, etc.), but they were more for a home library, and geared toward checking out pieces of your own media to your friends. I just wanted something that would keep a limited amount of information about what books I’ve read, and when I’ve read them. Anything else on top of that would be a plus. There were a few online apps that one could install on a server that kind of did this, but they were either way to simplified (just storing title and author), or they were like an online version of the media tracker, being more like check out management software. I was beginning to wonder if anything like this existed out there, or if I would need to write something myself, when I ran across a cool site called LibraryThing. The best way to describe it is that it’s like Last.FM for books. It does the few things that I wanted, and a lot more. I can track my books by all of the information I was looking for, and it allows me to rate them, and review them as well. It also has a nice social aspect to it as well. It compares my books to other people’s books and makes recommendations based on what other people with similar tastes liked.

LibraryThing is a full-powered cataloging application, searching the Library of Congress, all five national Amazon sites, and more than 60 world libraries. You can edit your information, search and sort it, “tag” books with your own subjects, or use the Library of Congress and Dewey systems to organize your collection.

If you want it, LibraryThing is also an amazing social space, often described as “MySpace for books” or “Facebook for books.” You can check out other people’s libraries, see who has the most similar library to yours, swap reading suggestions and so forth. LibraryThing also makes book recommendations based on the collective intelligence of the other libraries.

So it turns out LibraryThing is just what I was looking for. I think it will be interesting to see how many books I get through in a year’s time.

4 Comments

gravatar Mizidy

If you are using WordPress, which it says you are at the bottom of the page, there is a plugin called Now Reading that might fit your needs as well. It is fairly robust by getting information from Amazon, allowing you to tag books with categories and keep reviews of the books on your site. The guy who writes it does quite a bit of upkeep with it as well, so that is nice.

gravatar Scott

I actually ran across that plugin, and it looked nice, but I didn’t really want to put my books on my blog. This project was mainly for my to just personally record what I’ve read. I know that LibraryThing makes my books public, but there is still the gap between my blog and LibraryThing.

gravatar Kieran

I just uploaded my whole library tonight. I have been looking for a decent cataloging platform but there are SOOO many ways to track a book (UPC, ISBN, Library of Congress number, binding, edition, printing, sigh).

Most databases and stand-alone programs do one thing nicely and fall short on everything else I need; like auto sorting, say if you wanted to stack your books in some sort of order (subject, author, date of purchase) – but no decent collection of information so you have to manually enter all vital information. Or another may use a decent online D-base, but has not sorting capabilities.

This one has it all, and the best news is it’s all online, so I don’t need to worry about downloading anything or loosing my data file.

Great find, thanks Scott!

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