Tag Archives: LibraryThing

apps for LT

Wishing LibraryThing had one.

Here’s the word from the man (message 23):

So, there’s some back story here.

According to Amazon, iPhone applications that use Amazon data are forbidden by their terms of service. They have told us we can’t develop one. Meanwhile, a number of other companies have developed them, and… Amazon has done nothing about it.

You can imagine how I feel about all this, particularly as Amazon is, through Abebooks, a minority investor of LibraryThing. It’s no fun to have your minority owner directly competing with you, through Shelfari, and stopping you from doing what even even companies they don’t own are doing. I hope they either enforce their rules and cut off the iPhone apps., or allow us to build one.

We will be debuting an Amazon app soon, but it will not be a cataloging app. For that, we need to develop an iPhone-optimized web version

getting chatty on LT

One cool relatively new aspect to LibraryThing is its ability not only to to get authors to sign up for their own profile on the site, but to participate in extended chats about their works as well as books and stuff in general.

I’m a fan of Hannah Tinti after reading her work Animal Crackers.  She’s taking questions on LT till the 4th.

LibraryThing assimilated?


Like pixels across the interwebs:

Under the terms of agreement, CIG has purchased a minority stake in LibraryThing and has designated Bowker as the exclusive worldwide distributor for the library marketplace of LibraryThing for Libraries (LTFL), LibraryThing’s flagship library product. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The addition of LTFL to Bowker and ProQuest’s growing suite of offerings, including AquaBrowser Library®, demonstrates CIG’s continued commitment to helping librarians and their patrons embrace Web 2.0 technologies to enhance and improve the efficacy of their book search and discovery efforts.

Tim Spalding, el jefe of all things LT, is confident this minority buy-in is a win-win situation:

Our shot. I have a simple internal label for this deal: We are going to get our shot. LibraryThing has done very well considering its humble origins and structure. If we had gone the venture capital route we’d have started with a lot more money, but we’d have to “flip it” about now–just when things were getting exciting. Instead, this deal means we get to keep our souls, and get our full shot at making LibraryThing.com and LibraryThing for Libraries everything we want them to be. That’s a wonderful opportunity.

For members, this is also great news. You’ve waited a long time for some features, and scaling has been a problem. Everything can’t happen right away, but it can happen. With your help and criticism we can continue to build the site you want, and support the community you created.

Not sure how this will play out.  Obviously, both sides get something out of this deal, though for posterity I will remain borderline skeptical.  Either way, now we play the waiting game.

reruns with books

I came across an interesting conversation on LT the other day contemplating the nature of our reading habits and more generally that of consumption itself (not TB but rather the using up, processing of stuff).  The author is curious whether we ever tend to reread the books of which we are fond, and how we manage this desire to reread with the desire to read something new and flashy.

Within the thread, reasons for rereading vary, either for pure enjoyment of something deemed “classic”, or simply because the book was incomprehensible upon first read and at least worthy of another try.  Those who don’t reread or lack the inclination to do so is because either their TBR (to be read list) is so numerous that they feel so pressured to read something new or just don’t have the nostalgia with the process.

This raises the larger question about revisiting other things or processes we redo.  How willing are we to eat the same foods, listen to our favorite music, watch the same movies/TV reruns over and over again in comparison to rereading books?  I’ll wager the former vastly outnumbers the latter. At least it does for me; I’m not much of a rereader as my TBR is ever-growing. Granted, reading takes more time and effort than the other activities, but the question remains…is reading by default less attractive than listening or watching when processing information, whether it be for enjoyment or otherwise?

LibraryThing’s OSC

I’ve been meaning to write something about LibraryThing for awhile; it’s a very cool site that brings together people who share an interest in captivating stories. How to find them, those who read them, the ways we catalog and organize them, and simply appreciating them.

LT is self-described as “the world’s largest book club”. That may be so, as it is undeniably a social networking site connecting readers and librarians and publishers the world over. The vast amount of members connecting through the interesting libraries, friends, groups and comment options to which one can subscribe enable limitless interactivity with members and their representative collections. This would be LibraryThing’s strength.

LT is countering this strength by embracing a new challenge. It is seeking to replace, gradually, the Dewey Decimal System by developing a scheme called the Open Shelves Classification, a modern, collaborative, and free organization of published works. Certainly it is an ambitious, long-term project requiring great innovative thinking, though it’s not meant to be the end-all-be-all solution for classification but rather simply a newer, better method to be replaced by future classifiers.

I have no doubt that LT will summon the people power to think out and deliver such a lofty goal; indeed, I think it should be attempted in the old tried-and-true interest of simply seeing if it can be done. I do have, however, a slight pinch of skepticism which I admittedly cannot yet find the source. Maybe it’s because LT has got such a good thing going already. Is it trying to be everything for book fans too quickly? Has it developed a strong enough membership of librarians/organizers/catalogers/OCD-ers to lend sufficient and adequate input for achieving such a goal? Can being too collaborative actually prevent the OCS from taking flight?

Since this is an experiment, I suppose that my questions will be buried within the OCS pudding that will eventually manifest itself. All in all, I like the audacity LT promises with itself in simply being an experiment. I think that’s where where the success is seen…asking questions and seeking answers…not necessarily the answers you want to see, either. See, librarians can be scientists too…right?