23 Things, Thing 14

Yay! Thing 14! LibraryThing! Wooo!

Incase it was not obvious, I’ve been really looking forward to investigating LibraryThing for quite sometime. I’m a huge fan of anything that allows for you to share your music, book and film tastes with the world. I suppose this love first started with Last.fm which “scrobbles” your music tastes and adds it to an online profile. What this basically means is that you install a small gadget which then records what music you’re listening to on your computer and then uploads it, in real-time, to your Last.fm profile. Not only does it allow for your contacts to see what you’re listening to but the website adds your interests to the musician’s own Last.fm profile, increasing their fan statistics and the website will offer you recommendations for similar music to listen to an explore.

What I hope is that LibraryThing does something very similar. Obviously, you have to input the book information yourself (it would be a bit stalkerish otherwise). From what I can see, you can tag books, give them a 5-star (or less) rating and see what other members are reading that may be similar to your own library content. As another Cam23 participant told me the other day, having all your books on display actually encourages her to read more just so she can show off her new books to others! As good a motivation as any I reckon!

After having a good look at the UL’s dependent Central Science Library’s LibraryThing collection, I can also really appreciate the application of something such as this to reflect an actual library in a virtual context. CSL has effectively given an easy overview of a good selection of their stock, with shelf locations and Newton catalogue links included so students and other readers can explore the books more. With the advent of online book shopping steadily wiping out the independent retailer, having a familiar amazon-esque feel to LibraryThing allows for readers to get engaged with stock in a more exciting way. Speaking from personal experience, when you’re looking for a certain book, having a rough idea of what the cover looks like often helps! With the option to add the (hopefully) appropriate cover to your book entry, viewers of your virtual shelves will know exactly what to expect when they set eyes on the book in question in the real world.

Right. On to Thing 15 where I will actually get the chance to start my own online library! Cue embarassing book choices galore!

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