Monday, May 21, 2007

Library Thing. Awesome.

(Week 5, Thing 11)

Like any librarian, I have stacks of my own books clogging up my home. Library Thing is a snazzy tool that can help me and other book addicts like myself. Instead of forgetting half of what I own, I can now catalog my personal collection online. Additionally, as I like to loan my books to friends just to clear some shelf space at home, I can refer people to my collection over the web. I have only cataloged a few of my books at the moment, below are random selections and a link to my personal library.

Library Thing also allows users to find people that have similar books in their collection. Therefore, I think that as the site expands it will pick up elements of other social networking sites, like MySpace and Facebook. Instead of putting every book that I own on here - which is a lot, since I still have every book that I needed to read for my English degree - I am only putting on books that I feel are strongly connected to my personality and interests. This will allow the social networking aspect to function better.

The wide array of search resources for books allowed me to find titles very efficiently. This site also seems to do a good job of connecting various editions of books. For example, I decided to show off by adding a couple of Italian language books, including a title by Primo Levi. Library Thing was smart enough to connect this book to the English translated edition in other users' lists.

For people who merely want to keep track of what they've read instead of what they own, however, I would recommend NoveList. It does not have nearly as comprehensive of a listing as Library Thing, but options such as read alikes and connectivity to library system catalogs make it a great tool for finding things to read. The lack of a social network aspect of NoveList is also helpful, as showing that you have read a book does not link it to your personality.

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