Our library is full of things, we call them books and customers, but LibraryThing while all about both books and customers is a little different …

Started in 2005, LibraryThing is essentially a social cataloguing tool, a website where you can list book titles you’ve read, tag with your own idiosyncratic labels, rate, review and share.  Book lists can be kept private or public, and like classic social networking sites you can become friends with other readers.  LibraryThing imports basic book data from a variety of different booksellers and libraries, and once you’ve identified the correct edition you can customize like crazy, adding your own tags, reviews, ratings and covers.  Currently members can add up to 200 books for free with the option of paying NZ $20 approx. for a lifetime membership.

For reading inspiration and to test the literary waters, use the zeitgeist tab and explore the most reviewed books, top books, authors who LibraryThing etc.

Recently launched, Library Thing for Libraries (LTFL) allows an interface between traditional library OPACs and LibraryThing theoretically giving library customers the best of both worlds, quality information which also allows genuine Web 2.0 interaction and creativity.  Many Australian libraries are using LTFL, as well as  Nelson Public Library, Waimakariri District Libraries and Palmerston North City Library here in New Zealand.

LibraryThing is not the only choice in the bookish Web 2.0 marketplace; Shelfari started in 2006 but was bought in 2008 by Amazon bringing it both more cashflow and profile.  Goodreads also started in 2006 and unlike LibraryThing is completely free to use.  As of January 2010 Goodreads has 2,900,000 members.

Have a look and a play.  They all have interesting features and tools to help you keep on top of your reading.

Joyce Fraser

2 thoughts on “LibraryThing

  1. Erin March 17, 2010 / 3:23 am

    At some branches we have started using LibraryThing to track what our Storyline customers have read/listened to. LibraryThing is easy to use, and most of us find it a lot more fun than entering data into a spreadsheet.

    • mj March 24, 2010 / 2:48 am

      What a great idea to utilise LibraryThing at work like this – an easier way to keep track of reading material 😉

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