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Thing #15 – LibraryThing

November 14, 2010


At its most basic level, LibraryThing is an online book cataloging service that anyone can use. The idea is that you create an account, add a bunch of books to your online collection, organize them using tags, and then share them with other book lovers—or keep them private. LibraryThing allows users to catalog AND share their book collections (up to 200 titles for free, $25 for an unlimited number of titles).

Libraries have started using LibraryThing as well. Small libraries are even using LibraryThing to catalog their collections. According to their website, LibraryThing is “exploring relationships with libraries, to offer non-commercially motivated recommendations and other social data.” As a result, they’ve created LibraryThing for Libraries. This is something that the library is considering purchasing.


Because if you like books (you do, right?), it’s a lot of fun! And as mentioned before, there is talk of adding it to our online catalog.

Developed for book lovers, LibraryThing not only allows you to easily create an online catalog of your own book collections, it also connects you to other people who have similar libraries, reading tastes, collections, and interests. You can also find new books based on recommendations, favorite titles, authors, browsing, and serendipity!

I’m sure many of us might appreciate the efficiency gained by having a catalog of the books we own. An easily accessible log of what we’ve read and our impressions of it could also be a handy personal or professional tool. As a reader, these tools could be another way to find that next book, find readers with similar interests, and discuss what you’re reading. The large community of users allows you access to people and information in a way that was not possible before.

It’s pretty easy too. To catalog books, just type the title, author, or ISBN to access the book’s complete information from sources like and the Library of Congress. Users can tag their books, post book reviews and discussion topics, and join or create public or private groups to have virtual conversations on anything of book-related interest. Users can even keep track of group postings using RSS feeds!


You have two options.


  1. Take the LibraryThing tour (make sure you click the Next >> links at the bottom of each screen).
  2. Then use the Suggester to find recommended titles based on a book you love. Use the UnSuggester to find um, bad recommendations.

–OR– the more fun option


  1. Sign up for a LibraryThing account!
  2. Begin adding books that are in your personal library or that you have read. Add at least five for this exercise and make sure to tag them.
  3. Try out the Suggester and UnSuggester too.


Discuss how you think LibraryThing could be used in a library. What do you think about LibraryThing for libraries? What did you think about the Suggester and UnSuggester? If you signed up for an account, consider sharing your username in this blog post and by submitting the URL of your new Delicious account using the “Add My Profile” form so that it can be added to the participants page. Name this blog post Thing #15.


Add some of the other participants as friends/contacts in LibraryThing. Take a look at Shelfari and Goodreads, two other social networking sites for readers.


From → Week 6 - Tags

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