Monday, June 29, 2009

Thing 16: LibraryThing

Put simply, LibraryThing is a social networking site for book lovers, with a membership of over 700,000. It has 40 million books cataloged in its system, using data from the Library of Congress, 680 world libraries, Amazon, original cataloging by users, and more. Some small organizations are even using it as a simple library catalog and OPAC.

LibraryThing has numerous features, and adds more on a regular basis. Among other things, it allows users to:

· catalog their home libraries

· find other people with similar reading interests

· receive suggestions on books that they may enjoy, based on their home library and those of other users with similar tastes

· talk about books on discussion forums

· tag books

· submit and read book reviews

· keep track of local bookstores, libraries, book festivals, and author visits

· optionally use inexpensive ClueCat scanners when entering books

For Thing 16, go to and sign up for a free account. Add a few books from your home library, and tag them with appropriate keywords.

Read the sections on ThingLang, ISBN Check, and MARCThing to see how they intersect with the tools used by regular libraries.

Take a little time to browse through the website. You may want to look at some of the user postings, including ones from the groups Librarians who LibraryThing and I See Dead People’s Books. Take a look at the Thingology blog to get a better idea of upcoming features and new ideas.

Remember to post your thoughts and experiences to your blog!


JJR said...

LT is fun, but no replacement for real cataloging; I notice they even link to LoC as a source for records. One of the LT creators a few months back dissed DDC; I left a provocative post on his blog and he came onto AUTOCAT guns a blazing, and got "shot down" by several of the veteran catalogers on AUTOCAT. It was a fun spectacle to behold.

Old Dog, New Tricks said...

I can't find ThingLang, ISBN Check, or MARCThing on the LibraryThing website. Can anyone help me? Thanks!

Jeff said...

Many of these things can be found on the LibraryThing “Thingology” blog. That blog can be found here:

If you search on their blog, you should be able to find the things you are looking for. You can also try a Google search to find the them on that blog.

Old Dog, New Tricks said...

Thanks, Jeff! I Googled them this morning and found what I was looking for.

Dyann Campbell said...

Has anybody been able to find the group, I See Dead People's Books? I have not had any luck.

Anonymous said...

Here are some of the links people have been asking for:

I See Dead People’s Books:

MARCThing searches data sources to simplify the MARC data:

ThingLang determines the language of a book:

ISBN Check validates 10-digit and 13-digit ISBNs:

I am using LibraryThing in my academic library – without these technical tools or the social aspects like groups. Check out my blog post on it.

Also, I notice a lot of people have been recommending Shelfari in their blogs. I can’t recommend Shelfari to my patrons because it is an e-mail spammer:

Why does LibraryThing cost money ($10 a year or $25 a lifetime)?

Because, unlike Shelfari and Goodreads, there are no annoying ads on the site and it helps defray the costs of running it. And no, I don't get a commission from LibraryThing, I just love using it and it's really helped me help my library users.

Doreen said...

LT, is fun but I do like other sites such as

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