Friday, September 02, 2005

Library Thing

An interesting personal cataloging site is, Library Thing. It allows a person to enter 200 books for free or an unlimited number for 10.00. It get the cataloging information from the Library of Congress or allows the user to manually input the data. Then it adds the ability to add tags, find others with similar collections, Steve Cohen has suggested they add RSS feeds and it looks like it will be in the works. The user can select up to 7 fields to display. It displays covers and provides a link to Amazon. It allows users to include a profile of themselves.

If this grows large enough it could be used to suggest additional subject headings for items. It could show what the mass of readers think the book is about. Not that we would have to follow the trend, but it might give some insight.

It gets information from LC and sends folks to Amazon. Where could the local library fit in? Would there be a simple way to have it tie into Open WorldCat on Yahoo or Google with a link to the local library?


Anonymous said...

Wow, and the link for each book to Amazon contains the Amazon Associate ID of the website's owner (spyware). So if you sign up, not only does his database contain all of your books, he gets a cut of all sales through Amazon.

There are so many things wrong with that site, it's not even funny.

Tim said...


If, in the unlikely event you click through one of your books in order to buy a *second* copy, I do get a 5% cut, but how does that make it spyware? The site itself asks for only a username and password. Amazon may know a lot about you, but they don't tell random webmasters!

As for Amazon revenue, the point of the site is to AVOID the Amazon-ization of books. Instead of getting the data from Amazon, I get it from the LC. Instead of "suggesting books" all over the place, I never do. Unlike most book sites, there aren't any Amazon ads or ads of any sort. Indeed, the only way to get to Amazon is by clicking on the book image. Providing such a link is, unfortunately, a legal requirement for anyone who uses their data. You're right I could put no ID in the link, so only Amazon makes money.

Anyway, I'd be interested to know what else you think's wrong with it. I've been getting a lot of feedback and am working to make it better. (The biggest request has been to add Amazon; apparently the LC doesn't catalog all paperback editions.)