Wednesday, January 04, 2006

LibraryThing

LibraryThing has added RSS feeds. We should take a look at this tool and see what it tells us about what we could be doing. Folks like to share the books they are reading. Maybe we have been so concerned with privacy that we have neglected the social needs of our users. Maybe a giving our users the option to share their reading, and the control of what gets shared would be an improvement. The person who is a Dick Francis fan might enjoy sharing that but not the fact they are also reading books on bankruptcy. It is something to consider.

It seems many folks are glad to share their reading and that can build recommendation systems. People who read this also often read that. Works a bit for Amazon, except there gifts mess up the data. My library check outs don't include gifts so the data may be a bit better. With blog widgets, ratings, comments, reviews, RSS feeds and tagging LibraryThing should be giving us ideas on how to improve our catalogs.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

LibraryThing presents an opportunity to map the tag cloud against structured library classification, since both tags and authoritative LC/Dewey classification exist side-by-side in the LibraryThing environment. This could tell us interesting things about library classifications and how "right" they might be from the users' perspective; and it might tell us something about audiences (e.g., how their view of the world might change over time).

Studies have been done on deriving diverse classifications from folksonomies; but I do not know if anyone has mapped large tag clouds associated specifically with (mostly) books to formal library classifications.

(My own thoughts, of course, not those of my employer.)

Donna Dinberg
donna.dinberg@lac-bac.gc.ca

Dave Pattern said...

Hi Donna

You might be interested to know that I'm currently looking at how well a folksonomy (user added tags) matches up to our existing taxonomy (subject headings):

www.daveyp.com/blog/index.php/archives/57

For example, here's the info for the "linux" tag:

webcat.hud.ac.uk:4128/perl/taginfo.pl?tag=66

regards
Dave
University of Huddersfield

Anonymous said...

Thanks for providing the links, Dave. I'm glad to hear someone is actually experimenting with this. I have been considering the utility of linking tags with descriptors for a while; your experience gives insight, and a path to consider. As you point out, the sticking point for most when considering end-user tagging in the descriptive process is the loss of authority and control. What you are doing shows that these may be retained side by side with tagging while something useful happens. I will watch your blog for news of how your project is going.

(My own thoughts, of course, not those of my employer.)

Donna Dinberg
donna.dinberg@lac-bac.gc.ca