07. October 2005 · Comments Off on Book Collectors, take note… · Categories: A Href, General

For those of us who would like to catalog our book collections, the options have usually been few and tedious, requiring lots of typing. Oh, the Mac lovers can get by with Delicious Library, which lets you use your webcam to scan the barcode of the book and then enters the applicable data for you, but Macs are a small percentage of the population, and there are no plans to port it to a Windows/Linux environment.

So I thought I was trapped, tied into purchasing a cataloging software and typing the data in for each of the almost 1000 books I own (could be over 1000 by now – who knows?).

Then along comes Tim Spalding, who needed a quick way to catalog his own book collection, so he created LibraryThing. It’s an online catalog of your book collection, but the data is printable and exportable (csv format). You can make your catalog public or private, as you prefer. You can add your own “tags” to the books, describing them in ways that make sense to you, instead of to Mr Dewey or the Library of Congress.

If you want to test it out, you can add 200 books for free. If you have a larger library, he requests a one-time payment of USD10. Yeah – Ten bucks. That’s it.

Creating an account there is simple – you simply type in a username/password, and if they’re unique, you’re in. Adding books to your collection is just as simple – the quick add feature lets you type in whatever you want (author’s name, title, isbn, etc), and search one of over 30 online libraries. Within 5 minutes, I had added 40 books to my online catalog, simply by typing in an author’s name, searching the Amazon.com library, and clicking on the titles that matched mine. When I have time to sit down and do more, I’m going to use the Library of Congress for my searches instead of Amazon – often-times Amazon showed incorrect authors, although the title was correct. I’m thinking it was maybe showing secondary authors as primary, although they all show correctly in my actual catalog.

Those are minor annoyances, and there are a couple other minor tweaks I would like to see, but it’s still in beta, and it’s only about 6 weeks old as a public product, so I can be patient, I think. It was made public on Aug 29, 2005, and according to its “zeitgeist” page, there are already:

total books catalogued 369,481
unique books 209,490
6,805 users since August 29, 2005

Check it out, see what you think, and share your thoughts with Tim. He seems to be very willing to listen to his customers.

hat tip: Shannon at ShannonBlogs

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