Thing 16 (Week 7): LibraryThing - Where Books Meet Web 2.0


As long as you don't hate books, this will be a fun one. (If you do hate books, please don't tell me).

external image LibraryThingWhatBookshelf.gifWith over 1.2 million users and over 56 million books in its system, LibraryThing is a great example of how a website can incorporate tagging and other social features to connect people, ideas and information. LibraryThing allows users to catalog AND share their book collections (up to 200 titles for free, $25 for LIFE), to connect with readers sharing similar collections and interests, and to find new books based on recommendations, favorite titles, authors, browsing and serendipity! Cataloguing books is as easy as typing the title, author or ISBN number to access the book's complete information from Amazon, Library of Congress and Open Access library records, including cover images and Dewey Decimal numbers. Users can tag their books, post book reviews and discussion topics, and join or create public or private groups for virtual conversation on any topic/theme of book-related interest. And, of course, users can keep track of group postings using RSS!

And, just in case this is interesting to you, in 2007, LibraryThing held a contest:

"In honor of hitting the big 10 million book mark this week, we're having a book pile contest bonanza. We're combining three contests into one here—Valentine's Day, President's Day, and of course, ten million books. The challenge. Start taking pictures. Your book piles can be love themed, president themed, or just the coolest dang book photo you can create."

Here are some of the entries as tagged in Flickr:

If it's not obvious yet, this SOCIAL thing is a Web 2.0 theme...

Discovery Exercise

Check out LibraryThing! (You are not required to JOIN).

PART 1:Take the Library Thing Tour

PART 2: Explore LibraryThing
Some suggestions for exploration:
  • Try a search by title author or tag, then follow the results as far as you can. (Be sure to drill down to a specific Author page and Title page to check out its composition).
  • Check out the Zeitgeist -- try the Author and Tag clouds (the bigger the tag, the more items tagged as such). Follow any links that interest you.
  • Check out Groups. Select a featured group, or search for a group by keyword. One group I like is 50 Book Challenge. Could really see that theme carried into a classroom.
  • Use the Suggester to find recommended titles based on a book you love; Use the UnSuggester to find um, "un"recommendations.


Write a blog post sharing about your LibraryThing experience. Can you imagine any ways you might use LibraryThing for professional, personal or classroom learning or organization? Be sure to include "Thing 16" in your post title.

Stretch Task

Create a LibraryThing account (no email necessary!) and catalog 10-15 of your books. Or, check out Shelfari, LibraryThing's slick cousin!