Monday, October 15, 2007

LibraryThing

I spent a large part of Sunday adding the non-fiction part of the home and work book collections to LibraryThing, an online book collection web site. You can view my library here (or click the link at the bottom of the blog). A short introductory guide to LibraryThing displays many of its features.

I have wanted an easy-to-use book cataloging tool for some time now, largely to have a list of my book in case of accident or theft, and also to prevent the purchase of duplicate copies of books (which can be an expensive mistake when you're buying high level science textbooks).

Many of the available open-source list or catalog making software is not book-specific, and hence leaves much to be desired. In contrast, LibraryThing offers many of the features I've wanted and a few I hadn't even considered. Item entry is very easy, you can pretty much rely on entering the ISBN number and LibraryThing recognizing the correct book and edition (although the cover images are occasionally incorrect).

It also offers a variety of tools for blog integration - for example a random collection of covers from my collection should appear in the side bar to the bottom right of this blog. So far it appears random but static, as the covers do not change when I reload the site.

One drawback is that the free accounts are limited to 200 books, rather restrictive. A lifetime membership with unlimited books is $25. So for now I've limited my catalog to non-fiction history or science books, everything else will go in another free public LibraryThing when I get around to it.

Swara deserves thanks for bring LibraryThing to my attention.

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