Friday, 1 March 2013

Thing 15: LibraryThing

LibraryThing allows you to catalogue your own book collection online, adding tags, reviews and ratings that the entire LibraryThing community can share.

As with several of the Things, I can see why some people want to use LibraryThing but it's not for me. Although I read a lot I am fairly ruthless at getting rid of books unless I love them so I have a small, managable collection that does not really need cataloguing. I know what I've got and where it is, supplemented with transient additions from charity shops and the library that only stay in my collection for a short while.

I did sign up to LibraryThing, mostly in the hope I could use my mobile phone as a scanner to import books and that it would make a cool noise as I scanned book barcodes. Alas although you can (I think) scan using a phone you need to install stuff* to make it work so I gave up on that plan.

I was disappointed with the 'add books' function; I wanted to add 20 books in the same series (Beast Quest if you're interested) and I thought I would be able to mark a list then add them all at the same time but instead I had to do each one individually. Although this is probably a plus for anyone who is interested in genuinely using LibraryThing because as you add each title you get the chance to edit the bibliographic information, add tags, add a review etc.

I was pleased to see that it automatically grouped my books into series, and also showed which other books in the series I was missing. The 'if you like this you might also like...' suggestions were interesting and came up with a couple of authors I hadn't heard of.

*I've forgotten what exactly. I was tempted to put 'apps' instead of 'stuff' so I sounded like I knew what I was talking about but decided to go with honesty in case it's software not technically classified as an app.


  1. You sound like you know what you're talking about to me but perhaps that isn't saying much!!

  2. I find words like 'embed' and 'functionality' are also very useful for making it sound like you have a vague idea what's going on when really you haven't got a clue!