Tag Archives: LibraryThing

Tim Spalding’s “What is Social Cataloguing?” Presentation

Tim Spalding, the founder of LibraryThing, presented at LIANZA this past October, 2009 in New Zealand. He has posted his presentation on YouTube in a series of 6, 9 minute videos.  The theme of his presentation? “What is social cataloging?” It’s great!

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Filed under Discovery tool platforms, Social catalogue, The Library Catalogue

Access Your Library: Anytime, Anywhere

While many of you are enjoying ALA midwinter and the new product release announcements, I saw this one from LibraryThing that I just couldn’t ignore. Following their new release of Shelf Browse, they will soon be launching a product called Library Anywhere.

Library Anywhere promises:
•A mobile catalog for any library, up and running in minutes.
•Mobile web and apps for iPhone, Blackberry and Android.
•Cheaper than you’d guess.
•Search, place holds, and more.
•Showcase hours, branches, and events.
•No installation process.
•Works with 90% of current OPACs.
•Comes with an “accessible version” that provides a fully Section 508-compliant version of your existing catalog

Check out their blog posting, Library Anywhere, a mobile library for everyone for more information and a link to their ALA handout.

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Filed under Access Issues, Social catalogue, The Library Catalogue

Flash-Mob Cataloging

There’s a new post on The LibraryThing Blog that caught my attention – Flash-Mob Cataloging.  What is Flash-Mob Cataloging?  According to LibraryThing, it’s “when a horde of  LibraryThing members descend on some small library with laptops and CueCat barcode scanners, catalog their books in LibraryThing, eat some pizza, talk some talk and leave them with a gleaming new LibraryThing catalog.”

Has anyone else heard of this concept?  What do you think?  

While I wholeheartedly support social catalogs and user-generated tagging, review writing, reading suggestions/recommendations and so on, I hesitate at the idea of good-intentioned lay people (albeit computer savvy, book-loving lay people) descending upon a library or knowledge institution to catalog their collection.

Who decides a “good” record from a “bad” one?  What about authorities and the proper use of tags?  While many of these records are taken from libraries (even the Library of Congress), there is also an element of professional judgment involved in choosing a record.

While there is research available to prove that when a large number of tags are created, uniformity and patterns in tags do appear, that does not mean that rules for use of the tags are also created.  How we apply subject headings and access points are part of our expertise. If records are pulled in from multiple sources, subject headings and access points will be far from uniform. Will a project be undertaken to clean-up the bibliographic and authority records?

The emergence of discovery tools also brings in an interesting problem.  These smaller institutions will run into difficulties when attempting to overlay their catalogs with discovery platform tools.  These tools rely on properly cataloged records to retrieve information.  The platform is only as good as the record.  If there are spelling errors or lack of uniformity in subject headings and descriptive information (think multilingual items!), the discovery tool will be less than successful.  And, discovery tools are known for exposing your bad records.We are all well-acquainted with the bare bones records of our past that still creep up in our catalogs today

One thing I absolutely agree with in the Flash-Mob Cataloging posts – Cataloging is FUN!! Yes, it really is. 







Filed under future of cataloguing, Social catalogue, The Cataloguer, The Library Catalogue

LibraryThing as an OPAC resource

LibraryThing, the popular social network book cataloging site, made waves in the library world with three significant announcements during the first week of August. Of the most direct benefit to libraries, LibraryThing announced on August 7 that it is now offering one million user-uploaded book covers for use in OPACS and other library software in a free service competing directly with similar offerings from companies like Syndetic Solutions that offer covers and bibliographic data to libraries for a fee. The book covers are freely available for retrieval and use via the LibraryThing Application Programming Interface (API), subject to relatively minor usage restrictions.”

This excerpt is from Library Journal’s article LibraryThing Releases One Million Free Covers.

Top three things that may affect us – or that we can take advantage of:

  • One million free cover images available for download and display in library OPACs
  • 30 million items cataloged by LibraryThing users to surpass LC collection size
  • Amazon.com to acquire minority stake in LibraryThing upon completion of AbeBooks purchase

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Filed under future of cataloguing, The Library Catalogue