For this Thing, we were also supposed to “read the sections on thingLang, ISBN Check, and MARCThing to see how they intersect with the tools used by regular libraries.” MARCThing searches data sources to simplify the MARC data. ThingLang determines the language of a book. ISBN Check validates 10-digit and 13-digit ISBNs. I don’t really use these technical tools, but it was interesting to read about them in the Thingology blog, which “is LibraryThing’s ideas blog, on the philosophy and methods of tags, libraries and suchnot.” A little less technical is the LibraryThing Blog, “LibraryThing’s features and announcements blog.” I have the combined feed for both going to my blog readers.
I’m not really on LibraryThing for the social aspects, although I did join the Librarians Who LibraryThing group on my personal account. I really don’t have time to follow it or any other group, though. I See Dead People’s Books looks interesting, but Name that Book would probably be more useful in a library, particularly a public library.
Also, I notice a lot of North Texas 23 people have been recommending Shelfari or Goodreads in their blogs. I can’t recommend Shelfari and refuse to even try it myself because of its e-mail spamming and astroturfing.
I did set up a Goodreads account a few months ago. I’ve added one friend, and follow a couple others’ reviews, added a few books these folks had and rated a couple of them, made a couple comments on others’ reviews, but that’s it. Frankly, I really don’t care what page someone is on in a book or how many stars they gave it. Here is a good post that compares Goodreads and LibraryThing – be sure to read all the comments.
Why does LibraryThing cost money ($10 a year or $25 a lifetime) if you want to add more than 200 books? Because, unlike Shelfari and Goodreads, there are no annoying ads on LibraryThing and it helps defray the costs of running it. The librarian in me really prefers the features in LibraryThing.
Some Texas libraries are using LibraryThing for Libraries, which provides a “Catalog Enhancements” package and a “Reviews Enhancement” package. Bedford Public Library was the second library ever to adopt this, and they use both packages. To date, other libraries in Texas using the Catalog Enhancements package (with examples) are the Irving Public Library, the Richardson Public Library, and the University of Texas at Austin. As an academic librarian, I’m really interested to see how the latter uses LibraryThing for Libraries.