Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Your Call Number System

I’ve added a feature so members and small libraries can record your own primary call-number system–the one that you actually use, if you use one.

callnumber-2

You can then add a new field, “Call number” to your display styles:

callnumber-3

You do this here, at Settings > Other settings.

Why do this? Well, a few reasons.

  1. Your styles can include a “Call number” field, which visitors will find easier to understand.
  2. If you set it to Library of Congress (LCC) or Dewey (DDC/MDS), then you can change the “Call number” column and it will change your LCC or DDC.
  3. If you see it to “Personal or custom system” you can add, edit and show your own private call numbers, without bothering to edit another system.
  4. If you set it to one of the many others (Bliss, Cutter Expansive, etc.) you can add your own numbers, and at some point in the future we may be able to improve on that with additional data from library records. If not data, we can at least code the rules for sorting other classifications.

Here are the options. Feel free to suggest others. Note that nothing has been taken away here. You can continue to use DDC, LCC and now a new private call-number system without obstacles.

callnumber-1

Come talk about this on Talk.

Labels: new feature, new features, Uncategorized

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Two new LibraryThing Stamps

stamps2

When we introduced the LibraryThing Stamp for our sixth birthday in 2011, you gave us lots of great ideas for making them better.

After some deliberation, we are proud to introduce two new stamps to the LibraryThing “line.”

The first is a “clean” or “empty” stamp, with space for members to add their initials, date, member name or whatever else they want to add. The design removes the “LT” in the middle and adds a cute “L” banner. It’s 1×1 inch, with a handle, like our “classic” stamp.

  • Check out the “clean” stamp »
  • The second is a smaller half-inch “mini” stamp, with the classic “LT” look. It’s good for inside, as well as spines and edges. And it’s so darn cute!

  •  Check out the “mini” stamp »
  • The new stamps are $15 and $10, respectively. Check out all of our stamps and other LibraryThing merch in the Store, and tell us what you think about the new designs on Talk.

    Happy Stamping!

    Labels: fun, LT swag

    Friday, February 20th, 2015

    New Feature: Lending (a.k.a. “Circulation”)

    circulation-lendingboxWe’ve just released a major new feature: lending tracking, or, as libraries call it, “circulation.”

    Why are we doing this?

    Regular members have long called for a simple way to track lending. But the strongest calls have come from the many small libraries that use LibraryThing–community centers, classrooms, museums, churches, synagogues, ashrams, health centers, masonic temples, etc. We’ve got a list of some our favorites.

    Simple but Strong

    Although simple to use, “Lending” was designed to be powerful enough for small libraries. Rather than just a field for a name, it’s a full system, with:

    • Who checked something out and when
    • Due dates and “overdue” status
    • “On hold,” “missing” an custom statuses
    • Summary information by transaction, status and patron
    • Control over what status information visitors see

    Here’s a video I made explaining it:

    If you don’t want to watch the video, or want more information, here it is in text.

    Come talk to us about it here on Talk.

    Where can I find it?

    Members who haven’t changed their catalog display styles will find the “Lending” column on style “B.” To add it to a style, go to “Settings.” (This used to be just a “cog” graphic next to the styles.)

    circ_bar_1and2

    You can find Lending summary information as a mode, together with tags, authors, etc.

    circ_bar_1

    Here’s how it looks in the catalog. Double-click to add or change a book’s lending status. Although there are a lot of fields, everything is optional. If you just want to track in/out, with no names or dates or due-dates, that’s fine:
    circulation-catalog

    Here’s what lending looks like on book pages–a little “book-pocket” icon () to edit lending status, and, if the book has a status, an area for showing it.
    circulation_bookpage

    Here’s what it looks to add a status:
    circulation-newstatus

    Selecting the “Lending” menu within the catalog () shows you summary and transaction information.
    circulation-transactions

    There are a lot of options here:
    circulation-patronscirculation-statuscirculation-dewey

    There’s also a “Lending Summary” section for your home page, available under Home > Books:
    Homepage

    Thanks. Come talk to us about it here on Talk.

    PS: This was a joint effort between myself and Ammar, who did great work, with some help from Chris Holland and others.

    Labels: libraries, new feature, new features

    Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

    Better recommendations: Display

    Over the next week or so we’ll be talking a lot about recommendations on LibraryThing and LibraryThing for Libraries. We’ve been doing a lot of work on this part of the site, and will be rolling out a number of improvements.

    Today we’re debuting a new system for showing recommendations on works.

    Check it out:

    1. Recommendations page for The Fault in Our Stars
    2. Recommendations page for Archaeology and Language
    3. Work page for Code Name Verity

    And come talk about it on Talk.

    Details. The first change is to the “brief” display on work pages. We have a new way of showing a “shelf,” with both cover and title. We think this is more appealing—to more users—than the previous text-only system.

    Screenshot 2015-02-04 13.51.09

    You can expand to “see more,” to get two more rows, then “see all” to get ten or more. The deeper you go the less confident we are that the recommendation is a good one. But our recommendations are often quite good deep.

    If it’s not more appealing to you, you can see the recommendations as text, with series “tucked under.”

    Screenshot 2015-02-04 13.51.48

    If you want to keep it that way, click the “edit” pencil. To keep the number of icons down, you’ll only get this if you click to change views. (Not everyone will like this. I do.)

    Screenshot 2015-02-04 13.54.27

    Besides “covers” and “text” you can also choose to vote on recommendations, as before.

    Screenshot 2015-02-04 13.55.46

    The new way of seeing recommendations has transformed the “All recommendations” subpage. (Here’s the ugly, list-y thing it looked like before.) To the various recommendation types we’ve added “More by this author,” which sorts the authors books by their algorithmic similarity to the book in quesiton, and “‘Old’ Combined Recommendations” for members seeking to compare the old algorithms with the new.

    As before, this page shows all the different elements that make up LibraryThing’s “main” (or “combined”) recommendations.

    Screenshot 2015-02-04 13.58.44

    And come talk about it on Talk.

    A note on authors and repetition. Algorithmic recommendations are something between a science and an art. There’s a lot of math involved, some of it very complex indeed. But the mathematically “right” answer isn’t much good if it’s boring. So, mathematically, one James Patterson book is statistically most similar to two dozen other James Patterson books before and other author can contribute a book. But who wants to see row after row of that?

    Turning math into something stimulating and diverse, yet credible, is complex process. In this case, the same-author problem is addressed not in the initial data, but “at display,” by limiting how many times an author may appear on a given line. You can see this, for example, in the recommendations for The Fault in Our Stars, which restrains John Green from taking over, or Horns, which restrains Joe Hill, but also Steven King, Justin Cronin and others.

    Because of differences in screen size, members will now sometimes be presented with slightly different recommendations lists, as books get pushed between rows. We think the drawbacks there are outweighed by the visual benefits of not overloading members wih repetitive recommendations.

    Labels: design, new feature, new features, recommendations, Uncategorized

    Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

    February Early Reviewers batch is live!

    The February 2015 batch of Early Reviewer books is up! We’ve got 88 books this month, and a grand total of 2,545 copies to give out. Which books are you hoping to snag this month? Come tell us on Talk!

    If you haven’t already, sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing/email address and make sure they’re correct.

    » Then request away!

    The deadline to request a copy is Monday, February 23rd at 6pm Eastern.

    Eligiblity: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the US, Canada, the UK, Israel, Australia, France, and many more! Make sure to check the flags by each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

    Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

    Taylor Trade Publishing Ballantine Books Candlewick Press
    MSI Press Apex Publications Beacon Press
    Crown Publishing Gefen Publishing House Quirk Books
    Sakura Publishing Henry Holt and Company CarTech Books
    Gotham Books Tundra Books Human Kinetics
    Greenleaf Book Group Recorded Books HighBridge Audio
    Post Mortem Press EnemyOne BookViewCafe
    Akashic Books The Dial Press University Press of New England
    ForeEdge EsKape Press Fantastic Books
    Prospect Park Books JournalStone Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
    EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing

    Labels: early reviewers, LTER

    Thursday, January 8th, 2015

    January Early Reviewers batch is live!

    The January 2015 batch of Early Reviewer books is up! We’ve got 86 titles this month, with a grand total of 2,225 copies to give out.

    If you haven’t already, sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing/email address and make sure they’re correct.

    » Then request away!

    The deadline to request a copy is Monday, January 26th at 6pm Eastern.

    Eligiblity: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the US, Canada, the UK, Israel, Australia, France, and many more. Make sure to check the flags by each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

    Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

    Kregel Publications Lion Fiction Bethany House
    Random House Taylor Trade Publishing St. Martin’s Press
    Eerdmans Books for Young Readers Greenleaf Book Group Beacon Press
    Queen’s Ferry Press Spiegel & Grau EsKape Press
    Candlewick Press MSI Press Apex Publications
    Cool Gus Publishing Akashic Books Crown Publishing
    Vinspire Publishing, LLC Ballantine Books CarTech Books
    Recorded Books HighBridge Audio ForeEdge
    Booktrope JournalStone Plume
    Harper 360 McFarland BookViewCafe
    Gefen Publishing House

    Labels: early reviewers, LTER

    Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

    Top Five Books of 2014

    It’s become a LibraryThing tradition: as the year draws to a close, LT staff members list of their top five reads (you can see 2013’s list here)—this is our fourth year running!

    We also want all members to get in on the fun, so we compiled a list that all of LibraryThing can add to. We’d like to see not just the most read books of 2014, but the best of the best. What were your five favorite reads of 2014? Note: books on this list weren’t necessarily released in 2014. These are just the best we’ve read this year, regardless of publication date.

    » List: Top Five Books of 2014 — Add your own.


    Without further ado, here’s the wordier breakdown of the staff’s favorites, including some honorable (and dishonorable) mentions:

    Abby

    The Quick by Lauren Owen

    Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

    Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

    Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead

    The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

    Abby’s honorable mentions:


    Loranne

    Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
    This space opera won lots of awards in the last year, and with good reason. It’s not only good sci-fi, but it poses interesting questions about AI, the self, and identity. Well worth a read.

    Saga, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan
    A sci-fi/fantasy mish-mosh that revolves around an interplanetary civil war, this one finally convinced me to start reading comics regularly.

    Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
    I first picked this up a couple years ago, but couldn’t get into it until this year. It’s a bit slow to start, and is as obtuse as any Murakami novel, but I really enjoyed it. If the intersection of “melancholy” and “bizarre” sounds appealing, you should check it out.

    Texts from Jane Eyre by Mallory Ortberg
    Imagined text conversations between characters and authors of the classics. I still find myself quoting Ortberg’s version of Achilles sometimes.

    Yes Please by Amy Poehler
    It was an interesting look into the mind of a woman whose career I greatly admire, and that made it worthwhile for me. I laughed, I cried.

    Loranne’s dishonorable mentions:

    • The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty: This skewed a little more YA than my tastes typically lean, so perhaps I should have known better. But, I picked it up for book club and was just kind of disappointed. It left a bad taste in my mouth.
    • The Dog Stars by Peter Heller: Another selection for book club. If I have to read one more book by a male author in which the curves of an inanimate object are likened to those of a woman’s body (either specific or general), I will light something on fire. Aside from that, it wasn’t a bad book, per se, just very much not my thing.

    Kirsten

    The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

    Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple

    Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

    The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

    The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin


    Tim

    The books that really stand out, however, read to or with my eight year-old son, Liam. Reading is always a big part of our life, but it was especially so during the two periods when my wife was away at a writing colony. We had a lot of lengthy drives listening to audiobooks, and sometimes even listened to audiobooks during dinner. We’re running out of stuff to read!

    Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
    Read it with my son. I had never read it before. It’s a ripping yarn, and it’s main character, Long John Silver, remains a cultural touchstone.

    Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter
    Audiobooked with my son. It’s a classic that appears to have slipped off the classics shelf. That’s too bad. Despite having virtually no action, my son adored it.

    Tunnel in the Sky by Robert A. Heinlein
    Audiobooked with my son. I have a soft spot for this imperfect juvenile, and we were on a Robinsonade kick. The “let down” (with strong messages about adolescence) were his first exposure to such an ending—and not well received. Tor.com has a good post about it, “Beware of stobor!”.

    A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
    Hadn’t read it since I was a teenager. It’s better than I remember.

    The Martian by Andy Weir
    Hugely enjoyable account of an astronaut stranded on Mars. (I’ve audiobooked it three times.) I interviewed the author for our newsletter.

    Tim’s dishonorable mentions:

    • The Time Warp Trio series by Jon Scieszka: Not three but sixteen books about three travelleing friends. They’re fine—many steps up from that execrable Magic Tree House series—and I’m glad my son got what amounts to a tour of history. But I hope to never read another sentence by Jon Scieszka.
    • The Engines of God by Jack McDevitt: Why do I bother reading science fiction?
    • The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham*: See above. Boringly sexist too.
    • The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky: It’s pure gold, and doing it by audiobook left me swimming in Dostoyevsky-prose for weeks. But I left off reading in the middle and have to start again; I can’t read something unless I’m fully “up” on it—unless I feel like I’m holding the whole thing in my mind. Maybe next year…

    *Perhaps a better question is “Why do I bother reading John Wyndham?” considering The Midwich Cuckoos made Tim’s “dishonorable mentions” last year…


    Kate

    The Secret Place by Tana French
    Tana French is always worth the wait. This book did not disappoint.

    The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
    More Cormoran Strike, please. Vying with French’s Dublin Murder Squad as my favorite series.

    We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
    I love an unreliable narrator and already regret giving my copy of this book away.

    Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham
    Biggest surprise of the year for me, especially considering how much I was looking forward to Amy Poehler’s debut, which I’m finally brave enough to say I straight-up hated.

    The Quick by Lauren Owen
    Thanks to Abby Blachly for the recommendation.


    Chris H.

    The Last Lion, Vol. 1: Winston Churchill, Visions of Glory by William Manchester

    Project Azorian: The CIA and the Raising of K-129 by Norman Polmar

    The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin

    How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking by Jordan Ellenberg

    Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie


    KJ

    We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas
    This is both really long and really sad. I loved it, but it’s hard to recommend to people.

    Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
    NOT over-hyped. In a sea of post-apocalyptic throwaway books, this literary novel brought art back to humanity, even after the “end of the world.”

    The Lobster Kings by Alexi Zentner
    As a Mainer who loves Shakespeare, I was the perfect audience for this take on King Lear. I shoved it on anyone in my tiny fishing town who would stand still long enough.

    Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown
    Everyone loves lady pirates, blowing up the unethical opium trade, and lavish descriptions of food preparation. Everyone.

    The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet by Myrlin A. Hermes
    Always here for queering Shakespeare texts.

    KJ’s honorable mentions:


    Mike

    Faithful Place by Tana French

    Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

    While You’re Here, Doc by Bradford B. Brown

    The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin

    Organic Chemistry I As a Second Language by David R. Klein


    Seth

    What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe

    The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

    The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

    The Walking Dead: Compendium One by Robert Kirkman

    The Life of Corgnelius and Stumphrey by Susie Brooks


    Chris C.

    Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick

    Doing Data Science by Rachel Schutt

    Statistical Inference for Everyone by Brian S. Blais

    Machine Learning with R by Brett Lantz

    Unity 4.x Game Development by Example by Ryan Henson Creighton


    Kristi

    No Death, No Fear by Thich Nhat Hanh
    Thich Nhat Hanh is such a great writer for those who practice the philosophies of Buddhism. His writing is simple, reflective, and he repeats a lot of the same lessons over so you can internalize those lessons much easier.

    Reading the Forested Landscape: A Natural History of New England by Tom Wessels
    This one was a re-read; the illustrations are beautiful! You’ll never look at a New England landscape the same again after reading this book.

    Edible Perennial Gardening: Growing Successful Polycultures in Small Spaces by Anni Kelsey
    I read this book after buying my first home and taking a permaculture course online. This is a great guide for designing your perennial/permaculture garden! I can’t wait to build my garden at home!

    The Elements of Style (Illustrated) by William Strunk
    I was recommended this book from a colleague when I asked for good books to improve my writing skills! A great book for the foundations of the English language and writing.

    The pH Miracle: Balance Your Diet, Reclaim Your Health by Robert O. Young
    I have continued to read this book over the last year or two, as a way to improve my health and reduce/eliminate my digestive issues. Following the pH diet principles has saved my health!


    Ammar

    JavaScript: The Good Parts by Douglas Crockford

    Code Complete by Steve McConnell

    Practical Vim: Edit Text at the Speed of Thought by Drew Neil

    Rework by Jason Fried

    The Pragmatic Programmer by Andrew Hunt

    More?

    Tell us about your favorites for 2014 on Talk, or add your own Top Five to our list!

    Labels: holiday, lists, reading, recommendations

    Thursday, December 11th, 2014

    LibraryThing Holiday Card Exchange

    cardexchange-fullWe’ve just opened the first annual LibraryThing Holiday Card Exchange. Inspired by the “ALA Think Tank,” which was inspired by Reddit, we thought we’d try it out here.

    The idea is simple:

    • Mail a Holiday card to a random LibraryThing member.
    • You’ll get one from another member. Only that member will see your address.
    • You can mail a hand-made or store card. Add a note to personalize it.

    Sign-up closes Monday, December 15 at 1:00 PM Eastern. We’ll inform you of your matches in an hour or so. Send your cards out soon after.

    » LibrayThing Holiday Card Exchange

    See also the Talk post about it.

    Labels: card exchange, holiday

    Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

    Holiday Store: Everything off! New shirts! Totes!

    store-screen-600

    We’ve just debuted a fresh new “store” and new LibraryThing swag. New items include attractive v-neck t-shirts for women and men, and tote bags. We’ve also lowered our prices dramatically until January 6.*

    Rather than having me blather on about it, why don’t you just go visit our new store?

    After that, come tell us what swag we’re missing on Talk.


    *Epiphany, Little Christmas, the night before Orthodox Christmas or the day after the Twelfth day of Christmas—and doesn’t your loved one deserve twelve LibraryThing t-shirts?

    Labels: gifts, holiday, sale, stickers, teeshirts, tshirts, Uncategorized

    Friday, December 5th, 2014

    December Early Reviewers batch is live!

    The December 2014 batch of Early Reviewer books is up! We’ve got 111 titles this month, with a grand total of 2,375 copies to give out.

    If you haven’t already, sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing/email address and make sure they’re correct.

    » Then request away!

    The deadline to request a copy is Monday, December 29th at 6pm Eastern.

    Eligiblity: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the US, Canada, the UK, Israel, Australia, France, and many more. Make sure to check the flags by each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

    Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

    Tundra Books Palgrave Macmillan Prufrock Press
    Bethany House Henry Holt and Company Hollingale Books
    Information Today, Inc. Taylor Trade Publishing MSI Press
    Candlewick Press Gotham Books McFarland
    Mythos Press Five Rivers Publishing Random House
    Spiegel & Grau Black Threads Press Orca Book Publishers
    Grey Sun Press Coffeetown Press Sfuzzi Publishing
    Jupiter Gardens Press Medallion Press Del Rey
    Kaylie Jones Books Eerdmans Books for Young Readers Raincloud Press
    Crown Publishing Bantam Dell JournalStone
    Human Kinetics Whitepoint Press Raven Reads
    ForeEdge Booktrope Books to Go Now
    Recorded Books HighBridge Audio BookViewCafe
    Open Books Ballantine Books

    Labels: early reviewers, LTER