This weekend LibraryThing members added our 12 millionth book, mere weeks after crossing 11 million and less than two months after breaking 10 million. As Tim likes to point out, if LibraryThing were a “real library” it would, according to the ALA Fact Sheet, be the 4th largest in the United States*, right ahead of Yale and gaining on the Boston Public Library.**
Whereas physical libraries become more difficult to navigate as they increase in size, digital collections actually become easier to use, and their data more meaningful, as they grow. As David Weinberger says in Everything is Miscellaneous*** the answer to too much information is more information. And with an every-growing amount of data available to us, more and more interesting and useful patterns should continue to emerge.
* If “real libraries” stocked 7,776 copies of The Great Gatsby!
**At this rate, we’ll be in second place by summer. The LC, with over 30 million volumes, will take a while to catch. But it’ll happen.
*** If LT has a patron saint, it’s Weinberger. I was skeptical, until Tim leant me his ARC copy of Everything is Miscellaneous. It’s fantastic.