Archive for March, 2008

Friday, March 28th, 2008

Series authors and work info in your catalog

I’ve added two small-ish features that point the way to other features:

Series Authors: Series pages now show all series authors, with photos if there are any. (The example below is from Star Wars.) Mouse-over a picture to get the name. In general, I want to move in the direction of graphical representations like this. I dislike profile pictures, but this is something different. It’s attractive, I think, and encourages people to add author photos.

Work info in you catalog: You can add the field “Work: Title and author” to your catalog display. In the example below you can see I have two copies of the work, the Histories and that my Penguin edition three Aeschyls play is otherwise known as the Oresteia. Incidentally, it cannot current sort by work title. If you sort by the “shared” column, however, it sorts by shared-copies which basically “groups” by work anyway.

Labels: new feature, series, work pages

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Escaped Rhinos!

I just mis-posted here about our minimalist booth at the Public Library Association National Conference in Minneapolis. And, of course, as soon as I post it goes out to Google and all the RSS aggregators. So, my apologies for cluttering up your reader with rhinos.

I’ve posted it over on our ideas-and-libraries blog, Thingology instead.

Labels: librarything for libraries, PLA2008

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Series improvements

Chris and I have added two small but important features to LibraryThing’s amazing member-driven “series” feature (first blogged here).

First, authors now show series as well as works:

Second, I’ve added a page laying out all the series and series-books in your library. You can find it from your Profile tab under “statistics.” Here’s one from a user with many series, oakesspalding.

Oh, I forgot. FriendFeed, a fast-rising social-network aggregator I haven’t played with, added LibraryThing support a couple days ago.

Labels: new feature, series

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

New JSON API

I’ve just blogged about a new Javascript/JSON API for work info over on Thingology, LibraryThing’s blog for ideas, issues, libraries and labs.

It’s mostly designed to make it easy for people to link to LibraryThing only when we have the book. You can also dress up the link with copy- and review-counts, and an average rating.

I think regular members will be more excited by a JSON API to your own books. This will allow us and members to write new widgets—widget for reviews, for example—and better widgets. I’m want to write them so that all the JavaScript code that comes out it is automatically shared between members, both legally and technically.

The work-info API is a first step. Let’s talk about this and what should come.

Labels: apis, json, widgets

Monday, March 24th, 2008

Twenty-five million books!

Back when we had five million books

We just hit 25,000,000 books.

It’s been a good week. LibraryThing and social cataloging were profiled on All Thing Considered and spent more than a day at the top of NPR’s most-emailed list. I was named a “Mover and Shaker” of the library world, a rare thing for a non-librarian. LibraryThing Local, only a few weeks old, hit 20,000 venues (now 23,000). Our Redesign LibraryThing project has been going well too. We unveiled a Bonus batch of free Early Reviewer books. And we opened up the LibraryThing Authors program. We’ve been unusually busy–my statistics (a new feature)—show I’ve already written more words on Talk than any other month, but also happy. And did I mention Casey got to talk about LibraryThing in Taiwan? Good times!

Suggestion contest: We’ve been casting around for an appropriate contest to commemorate the event. We’re going to give the book-pile contests a rest for a while; I’m not sure past winners can be topped. And although the LibraryThing haikus are one of my favorite parts of the site, many members find writing and poetry contests intimidating.

Instead, we’re going to make the contest about LibraryThing itself. I’ve opened up a Talk post: Ten ways to make LibraryThing better.

The rules are:

  • Post only once.
  • Provide no more than ten suggestions.
  • Keep the suggestions short–a few sentences at the most!
  • Focus on your suggestions, not on others’.

The suggestions can be of any kind. Technical requests–feature requests and bug fixes–are fine. But so are tips for how to promote LibraryThing or partnership ideas. You can mix them up–tell us to change the whole design around and go open source, and correct one small spelling error.

This is NOT a vote! You are free to post whatever suggestions you want, but we aren’t going to be tallying up how many times an idea is repeated. Instead, I see this as an opportunity to surface many ideas.

I’m asking that the main thread be kept clear of commentary; I’ve made a second thread for that.

At the end of our “Week of Twenty-Five Million Books” I’ll announce 25 winners. Fifteen will be randomly selected from members who posted. Ten will be selected for one or more of their suggestions. We’ll post our favorite suggestions on the blog, and get to work on at least some of them. Winners get a gift account, and their choice of:

The lucky member: The twenty-five millionth book was The Listerdale mystery, and other stories by Agatha Christie, added by LibraryThing member irkthepurist (Chris Browning). It was added at 2:47pm on Sunday. For his luck, irkthepurist gets a free membership, a CueCat barcode scanner and a t-shirt.

Look out LC! The next big milestone is going to be thirty and then thirty-two million books (specifically 32,124,001). The latter is the size of the Library of Congress, the largest library in the world. That’ll going to be something, isn’t it?

Update: I forgot Rosina Lippi’s banners!


*In case there’s a rush, we’ll allow no more than ten members to claim first dibs on an individual book. The individual must otherwise qualify. Unfortunately, we do not set the country restrictions, which are about who has publishing rights where.

Labels: contests, milestones, new feature

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

Redesign update

A week ago, I invited LibraryThing members to redesign the site, opening up LibraryThing Zen Garden, a place to design and test new stylesheets for the site.

So far, some two dozen members have contributed CSS stylesheets and one, zanix, produced a highly original design, executed entirely in Photoshop. MarkBarnes, acting on a suggestion from Abby, produced a very attractive design, based on the design of Cork’d, “LibraryThing for wine.” All told, there have been some really interesting ideas, and fetching new color palates. I’m still not sure where to take the design, but it’s given me a lot to think about. (It’s certainly poointed out some structural problems with our mark-up too.)

Check out the designs here and the group Redesign LibraryThing! where they are being discussed. Here are some samples:

Labels: redesign

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

New Member Stats


I’ve add two new sub-pages available from your Profile Stats page. They are “Overlap with Legacy Libraries” and “Talk and Group Statistics.”

Overlap with Legacy Libraries is split from the main stats page. We’re up to 13 complete “Legacy Libraries” now—W. H. Auden, Eza Pound and Walker Percy* were just addded. I can’t link to yours directly, but here’s mine.

“Talk and Group Statistics” provides way too much information about how you’ve used the Talk feature, including statistics like total messages, total messages by group and month and even a word count of all messages. (I have apparently written 336,449 words in Talk, which comes to some 1,121 typewritten pages!)

“Talk and Group Statistics” are private—other members can’t see your stats. Privacy aside, we didn’t want the stats to become, um, boasts. For demonstration purposes, however, all LibraryThing employees, however, are wide-open. Check out mine, Chris‘ and John‘s.

By popular demand, I have also included a nostalgia link to “Your first message.” Let me know what other stats you want on Talk.


*I was pleasantly surprised to find Walker Percy also read Thomas S. Kuhn’s The Structure of scientific revolutions and Malinowski’s Magic, science and religion.

Labels: new feature, statistics

Friday, March 21st, 2008

All Things Considered does the LibraryThing

NPR‘s All Thing Considered did a story on LibraryThing and bookish social networking yesterday. It was a great story, and, I suspect, a perfect audience. Check it out.

Right now the story is number three on NPR’s most-emailed list. (This is no doubt why traffic hasn’t let up!) Abby promises she’ll make me a (quinoa?)* cake if we beat out Obama’s speech. So, send the story to all your friends! UPDATE: We’re number one! Help me, I’m giddy.

They covered some other sites, but I think LibraryThing came off best. Besides talking to me–45 minutes of conversation reduced to ten seconds of tape!–they also interviewed Sean Flannagan of the blog Deeplinking. His blog post include “The Big List of Things I Like About LibraryThing” so I think the reporter got it from all sides.

*As Dan Pashman proved on the Bryant Park Project, we need a quinoa angle to really take off on the most-emailed list. How about the quinoa tag, or the book Quinoa, the supergrain? And neti pots? We got your neti pots right here, guys. Flush out your nose with LibraryThing!

Labels: librarything for libraries, press, press hits

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

LibraryThing Authors Opens Up

We’re opening up and relaunching our LibraryThing Authors program—our way to connect authors to their fans.

Before, we required authors to have at least 50 books cataloged before joining LibraryThing Authors, and some 800 authors have done so. But some authors wanted to start right away or were more interested in reaching out—talking to members and listing their events—than cataloging their library. So we’re dropping the 50 books requirement. Visit LibraryThing Authors for directions on joining.

There’s more for authors to do on LibraryThing—now more than ever:

  • Add your readings and other events to LibraryThing Local. Events now appear on author pages too (eg., Sarah Monette, Megan Abott, James Dashner and Elizabeth Bear).
  • Add your photo to your author profile.
  • Connect with readers on a more personal level, in groups and on-on-one.
  • Showcase your favorite books on your catalog.
  • Add your home page, interviews and other links to your author page.
  • Dress up your “Common Knowledge” section with where you went to school, your agent, where you’re buried, etc.
  • Get your publisher to put one of your books up for LibraryThing Early Reviewers. Or pick up a free book yourself. (Or wait a few weeks—we’re going to open that up to authors too.)

In the next few week’s we’ll be unveiling a new “Author Chat” section on Talk, where authors can engage readers directly.

Labels: librarything local, LT author

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

Bonus batch of Early Reviewer books

I love March. It’s the beginning of Spring. It’s my birth month, and Tim’s as well. So, of course, it’s time for a bonus batch of Early Reviewer books.

Much thanks to Random House for these two books, which both look amazing.

The March bonus batch from Random House includes Salman Rushdie’s new novel, The Enchantress of Florence and Joseph E. Persico’s history of FDR and the women in his life, Franklin and Lucy.

Request your advance copy here:
http://www.librarything.com/er/list

You have until Saturday, March 22nd at 6pm EDT to request a copy.

Labels: early reviewers, LTER, random house