Archive for April, 2009

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

Widget statistics and work page customization

Widget Statistics: The new LibraryThing widgets now have their own statistics page, so you can see how often your widgets are visited.

Check out your Widget Statistics or Luke’s account, with some data.

The graph has an exceedingly nifty feature that makes the lines the same color as the background of the widget or, failing that, the main font color. This makes it easy to see which is which and is the kind of nice little detail Luke enjoys putting in.

Discuss it here:

Reminder: There is a best widget contest going on.

Work page customization. Work pages are now customizable, with each section collapsible, and rearrangeable with a nifty drag-and-drop action, remembered between sessions. The feature is quite powerful—a lot cooler than I’d have thought possible.

Discuss it here:

Collections progress. Follow our collections progress here.

Labels: new features

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

April Early Reviewer Books

The April batch of Early Reviewer books is up! We’ve got 43 books this month, and a total of 1,129 copies to give out.

First, make sure to sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing address and make sure it’s correct.

Then request away! The list of available books is here:

The deadline to request a copy is Friday, April 24th at 6PM EST.

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 Germany. 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!

Little, Brown and Company Crossway MSI Press
St. Martin’s Griffin Howard Books Hampton Roads Publishing Company
WaterBrook Press Hachette Book Group Algonquin Books
Picador Other Press Doubleday Books
The Permanent Press Beacon Press HarperCollins
Between the Lines Bethany House Chosen Books
Vanderbilt University Press Orca Book Publishers Litwin Books
St. Martin’s Press North Atlantic Books McClelland & Stewart
HighBridge Broadway Books Riverhead Books

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

LibraryThing Best Widget Contest

The new widgets came with a bunch of pre-defined styles—of varying quality. But they also have sharing built in, so members can come up with better ones, and let people know about them.

So, why not a contest?

  • Submit your widgets to this Talk thread (
  • Widgets can be of any type—as simple, complex, staid or way-out as you like. You can use your own CSS or JavaScript, but you certainly don’t have to.
  • You can submit up to five widgets, but post only one message. Edit if you need to.
  • If you want, share where you put the widget, or where you plan to.
  • Go ahead and name your widgets, comment on what you were trying to do.
  • Post the “Share with other LibraryThing members” link (e.g., this). Posting the script won’t work.

The Reward.

Let’s see what you can do!

UPDATE: Luke added a feature to the “share with other LT member” that shows it with *their* books first. You can change it to work with yours instead. This only applies to URLs made now, so edit old ones?



Labels: contests, widgets

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

LibraryThing April Fools Joke is delayed

I’m sure you all enjoyed GMail Autopilot and learning you were Obama’s fourth cousin. But we at LibraryThing regret that our annual April Fools joke was delayed this year.

Luke “don’t bump my awesome widgets” Stevens, Chris “collections-or-die” Holland, Mike “Facebook-or-die” Bannister and I have decided that other priorities in high demand—so high it’s turning into Haiku—prevented us from spending the day tricking LibraryThing out with an OCLC logo, making all recommendations be for zombie books and suchnot.

Mike did succeed in injecting me onto every page of our development server, squeaking distortedly as a sort of drunk LibraryThing “clippy.” but it but it took too much bandwidth and was simply too horrible to inflict on all. Also, we don’t have a CEO. Also, Mike is fired.

So, we have decided to postpone our April Fools joke, reserving the right to fill your screen with unicorns (click “cornify”) or other such foolery at any point in the next twelve months!

Labels: april fools

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Widgets get a lot better

We’ve just brought live new, improved widgets, available from the make widget page.

Some highlights:

  • New “animated” style cycles through your covers in a oddly mesmerizing way.
  • Widgets are extensively customizable, so you can fit them to your blog without any special knowledge.
  • Power users can do more, with Javascript and CSS customization. Check out Chris’ blog for stylish use.*
  • The new widgets are shareable (an example) so members can show off and swap styles. (Yes, we’ll be having a widget-creation contest soon.)
  • Widget links don’t go off somewhere, but open up a slick lightbox “mini-book” page, with your information and (optional) links, to LibraryThing and elsewhere. You can, of course, fill in your Amazon Associates code, if you want to make money off your widget.
  • Widgets now include (optionally) tags, ratings and reviews. You can filter by reviews and tags too.
  • The code is good—based on our improved JSON Books API and designed not to slow down your page (they’re “lazy-loading”). Weirdly this can make the widget look slow. That’s because it’s not slowing down the rest of the page!
  • Internationalized from the ground up.
  • Orcas, baby!

Go ahead and make a widget.

Talk about it here, or on Talk.

Luke! Widgets were helmed by new employee Luke (member: LibraryThingLuke), who wrote most of the core code, all the styling options, the share system and so forth. Other LibraryThing people helped. Chris—hard at work on collections, we promise—chipped in some attractive styles. Mike wrote the crucial cover-animation code, something he’s been working on for our upcoming Facebook application. I made sure Luke got a list of changes every morning, including at least one thing I wanted the other way the day before.

Luke offered the following thumbnail bio:

“Luke Stevens lives in Portland, Me with his wife and three kids. He enjoys single malt scotch and silver-age comic books. He rides a motorcycle from the early 80’s that elicits laughter from his evil co-workers. Twitter: saintlukas; blog:”

*Chris swears by

Labels: new feature, new features, widgets