Archive for July, 2013

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

LibraryThing’s Chocolate Redesign

Before and after, band-aid to chocolate.
An anonymous member sent us a box of dark chocolate-covered cherries. Very appropriate, and very much appreciated!(2)

We’re rolling out lots of changes. See also The New Home Page »

You may have noticed a few changes around the site … last week we pushed live the first major redesign of the LibraryThing site in… ever!(1) The final concept and design were something of a group effort, but the vast majority of the work was done by Christopher Holland (conceptdawg). Note that the new design is separate from the new Home page, blogged about here.

New colors. The top nav bar has turned chocolate brown with red highlights. Goodbye, band-aid/dead salmon color! You’ll see other new accent colors around the site as well.

Smaller, “fixed” top nav. The top nav is 25% smaller than the old version. This means you see more content on each page without scrolling. Like many sites today, the top nav is now “fixed,” remaining at the top when you scroll down the page. This feature is disabled on mobile devices, which handle “scrolling” differently, and, by request, we’ve also made this optional. To turn it off, click this at the bottom of the page.

Profile tab. We’ve removed the “Profile” tab. But you can still get to your profile with one click from anywhere on the site: just click your member name in the upper right corner! You can also get to your profile from the “subnav” on the home page.

New comments indicator. You’ll see a small yellow box appear in the upper right corner of the site when you have a profile comment. It will now even tell you how many new comments you’ve received.

A work in progress.

We’ve begun the process of standardizing the entire site to make all of the hundreds of LT pages look nice with the new color scheme, etc. We’re not quite there yet. There’s lots of work left to do, mostly little things where the old design is still poking through. We’re hacking away at those now.

Members who joined prior to the launch of the redesign can revert to the old design for the moment. This will not be available permanently (it’s simply too much work to try and maintain two different systems), but it’s there for now.

We want your thoughts. What do you think? What do you particularly like, or dislike? Come tell us in the New design – Comments #3 Talk thread.

Found a bug? Come report it in the New design – Bugs #2 thread.

Previous threads of interest (we’re well past 1,700 posts about the design alone…)


1. For a few months LibraryThing’s color was an even more terrible greige.
2. Truth be told, 72?!? That’s over 3,800 calories!

Labels: christopher holland, design, features

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

The New Home Page

This blog post is the “coming-out” party of the new home page, introduced last week. After extensive discussion—over 1,000 messages—with many changes and improvements suggested and implemented, “home” is effectively done.

What’s the point? The new page is designed as a simple but rich “home” for how you use LibraryThing. It is a “central place” that puts everything in front of you and keeps you up-to-date. But since members use LibraryThing in so many different ways—cataloging, keeping track of current reads, getting new recommendations, socializing, etc.—it had to be a menu of options, and extensively customizable.

The new home page replaces the old, introduced five year ago, which had grown cluttered, long and slow. It was customizable, but limited and buggy, and many members skipped it.

Pages and Modules. The new home page is divided into pages like “About you” and “Recommendations,” plus a main “Dashboard” area.

The pages sport 47 modules—more than twice as many as before. Modules do things like list your most recent activity, recommend books, update you on what your friends are reading, and track your contributions to the site.

Customize it. The home page was designed to start off useful, but many users will want to customize it.

  • You can reorder the modules on every page.
  • You can put the modules in one column or two, and set where the column break is.
  • You can move modules on and off your dashboard, and other home pages.
  • Every module can be customized, often extensively (see the example below).

Most members will want to focus on their dashboard—adding, deleting and reorganizing the modules until they’ve got the perfect jumping-off page for the rest of their LibraryThing.

What’s new? New modules include:

  • Member Gallery. See pictures in your gallery and add new ones from the home page.
  • Recent Member-uploaded Covers for Your Books. Keeps you up-to-date on the newest covers other members have uploaded for your books.
  • Your Notepad. Create a handy list of shortcuts or notes.
  • Your Library over Time. A cool chart showing how your LT library has grown.
  • Lists. Modules for Your Lists, Active Lists, Recent Lists, Lists You Might Like bring LibraryThing’s Lists feature in the mainstream.
  • Your Recent Reviews. Reminds you what you’ve reviewed recently.
  • Reviews for Your Books. Find out what other members are saying about your books.
  • LibraryThing Roulette. Click for a random book, author, series, etc. Weirdly addictive, and helpful for helpers.
  • Helper modules. A page with statistics and links to venue linking, work combining and the dozens of other ways LibraryThing members help each other.
  • Recent Haiku. See book summaries / by members cleverly put / in five-seven-five.
  • Thingaversaries. Members have been celebrating the anniverary of their joining LibraryThing for years; the home-page module makes that easier.

What’s improved? Along with all the new features Tim also thoroughly redesigned and streamlined many of the existing Home page modules:

  • Tag watch is back! The much-missed Tag watch feature has returned, much simpler and easier to use.
  • Recommendations now includes subsets. You can choose between top automatic recommendations, recent automatic recommendations, and recent member recommendations.
  • Dates. Recently-added books and recent recommendations now include dates, so you can see when you added a new book or when a recommendation was made for you.
  • On This Day now factors in the popularity of the authors, so it gives you the most relevant author birth- and death-days. By default it also prefers to show authors you have. There’s also a new “On this day” Common Knowledge page.
  • We redesigned the Featured Authors section (in the Books section under Discover), to show more LibraryThing authors.

Background: We also recently released a new design—out with the “band aid” or “salmon” and in with the chocolate. Staff, especially Chris (ConceptDawg) is still working on that design, tweaking color choices and making sure it works right on all the browsers and devices out there. See the design blog post for more.

The changes to the Home page are largely based on discussions in the Wide open: What to do with your home page? thread, and Tim (timspalding) had great fun coming up with the new layout and all the brand-new, nifty features that are part of this.

What do you think? Come tell us in the New home – Comments #3 Talk thread.

Find a bug? Report it in the New home – Bugs continued again thread.

Additional threads of interest:

Labels: design, features, home

Friday, July 12th, 2013

Happy Thingaversaries

For a while now members have been celebrating “Thingaversaries,” anniversaries of the day they joined LibraryThing. As LibraryThing is now almost eight years old, a lot of our earliest, most active members have been celebrating 5-, 6- or 7-year Thingaversaries. The tradition is to use the occasion to buy as many books as your year.

Yesterday, norabelle414 (Nora), celebrated her six-year Thingaversary, and posted this to the “75 Books Challenge for 2013″ group:

“Today is my SIXTH Thingaversary! Six whole years and I still can’t believe that I found this wonderful website that has changed my life, and that I get to talk to you lovely, like-minded people almost every day! It is Thingaversary tradition to buy oneself one book per year on LT, plus one to grow on. However, I’m trying to curtail my book buying this year. So instead, I’m going to buy myself one brand-new, sorely needed BOOKSHELF!”

In Nora’s honor, we’ve done two things:

1. We bought a cake in honor of Nora’s Thingaversary. Unfortunately, Nora lives hundreds of miles away, so LibraryThing staff in Maine—Tim, KJ, our 15-year-old intern Eddy and his two younger brothers(1)—are going to have to eat it for her! Sorry Nora, and thanks.

2. We’ve added a new Selected Thingaversaries module in the (new) “Folly” section on the home page. It highlights your connections who are having Thingaversaries and a semi-random set of members having their Thingaversary today—weighted by how active they are the site now.

So, congratulations Nora, and thanks to her and all the other members who joined years ago, and still love LibraryThing!

Feature-discussion here.


1. LibraryThing is turning into a summer camp. Alas, Jeremy is in Virginia this month for Rare Book School.

UPDATE: I added a notice of your next Thingaversary.

Labels: features, holiday, humor

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

July Early Reviewers batch is up!

The July 2013 batch of Early Reviewer books is up! We’ve got 157 books this month, and a grand total of 4,445 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:
http://www.librarything.com/er/list

The deadline to request a copy is Monday, July 29th at 6 p.m. EDT.

Eligiblity: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the US, Canada, the UK, and 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!

The Permanent Press Taylor Trade Publishing Tundra Books
Lion Fiction Putnam Books Palgrave Macmillan
Random House Akashic Books Blacksmith Books
Quirk Books Henry Holt and Company Minotaur Books
Del Rey Penguin Young Readers Group Gefen Publishing House
Coffeetown Press CarTech Books Monico
Open Lens Delacorte Press Spiegel & Grau
Crown Publishing Candlewick Press Kayelle Press
Bethany House Chosen Books Gray & Company, Publishers
Libertine Press Mythos Press Enigma Press
Enigma Press Grimoire Press Sentient Publications
GMTA Publishing, LLC Celestial Press Ballantine Books
Petra Books BookViewCafe Riverhead Books
Bantam Dell PublicAffairs Gotham Books
JournalStone Seventh Rainbow Publishing William Morrow
Plume Orca Book Publishers Booktrope
W.W. Norton Elate Press Apex Publications
Galaxy Audio MSI Press Viva Editions
Cleis Press Oxford University Press Marble City Publishing
McFarland February Books Humanist Press
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers Sheridan House Georgetown University Press
Wayman Publishing Demos Health Five Rivers Publishing

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Saturday, July 6th, 2013

New Legacy Library projects: Truman, Voltaire

We’ve got a couple fun new Legacy Libraries projects in the works, and welcome volunteers to help us catalog the books!

Harry Truman’s “home study” library from his Independence, Missouri residence is already in LibraryThing (see it at the Harry Truman profile page), but we now also have a list of books from his “working office” at the Harry S Truman Library and Museum to add, so let’s get to it!

See the Talk thread or jump right to the project wiki page to get started and claim your section of the library list. No worries if you haven’t worked on a Legacy Libraries project before – this is definitely a good introduction to them! I’ll be helping out too, and will answer any questions you have on the Talk thread.

We’re also currently getting started on Voltaire’s library, which may be a little trickier but still promises to be great fun! You can watch progress on this one here, and please feel free to jump in and help (given the nature of Voltaire’s collection, we’re looking at you, French/Russian readers!).

There’s a discussion thread where we’re figuring out a good work-plan for this one, and a wiki page where you can claim a section and add some books.

Have fun, and thanks in advance for joining us on these!

Labels: legacy libraries