Archive for the ‘new features’ Category

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

New feature: Tag translation

As many of you know, LibraryThing is available in more than a dozen languages like German (LibraryThing.de), French (LibraryThing.fr), Dutch (LibraryThing.nl), Finnish (fi.LibraryThing.com), Polish (pl.LibraryThing.com) and Slovak (sk.LibraryThing.com).

Basics: Today I introduced a new feature, called “tag translation,” to show many of LibraryThing’s 87 million tags in the language of the site. Translation has been seeded with translations drawn from one user-driven ecosystem, Wikipedia. LibraryThing users can help out by adding new translations, and voting on existing ones. Although words are rarely perfectly equivalent between languages, translation may prove useful to many of LibraryThing’s non-English members and, in time, to libraries that use LibraryThing’s data feeds and LibraryThing for Libraries.

The feature: Tags show up translated wherever tags appear(1). You can choose to see them that way, with color-coding (pink for translated) or you can opt to shut the feature off. Here’s a a version of Thucydides with current German-language tag translations.

The same can also be seen on tag pages, for example on this French page for “love.”

Tag translations can be examined, voted upon and edited at the bottom of tag pages. Here’s the expanded view of some of the tags for “Love.” This is the only part of tag translation that is seen on the English site LibraryThing.com.

To turn off or to color the tag translations, use the little info button at the bottom of tag clouds (wording will vary according to language.) It pops up a little area to make the change.

Review translations: You can review recent translations, and vote on them here: http://www.librarything.com/helpers_tagtranslations.php.

More information. For more information about how tag translation works and to comment come join us on Talk.

Labels: new feature, new features, tagging, tags

Monday, February 6th, 2012

New feature: Filter by Kindle and audiobooks

I’ve released a new feature, allowing you to look at certain pages—tags, tagmashes, authors and three types of personal recommendations—filtering to see only item available in select media. At present these are: (1) Kindle, (2) Audiobook from Audible (basically what’s on iTunes too), (3) audiobooks available on Amazon as audio CDs, (4) audiobooks by CD or Audible.

Whether you like it or not, I’m going to love this feature! Most of my reading these days is in audiobook. Although I don’t use Audible, I do use iTunes, and almost everything Audible sells is also available there. iTunes in particular has a terrible search interface. I’ve spent hours looking for interesting things to read. This makes finding audiobooks on iTunes (ie., on Audible) much easier. I’ve already found quite a few.

You can see the options here when you click on “edit” or “filter”:

The same options are available on your “Quick Links,” so you can tell at a glance whether a given book is available in those formats or not. If you’ve never played with your “Quick Links” they’ll be there already. If you have, you can add them by editing them. A convenient reminder notice also appears on every members home page.

Media information should be pretty up-to-date, with almost a million alternate versions tracked.

Filtering is a powerful idea. There were a couple ways it could have been implemented, and there are many other categories of thinks that could be filtered. I’m anxious to hear what members think.

Come comment on Talk here.

Labels: new feature, new features

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

“Book haiku” field added

Just for the heck of it, we’ve added a “Book haiku” field on work pages (find it in the LibraryThing members’ description section, near the bottom of the page). Try your hand at summarizing your favorite books in 17 syllables!*

Some examples:

Run away from home
Lazy Summer down river
Ignorance ain’t bliss

(readafew, for The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)

Boat on the ocean
Was there really a tiger?
We will never know.

(mamajoan, for Life of Pi)

See recently-added haikus here, accessible via the More tab. Add yours (via the work page), and, if so inclined, tweet them using the hashtag #bookhaiku. We’ll be tweeting some of our favorites from @LibraryThing, too.


* Reminder: a haiku consists of three lines: five, seven, and five syllables respectively.

Labels: haiku, new feature, new features

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Big “other authors” changes

We’ve just pushed some rather major changes to how LibraryThing displays authors, as well as other contributors to a work, like translators, editors, etc. This functionality has been around for a few months for members of the Board for Extreme Thing Advances, but we’ve improved it and released it. We thank them very much for helping us get it right!

LibraryThing has long allowed you to edit and add multiple authors and their “roles” within their catalogs, the so-called “book level.” Now, work pages also include an “Other authors” module with a link to “Add/edit other authors.” Clicking that link will open up a lightbox where you can add, edit, confirm or reject other author entries for that work, assign the various authors to the correct roles, and mark whether they apply to the entire work or to only some editions. By popular request we have also opened up the “primary author” to editing, so you can now edit them, and their roles.

Some examples:

Other authors who apply to all editions of the work will show up at the top of the work page, like A Passion for Books, where Ray Bradbury wrote the foreword. Authors who contributed to some editions will show up in the “Other authors” section, linked from the top of the page: an example is Keigo Higashino’s The Devotion of Suspect X, showing Alexander O. Smith as the translator.

We’ve also added the ability to edit the name and add a role for the “primary” (ie., “lead”) author of a work, something much-requested during the BETA test of this feature. There’s no real need to do this for single-author books, but for some types of works it’ll be useful. Examples:

There will, of course, be debate on the issue of main and secondary authors. Generally speaking, co-author or co-editor status falls under the “main author” setting, while most other roles would count as “secondary author.” Obviously there will be exceptions to this, such as a book of photography or artwork where the artist rises to the level of “main author”.

This concept of “other authors” is live across the site, but it will take a while to play out how it should appear everywhere. But we wanted to get it out there and let you all have a go.

Come talk about the feature here, or report bugs here.

The changes prompted but do not require a change to how book/work pages show their book- and work-level data. This question is being discussed here.

Labels: authors, new feature, new features

Friday, August 26th, 2011

Tracking popularity by date

We’ve just added a new Zeitgeist page for popularity, allowing you to track a book’s popularity over time (month, quarter, year) based on the number of times the book was added to members’ libraries over that time period. Check it out.

Arrows indicate changes in popularity over time; the number next to the arrow tells you how many ranks the book changed from the previous month/quarter/year.

For clarity, we’ve changed the home-page feature “Popular this month” to “Hot this month.” The difference is easier seen than explained, but basically “Popular this month” includes the always-popular stuff (eg., Harry Potter) and “Hot this month” includes the newly popular stuff, by comparing titles added this month to all the titles added to LibraryThing in past years. We’ll be adding a viewer for these to the Zeitgeist page soon.

Come discuss on Talk.

Labels: new feature, new features

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

New: Search your groups and connections

We’ve added a new cross-library search feature. You can now search:

This opens up all sorts of possibilities: you and your family members or friends can create a group together and easily search across the all the books in your libraries, or start a neighborhood group*. You can look for interesting books within a given group. For example, Tim enjoys searching for “Alexander the Great” in the Alexander the Great group.

Be creative, and if you do something really nifty with this feature, make sure and tell us about it!

Come discuss it on Talk. Many thanks to members of the Board for Extreme Thing Advances for help developing this feature.


* I’m already seeing Tim combining this new feature with the “what should you borrow?” recommendations so that he can plunder my bookshelves!

Labels: connection news, features, groups, new feature, new features, search

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

Find your friends on LibraryThing

LibraryThing had a “friend finder” back before they were ubiquitous. But we’ve lacked one for a while. So we’ve just released a handy new Friend Finder for LibraryThing.

Friend Finder allows members to connect easily with their Facebook and Twitter contacts who also use LibraryThing, or invite their friends to join the site.

New members will see this as an (optional) step as they create an account, while current members can access the Friend Finder on the Edit profile and settings.

For people already on the site, Friend Finder gives you a one-step way to add them to your friends, interesting libraries, contacts and so forth. These work just like adding them from their profile page. For invites, we take a typically respectful approach: no invitations will be sent without your explicit consent and you have to send them one at a time—no spamming everyone you know. You can change the wording of the invitation before you send it. Twitter messages are posted @ your friend. Facebook messages are posted to your friend’s wall.

Come talk about it.

Labels: new feature, new features

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Feature: Where did you get your books?

By popular demand, I’ve added a feature for members to keep track of where they got their books. “From where?” takes two answers, either venues from LibraryThing Local, including bookstores and libraries, or “free text.”

You can find the feature:

By default, members’ “From where?” data is public—unless their account itself is set to “private.” If you want to record the information but not share it, you can do so. The option is available on your account page and when you add a “From where?” location under “Privacy.”

Come talk about it here.

Labels: new feature, new features

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Physical description fields added

We’re currently rolling out to all members some brand-new fields for physical description:

  • pagination (both Roman- and Arabic-numeral)
  • height, length, and thickness*
  • weight
  • volumes

In addition to the six separate fields, available for display and sorting your books, there are also two summary fields. “Dimensions” summarizes height, length and thickness in a “8 x 10 x 1.5″ format, and “physical summary” replicates the standard library-data format, displaying volume count, pagination, and the height of the book. The latter is also user editable.

The data comes comes either from the library or bookseller record you used to add your book, or, when data is missing, from the ISBN level. As elsewhere, data from your book is shown in black text, and data from another level is shown in green. The green text will turn black if you edit it or tab through the fields to confirm it.

You can edit all these new fields on either the book edit page or by adding them to “List” view on the “Your books” tab. To do that, click the little “gear” symbol on the top bar.**

Once added, double-clicking on any of these fields will bring up an “Edit Physical Properties” lightbox and allow you to make changes. There’s also an option there to convert the data for that record between pounds/inches and centimeters/kilograms, if you’re so inclined.

Naturally all these neat goodies lend themselves very well to cool statistics and charts, so we’ve also added a statistics/memes page. You can find yours here. If you’re not signed in, check out Tim’s here.

Find our how your books stack up (literally) against a hobbit, a giraffe, Michelangelo’s David, the Statue of Liberty, Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, the Great Pyramid of Giza and so forth. Discover how many U-Haul book boxes it would take to pack your collection, or the value of your books’ weight in gold. If all the pages in all your books were laid out end-to-end, how far would they stretch? All that and more on the new stats page.

We’ve also included a handy chart showing how many of your books don’t contain data in these fields, in case you want to run off to grab the ruler and scale.

If these fields aren’t yet showing for you, they will be soon; you’ll receive a profile comment when the fields are available. Many thanks to the members of the Board for Extreme Thing Advances for their assistance with getting this feature ready!

Come discuss the new fields and the stats page in Talk.


* height = head to foot of spine; length = spine to fore-edge; thickness = “width” of the book on the shelf

** There’s also an option here to “Show volumes, pagination, dimensions and weight fields.” If you choose to hide them, they simply won’t display anywhere.

Labels: features, new features, statistics

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Melvil Decimal System View in Your books

We’ve just added some handy new browsing functions to our Melvil Decimal System (MDS).

What is MDS? MDS is the Dewey Decimal System, Melvil Dewey’s innovative classification system, as it has been applied to books in LibraryThing members’ books. The base system is the Free Decimal System, a public domain classification created by John Mark Ockerbloom. The wording comes from out-of-copyright sources.

Here are some examples:

What’s new? You can now easily examine the MDS classifications of the books in your library, using the Melvil Decimal System view (accessible via the “Your books” tab; click the little divot to the right of Tags to show the available views).

When you click on one of the ten top-tier MDS classifications, you’ll see the books in your library which have been assigned to that level, and the second tier of MDS classifications will also display. You can continue drilling down through all five tiers of MDS classification.

See Tim’s books by MDS view at http://www.librarything.com/membermds/timspalding, or yours at
http://www.librarything.com/membermds/MEMBERNAME.

We’ll probably be adding some bells and whistles to this feature as we go forward. We’re planning to add a similar Library of Congress view of your library soon, so watch for that as well!

Come discuss in Talk.


Dewey, Dewey Decimal, Dewey Decimal Classification, DDC and OCLC are registered trademarks of OCLC. Read more about OCLC and the DDC on their website. LibraryThing is not affiliated with OCLC, but we have the same hatter.

Labels: features, member projects, new features