Archive for the ‘new features’ Category

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

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Lexile Measures in LibraryThing

We’ve just added MetaMetrics’ The Lexile Framework® for Reading, commonly known as “Lexile measures,” to LibraryThing. These offer another way for members to view their books—this time by reading level.

The feature. You can look at pages for any Lexile, or for a range of Lexile measures.

We’ve also added a view of all your Lexile measures:

You can, if you’d like, add the Lexile® measures column in Your books for easy viewing or sorting.

The Lexile measures in your catalog are based on more than 115,000 ISBNs to which Lexile measures have been assigned by MetaMetrics.

Background. Since LibraryThing was created we’ve drawn interest from teachers and school librarians. Our ease of use and advanced features have led a number of small schools to use us as their primary catalog, along with numerous classroom libraries and other collections. Many have, however, asked us to add something provided by other school-library systems, like Follett and Alexandria, namely Lexile® measures.

Lexile measures are based on the comprehensibility of the text—the lower the Lexile measure, the easier the book’s text is to comprehend. The official Lexile scale ranges from 200L to 1700L (see the Lexile map [PDF] for example texts), though actual Lexile measurements in LibraryThing range from 0L to 2000L. Check out Lexile.com for more on Lexile measures.

If you don’t want it… We recognize that Lexile measures are neither comprehensive or universally appreciated. We want to make them available to people who will find them useful, but hope they’ll be unobtrusive to others.

Come talk about it in the New Features group.

[Note: This post has been updated]

Labels: new feature, new features

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Introducing the Authors and Series views in Your books

Among the many things LibraryThing is—book recommendations, social networking and so forth—LibraryThing started out and and is a kick-ass tool for organizing your books. But we’re not resting on our laurels. There are things we can improve, and things we can add. This is one. Another one goes to the Beta group today.

This weekend I added a feature to see authors and series within the “Your library” tab, and as “first class things,” like books and tags, not just a field within books.

Access to the Authors and Series view can be found to the right of the Tags view. Click the little divot to show other views. (Yes, others are planned.)

Switching to Authors or Series view changes the bar:


Below that, the page changes to a list authors or series, with links to see them in your catalog or go to their stand-alone author or series pages.

The feature was introduced incrementally. There’s a Talk conversation that tracks that. Now that the feature is largely working and possibly complete, I’ve started another Talk conversation. Come let us me what you think.

Labels: authors, new feature, new features, series

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Search redesigned, improved

Casey and I have completed work on a cross-LibraryThing search system.

Key features:

  • Search is now available from every page.
  • It searches one type (like works or authors) at a time, but always gives you result-counts for all types on the left. Click on the type to pivot off it instead.
  • It’s blazingly fast (as vaneska wrote, “The speed of the search is just a little bit scary.”)
  • It includes a number of elements not formerly searchable (or searchable well), like member reviews and words in tags.
  • Tabs have been reorganized a bit. The search tab has been removed and the “More” tab moved left. The “Zeitgeist” tab has been removed. It will probably be available under “more,” from the home page and at the bottom of every page (like “about,” which was a tab once).

Find out more, and talk about it on Talk.

Labels: new feature, new features, search

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Introducing the “Melvil Decimal System”

I’ve just pushed a nifty feature for browsing the “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 wording comes from out-of-copyright sources.

The browse system is nifty. It was to some degree inspired by the elegant user interface to Tom Hickey’s OCLC DeweyBrowser. It is also interesting to see how the classification stacks up against LibraryThing tags. Here are some examples:

As usual, the system is not complete. It does not yet show you how your books stack up against the system. That is coming.

Why MDS? Although he invented his system in 1876, and has been dead for 79 years, Dewey lives on. The library conglomerate OCLC continues to produce new editions, which are copyrighted. And the terms “Dewey,” “Dewey Decimal,” “DDC” and so forth are registered trademarks of OCLC. In the past OCLC has been touchy about Dewey. They once sued the Library Hotel for putting books in rooms according to the rooms’ Dewey number. So we aren’t taking any chances.

Although OCLC updates the Dewey Decimal System, they cannot own the numbers themselves, which are assigned by librarians around the world. Nor can they own the system as it existed in 1922—for that edition is out of copyright.

Make it stop!

Help us out! Knowing the numbers is one thing, but the words bring them alive. Every number has a space for wording, both original (1922) and modern. Members are invited to help fill it out, at least for the top tiers. The original wording should come from Dewey’s 1922 edition, with one difference. Dewey was a spelling-reform nut, and all the later editions of his work are in his semi-phonetic spelling system. This spelling is unbearable, so convert it to standard spelling.

For the “modern” wording, you may modernize both terminology and sentiment. Dewey used “sociology” in the sense of “Social science” and his religion section refers to “Mohammedanism” and “Minor Christian sects.” Those can all be improved. But improvements should reflect only modernity, not the wording of in-copyright editions of the Dewey Decimal System.*

As with other Common Knowledge sections, MDS can also be translated. Indeed, one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while was a user translating the system into Swedish just a few minutes after launch. There is no current Swedish translation of the Dewey Decimal System.

Lastly, I got into this to help Fleela, Zoe and the other members of the Dewey Decimal Challenge group, “Read a book from every Dewey Decimal category.” Fun idea. You should try it.

What’s missing The feature is, as usual, intentionally half-done. Here are some contemplated features.

  • Connection to YOUR library
  • Links from your catalog, other pages
  • The Library of Congress System

Come talk about it on LibraryThing Talk.


* In many cases, OCLC’s changes haven’t trickled down to the libraries that use the system. DDC 288, formerly for Unitarianism**, is now blank. But both OCLC’s DeweyBrowser and LibraryThing’s MDS browser show books there—a Channing fest to be sure.
** That Unitarianism gets as much space as Catholicism, Judaism and Islam speaks to Dewey’s western Massachusetts world-view.

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: cataloging, classification, new feature, new features