Archive for the ‘new libraries’ Category

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Servizio Bibliotecario Nazionale (SBN) – Italian National Library Service

Cari utenti di LibraryThing.it, abbiamo appena aggiunto* una nuova fonte per la catalogazione di libri italiani, l’OPAC del Servizio Bibliografico Nazionale (SBN), una rete di oltre 3200 biblioteche. Lo trovate tra le fonti italiane sotto il suo nome inglese: Italian National Library Service.
Buona catalogazione a tutti!

Casey just announced 669 cataloging sources few days ago, but now we have just reached 681 sources! Among the new sources there’s also the Italian National Library Service.


* Si, ci abbiamo messo un po’, ma c’era un bug che non riuscivamo a risolvere. Un grazie speciale a Casey che ha sopportato tutte le mie lamentele in nome della community italiana e alla fine ha trovato la soluzione!

Photo credit: “Italy!…Here We Come!photo by Flikr user Hvnly, used under a CC-Attribution license

Labels: italy, new libraries, z39.50

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

Common Knowledge in your library

What just happened. Yesterday saw two huge announcements I’m loathe to “push down.”

(What it didn’t see was an April Fools message, although some took the 160% increase in sources for one! Does this mean we get to fool people later on this year?)

Common Knowledge in your library.

Today we’ve introduced our “Common Knowledge” feature directly into your catalog—allowing members to look at and edit series information, important places and the rest directly in their catalog.

To look at it, go to your catalog and choose the “edit” link to the right of the A, B, C, D, E styles. You’ll see a number of CK fields as options. To edit CK fields, just double-click in the cell. A CK editing “lightbox” will pop up (see right).

Some thoughts. On one level, this is a minor feature. The data was always a click away. But I suspect it will substantially change members’ relationship to Common Knowledge—and make it grow all the faster. Together with my introduction of pages for member’s series, CK now “does” something.

Caveats. Right now you can’t sort by CK fields, and you can’t search by them. Sorting is doable, although it will take some sort. Searching is going to be harder, frankly. But it’s not out of the question. Lastly, we still haven’t solved CK language issues, so you may get series information in a language you don’t understand.

Discuss it here
.


Labels: april fools, common knowledge, LTER, new feature, new libraries

Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

669 Data Sources!

In our continued quest to give our members the best data possible, we’ve added 417 new cataloging sources from around the world to LibraryThing.

It’s a lot to take in at once. We’ve added or greatly increased our support in a number of areas; here are some of the highlights:

  • Chinese: Academica Sinica, Feng Chia University, Lingnan Uniersity, National Cheng-chi University Libraries, Zhejiang Provincial Library
  • Russian: Moskow Library Network, Russian State Library
  • Czech: NK Praha, VK Olomouc, Moravian Library in Brno, Mìstská knihovna Prostìjov
  • Thai: Srinakharinwirot University
  • Arabic: United Arab Emirates University, American University of Cairo, International Islamic University Malaysia
  • Portuguese: Sistema Integrado de Bibliotecas da Universidade de Lisboa, Biblioteca Municipal Manuel Teixeira Gomes, Biblioteca Municipal de Ponte de Lima
  • Lithuanian: National Library of Lithuania, Lithuanian Union Catalogue
  • Polish: National Library of Poland
  • Estonian: Estonian Union Catalog, Tartu University Library
  • German: Südwestdeutscer Bibliotheksverbund, Juristisches Seminar der Universität Tübingen, Universität Basel
  • Seminaries: Asbury College and Theological Seminary, Wheeling Jesuit University, Eastern Cluster of Lutheran Seminaries, Princeton Theological Seminary
  • Military libraries: United States Military Academy, United States Navel Academy
  • Colleges: Middlebury, Wellesley, Dartmouth, Carleton, Bard
  • Museums/Special collections: Smithsonian Institution Research Information System, Folger Shakespeare Library, Museum of Modern Art
  • Consortia/Union Catalogs: New England Library Consortium, SELCO, Merrimack Valley Library Consortium, LIBROS Consortium, MARMOT Consortium
  • Universities: McGill, Princeton, Georgetown, Duke, Rutgers, Ohio State, Colorado
  • Large public libraries: New York, San Francisco, Denver, D.C., Detroit, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis
  • State Libraries: New York State Library, State Library of Florida, State Library of Pennsylvania, Texas State Library

That’s a pretty good mix, but the vast majority we added were US or Canadian libraries, even though we already had plenty of both. We’re still pretty weak in some areas, and completely missing in others. We use a protocol called Z39.50 to get book data from libraries. Quite simply, these are all the Z39.50 servers we could find info for and could get working with our software. We’d love to have thousands more, from all corners of the globe. Any library that has a Z39.50 server that would like to be on LibraryThing just needs to send me their connection info and I will add them.

All of these have been tested fairly thoroughly, but I’m sure there will be problems with some of them. Z39.50 is fickle and complex, and the servers are often unreliable. So some problems may be caused by misconfiguration on our part, and some may be due to circumstances and servers we can’t control. Let us know when there are problems, and we’ll do what we can.

Labels: milestones, new libraries, z39.50

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

ScienceLibraryThing

Following our release of The British Library, we’re continuing to offer new sources of data for your cataloging pleasure. Today, we’ve added 22 science and technology libraries from around the world: Academy of Natural Sciences, American Museum of Natural History, British Columbia Institute of Technology, Cal Poly – Pomona, Carnegie Mellon University, Central Scientific Agricultural Library of Russia, Cracow University of Technology Library, Earth Sciences Information Centre, Georgia Tech University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Mountaineers Library, National Agricultural Library, National Park Service Union Library Catalog, New Jersey Institute of Technology, New York Botanical Garden, Nizhni Novgorod Regional State University Scientific Library, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Perm State Technical University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Russian Academy of Sciences – Siberian Branch, Tennessee Tech University and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Labels: new libraries, science, science libraries

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

LawLibraryThing

In celebration, the Supreme Court has changed its motto. Thanks guys!

Following our release of the British Library as a source on LibraryThing, we’re going to be adding a bunch more specialized data sources.

Today, we’ve released thirteen law libraries: University of Texas Tarlton Law Library, University of Pennsylvania Law Library, Jenkins Law Library, Yeshiva University College of Law, Southern University Law Center, Seton Hall University Law Library, Pepperdine University School of Law, Massachusetts School of Law, Louisiana State University Law Center, Los Angeles County Law Library, Franklin Pierce Law Center, Columbia University Law School and Cincinnati Law Library.


Supreme Court photo by Flickr member Kjetil Ree, licensed as Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic, with shameless edits by Tim.

Labels: law libraries, legal, new libraries

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

The British Library, with thanks to Talis

Yummy, hot and British: Figgy pudding is the perfect metaphor for British sources on LibraryThing. (Photo credit: Flickr member Matito; CC-Attribution)*

We’ve added 33 new sources from the UK, including the British Library! See them here, or go ahead and add the BL to your account now.

The BL is a catch in more than one way. It’s huge, of course. But, unlike some other sources, BL data isn’t normally available to the public. To get it, our friends at Talis, the UK-based library software company, have granted us special access to their Talis Base product, an elephantine mass of book data. In the case of the BL, that’s some twelve million unique records, two copies Gutenberg Bibles and two copies of the Magna Carta.**

Together with the British Library, Talis has also provided access to their “Talis Union” (add here), covering many top UK public and academic libraries. In their words:

“[Talis Union] has been built over many years by professional cataloguers in libraries all over the UK. This database is a treasure trove of rare, old and out-of-print records as well as quality catalogue records for mainstream items.”

Together, the British Library and the Talis Union should prove first-line sources for LibraryThing members with books not currently for sale at Amazon or who prefer library data to commercial data.

More on Talis. As they put it, Talis is a “semantic technology company, with a heritage in bibliographic services and software.” They are adept at managing rich metadata.

This marks the first thing we’ve done with them, but we’ve been wanting to work with them for ages. They have been tireless proponents of Library 2.0 innovations and of open data. We are avid listeners to their podcast, Talking with Talis, and have even been on a few times (my favorite was the open data discussion). I am particularly grateful to Richard Walis, whom I met at a conference in Aarhus, Denmark, and who played Vergil during my initial descent into the world of Integrated Library Systems.

In return for access to Talis base, Talis customers will be getting access to LibraryThing covers and ratings data. We look forward to partnering with Talis on bigger projects in the future.

Here’s the full list:

  • The British Library (add)
  • Talis Union Catalog (add)
  • Aberdeen University
  • Abertay Dundee University
  • Bromley Libraries
  • Brunel University
  • Bury Metro Libraries
  • Cardiff University
  • City University United Kingdom
  • Durham University
  • Edge Hill University College
  • Edinburgh College of Art
  • Edinburgh University
  • Glasgow University
  • Imperial College London
  • Leeds Metropolitan University
  • Leeds University
  • London Guildhall University
  • Middlesex University
  • National Art Library
  • Natural History Museum (UK)
  • Royal Historical Society
  • SOAS
  • Sheffield Hallam University
  • Strathclyde University
  • University of Bath
  • University of Bradford
  • University of Bristol
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Huddersfield
  • University of Northern Wales
  • University of Southampton
  • University of Wales

*We originally planned to release the BL right after Christmas. I was planning to take a photo our my family’s Chrismas pudding—contra this NYT article, figgy pudding is great—but everything moved too quickly, and before I knew it I was frantically spooning brandy over and over to keep the flame going.
**What’s so special about that? We have eighteen!

Labels: anglophilia, british library, christmas pudding, crambridge university, figgy pudding, new libraries, plum pudding, talis, talis base, talis union

Monday, December 17th, 2007

¿Qué hay en tu estantería? (Spanish books)

Cataloging your Spanish-language books just got a lot easier. We already have user-translated Spanish language site, www.LibraryThing.es, our fourth-most popular site. But we didn’t have good Spanish sources.

So today I’ve added 20 Spanish sources, including a bookstore and nineteen libraries.

The bookstore, deastore.com, is an excellent source for recent books, popular paperbacks and cover images, mostly from Spain. Deastore is critical insofar as Amazon, our most-used source, has no Spanish or Latin American site, and few Spanish books. The libraries provide depth, including older books and–although all but one are from Spain itself–books from elsewhere in the Spanish-speaking world.

You can add sources to your options here. Here’s the complete list:

  • deastore.com
  • Biblioteca Central de La Rioja
  • Biblioteca de Castilla y Leon
  • Biblioteca Foral de Bizkaia
  • Biblioteca Pública de Avila
  • Biblioteca Pública de Burgos
  • Biblioteca Pública de Palencia
  • Biblioteca Pública de Salamanca
  • Biblioteca Pública de Segovia
  • Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes
  • Congreso de los Diputados
  • Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
  • Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
  • Universidad Complutense de Madrid
  • Universidad de Alcalá de Henares
  • Universidad de Alicante
  • Universidad de Burgos
  • Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED)
  • Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
  • Universidad Pública de Navarra

Did you make it this far? The first 25 people to write to tim@librarything.com from a Spanish-language email address (.es, .mx, .ar, etc) will get a free membership. (If you don’t have one, write to us in Spanish.) And for the next few days, if you run a Spanish-language blog, we’ll send you five memberships—to blog or just to give to friends.

Labels: libraries, new libraries, spanish, spanish books

Friday, December 14th, 2007

Hungary! Hungary!

LibraryThing is now open for Hungarian cataloging!

We’ve added two sources—the Hungarian National Library (Országos Széchényi Könyvtár) and the Hungarian National Shared Catalogue (Magyar Országos Közös Katalógus), a 17-library consortium which, if I understand correctly, includes the national library as well.*

We are looking forward to welcoming more Hungarians to LibraryThing. Our Hungarian-language site, hu.LibraryThing.com is at an advanced stage of translation. But we need your help. As we release each language, we realize how critical it is to build momentum. We’ve had success in Holland and Denmark because there were already active Dutch and Danish communities on LibraryThing, and because I knew a good many bloggers in both countries. So far, our Hungarian community has been small (114 members at last count) and I don’t know a single Hungarian blogger! So, if you want this to succeed, spread the word. Blog about it! Tell friends! Stand on a street corner!

Oh, and since you read down this far, how about a free account? The first 20 members who write to me from a .hu address** will get a free premium account. Just send me your member name to tim@librarything.com. If you run a blog in Hungarian, I’ll send you five more to give away to visitors.

*I’d love some clarification on this. We don’t have a bookstore yet—the way we’ve added Bol-Bruna for Dutch, and deastore.com for Italy. We’d love to add one. Update: Apparnetly, The National Library goes on siesta between 23:00-3:00 CET (GMT +1).
**If you’re a native Hungarian speaker in Romania or elsewhere, write me and we’ll work it out.

The flag image above is by Flickr user antenae, and is licensed under the Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Her profile lists here as “24, female, Budapest, Hungary.” Does she want a free membership?

Labels: hungarian, hungary, libraries, magyar, new libraries

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

12 fonti italiane! (12 Italian sources!)

I have been cataloging my Italian books manually for months, but for the joy of all Italian readers, this is finally over! We’ve just added 12 new Italian sources!

It’s really no fun at all to enter book data field by field for hundreds of books, so I am sure all Italian Thingamabrarians will love the new sources! I’m personally really looking forward to cataloging books by scanning the ISBNs with my lovely CueCat!

Anyway, this is a good news for all users: among the 12 new sources there’s the Vatican Library, which owns books in a number of languages, and the European University Institute Library in Florence, with a lot of books on social sciences and European studies in English.

Now, I know this is an English speaking blog, but I’m sure (well, I hope!) Tim and Abby wouldn’t mind some Italian … so, if you wanna read further and you’re not Italian, well, Babelfish is just one click away!

Da quando poco più di un anno fa LibraryThing è stato tradotto in italiano (e in più di 20 altre lingue) dagli utenti di LibraryThing (la pagina traduzioni è qui, se vuoi dare il tuo contributo!), il numero di utenti italiani è cresciuto insieme alle lamentele per la mancanza di una fonte di catalogazione ;-)

Biblioteche e non solo. Finalmente siamo in grado di aggiungere non una, ma ben 12 nuove fonti di catalogazione! Oltre a 11 biblioteche* abbiamo aggiunto anche una libreria online di Roma, DEAstore, perfetta per libri di recente pubblicazione. Non offre gli stessi dati delle biblioteche, ma ha delle copertine fantastiche!

Gruppi.
LibraryThing in inglese (e in alcune altre lingue) ha centinaia di gruppi di discussione molto attivi. I gruppi italiani non sono molto vivaci**, ma forse con qualche utente un più, possiamo rianimarli. Già, ma dove li troviamo altri utenti italiani? Ecco un piccolo incentivo!

Invita i tuoi amici e ricevi un account gratuito per te e per un tuo amico! Dal proprio profilo è possibile invitare i propri amici su LibraryThing. Non perdere tempo, regaliamo un account annuale per te e per un amico ai primi 15 che invitano un amico che cataloga almeno 15 libri!***
Non sei riuscito a convincere nessuno?! Prova a mostrare la visita guidata a LibraryThing.

Ma da quando Tim ha imparato l’italiano?! Beh, Tim non ha imparato l’italiano ;-) Da alcuni mesi LibraryThing ha un italiano nel suo team. Domande, dubbi, bugs? Scrivetemi! Nel frattempo, buona catalogazione a tutti!


* A parte il catalogo delle biblioteche Liguri, le altre nuove fonti sono biblioteche universitarie o di centri di ricerca. Se qualcuno conosce biblioteche italiane che supportano il formato Z39.50, possiamo cercare di aggiungerle. Scrivetemi!
** Adesso che abbiamo delle fonti di catalogazione, di cosa parleremo nei gruppi?!
*** Mandate il nome del vostro account e dell’account del vostro amico a giovannilibrarything.com

Photo credit: “Italian flag flying on top of Monte Sighignola photo by Flikr user ovuigner, used under a CC-Attribution license.

Labels: italy, new feature, new libraries

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

Better at what we do best

We’ve introduced a series of improvements to LibraryThing’s core strength—high-quality book cataloging.

Detail pages and edit pages. We’re replaced the previous detail and edit pages with more attractive and functional ones. That’s an edit page over on the right. For a detail page, check out my copy of my the obscure-but-wonderful*, Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army.

Employing a simple tabbed interface, the new detail pages cover both the “work” level and the individual book level. The latter has been sorely lacking.

Multiple authors, roles. When it comes to cataloging our weakest point was always our handling of “secondary” authors—illustrators, translators, editors and the like. Doing them better has been one of the most insistent requests.

We’ve got a real system now. Books added today come with secondary authors and author roles built in. We’ve set down a small number of preset “roles,” such as Editor, Translator, Photographer and so forth—based on Amazon’s preset roles—but all roles are editable. In time, these roles will be spread throughout the system, so that the author page for someone like Steven King will include not only his own works, but collections he appears in. Translators in particular will finally get their due.

For now, enhanced author and role information is available only for newly-added books. As the system is firmed-up we will begin allowing members to “upgrade” existing records, with multiple authors as well as other cataloging enhancements.

New fields. So far, we’re releasing only two new fields. The first is for the number of copies, in case, like I, you have 500 copies of your wife’s novel, resisting relocation in the foyer. The second is the much-anticipated “private comments” field. Go ahead, pour your hearts out. The field is only viewable when you are signed in.

We’re starting with two, but we have many more waiting in the wings, including fields for edition, publisher, place of publication, binding, physical size and weight, list price—even OCLC number and ISSN. Casey and I spent a lot of time figuring out what more we can squeeze from library data, and from Amazon too. (Did you know, for example, that all library data records declare whether or not they are a Festschrift, but there is no standard way of indicating a CD?)

New Libraries. We’ve been unveiling libraries slowly. By New Years, however, we will have almost 700 libraries. Including among these will be many outside of English-speaking countries, and including books in non-Latin scripts, such as Arabic, Korean and Armenian. Library systems are notoriously twitchy with non-Latin data, and between LT employees we cover nothing beyond Greek. If you’re interested in helping us test these systems, we’d love to hear it.

New Languages. LibraryThing is already available in more than a dozen languages. We’re about to release sixteen more. They are:

Afrikaans, Arabic, Armenian, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Farsi, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Macedonian, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Tagalog, Urdu

Some of our existing translations have done well—German, Dutch, Welsh—while others—Basque, Latvian—have languished. I think I see now that the key ingredient is a small cadre of zealots willing to do enough initial work that subsequent, interested but less-daring helpers can carry thing the rest of the way. If you’re interested in helping out on one of these languages, let us know. We’ll give you a special key in.

MARCThing. Underneath many of our improvements is an exciting new package we’re calling MARCThing. Developed by our own Casey Durfee, MARCThing is a complete, self-contained and largely idiot-proof way to access and parse library data. We’re going to making it available for non-commercial use and extension. We expect lots of interesting things to come of it.

I’ve asked Casey to write up a post on MARCThing over on the Thingology blog. It’ll be there in a sec. Check it out.

Talk about it. Yesterday was Götterdämmerung for everything new. So much changed so completely that a lot ended up broken. For that we apologize. Chris and I are very grateful for the flood of bug reports, suggestions, criticisms and encouragement. That thread is threatening to hit 200 posts, so I’m starting a new thread for lingering issues (there are a few) and other topics related to this blog post. Of course, you can also comment on this post. Blog posts are a lousy place for bugs, but they’re a great place for more detailed questions, disagreements and so forth.

Future steps. In the next week we’ll be unveiling the other new fields, and building a “data-enhancement” option for older records. After that, the path is clear for collections. (But don’t shoot me if I slip a Secret-Santa feature in this week.)

Final thoughts. We’ve undertaken to improve this aspect of the site despite some contrary advice—that most people don’t care about getting the data right, and that we need to focus on the purely social parts of the site. After all, we’re already the best at this side, so why spend time and money to get better?

Although, with cataloging improved, we intend to turn our attention to better UI—such as collections—and to improved social features, we feel that LibraryThing isn’t MySpace—that content and conversation are inextricably linked. As Tim O’Reilly recently put it in an interview, LibraryThing is one of a number of sites that provide different, interesting takes on the “social graph.” You don’t get to interesting relationships around books without making the book-side as powerful and flexible as can be.


*And, on LibraryThing, insanely over-promoted!

Labels: cataloging, new feature, new libraries, privacy