Monday, July 19th, 2010

More “More”

I’ve pushed a major revamp of the More tab, which has expanded from one (confusing) page to eight better-organized ones.

The More tab is divided into convenient sections like Sites and Applications and Store. Helpers and Member Projects are just a start. Come talk about what’s missing here.

Labels: new features

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Teeshirt sale for the Read In Public ReadaThing

LibraryThing teeshirtUpdate: The t-shirt sale has started early! Buy your t-shirt here.

For one week only Until August 8th, we’re having a sale on LibraryThing t-shirts.

See, we’re having a ReadaThing readathon in August, and the theme is Reading In Public*, and I figured you might want to wear a LibraryThing teeshirt.

So, we’re having a sale. Our t-shirts are normally $15, but they’ll be $9 from July 26th (at noon) through 8th (whenever we remember to change it back). You don’t need a coupon code, or a secret password. Anyone who buys a shirt during that week will automatically get the sale price.

The Reading In Public ReadaThing is one of a series of readathons hosted on LibraryThing’s forum system, Talk. A readathon is a chosen period of time (24 hours, usually) where members take turns reading, as to have non-stop reading during the event. Thanks to night-owls and international participation, there can be non-stop reading

*Unlike knitting in public, RIP is an unfortunate acronym.

**We decided that reading on your porch or in a lit window count, as long as someone else can see you. It’s kind of a reverse-peeping-tom.

Labels: readathon

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

What groups are your friends in?

Following up on last night’s feature, jjwilson61 recommended turning it around. So I’ve added a stats/memes page to show the groups your connections—friends, and other people—are in.

Here’s your page.

Come talk about it.

Labels: new features

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Groups show connections

Two small changes: Group pages now show who among your friends and other connections are in the group. We’ve also restored group member-counts. Both look forward to a restored group-Zeitgeist.

Discuss here.

Labels: 1

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Welcome Julian!

A warm welcome to Julian North Catalfo, born 11:12pm on June 28—8 lbs. 5 oz., 20 inches. (We just got the first picture, to blog it.)

Julian was born to LibraryThing library developer Chris Catalfo (CCatalfo) and his wife Joanna. Older sister Ellie is adjusting well.

Julian caps LibraryThing’s odds-defying “Season of Babies“—five babies in five months! There is clearly something in the water here.

Labels: LibraryThing babies

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Free books: July’s Early Reviewer batch is open!

The July 2010 batch of Early Reviewer books is up! We’ve got 75 books this month, and a grand total of 1938 copies to give out.

Books to get excited about include (but are not limited to):

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, July 23rd at 6PM EST.

Eligiblity: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to many, many countries. 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!

Canongate Books Henry Holt and Company W.W. Norton
B&H Publishing Group Ballantine Books Sovereign
Doubleday Books William Morrow Ulysses Press
Seven Stories Press St. Martin’s Press Picador
St. Martin’s Minotaur Penguin Young Readers Group Hachette Book Group
The Permanent Press Cemetery Dance Del Rey
Tundra Books Orca Book Publishers Bloomsbury
Springer BookViewCafe Gefen Publishing House
Little, Brown and Company Hunter House DiaMedica
St. Martin’s Griffin Harper Paperbacks Avon Books
Bromera Putnam Books Thomas Dunne Books
Bethany House Chosen Books Berkley
Zed Books

Labels: early reviewers

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Early Reviewers June bonus batch: Rewired

The June 2010 Bonus batch of Early Reviewer book is up! We’re giving away 15 copies of Rewired: Understanding the iGeneration and the Way They Learn, by Dr. Larry Rosen. Check out Larry Rosen’s website and blog, Rewired: The Psychology of Technology, on Psychology Today.

I’ll be interviewing Dr. Rosen at the end of the month, about how available technology (iPods, video games, computers, cell phones) are affecting how we absorb information. Dr. Rosen’s book is primarily about how children’s brains are rewired by access to these technologies, how the way we’ve taught is not taking these rewired brains into account and what we can do about it.

I’m taking questions from LibraryThing members. If you’d like to ask Dr. Rosen a question, please post it here. If you’d like to purchase the book, you can get it on sale, through our friends at Book Depository for US$11.49 (and free shipping!)

To request this book, 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 deadline to request a copy is Friday, July 2 at 12PM EST.

Eligiblity: Publishers do things country-by-country, and this particular giveaway is only available to US and CA folks.

Thanks to Palgrave Macmillan!

Labels: bonus batch, early reviewers

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

June State of the Thing

State of the Thing logoIn your inbox, you’ll find the June State of the Thing, LibraryThing’s monthly newsletter of features, author interviews and various forms of bookish delight.

Check your inbox or read it online.

This month’s edition includes two author interviews:

If you don’t get State of the Thing, you can add it in your email preferences. You also have to have an email address listed.

Labels: state of the thing

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Announcing OverCat

We have added a new source to every member’s Add Books page: OverCat, LibraryThing’s new index of 32 million library records, assembled from libraries around the world, and the first step in a major upgrade of LibraryThing’s cataloging functions.

Sources. OverCat was assembled from over 700 sources. The core consists of full datasets from the Library of Congress, Washington State, Boston College, Oregon State, and Talis Base (a collection of UK libraries).* To this we’ve added records from the hundreds of thousands of books members have searched for and added from the 690 libraries LibraryThing connects to.

The end result is arguably the second-largest searchable database of library records in existence, after OCLC.**

How to use it. To use OverCat, go to your Add books page. OverCat has been added to everyone’s source list. (It can be removed but not yet reordered.)

High-quality results. To make it easier to find the edition you need, OverCat combines results into edition-level clusters, so you get one result per edition (rather than pages and pages of the same edition of the same book from different libraries).  By default, it will give you what it guesses the best available record is for that edition, but you can select from any one of the alternate records if you want to.

OverCat isn’t everything. The Library of Congress data dump is not current–although it’s been supplemented with user searches. Our relevancy ranking isn’t as good as Amazon’s. (We could use your feedback to make it better.) But most users will find it a useful source, and many will find it the best one.

The Big Issue. OverCat is available to LibraryThing members in the course of normal site activity—cataloging small collections of books.*** It will not be available for external access, including by libraries. It is not a back door to OCLC data.

This will come as a disappointment to many, including us. We have long argued for library-data openness and against OCLC’s bid to privatize and monopolize library data. But we also made it clear to the libraries we search that their data will not be made available outside of the context of personal cataloging without their permission. This will not change, now or in the future.

We would love to open OverCat up, to make it OpenLibrary as we originally hoped it would be it, or like Amazon Web Services, but with free, high quality data. We believe data openness is critical to the survival of libraries in our increasingly free and open world. But we depend upon open search portals, and will never open up a library’s data against its wishes. Some of these libraries may want to open up their data, but some clearly do not, and almost everyone is afraid of OCLC and its new data policy.*** Either way, we will abide by libraries’ wishes.

For the 690 libraries we search little has changed. We will still send member searches to your systems, but fewer—reducing your load—and the requests may not come at the time of searching. As before, found records will be stored on LibraryThing systems, but can now be used by more than one user and will appear in OverCat searches. Bulk or non-personal access will not be possible.

Thanks. OverCat has been a long-term project of Casey Durfee. The Board for Extreme Thing Advances helped us nail down bugs and decide on the name.

The future. LibraryThing’s greatest strength is its cataloging, but we don’t want to rest on that. There are a lot of improvements we can do now that we have a flexible, scaleable structure and repository for our data. OverCat is the first step here.

Come talk about your suggestions, and OverCat generally, on Talk here.

*Some OpenLibrary data was omitted for being mostly duplicative or of insufficient quality.

**For background on the OCLC issue, see here. We will also honor requests to remove libraries’ data from OverCat, excepting those libraries (like the LC), whose records are public by both law and public dumps.

There are larger collections. Harvard, for example, is said to have contributed 81 million records to OCLC, but most can’t have been book records, as the volume-count of Harvard is less than that of the Library of Congress, which we include.

We could make part of the data free, and part closed. But since the free data comes from OpenLibrary it would be duplicative of their efforts. We may explore this avenue in the future, as our primary complaint against OpenLibrary is the lack of exportable library-data formats.

***Exports of your library are included, obviously, but no larger dumps. “Personal” includes some small institutions, like church libraries, clubs and so forth.

Labels: cataloging, new features

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

June Early Reviewers–free books!

The June 2010 batch of Early Reviewer books is up! We’ve got 62 books this month, and a grand total of 1350 copies to give out.

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

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

Some highlights: The new Mary Roach, Packing for Mars. Ridley Pearson’s In Harm’s Way. Tom Standage’s new An Edible History of Humanity. And we’re especially excited by Clay Shirky’s new book, Cognitive Surplus!

The deadline to request a copy is Friday, June 25th at 6PM EST.

Eligiblity: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the many different countries. 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!

Henry Holt and Company Bond Street Books Canongate Books
Tundra Books The Permanent Press Doubleday Books
W.W. Norton Ballantine Books Small Beer Press
Zest Books Speir Publishing Bloomsbury
Bell Bridge Books Eerdmans Books for Young Readers Dutton
Hesperus Press Chalice Press DAW Books
Putnam Books Beacon Press Santa Fe Writer’s Project
St. Martin’s Griffin Orca Book Publishers Doubleday Canada
House of Anansi Press PublicAffairs Menasha Ridge Press
Clerisy Press The Penguin Press William Morrow
The History Press

Labels: early reviewers