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:
http://www.librarything.com/er/list

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:
http://www.librarything.com/er/list

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:

http://www.librarything.com/wiki/index.php/State_of_the_Thing

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:
http://www.librarything.com/er/list

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

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Swaptree integration

We’ve added integration with a thirteenth swap site, Swaptree.com. By available titles Swaptree is now one of the larger swap sites we integrate with—and the last large one I’m aware of!

Swaptree differs from some of the other sites in that you don’t accumulate points and trade them in. Instead, Swaptree helps you make item-for-item trades with other users. The site also lists DVDs, CDs and video games, and you can make cross-media trades (eg., a video game for a book).

I’m don’t know how it figures out what you get for everything, but it’s a nifty idea, and seems sensible in light of my blog post on top wanted and unwanted items at swap sites. When I entered the top-wanted The Omnivore’s Dilemma, it offered me choice of nearly 100,000 books—some quite attractive to me—along with some appealing DVDs and games. At the other end, it offered me nothing at all for the least-wanted Da Vinci Code. That certainly seems like a potential answer to one problem with swap sites.

You can specify which swap sites are calculated into on Edit profile > Sites/apps.

It might be interesting if, in the future, LibraryThing integrated more deeply, so that, when you went to a book on LibraryThing, it told you if you could get it based on your Swaptree “have” list.

Come talk about this.

Labels: new features, swap, swap site

Friday, May 28th, 2010

May-ish State of the Thing


We’re just started sending out the May/June State of the Thing, LibraryThing’s monthly newsletter of features, author interviews and other drolleries.

Check your inbox or read it online.

This month’s edition includes four author interviews, with:

http://www.librarything.com/wiki/index.php/State_of_the_Thing

Labels: author chat, author interview, state of the thing

Monday, May 24th, 2010

LibraryThing Facebook integration, phase 1

LibraryThing/Facebook integration

We’ve just introduced “phase one” of LibraryThing-Facebook integration. It’s been a ridiculously long time coming, but it’s here. The framework for the project is built and one feature has been implemented—review posting.

Posting Reviews. Phase one is posting reviews. Whenever you write or edit a review you can elect to post the review to Facebook, where it appears as on the right. It also links back to the review page on LibraryThing.

On your Edit profile: Sites/apps page you will find a handy checkbox to make the “Share to Facebook” default to “on” (unless you’ve already published the review, in which case you must explicitly make it republish it).

Sharing via Facebook adds the LibraryThing Books app., which is a Facebook app. for LibraryThing. Right now it does nothing except post your reviews as requested.

So, what else should it do? (Everything, okay, but what is most important?) Come talk about it here.

Credits. The programming this time around was done by Mike (LTMike). Members of the Board for Extreme Thing Advances provided valuable help.

Labels: facebook, new features

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Welcome Octavia!

Welcome to Octavia, the newest LibraryThing baby!  Congratulations to Sonya and her husband Jason on the birth of their daughter last night at a healthy 8 pounds and 20.5 inches long.  All three are happy and well.

Not to be outdone by Mike and Lulu last month, Sonya live-blogged during labor. (Having had a baby myself once upon a time, I just have to say WOW/WHAT?! in amazement that she had the mental wherewithal to blog).

Post your congrats on this Talk thread.

Want more cuteness? See all the LibraryThing baby announcements here (and we’ve still got one more baby coming soon)!

UPDATE (7/30/10): The original post was lost and we were unable to save the original comments. Our apologies, but please feel free to post new comments.

Labels: LibraryThing babies

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

May batch of Early Reviewers books is available

The May 2010 batch of Early Reviewer books is up! We’ve got 70 books this month, and a grand total of 1234 copies to give out. (I swear, I didn’t make that number up.)

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 Friday, May 28th 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 Grand Central Publishing Canongate Books
Tundra Books Putnam Books Orbit Books
New American Library St. Martin’s Press Riverhead Books
Rovira i Virgili University Press Penguin St. Martin’s Minotaur
Ballantine Books Bantam Dell The Permanent Press
University of Iowa Press Gefen Publishing House St. Martin’s Griffin
Jove Books Picador Tor Books
Faber and Faber Other Press Doubleday Books
Demos Medical Publishing Unbridled Books IDW Publishing
Hesperus Press Gibbs Smith Publisher Shambhala
Harper Menasha Ridge Press Clerisy Press
Orca Book Publishers

Labels: early reviewers