Friday, December 22nd, 2006

Hanukkah bookpile winner

We might not have been flooded with entries for this one, but the ones we did get were fantastic (I want fried donuts. Maybe next time, winners will be selected based on whoever sends us the best baked good bribery.)

Congratulations to cmlib* though, for the prize-winning photo. (Tim noted that he has Christmas stuff in exactly that style, also from Mexico.) Congrats!

Up next—a Christmas bookpile contest. Start your piles and post them to Flickr with the tag “LibraryThingChristmas”. The deadline is the 3pm on Wednesday, December 27th (I know, that’s after Christmas, but time is flying by! This way you can include books you got as gifts too, right?) The winner, as usual, gets a gift subscription.

*But that’s your Flickr user name, but not your LT one! Who are you? How will I know who to send the gift membership prize to?? Email me!**
**Update: That was fast! Flickr user cmlib is our very own libros (the kitten picture on her profile slays me. I love it).

Labels: book pile

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

Vote for LibraryThing

Vote for LibraryThing in Mashable’s Social Networking Awards. (You vote by leaving a comment.) We’re in the “niche” category—I lobbied unsuccessfully for a social cataloging section—together with sites like CafeMom (“a place for moms”)*, SneakerPlay (MySpace for people who care about sneakers), Share Your Look (MySpace for fashionistas), AdFemme (MySpace for women in the advertising industry), NextCat (MySpace for actors, makeup artists and other Hollywood types), MyChurch (Facebook for congregations), Dianovo (MySpace for environmentists)**, our good friends Wordie, LibraryThing for words, and our favorite site, LibraryThing (SneakerPlay for booklovers).

*It’s depressing how much most “niche” sites ape MySpace.
**And people who enjoy splash screens. There’s also BeGreen, which is focused on global warming, but sports a front-page photo of two hot women standing in stylish red 60s or 70s convertible which is surely not a hybrid.

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Thursday, December 21st, 2006

The Areas of my Expertise—free!

The audiobook of John Hodgman‘s The Area of My Expertise* is available for free on iTunes.

* Full title: An Almanac of Complete World Knowledge Compiled with Instructive Annotation and Arranged in Useful Order by Me, John Hodgman, a Professional Writer, in the Areas of My Expertise, which Include: Matters Historical; Matters Literary; Matters Cryptozoological**; Hobo Matters; Food, Drink, & Cheese (a Kind of Food); Squirrels & Lobsters & Eels; Haircuts; Utopia; What Will Happen in the Future; and Most Other Subjects; Illustrated with a Reasonable Number of Tables and Figures, and Featuring the Best of “Were You Aware of It?”, John Hodgman’s Long-Running Newspaper Novelty Column of Strange Facts and Oddities of the Bizarre
** Two people have tagged it cryptozoology, seven hoboes.

Hat tip: Neil Gaiman

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Wednesday, December 20th, 2006

Hanukkah Harry wants your photos

Quick reminder: Post your Hanukkah book-pile photos to Flickr, tagged LibraryThingHanukkah. Winner gets a gift account. So far, we have only one book pile, with dreidels, and two not-very-booky entries (some very nice sufganyot and a family video from Steve Cohen at LibraryStuff). Deadline is 3pm Thursday, Dec. 21.

Feature teaser: It won’t make the end of Hanukkah, but LiveJournal and MySpace users should get a nifty, widgety Christmas present. Send encouragement to Chris (chrisgann).

Feature teaser 2: LC Authority Records, babee. Send fried donuts.

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Tuesday, December 19th, 2006

Neil Gaiman explains the Unsuggester

Neil Gaiman (American Gods, Neverwhere, etc.) has mentioned LibraryThing on his blog before, but today’s entry really caught our eye. It wasn’t just that he might join up, but he wrote a dead-on explanation of Unsuggester and what statistics mean and what they don’t. Here’s his reader’s email and his response:

Neil, I think the unsuggester might be broken. I’ve tried multiple titles, including yours, and there is always at least one or two items from my library on the list…

It’s not broken, it’s simply pointing out statistical anomalies—it’s not even talking about whether or not you’d like something (as some people have written to me, complaining they like books from both lists). It’s simply saying that it ought to be able to find a certain number of copies of book Y for people who own Book X, and it can’t. Statistically, people who have a copy of Mein Kampf on their shelves, for whatever reason, have fewer copies of Terry Pratchett books than might be expected. It may be that all the people with both Mein Kampf and Guards! Guards! just aren’t on LibraryThing yet, and once they join the anomaly will vanish. Or it may be that there’s something to be learned from that.

Would that he had been on Slashdot when that cry arose! Actually, part of the problem may be that people put their books in and try the Unsuggester the same day. But the calculations are pretty hairy, so I have to cache them for a while.

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Monday, December 18th, 2006

CueCats by Christmas? Last chance!

I don’t to “push” CueCats (cheap barcode scanners) too much, but when I dropped off the latest batch at the post office, I was told that Christmas delivery was getting dicey, even for Priority Mail*.

So, if you want to get your CueCats by Christmas, you’d better order them as soon as possible. Obviously, you can get a gift membership anytime.

*We don’t do Fedex. CueCats are a side-line for us; we intend to spend Dec. 24 shopping!

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Monday, December 18th, 2006

PC Magazine bests

An early Christmas present for us—we made PC Magazine’s five best services of 2006. They say:

“Heavens! Another tag-happy social-networking site that’s actually worth using!”

Well, I’m not going to argue with that!

We’re pretty honored, particularly since one of the other winners was Skype. Not such bad company to find ourselves in.

Labels: 1

Monday, December 18th, 2006

Happy Hanukkah

We don’t have a picture, so we grabbed this one from Flickr (mamamusings/Liz Lawley***)

Happy Hanukkah from LibraryThing!*

Help! LibraryThing doesn’t have a Hanukkah picture! We’ve got 6 days left. Pile up your Hannukah books? Go with silver and blue? Add a dreidel? Latkes? It’s up to you.

Post it to Flickr** with the tag “LibraryThingHanukkah,” and we’ll feature our favorite on the blog (and on the home page if we can get our act together). We’ll give you a free gift subscription, for you or someone else.

Deadline: Since Flickr can take a while to post pictures the official deadline is 3pm Thursday, Dec. 21.

*Linkfest! Tags: Hanukkah, latkes, menorah (one book!?), Wikipedia: Hanukkah, Judas Maccabeus on the Web (, and Judah Maccabee the Huggable Hanukkah Hero.
**If you really need to email it to tim[at] But Flickr is bett(e)r.
***In a TRULY freakish coincidence, Ms. Lawley is the RIT prof./Microsoft consultant working on a behind-the-firewall “enterprise” thing (see her blog post on the topic, and see Stowe Boyd too, with some comments by me from when I thought she was “just” a Microsoft developer). I didn’t realize where I’d heard the name until I after I posted this, but I guess it makes sense. Social-software people use Flickr a lot, get rated highly. It seems like a big world, but really it’s small!

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Thursday, December 14th, 2006

The gift of LibraryThing

LibraryThing memberships make great gifts!

Lifetime memberships ($25)
Yearly memberships ($10)

Or what about CueCats as stocking stuffers? Nothing says holiday joy like a barcode scanner shaped like a cat, I say. Functional and decorative!

And don’t forget our store at CafePress, ThingStore. Everything at ThingStore is offered at the CafePress base price—we’re not marking it up, and not making any money on it—so buy it simply for the joy of wearing it.

I’ve been using LT as a “what not to buy” tool lately (no, I’m not just Unsuggesting). It’s good for seeing what books my niece already owns, so I don’t end up buying duplicates (plus, it’s slightly more discreet than driving to her house and bookshelf snooping). In short, proof that you should give memberships to your friends and family—it benefits you both!

Update: I’ve been informed that PopMatters included LibraryThing as part of their 2006 Holiday Gift Guide (“shopping for the best pop culture stuff”)!

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Wednesday, December 13th, 2006

Porter Square Books!

Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA has become the second bookstore to integrate with LibraryThing.

As with the first bookstore, Shaman Drum of Ann Arbor, MI, we’re doing this to please local members, not to make a buck. There were no string attached, and LibraryThing does not make any money from it.

If they’re your local bookstore, just edit your profile to note that and you’ll get availability and pricing information on all work pages. If they’re not your bookstore, go ahead and find out if your bookstore can integrate. To work with Porter Square Books, we set up a simple upload form, instead of requiring an XML feed. If they’re right, there are about 30 bookstores around the country that generate similar feeds for Booksense. I’ll post about that in more detail later over on Thingology.

I grew up in Cambridge and spent most of my life there. But I moved to Maine three years ago, and I haven’t set foot in Porter Square Books, and I haven’t met the people who work there. I hear it’s great, and Dale, the director, was a pleasure to work with. Are any other Thingamabrarians Cantabrigians* or Somerville-ers**? Anyone go there?

*Hey! That’s what we’re called.
**Note that Cambridge has a nifty Latin form. Somerville does not.

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