LibraryThing for Libraries just hit 800,000 professionally vetted reviews (812,839, to be precise!). We had been working through a backlog (we had hit 600,000 in April) and are now entirely caught up, which is great. We have between 3,000-4,000 new reviews to read and approve every week, so the number is ever growing, and you can be sure that new popular books will have reviews on them quickly.
A question we get frequently is what does “vetted” mean? We—real live MLS-degreed librarians*—read the reviews submitted by LibraryThing members.** We remove reviews not written in English,*** remove reviews that consist of nothing but a link, and we automatically star out curse words. The rest, we read. We remove reviews that are credited to another source, or published elsewhere. We remove reviews that obviously aren’t reviews. We don’t judge grammar and punctuation too harshly, but if a review is so riddled with errors that it’s impossible to read, it goes. Much of the vetting process involves making judgement calls about whether it is useful, whether it is what someone would want to read when deciding to check out a book or not.
On top of these reviews from LibraryThing, patrons at your library can write their own reviews (local reviews will always sort on top, so you see them first). Libraries that subscribe to the Reviews Enhancement from LibraryThing for Libraries can also display patrons reviews from other libraries that use the service, sharing the wealth.
The Reviews enhancement is one of the easiest to add to your OPAC, and also comes with a widget that can be used to show off recent reviews written in your library.
For more information, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). For ordering information, contact Peder Christensen at Bowker—877-340-2400 or Peder.Christensen@bowker.com.
*This is who we are!
**LibraryThing members must agree to share their reviews before we even consider them for inclusion.
***Though we automatically exclude non-English language reviews, libraries can now actually choose to include reviews in other languages! So German libraries can show reviews in German and those in English, if they desire.