Archive for the ‘ltfl’ Category

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

1,512 libraries in LibraryThing for Libraries

LibraryThing for Libraries, our enhancements to public and academic library catalogs, continues to advance. The official list shows some 159 “libraries” getting our tags, recommendations and reviews in their catalogs. But many of those 159 “libraries” are really much larger systems.

So, we thought we’d figure out how many individual libraries were using LibraryThing for Libraries, and add them all to LibraryThing Local. It wasn’t until we started searching out every member library of every consortium and adding every branch to LibraryThing Local that we realized we had WAY more libraries than we had thought: 1,512!

Some of the biggies include ALS/RSA in Illinois, with over 250 member libraries, NOBLE in Massachusetts, with 28, and the King County Library System in Washington, with 43. Over in Australia, the State Library of Tasmania pretty much covers the island, with some 50 libraries.

LTFL in LibraryThing Local. To get this number, we had to add all the libraries to LibraryThing Local. All LibraryThing for Libraries members get this badge:

We have some other plans for this, of course. But for now we’re going to sit back—and dream about an around-the-world trip to visit all of them…

Labels: librarything for libraries, librarything local, ltfl

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

LTFL: now available for Evergreen

We’ve been working on adding the LibraryThing for Libraries enhancements to the open-source catalog Evergreen. We’ve worked out the kinks, and it’s ready to roll.

We’ve integrated both the Catalog Enhancements (tags, tag browser, recommendations, other editions and translations) and the Reviews Enhancement (300,000 LibraryThing reviews, patron reviewing, Facebook app, blog widgets).

If you’d like to see how LTFL looks, check out the catalog of Kent County, Maryland. We owe them a thousand thanks for working with us on making this work.

Labels: Evergreen, librarything for libraries, ltfl, ltfl libraries

Monday, July 20th, 2009

LTFL: Non-ISBN Matching

Short Story. We’ve been going through so many big changes at LibraryThing lately that we let a pretty substantial improvement go by without giving it the fanfare it deserves: the LibraryThing for Libraries (LTFL) Cataloging Enhancements now pick up many non-ISBN items. All LibraryThing for Libraries libraries will see better coverage (5-15%), and academic libraries with older materials should be especially pleased:

Some examples:


The coolest thing about the LibraryThing office: Need a photo of an old book? Grab iphone, swivel chair 180 degrees and shoot. Second coolest thing: The only hot Web 2.0 company with a 1774 edition of Terence.

Long Story. Our enhancements usually run on the basis of the ISBN. ISBNs are easy to pick out of the HTML without knowing the structure of the page ( /[0-9Xx]{10,13}/*, if you speak regular expressions*), and most books have them, so they’re our primary way of knowing what content to load for a particular page.

However, as a part of our reviews enhancement, we developed a JavaScript library called the LibraryThing Connector that, among other things, screen-scrapes the title and author of the book out of the HTML. This is what allows our reviews to work on any item a library owns, whether or not it is in LibraryThing or has an ISBN. It’s tricky stuff, because it requires specific code for every type of library software that we provide reviews for.

To get title-matching therefore, we take the title and author extracted by the Connector and feed it to our own “What Work” fuzzy matching API. Of course, this method is far from foolproof, so we err on the side of caution, only loading enhancement data if we’ve got a strong match on both the title and the author. We haven’t seen any false positives yet, but even with being pretty strict about matching, based on real world stats, we’re able to provide around 5-15% more content in the catalog. Academic libraries will get more of a boost out of this, because they tend to have a lot more non-ISBN items than public libraries.

We did this because it’s fun and useful and kind of magic, but more importantly because we want to constantly improve our products. LibraryThing for Libraries is a subscription service. Every year when it is time for a library to renew with us, we want it to be clear that they’re getting something better from us than they were a year ago, and that even better things are in store for the future. It’s more fun and challenging for us that way, but it’s also something we know works pretty well as a business strategy too.

In my mind a big reason why LibraryThing.com has succeeded is that a membership comes with an expectation of improvement. We don’t call a membership an investment, but you get to expect that you will be able to do more and better and cooler things with LibraryThing over time, and that it will become more valuable to you. As a result of this, our members become deeply involved in the site and how it works, and if a LibraryThing membership is a great investment, members end up making an even greater investment of their knowledge and enthusiasm right back. It’s a great thing to be a part of, so I hope it’s a philosophy we can keep bringing to the library world as well. — Casey

*Pace Casey, who wrote this post, ISBNs are/([0-9]{9}[0-9X}|97[89][0-9]{10})/i !

Labels: librarything for libraries, ltfl, new features

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

LibraryThing for Libraries at ALA: new features and hungry rhinos

Are you ready for this?

Tim and I will be at the American Library Association’s annual conference this year. We have new, new LTFL features to show off. You can find us at booth 2857 in the exhibit hall.

1. New features! We’ll be demoing our new catalog enhancers – never before seen by librarians. We’ll post an announcement all about the new features in a day or two.

2. An art installation! Yeah, you’ll just have to wait and see it. I can’t even describe it, other than to say that it takes away ennui.

3. More rhinos! Tim and I are both flying to Chicago with an inflatable rhino in our luggage. We plan on playing “Toss the Rhino”, and perhaps if we are feeling extra daring, “Pass the Rhinos“.

(Thanks to Brixton for the masticating rhino photo. The rhino tossing one’s mine. That’s Tim and Casey putting some English on the rhino.)

Labels: librarything for libraries, ltfl, new feature, new features, rhinos, Tim

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Categories for your LTFL Reviews

Teen reviews from Seattle Public Library

We’ve a new feature to LibraryThing for Libraries, suggested by Lare over at the Seattle Public Library. He was looking for a way to show off just some of their reviews—reviews for their summer reading program.

Libraries can now add “categories” for their reviewers to check off—library book club books, Big Read books, reviews by library staff, etc. And the library can show off just one category of reviews in their LTFL blog widget.

Seattle has made blog-widget pages for their kids section, teen section, and even their adult section of the site. By categorizing the reviews into age-related groups, they can feature items in their catalog that would interest the patrons for each demographic.

We’ll be releasing some more cool features at American Library Association meeting in Chicago next week.

Labels: ltfl, LTFL categories, ltfl libraries, LTFL Reviews, Seattle Public Library

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Category Feature Added to LTFL Reviews

We’ve added a new feature to the LibraryThing for Libraries Reviews Enhancement: the ability to categorize reviews for the blog widget.

Thus far, library patrons have been able to write reviews and rate books in their library’s catalog, add their reviews to their Facebook page and even create a widget that lets them show off their reviews on blogs and websites.

Now, libraries can show off reviews written by their patrons for specific library programs. Patrons and librarians can add categories to a review. The library can then create blog widgets with said categories – keep track of reviews for the Summer Reading Program, One Book, One City and book discussion groups.

This should be helpful all year round, but the inspiration for the feature came from a librarian’s request to manage the reviews children were going to be writing for the summer reading program at their library. They wanted some way to display the reviews separately from the rest of the reviews coming in.

Anyone who’s bought the Reviews Enhancement can use this feature starting immediately. Read here for instructions how to add and use it.

If you’d like more information about LTFL, and the enhancements that can take your OPAC from Library 1.0 to Library 2.0 overnight, fill out the interest form on the LTFL page.

The Reviews Enhancement isn’t available for all OPACs – currently, it supports Horizon, iBistro, iLink, eLibrary, Webvoyage, Voyager 7, WebPac, WebPac Pro and Koha. More are coming soon!

Labels: categories, librarything for libraries, ltfl, LTFL Reviews, new feature

Monday, June 8th, 2009

LTFL Reviews: you stand 300,000 deep

At the end of May, we reached 300,000 reviews vetted and available for LibraryThing for Libraries!

We’d previously been bragging about having 250,000 reviews, so here’s my core sample: at the beginning of April, we had 24 reviews for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. Now, we have 74. Of course, popular books will get more reviews, but trust me – we also cover the long, long tail of library collections.

The LTFL Reviews Enhancement is currently available for Horizon, iBistro, Webvoyage, Voyager 7, Koha, WebPac and WebPac Pro. The LTFL Catalog Enhancements are available for practically every OPAC. Contact us for more info.

Labels: book reviews, librarything for libraries, ltfl, milestone

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

Improved support for Koha

Setting up LibraryThing for Libraries in Koha is now a only couple of clicks away!

The 3.2 version of Koha (which isn’t out yet) will include the improved integration for LTFL. If you are using Koha without a host, and run on the bleeding edge, you can try it now via Git.

What this does is enable and disable LTFL through the Koha Enhanced Content system preference page. Simply enter your LTFL account number (found on your LibraryThing for Libraries Account page), decide where you’d like LTFL content to display (in tabs or under other bibliographic details) and enable it. No need to edit Koha templates.

The work to make this possible was initiated by me and extended and improved by Chris Hyde of East Brunswick Public Library. Thanks, Chris!

Labels: koha, librarything for libraries, ltfl

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

LTFL webinar by WiLS

There will be a webinar* on LibraryThing for Libraries (LTFL) from Wisconsin Library Services (WiLS).

Details: Thursday April 9th, 2009, 2:00 – 3:00 pm, Central Time
Blog post here | Sign-up info here

Jenny Schmidt (SWITCH consortium) and Ingrid Lebolt (Arlington Heights Memorial Library) will be explaining “how LTFL works and detail the process of implementing LTFL features into your library’s catalog (Web Opac).” WiLS hosts a series of webinars for libraries.

Note: this is one in a series of webinars, all which cost smallish amounts of money.

Both speakers work at libraries using LTFL (see the whole list here). I have a long-standing love for the Arlington Heights library. They were an early adopter of LTFL, and of good things in general. Here’s their LibraryThing Local page, and a picture of me standing outside their building (to corroborate my story). The far-away half of my family lived there, and I grew up going to AHML when I’d visit.

*definition of ‘web conference/webinar’

Labels: librarything for libraries, ltfl, webinars

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Polaris support for LibraryThing for Libraries

Following on yesterday’s announcement of Koha support, we’re happy to announce that LibraryThing for Libraries catalog enhancements are now available for Polaris OPACs.

First off, we probably owe the Polaris people a public apology for this being such a long time coming. They first contacted me about integrating LTFL in their systems a year and a half ago, when we only had 5 or 6 customers. One of their libraries had asked about it, and as a company, they’ve decided to be incredibly responsive to the cutting edge things their libraries want to do. They’ve kept pushing us (on behalf of their customers), even as technical and non-technical obstacles (mostly non-technical) have prevented us from seeing it through.

It’s a great corporate philosophy, and far too rare in the library world. Now that everybody takes our phone calls and wants to work with us, they deserve a lot of credit from being down from day one. It’s unsurprising to me that they scored among the highest customer satisfaction of any commercial ILS vendor in a recent poll; clearly service is a high priority for them.

Want to see the catalog enhancements in action? Here are a couple of examples from our first Polaris customer to go live, Glendora Public Library: (dogs), (fantasy). Several more Polaris libraries are testng it.

Because of the way Polaris’ system works, you currently have to press the LibraryThing button to get the content for a particular item. In the next version of Polaris, not only with LTFL be installable without editing any template files, but there will be no LibraryThing button; our content will load when somebody clicks on the “full display” button. So far, we haven’t added review support, but we’re happy to do it if there are interested customers.

Currently we have two installation options: the first only requires a single line of code to be added to your templates, but it does the LibraryThing button instead of loading with the details. This is what Glendora is using. The other installation option (provided by an engineer at Polaris) requires more involved editing of their templates but makes the current version of Polaris work with LTFL like the forthcoming version will.

Interested in getting LibraryThing for Libraries for your Polaris catalog? Contact us through the Interested? form.

Labels: librarything for libraries, ltfl