Friday, January 18th, 2013

ALA Midwinter in Seattle – Free Exhibit Passes!

Kate and I will be heading to Seattle next week for ALA Midwinter. We’ll be setting up camp in booth 1108- just look for the giant inflatable giraffe if you can’t find us.

Are you in Seattle, or nearby, and want to get into the exhibit hall for free? I can help! We have free exhibit passes to give out: Click here to register.

The exhibit halls open Friday, January 25th at 5:30pm and close Monday the 28th at 2pm. So stop by our booth and say hi!

We will also be showing off a brand new LibraryThing for Libraries product (Book Display Widgets!) and upgrades to other features… More detailed announcements coming, or stop by the booth for a preview.

Labels: ALA midwinter, ALAMW13, Book Display Widgets, librarything for libraries

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

New: Add Events API

The Add Events API adds events to the LibraryThing Local events system using a simple “RESTful” API.

You can also find this on WikiThing: Add Events API

Come Talk about the API here.

The Request

Each Add Events request consists of a single http request, with all parameters specified in the URL. There is no ganging of requests.

There is no separate API to update events. If the system finds an event for the same venue at the same time and added by you, it replaces it with the new one.

Here is a sample request with the parameters broken out onto separate lines.

http://www.librarything.com/api_eventadd.php?
title=Spring+Author+Series
&description=A+reading+from+Every+Visible+Thing+by+Lisa+Carey.
&isbns=0060937424,0380815591
&time=2012-12-1+11:00
&venue=2427
&userid=timspalding
&developerkey=[omitted]
&addevent=1

You can try out this request [http://www.librarything.com/api/eventadd.php?title=Spring+Author+Series&description=A+reading+from+Every+Visible+Thing+by+Lisa+Carey.&isbns=0060937424,0380815591&time=2012-12-1+11:00&venue=2427&userid=timspalding&developerkey=%5Bomitted%5D&addevent=1 by hitting this URL]. Don’t worry, it won’t add a new event.

Basic parameters

title. The title of the event.

time. The date and time of the event, preferably in the format YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM (eg., 2012-12-01 14:00).

Ideally the HH:MM should be in 24-hour (or “military”) format, although you can also append “AM” or “PM.” All times should be local time; not include timezone data, or it will throw off the time calculation as it attempts to square it with LibraryThing’s timezone.

description. The description of the event. Works and authors should NOT be touchstones in the description.

isbns (optional). A comma-separated list of ISBNs relevant to the entry. LibraryThing uses these to retrieve all potential work titles and author names implicated in the description, and creates touchstones as appropriate.

ISBNs are not only for works, but also for authors. For example, if an author is delivering a talk but not reading from any specific work, referencing one of their ISBNs will still ensure that their name in the description gets turned into a touchstone.

eventurl (optional). URL of the event at the venue’s website.

mediaurl (optional). Archived media of the event (for past events only).

Basic parameters

There are two ways of finding the venue. You must use one or the other.

venue. If you know the LibraryThing venue id, use the venue= parameter.

The LibraryThing venue id is located in venue URLs. For example, [http://www.librarything.com/venue/924/Strand-Bookstore http://www.librarything.com/venue/924/Strand-Bookstore] has the venue id 924.

venuesearchtype, venuesearchdata and venuesearchexact. Using these two parameters you instruct LibraryThing to search for a venue. If exactly one venue is found, it will go ahead and choose it, and add the event. At present there are four venuesearchtype options.

*phone. Searches the venue’s phone number. All non-numbers are ignored (ie., 207-555-1212 is the same as 207.555.1212, etc.).

*twitter. Searches the venue’s Twitter handle, if they have one.

*email. Searches for the email.

*name. Searches the venue name.

venuesearchdata is the search string.

venuesearchexact is whether to do a match on partial searches (ie., “Strand” matching “Strand Bookstore,” “Strand Book Annex,” “The Strand Bookshop,” etc.).

Your information

userid. Your LibraryThing userid (ie., timspalding).

developerkey. Developer key. This can be found at http://www.librarything.com/services/keys.php . If you are not a registered developer, you can sign up and get your developer key in less than a minute.

Making it happen

addevent. To make it add the event, rather than just test the system and see an XML response, set addevent=1. Constructing http requests without addevent is a good way to test out the system.

The Response

Requests to the Add Events API return an XML response, recapitulating the event, reporting on errors or warning and listing the status of “added,” “replaced” or “not added.” The <touchstones> are lets you see whether your ISBNs were successfully turned into touchstones.

<response>
	<status>
		<action>replaced</action>
		<eventid>305621</eventid>
	</status>
	<event>
		<title>Spring Author Series</title>
		<venue>LibraryThing H.Q.</venue>
		<date>2012-12-01 11:00 AM</date>
		<description>
			A reading from [Every Visible Thing] by [[Lisa Carey]].
		</description>
		<touchstones>
			<touchstone>
				<text>[Every Visible Thing]</text>
				<author>careylisa</author>
					<work>3702986</work>
			</touchstone>
			<touchstone>
				<text>[[Lisa Carey]]</text>
				<author>careylisa</author>
			</touchstone>
		</touchstones>
	</event>
</response>

Labels: apis, bookstores, event

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Hiring: Customer support for LibraryThing for Libraries

LibraryThing is hiring again—a relatively junior full-time position, with room to grow. We’re looking for someone smart and organized to help out with the customer support side of LibraryThing for Libraries. The basic job is providing technical support to libraries using our products, but there’s also room to be doing smaller projects as well, such as performing QA testing on new features, creating informational screencasts, writing help and FAQ pages, and more.

Duties:
  • Provide technical support to libraries using LibraryThing for Libraries and Library Anywhere (our mobile product)–help them through the installation process and answer questions
  • Conduct QA testing
  • Create how-to and marketing screencasts
  • Conduct informational webinars
  • Possibly attend trade shows
  • Learn whatever we need you to learn
  • Think creatively and suggest improvements
  • Whatever else is needed. We are still a startup so all “duties” are fluid.
You must be:
  • Organized as all get-out
  • Able to write quickly and well
  • Able to juggle multiple tasks efficiently and with humor
  • Extremely comfortable with computers
  • Able to work independently and communicate effectively with both customers and co-workers (over email, phone, and Skype)
We’d appreciate, but don’t require:
  • A Library or Information Sciences Degree
  • Experience in libraries or library “industry”
  • Customer-service or sales experience
  • Some technical skills (HTML, CSS, MySQL, etc.)
  • Mac user and lover
  • Love of cheese
Location:
Though LibraryThing is a somewhat virtual company, Boston, Massachusetts or Portland, Maine area are preferred for this position. If we get enough applications we may not look at others—no offense.
Compensation:
Salary plus gold-plated health and dental insurance. We require hard work, but we are flexible about hours.
How to apply:
Email and resume is good. Don’t send a separate cover letter. In your email, please go through the bullets above, explaining briefly how they do or don’t fit you. We will accept applications through November 7th.
Send emails to Abby: abby@librarything.com.

Labels: employment, hiring, jobs

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

BookPsychic.com: Personal recommendations at your library

We’re thrilled to announce the public launch of BookPsychic, a new way to get your library’s books into the hands of eager readers.

BookPsychic is an easy and fun personal recommender system for library patrons—like Netflix or Amazon, but all about what’s in and what’s popular at your library.

BookPsychic is simple to use. You can get to it from within your library catalog or at BookPsychic.com. As you rate books and DVDs there, BookPsychic learns more and more about your tastes, and comes up with recommendation lists. And everything shown or recommended is available at your library. Simple “bookstore” genres, like “Recent fiction” and “History,” help you zero in on the books you want.

We’ve partnered with Portland Public Library, in Portland, Maine, as the first library to go with BookPsychic. You can read their blog post or go straight to their BookPsychic. Please note that the recommendations you get will come from Portland Public Library’s holdings.

BookPsychic in action in the Portland Public Library’s Catalog

BookPsychic works without any sign-up process at all. To save your ratings and recommendations, however, we’ve made it easy to sign up or sign in through Facebook, Twitter and LibraryThing. If you’ve rated books elsewhere, you can import them from Facebook, LibraryThing or Goodreads. For more details about how BookPsychic works, see the About BookPsychic page.

BookPsychic works with all libraries and all library systems, and is easy to set up and cheaper than you’d think! If you’re interested in getting BookPsychic for your library, drop Abby a line at abby@librarything.com. We can set you up on the double.

Here’s a nifty logo. Chris (ConceptDawg) was aiming for a certain “Bewitched” flavor:

We’d like to thank our Board for Extreme Thing Advances for smoke-testing the service in the last few days. While BookPsychic was designed for libraries, LibraryThing members will quickly realize that it presents some interesting possibilities for LibraryThing itself. Come over to Talk and let’s discuss them.

Labels: BookPsychic, libraries, recommendations

Monday, June 18th, 2012

Heading to ALA / free exhibits-only pass

At the end of the week, Tim, Kate, and I are heading to Anaheim, CA for the American Library Association’s annual conference. We’ll be camped out at booth 1919 and at 1471 (in the “mobile pavilion”), so stop by and say hi. We have two big new enhancements to show off (stay tuned here for more details if you won’t be able to come see them in person), and a new inflatable animal (the rhino is sitting this show out). How can you resist?

Want to attend? As an exhibitor, we get to give out free “Exhibits Only” passes to ALA. So if you’re nearby and want to come, this is your chance! Click here and follow the instructions—you have to register online. The pass gets you only into the exhibit hall, not the conference sessions.

The exhibit halls open at 5:30pm on Friday the 22nd, hope to see you there!

Labels: ala, ala anaheim, giraffe, librarything for libraries, rhinos

Monday, June 18th, 2012

800,000 reviews on LibraryThing for Libraries

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 (abby@librarything.com). 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.

Labels: librarything for libraries, ltfl, LTFL Reviews

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

LTFL Library Tag Clouds

LibraryThing for Libraries has added a new feature to our Tag Browser, showing tag clouds for an entire library. Available in different “resolutions” (up to 1,000 tags), they give a nice overview of “what’s out there” in a library’s collection, and provide quick entry points to the lists for each tag.

Update: Here’s an example at the Spokane County Library System

LTFL libraries can turn the feature on and off in the Tag Configuration page. Libraries can jump right to the tag cloud with a link like:

<a href="#" onclick="LibraryThingConnector.widgets.tags.showTagCloud(); return false;">asd</a>

Labels: Uncategorized

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

LibraryThing for Libraries is faster / 600,000 reviews

Two quick news items about LibraryThing for Libraries:

1. LibraryThing for Libraries has had a big speed upgrade, coincident with some new monitoring and profile software we installed. Most noticeable has been the improvement in the pop-up/lightboxes for tagging, reviews, shelf browse, series and awards. Tag lists and shelf browse saw cuts of up to 90%, moving them from “rather pokey” to “quite speedy.”

On-page enhancements also sped up about 20%. Although they average less than 200 milliseconds (0.20 seconds) already, and do not hold up a library’s page, we think it’s important to keep them as speedy as possible.

2. LibraryThing for Libraries hit 600,000 professionally-vetted reviews. We’re working through something of a backlog, so expect to see 700,000 very soon.

3. LibraryThing for Libraries now has its own Twitter account, @LTforLibraries. Follow us for more information like this!

Labels: LTER, LTFL Reviews, shelf browse

Monday, March 26th, 2012

Custom Branded Library Apps

Branded apps are now available from Library Anywhere: get the power of Library Anywhere along with custom colors and branded apps downloadable under your library’s name in the app stores!

Branded apps have the same base functionality as Library Anywhere (including catalog integration, account functions, OverDrive integration, a custom homepage, and barcode scanning). But they’re also a complete white label solution—the app is yours alone, with no references to Library Anywhere or other libraries. Branded apps give you the ability to set a custom background color, have a custom app icon, a custom app launching screen—and most importantly, they are downloadable under your library’s name in the Apple and Android app stores.

Check out Tulare County’s iPhone app, now available on iTunes (and soon available on Android phones as well).

Learn more
Contact us for more information or to upgrade your existing Library Anywhere to a branded app.

Email me (abby@librarything.com) with any questions about this or any of the LibraryThing for Libraries OPAC enhancements. To subscribe, contact Peder Christensen at Bowker—toll-free at 877-340-2400 or email Peder.Christensen@bowker.com.

To learn more about the ways in which LibraryThing for Libraries products can enhance your catalog, sign up for a webinar. Webinars are held each Tuesday at either 10am or 2pm Eastern.

Labels: app, branded apps, library anywhere, ltfl

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

LibraryThing at Computers in Libraries

Tim and I are headed to DC this week for Computers in Libraries. We’ll be at booth #323, so stop by!

We’ll be showing off our new custom branded Library Anywhere mobile apps, our newest addition to the LTFL enhancements, Stack Map, AND a sneak peek at a brand new feature, BookPsychic.

Stop by to see any and everything!

Also remember, we do webinars every Tuesday to show off both Library Anywhere and all the LibraryThing for Libraries enhancements for your library catalog (tags, similar books, other editions, series, awards, shelf browse, reviews, and Lexile measures)! Click here to register. On the Browse Meetings page, search for LibraryThing to see a listing of all upcoming webinars.

Labels: BookPsychic, branded apps, CIL, CIL2012, library anywhere, librarything for libraries, ltfl