Monday, June 12th, 2006

Ottowa Citizen does the LibraryThing

UPDATE: This isn’t new. Somehow when I did an edit I hit “save as draft” not “publish,” so this went into hiding for a few days. Apologies to RSS people, whom I think will see it pop up again.

This one, from today’s Ottowa Citizen, had me scared!

“I had planned to write a column making fun of LibraryThing. It seemed like a snooty version of those sites that help strangers share photos of their pets. It seemed to degrade books, by allowing web surfers to use them as accessories. Besides, I couldn’t come up with a good reason for the site to exist.

With due diligence and an open mind, I gave it a whirl. And wouldn’t you know, I was converted. LibraryThing is one of those tools you never know you need until you use it. Knowing which book is where is useful enough to justify it, but there are subtler joys too…”

The article (here, with registration, or picked up here, one hopes legally) goes on to be quite positive, although the privacy-exhibitionism dynamic is dominant.

That’s okay, the Book Standard decided LibraryThing is all about who has the largest library, apparently because the reporter interviewed my brother, which is like interviewing Casanova about love.

One aside: The reporter, Kate Heartfield, complained that only two people had The End of Poverty by Jeffrey Sachs. In fact, 82 people have it. The reporter’s edition, however, had a slightly different title, and hadn’t yet been combined into the larger “work.” I rectified this, using LibraryThing’s “everyone is a librarian” work-combination feature.

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