Tuesday, June 27th, 2006

The WSJ Online does the LibraryThing

A big feature release is coming soon. Until then, sorry for covering all these press mentions, but they’re starting to snowball, I hope.

The Wall Street Journal’s Online Edition just did a long, sympathetic article on LibraryThing, “Social Networking for Bookworms” by Aaron Rutkoff. It’s public-access for thirty days via that URL.

Not to lick the hand that feeds me, but Rutkoff did an excellent descriptive and analytical job, covering a lot of the site and getting past some of the entertaining canards—”it’s about who has the biggest library!” and “it’s about dating!”—to what’s really going on. The nod to the Long Tail was also nice—just what you’d expect from the WSJ.

I’m also learning to restrain my big mouth, avoid controversy and stay “on message.”* I do want to say, however, that the article plays up tags more than I’d want. In the interview as always I try not to claim too much for them. Yes, I’ll show out where tags can help over formal, professionally-determined classification, but I make of point of noting that tags don’t solve everything and, ideally, they support each other. This is, however, a subtle and not very interesting point. So it tends to get lost and, at least in some eyes, I end up looking like a tag-drunk Web 2.0 twit. That’s at least 1/3 wrong.

Oh, and Abby has a last name! As for the two nameless programmers, their identities will shortly be revealed.

*I did, however, swear unintentionally during the interview. The reporter was nice enough not to quote me or to refer to me as “Tim Spalding, an exceptionally foul-mouthed programmer and bibliophile, hostile to subject tags, librarians and apple pie, who runs a dating site.”

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