Sunday, April 1st, 2007

A new name, a new LibraryThing

Today’s farewell announcement by Library Stuff blogger Steve Cohen is sad news to many. But not to us at LibraryThing. Finally, the name we always wanted has come free!

After a quick round of emails I can announce that Steve has agreed to a complete buyout. LibraryThing has been renamed LibraryStuff.

With the move to LibraryStuff, LibraryThing increases its VMF or “Vague and Miscellaneous Factor,” important in appealing to its target audience—jaded catalogers and information architects sick to death of the cut-and-dried certainties and voodoo-ontology of the Dewey Decimal System and of Library of Congress Subject Headings. LibraryThing held out hope some sort of definite or even “real” Thing, a “false move” which left the Lib2.0 cognoscenti shaking their heads about how the Man was telling them what to think. LibraryStuff promises no such certainties, just stuff. Don’t want the stuff? Fine, we’ll keep it.

The historic buyout brings Steve Cohen on board as legal librarian, book reviewer and resident namer. The terms of Steve’s buyout were not disclosed, but let’s just say Ari and Hallie are set.

First on Steve’s renaming list is our upcoming “Library Services” feature. We were planning to keep the generic “LibraryThing Library Services” name, but adding the tag line Make your OPAC Sing… with LibraryThing! but now that Steve is on board we can expect a major rethink—”Stuff for Libraries from LibraryThing,” etc. We also understand the name “Horizon” has also come free.

The decision to join up with LibraryThing finally puts to rest Steve’s lingering “payola” scandal. Back in August 2005, Steve unwisely accepted a free membership to the one-day-old LibraryThing. Since then, he has been forced to issue disclaimers every time he mentions the site. The scandal boiled over when it was revealed that LibraryThing allowed Steve to enter a family video into our Hanukkah Book Pile contest although the video included no books at all! Subsequent revelations that Steve has also acquired free accounts to Shelfari, Gurulib, Anobii and Amazon have only fueled the outrage. At this point, all he could do was cash in.

Update: Major developments also coming in from OCLC, Google, TechCrunch. Yes, the new logo is in Cooper Black.

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