Archive for May, 2011

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Welcome Kate!

Welcome Kate McAngus (LT member katemcangus), who’s filling the job we posted a few months ago.

Kate is going to be working primarily on LibraryThing for Libraries—doing customer and technical support, and generally making sure Abby doesn’t go crazy.

Kate’s a librarian, with a Masters of Library and Information Science from Simmons College.* She also has a Masters in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Virginia.

She likes reading, running, yoga, dogs, Russian, breakfast tacos (the only thing Texas has on Massachusetts). Ironically, she’s a vegetarian with the last name McAngus. Kate hails from Austin, Texas and says y’all a lot. Favorite authors include, but are not limited to, Vladimir Nabokov, Eudora Welty, and Tana French.

*Bringing our total number of card-carrying librarians up to… four! (Abby, Chris C, Jeremy, and Kate)

Labels: employees, librarything for libraries

Monday, May 16th, 2011

LTers meet, eat, buy books!

On Saturday some members of the 75 Books Challenge for 2011 group met up in Washington, D.C. for a day of book-shopping, refreshments, and conviviality. The day was organized by drneutron, and attended by mrsdrneutron, SqueakyChu, qeboAnneDC, _Zoe_, and norabelle414.

After lunch at BGR Dupont Circle (which looks scrumptious, by the way), they visited Kramer Books & Afterwords for some new-book shopping, before crossing Dupont Circle for used and rare books at Second Story Books (which looks even more scrumptious!). Post-shopping refreshments were enjoyed at Soho Tea and Coffee, where the group documented their “demands” and took a poll:

(Click the images to read the signs).
From left (top picture): norabelle414, qebo, drneutron, SqueakyChu, and _Zoe_

Thanks to drneutron for organizing, and to SqueakyChu, _Zoe_, and qebo for the photos, more of which can be found here and here. And if you’re interested in the 75 Books Challenge for 2011, check out the group page!

Labels: meet up, members

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

LibraryThing is Faster, part II

It’s not a new “feature,” but speed and reliability are a key component of the appeal of a site. A few weeks ago we reported on a new server configuration that cut page-generation times in half (see LibraryThing is Faster). Now we’re reporting on some database tweaks that have made the process of finding, adding and editing data faster.

Like all large database-driven sites, LibraryThing can’t rely on a single database. Instead, we have a single “master” database which replicates its changes to a number of “slave” databases. (See Wikipedia: Database Replication.) Because sites “read” a lot more than they write, scalability is achieved doing most “reads” from the slave machines, which can be multiplied almost indefinitely to deal with increased traffic. Unfortunately, writes still need to move from the master to the slave, which necessarily involves a slight lag. If the lag becomes too great you get stale data or processes that pause (and pile up!) waiting for fresh information to pass from the master to the slaves. You also get bugs. And annoyances, like Talk posts not appearing right away. Replication lag also degrades query speed and therefore site speed generally.

As a heavy database-driven site running on relatively cheap hardware we’ve sometimes struggled to keep replication delay down. The problem is particularly acute on our weaker slaves. Fortunately, our ongoing review of performance issues has disclosed series of code and “schema” changes that have substantially improved replication speed. Here’s a chart of the average replication delay on one of our database servers over the last ten days. As you can see, two changes have made a big difference!

We’re excited about the progress we’ve made so far. It exceeded our expectations. Our performance review is continuing. We won’t stop until LibraryThing is as fast and reliable as it is powerful, rich in data and fun to use!

Come talk about this.

Labels: servers, speed

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

May Early Reviewers batch up!

The May 2011 batch of Early Reviewer books is up! We’ve got 106 books this month, and a grand total of 2,551 copies to give out.

First, make sure to sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing address and make sure it’s correct.

Then request away! The list of available books is here:

The deadline to request a copy is Monday, May 30th at 6 p.m.  EST.

Eligiblity: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the US, Canada, the UK, Israel, and many others. Make sure to check the flags by each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

Mulholland Books Quirk Books Henry Holt and Company
University of Iowa Press WaterBrook Press HighBridge
Doubleday Books Harper Paperbacks Ballantine Books
Greenleaf Book Group Bantam Dell Eirini Press
Demos Health Penguin Young Readers Group Bloomsbury
Nolo Petra Books Taylor Trade Publishing
Grand Central Publishing Crown Publishing Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Faber and Faber Clerisy Press Wilderness Press
Menasha Ridge Press Coral Press Red Telephone Books
Charlesbridge Open Road Human Kinetics
McFarland Eerdmans Books for Young Readers Hyperion and Voice
Spectra Bell Bridge Books Del Rey
Random House Putnam Books Riverhead Books
BookViewCafe Oslerwood Enterprises Inc.
Downstream Press Rovira i Virgili University Press St. Martin’s Minotaur
Blacksmith Books St. Martin’s Griffin Mirth Press
DK Publishing Wolf Trail Press

Labels: early reviewers, LTER

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

LibraryThing for Publishers adds ONIX and FTP

We’ve added the capability for publishers participating in our LibraryThing for Publishers program to transfer their data to LT using the ONIX metadata format, a bibliographic format virtually all publishers produce, and using FTP, the industry standard for ONIX transfer.

For existing LTFP publishers, you can add ONIX feeds to your publisher profile via the “Set up FTP Transfer” option on the Edit profile and settings page. We’ll grab the ONIX file on the schedule you set via FTP and process it.

New publishers, you can set up your LibraryThing for Publishers page by following the instructions here. Any questions, or if you’d like to submit your data by another method, email me (

We’ve also added a whole bunch of great publishers since our last blog-update. These include:

See the full list of publishers participating in LibraryThing for Publishers.

Labels: LibraryThing for Publishers