Archive for the ‘dutch books’ Category

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

International tags and more

We’ve had quite an upswing internationally, particularly among Dutch speakers. Dutch has surpassed French as our second-largest language community. (Next up: the Germans!) So I spent the evening adding some international features.

I’ve added special tag clouds to work pages on our non-English sites (,,, etc.) They show tags used by members of that site, or on books in that language.

It doesn’t always “work” that well. Perhaps half the tags on our non-English sites are still in English, the site tending to appeal to English-language speakers first. But I imagine that will change as the membership broadens, and tools like this make tagging in your own language more attractive.

The example above is from the Dutch site ( work page for Harry Mulisch‘s De ontdekking van de hemel (The Discovery of Heaven), the most popular work on the site. It’s more than half English tags. A more Dutch example would be De kanonnen van Navarone (The guns of Navarone), tagged avontuur (journeys by airplane) and spionage (spinach) alongside thriller and world war two.*

I also added an indication of how many of your linguistic compatriots have the books. Here is the French page for Amélie Nothomb‘s Stupeur et Tremblements (Fear and Trembling)—the fourth-most popular book among French members, but not in the first 10,000 among English-language members. The text is yellow and in English because I just added it, so no kind French user has yet volunteered a translation.

Lastly, I thought I’d announce and explain a feature just before killing it. (As Hegel said, “the owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk.”**) That feature is tag-coloring, an experiment that recently went site-wide (with the change in caching systems). The idea was to color personal tags lighter than subject tags, algorithmically at first, with some hand work from the LibraryThing for Libraries program, and then moving to let users weigh in on what was and what wasn’t personal.

I was never convinced either way, but I thought it worth a try. The reaction on Talk has, however, been pretty hostile, not helped by the fact I didn’t talk about it after it went live). I think I agree with the criticism now too. Anyway, chime in there if you like it. Otherwise, it’s going away… Sometimes beta means making mistakes.

*Hey, it’s 3:35am here.

Labels: dutch books, internationalization, tagging

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

Dutch-ness resumed

I manage to speed up the Dutch Royal Library (Koninklijke Bibliotheek) with some help from their technical staff. I’m very pleased how welcoming Dutch libraries have been. We were also invited to add data from another library, this time a public. I’m nearly cross-eyed from all the varieties of data I’ve been parsing.

We’re going to be in a national newspaper, the NRC Handelsblad, tomorrow. I’ve seen a copy of the article; it looked very positive. Also, when run through Babel Fish (Google doesn’t do Dutch), it looked insane. (Typical sentence: “Pubers, muziekliefhebbers, students, zakenlieden, homos, vips, jobseekers or singles: all they have their own network sites.”)

UPDATE: Here it is. Very positive. (And it gave us a pretty big bounce. Let’s hope we can hold it.)

Oh, we hit 250,000 users. But no big deal. We all know that registered users isn’t the same thing as regular users or paid users. When we hit 250,000 paid users I’ll blog about it, from my teak and platinum moon-yacht.

Labels: dutch books, moon-yachts, press

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

Rijksmuseum Research Library

After yesterday’s announcement of four major Dutch-language sources, we got an email from someone at the Rijksmuseum Research Library, inviting us to add them too. We were happy to.

As anyone who’s been to the Netherlands knows, the Rijksmuseum (site, Wikipedia) is Amsterdam’s phenomenal art museum. The Research Library (site, Wikipedia) is apparently the largest art historical museum library in the Netherlands, housing some 140,000 monographs as well as serials and auction catalogs. It’s also first art-history library in LibraryThing, and should be useful for bibliophiles with art interests.

Labels: dutch books, libraries