04 October 2006

It's a LibraryThing

Quite rightly, everyone raves about Wikipedia's million+ English-language articles as a monument of cumulative achievement. But in the background there's another major collaboration going on that's also talking telephone numbers: LibraryThing.

LibraryThing is an online service to help people catalog their books easily. You can access your catalog from anywhere—even on your mobile phone. Because everyone catalogs together, LibraryThing also connects people with the same books, comes up with suggestions for what to read next, and so forth.


LibraryThing is a full-powered cataloging application, searching the Library of Congress, all five national Amazon sites, and more than 45 world libraries. You can edit your information, search and sort it, "tag" books with your own subjects, or use the Library of Congress and Dewey systems to organize your collection.

If you want it, LibraryThing is also an amazing social space, often described as "MySpace for books" or "Facebook for books." You can check out other people's libraries, see who has the most similar library to yours, swap reading suggestions and so forth. LibraryThing also makes book recommendations based on the collective intelligence of the other libraries.

Recently, LibraryThing hit the six-million book mark; one knock-on consequence of this is that it includes works of even the most obscure writers.

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