CIL2007 – Cutting edge tech leaders – Tim Spalding – Library Thing

Came in late, so I missed the start while I set up. Library Thing has a page for every work. Shows how many people share the book in their collections, how many reviews have been written, the top 32 tags that have been attached and more.

Has a recommendation feature. Those who have this also have that, similar tags, ratings, all the different versions of the covers that people have uploaded.

Library Things treat authors as an entity as important as a book, so the same features. Related tags, pictures uploaded by members, links, similarly tagged, also known as (ie. In different countries)

Tags – have own pages, what has been tagged, who has tagged with it, related tags – could be used as a reading list for a particular category. Eg paranormal romance has 1800 tags, yet it falls through traditional indexing systems.

Recommendations feature, includes a Unsuggester feature – if you like this, you will not like…… Using the data in the system in a multitude of ways.

What does it mean for social networking – not a niche site, as books are the centre of life for many, a Second Life for readers is books! Amazon is not the best book site forever, nor is Google Books. Books are not just items of commerce. Library Thing is what people kept, what books remain with people even after they no longer have it physically. Library Thing is about our identity which has been influenced by the books we have read. Books are objects of obsession.

Tags – every item is tagged. The bolder and larger it is, the more times it has been assigned that tag. Click on that tag and you will link to all titles that have that tag assigned. Tim did a comparison between the Library of Congress subject headings and Library Thing tags – very amusing and very demonstrative of the power of tags – not that he advocates that we no longer use subject headings, instead use both!

There is now Library Thing for libraries. Top is normal ILS data, but then all social networking tools are from Library Thing, included recommended titles, but only to titles that you hold. Integrates seamlessly to the back end of your ILS. This is not the solution – Tim says that in about 10 years we will be able to get all that we want from our vendors – getting it as XML if we want, and probably coming from Library Thing. Library Thing will offer these enhancements in the meantime.

Libraries need an OCLC type group for user generated data, which can be collected by libraries and then shared between libraries.