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Book Review/Collection/Comparison sites

Which book cataloging and/or recommendation sites do you use and why?

LibraryThing, Shelfari, and GoodReads are the ones I've heard discussed the most recently. I've tried LibraryThing and like it; I've been a little off-put from Shelfari by its spammish tendencies; and GoodReads is only worth trying if it does significant things which LibraryThing does not. But there are many other sites competing in this market too. I'm not certain that I need a cataloging or recommending tool online in my life. But as long as it's one whose information can be easily backed up offline, there might be convincing reasons to make use of one or several others.


( 20 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 16th, 2007 11:55 pm (UTC)
I use Library Thing ... I need to put more on it, though!
Aug. 17th, 2007 01:05 pm (UTC)
What do you use it for? Which is to say, what is the incentive to put more things on it?
Aug. 17th, 2007 09:03 pm (UTC)
my incentive is only to keep track of what I own, and occasionally to see what my friends own -- and what I might need to borrow!
Aug. 17th, 2007 01:22 am (UTC)
I use Library Thing and most (though not all) of my collection is on it -- I have about 100 older books without ISBNs that I haven't gotten around to adding. I used that one largely because my sister does, so we can both easily check what the other owns before buying gifts. *g*
Aug. 17th, 2007 03:58 am (UTC)
Wow I never thought of the gift-giving aspect of having an online catalog. My family just sticks to amazon.com wish lists to avoid getting each other books we already have, but it'd be so much nicer to surprise someone once in a while.

But yeah, if you don't have your whole collection on it, then it's not as useful. It just seems like so much time/energy ...
Aug. 17th, 2007 11:25 am (UTC)
I'm sufficiently obsessed organized that I already had the whole library in Endnote, including ISBNs, so for me it wasn't too hard; I just imported the ISBN data into Library Thing and let it identify all the books.

They do have some sort of scanner you can buy, not too expensive, to scan all the ISBN codes. My sister did that (she had her 7-year-old daughter helping her with it).
Aug. 17th, 2007 02:13 pm (UTC)
Ah ... yeah I tried Endnote for my diss research and it kept crashing on me, so I gave up. The scanner sounds like a good idea.
Aug. 17th, 2007 02:01 am (UTC)
I made my own, crappy-looking as it is, before I even realized the existance of LibraryThing or other similar things. That said, I don't like how LibraryThing feels limited to me -- that could be because I'm going from something where I controlled all aspects of how it works to something made for others.
Aug. 17th, 2007 01:06 pm (UTC)
What specific features does it lack that you like having?
Aug. 17th, 2007 05:42 pm (UTC)
The biggest one is that I want to grab information from the Library of Congress, sort the books by LoC call number, and be able to tell where in my home the book is. LibraryThing's default information source is Amazon, and there doesn't seem to be a way to change that when you're doing a mass import. You can sort the books by LoC call number, but I haven't been able to figure out how to make that particular display page and sort my default -- not to mention that due to the fact that it's grabbing from ISBN, older books that don't have ISBN but do have LCCN's don't get imported. And obviously it can't tell me which room on which shelf the book is at.

Basically what I wanted is to pull the information from Library of Congress using Z3950.loc.gov, which is their XML source, based on ISBN or LCCN. LibraryThing does ISBN but not LCCN.

All of this said, for the purpose it sounds like you're using it for (putting together a list of books for papers) it probably is very good. I really like the idea of being able to simply click a link and get the citation info -- I may try to include some version of that if I get back into working on my homebrew thing.
Aug. 17th, 2007 02:58 am (UTC)
I also use Library Thing and find it to be very useful.
Aug. 17th, 2007 03:47 am (UTC)
I love Librarything, and I use it for the purpose of cataloging my library, and a corporate library I freelance for -- it has the flexibility to allow me to create records for wacky things like artist's books. I do wish I could catalog media there as well, but maybe someday. I'll suggest that to Tim mext time I write to him. He's very responsive for the owner of the place. I've started using goodreads as well, but I use it to keep track of what I have read (since that's been getting out of control lately). I really feel like they do very different things, but that may be just how I'm using them. I've never tried shelfari.
Aug. 17th, 2007 01:08 pm (UTC)
I haven't used GoodReads. For all I know, I'm comparing apples and oranges here, sites designed to catalog and sites designed for recommendations. But both require inputting a lot of books, so they must have something structurally in common.
Aug. 17th, 2007 07:26 am (UTC)
> But as long as it's one whose information can be eaily backed
> up offline, there might be convincing reasons to make use of
> one or several others.

If you're using LibraryThing, you can use the freeware Libra to have a offline catalog on your Windows PC:


It's able to import LibraryThing's data and retain all your tags. There's also a nifty little tool (LibraCam) in this that allows you to use your webcam to scan barcode for adding books into LibraryThing as well.
Aug. 17th, 2007 09:26 am (UTC)
I'm using GoodReads because someone friended me on it, so I decided to check it out. I think it's useful, but I haven't really used it with the intention of cataloging in the same way the comment above discusses LibraryThing and Libra freeware (though that does sound incredibly useful).
Aug. 17th, 2007 01:08 pm (UTC)
What is it useful for?
Aug. 17th, 2007 11:17 am (UTC)
I use LibraryThing for cataloging but, although I rate and review the books I read, I don't use it or anything as a recommendations site since, other than friends' (and the flunky writing the book copy I suppose), other people's views of books are of no interest to me.
Aug. 17th, 2007 01:09 pm (UTC)
I admit, I'm much more interested in the sorts of recommendations which come up in proper reviews or casual conversation. I need that contextual bit of story to catch my fancy as to why I should be interested in reading a given book, not just that I have friends who liked it.
Aug. 20th, 2007 07:19 pm (UTC)
My favorite site is Shelfari. Its better then Librarything because its free. I like it more then good reads because its a better looking site and easier to navigate through.
Aug. 21st, 2007 12:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Shelfari
Thank you. Your comment's useful.
( 20 comments — Leave a comment )