LibraryThing Currently Reading June 6, 2011 9:31 PM   Subscribe

Hyper-literate pony: LibraryThing's "Currently Reading" list -> Profile Pages?

A few of the different "Also On" social apps populate user profile pages with additional content - latest photos from Flickr, tweets from Twitter, songs from Last.fm and so on. Could adding a LibraryThing name to your profile show the books listed in a user's Currently reading collection? LT has an API and existing widgets to build on.

I think there's a lot of potential for positive interaction here. By using the Currently reading feature on LT and by making my profile public, users are already signaling some interest in sparking conversations around the books. I'd like, ultimately, to spark some of that conversation among MeFites.
posted by Apropos of Something to Feature Requests at 9:31 PM (63 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

I like this. Of course, we'll have to report it to the FBI, or NSA, or whoever.
posted by theora55 at 9:51 PM on June 6, 2011


Yeah, I think this is something we can discuss. According to the Social Explorer, 354 users have LibraryThing in their list of Social Apps. That's not in one of the top spots, but it is a good number of people.

We currently pull in data from three different services and we happen to have three columns on profile pages. So there would be some design hurdles there to accomodate people who want to pull in data from four services. But they're not impossible hurdles.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:35 PM on June 6, 2011


I like this idea too. I like reading.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:27 PM on June 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


this will make me start using my LT account. great idea.
posted by batmonkey at 11:28 PM on June 6, 2011


It's not the cabal but it's pretty A list.
posted by adamvasco at 11:32 PM on June 6, 2011


How about GoodReads?
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:04 AM on June 7, 2011 [10 favorites]


I've joined LibraryThing... I'd like this.
posted by likeso at 1:47 AM on June 7, 2011


Not sure I can be bothered to keep Library Thing up to date, but I like this. Of course, it'll highlight what tat I read.
posted by seanyboy at 2:17 AM on June 7, 2011


I like it!
posted by smoke at 3:14 AM on June 7, 2011


"hyper-literate" ha
posted by Joseph Gurl at 4:33 AM on June 7, 2011


Hyperliterate just means I read a lot of stuff in HTML.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:23 AM on June 7, 2011


How about GoodReads?

Goodreads would be a cool addition, given that there's a metafilter group on there already.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:27 AM on June 7, 2011


+1 GoodReads. And I am willing to rumble with the LibraryThing people.
posted by yerfatma at 5:33 AM on June 7, 2011


Google Books provides an API as well...
posted by jim in austin at 5:45 AM on June 7, 2011


I hadn't heard of either librarything or goodreads before, so I appreciate the links. Do people really scan in all their book barcodes? I've never counted, but there must be a few thousands of books in the house; cataloging all of them would take forever. I'd rather sort them by color.
posted by Forktine at 5:51 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hyper-literate pony?
posted by MadamM at 6:11 AM on June 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hey! A metafilter group on Goodreads! Awesome. (I don't much use librarything anymore, though maybe I should?)
posted by jeather at 6:42 AM on June 7, 2011


Yay for reading, just need to know where we settle on. Not really heard of Library Things before and never really did much with GoodReads after a brief dalliance so no opinion.
posted by arcticseal at 6:42 AM on June 7, 2011


Hyper-literate pony?

That, my friend, is a unicorn. This is a hyper-literate pony.
posted by phunniemee at 7:21 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I need to go make me a LibraryThing account. One of the things that makes me a bit sad sometimes is how few good friends I have IRL who like to read the same things I do. My literary life is kind of solitudinous. (Is that a word? Well it is, now.)
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:56 AM on June 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yes, Goodreads please!
posted by leesh at 7:59 AM on June 7, 2011


I like this idea.
posted by OmieWise at 8:23 AM on June 7, 2011


My literary life is kind of solitudinous.

I have the same problem. One of the reasons I have taken to buying ebooks, is that, since I don't have IRL friends who read the same books, let alone in English, I can't tell them Read this book, and so I might as well buy the ebook versions.
posted by dhruva at 8:31 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Goodreads can already be added to your profile as a social app.
posted by aught at 8:42 AM on June 7, 2011


Sorry, misunderstood the request.

Relatedly, is there a way to turn on/off the Flicker thumbs, or control the number that display? (Not sure I want to, I just don't see an option.)
posted by aught at 8:45 AM on June 7, 2011


Forktine: "Do people really scan in all their book barcodes? I've never counted, but there must be a few thousands of books in the house; cataloging all of them would take forever. I'd rather sort them by color."

I started doing it a few years ago. Primarily, I use it as a way to keep track of what books I've read - I do a lot of library reading, and it's a good reference for when you want to remember what that one book with the thesis about whatever is called. I also participate in the Early Reviewers group and get advance reading copies from time to time. Theoretically, their algorithm should be able to combine things you've read with ratings and recommend stuff for you. I have yet to venture too deep into that, though.
posted by Apropos of Something at 8:49 AM on June 7, 2011


"Do people really scan in all their book barcodes? I've never counted, but there must be a few thousands of books in the house; cataloging all of them would take forever. I'd rather sort them by color."

It doesn't really take that long. I scanned a shelf at a time into a text document, then when the bookshelf was finished, bulk imported them into LibraryThing.
posted by zamboni at 8:52 AM on June 7, 2011


A few of the different "Also On" social apps populate user profile pages with additional content - latest photos from Flickr, tweets from Twitter, songs from Last.fm and so on.

Speaking of which, isn't it odd that the Flickr link in the profile (not the feed, but the icon link) goes to your photostream (flickr.com/photos/username)? Why doesn't it go to your profile (flickr.com/people/username)? I thought the social sites are only supposed to go to relatively static "profiles," not continually updated "content." Flickr has such profiles, which are just as easy to link to as the new content section.
posted by John Cohen at 9:17 AM on June 7, 2011


LibraryThing (and Goodreads too, I think) is open platform too, meaning you can easily export the data once you've uploaded it into CSV if you decide to jump ship.
posted by Apropos of Something at 9:17 AM on June 7, 2011


Goodreads can already be added to your profile as a social app.

Well I'll be. Thanks!
posted by Greg Nog at 9:22 AM on June 7, 2011


I lost about 1/3 of my books in flooding last year. LibraryThing would be useful for those "Wait, do I still own that?" moments.
posted by theora55 at 10:05 AM on June 7, 2011


Do people really scan in all their book barcodes?

I have few enough books that I tried scanning the barcodes using my computer's webcam, but that got tiring, and typing in titles was faster. If you're going to do it, +1 on doing a shelf at a time. I've never regretted the weekend I spent ripping my CD collection, and I haven't regretted cataloguing my book library. Maybe it's a more daunting task when you have a few thousand (I only have a couple hundred, and I'd like to get it down to one per year alive), but you only have to do it once, and all the social bookshelf apps have import/export anyway. I did LibraryThing to start out, and feeling it not social enough (and lacking in APIs), I effortlessly switched to GoodReads. I now maintain lists on both sites, since LT seems to store more information and GR has an iPhone app and is more 'social'.
posted by sillygwailo at 10:05 AM on June 7, 2011


Goodreads can already be added to your profile as a social app.

Heh. I never thought to look. Oops. Sorry, mods.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:21 AM on June 7, 2011


I only have a couple hundred, and I'd like to get it down to one per year alive

Heh. I tried contemplating that, and the moment I did, the bargaining started. But dictionaries don't count!
posted by Zed at 10:23 AM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


if this app is coded, will it only recieve booklists from librarything or can one add a title, well, manually?
posted by clavdivs at 10:28 AM on June 7, 2011


clavdivs, if we pull in content from LibraryThing, yeah, it'll just be LibraryThing. You can always add a list of books you're reading to your profile text.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:40 AM on June 7, 2011


I like this idea. It might get me to use LibraryThing more consistently.
posted by lilac girl at 10:51 AM on June 7, 2011


So what are the pros and cons of LT vs. GR? Why do people prefer one or the other? My BF is on... one of them, I forget which, but I haven't been able to decide which to sign up for. Do either/both of them interface with kindle?
posted by kavasa at 11:02 AM on June 7, 2011


I was just about to ask the same question as kavasa. If I'm getting started now, which is the better choice?
posted by monju_bosatsu at 11:06 AM on June 7, 2011


My problem is that librarything isn't what I'm reading, it's what is in my library. I read way more books than I own (I use a real library rather a lot) and that site isn't designed to capture that information.

But then my real problem is probably that I deleted my librarything account when I moved overseas and got rid of a lot of my books.
posted by shelleycat at 11:31 AM on June 7, 2011


YOu can use LibraryThing however you want to. For a long time I was just using it to keep track of books I'd read, but I decided to stick with my homegrown solution instead.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 11:32 AM on June 7, 2011


What if most of my books are now ebooks? I'm living in two countries at the moment and don't carry the hundreds of pounds of library around with me. Is one or the other better? (or neither?)
posted by nile_red at 11:42 AM on June 7, 2011


Sure, you can put the books in however you want. But it's still made to be your library and I don't consider all the stuff I read to be my library, just what sits on my shelves. I know it's become something different but it was originally made for a certain thing, and I think that still shows in the design. It just assumes people buy most of what they read, which they probably do when they live somewhere that books are accessible rather than a luxury item.

I'm just still a bit annoyed with myself over deleting my account because I kept all the important books plus I've bought a few more since I moved (haven't joined the local library yet), and it was helpful in making sure my family didnt' give me doubles for my birthday.
posted by shelleycat at 11:43 AM on June 7, 2011


I find GoodReads to be kind of ugly and frustrating, but it's relatively intuitive and seems to do the job that it's intended for.

It has way more features than I need, but then a sheet of paper and a pen might have the perfect number of features for what I use it for.

...or maybe I just need more friends on there.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:42 PM on June 7, 2011


Since LibraryThing uses tags, and the tags are whatever you want them to be, it's very easy to add things like books read from the library, or audio books, or ebooks, and simply tag them as such if you don't feel comfortable just adding them to your library.
posted by OmieWise at 12:46 PM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bookish Pony
posted by Favorites Pony at 1:57 PM on June 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was so sure "Bookish Pony" was going to have a book-themed cutie mark.
posted by Zed at 2:02 PM on June 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bookish Pony would be a darn good sockpony name.
posted by theora55 at 2:07 PM on June 7, 2011


LibraryThing also has "collections", which I use to distinguish Books I Own from Books I Don't, among other things.
posted by Apropos of Something at 2:17 PM on June 7, 2011


I like this pony. I would like to give this pony an apple.
posted by EatTheWeak at 2:19 PM on June 7, 2011


I only use librarything to keep track of what I read, because I try not to buy books. And I live across the street from a NYPL branch.

FWIW.
posted by gaspode at 3:39 PM on June 7, 2011


Goodreads also has a bookswap section where you can get books others have listed just by paying shipping (usually $3.99). I have bought 3 books over the last three months there and just sent out my second book. You get one free book for every ten you send.
posted by soelo at 4:10 PM on June 7, 2011


I use LT to keep track of, amongst other things, which books I've actually managed to migrate from my childhood homes to my home - and how many Billy bookcases I need to own given how many books have in fact been transported (I am currently .85 Billies short of what I need.) GoodReads is ugly to me, and doesn't distinguish as nicely between different versions of the same book. LT appeals to the completist/database slut in me. Plus, dude, Tag Mirror: what the rest of the Universe thinks of what I own.

Oh, and I give LT memberships to family members who like getting books as gifts and who own several thousand books already. There was a time when I thought my stepfather owned every Theodore Roosevelt book in print - now I know that's just not true.

I heart this pony, in any case.
posted by SMPA at 4:42 PM on June 7, 2011


So what are the pros and cons of LT vs. GR?
One drawback of the free version of LibraryThing is that it has a limit of 200 entries.
posted by unliteral at 6:41 PM on June 7, 2011


One question that came up today while we were discussing this: what would like to see in the list exactly? As mentioned I was thinking the most recent five to ten books marked "currently reading" would be the most intuitive. Most people probably have a few they're currently reading so you wouldn't have to do any extra setup. But we could also go with a unique tag like "mefi", and the list would show the most recent books added with that tag. The drawback there is that you would have to learn about this tag and then do some extra work. The upside is you'd have a list that isn't tied into the currently reading status. Which would be better? Or maybe another option?
posted by pb (staff) at 7:53 PM on June 7, 2011


I like the currently reading list, because it ties into the idea of recency that's embedded in the other social apps. It's easy enough, I suppose, to make a list of favorite books and link it to your profile. My hope is that listing books I'm currently reading gives MeFites a chance to connect on something current. It makes sense to have an upper cap on how many books are listed, and I have no objections to setting that cap as low as five (my Currently Reading list usually hovers around three).
posted by Apropos of Something at 8:38 PM on June 7, 2011


I agree with Apropos: use the Librarything list. Adding a tag would be an extra burden that would drastically reduce the likelihood of this amounting to anything (as much as I like the idea, for instance, I'm unlikely to remember to add a "mefi" tag).
posted by languagehat at 11:59 AM on June 8, 2011


Yep, in agreement with both Apropos and languagehat. So looking forward to riding this pony!
posted by likeso at 1:20 PM on June 8, 2011


Thanks for the feedback, Currently Reading sounds great. We're going to bundle this change with some other changes to Social Apps so we'll need a bit of time to put everything together. More on that soon. But this is officially on our To Do™ list.
posted by pb (staff) at 10:01 PM on June 8, 2011 [3 favorites]


Awesome pb. Thanks so much.
posted by Apropos of Something at 5:47 AM on June 9, 2011


According to the Social Explorer, 354 users have LibraryThing in their list of Social Apps. That's not in one of the top spots, but it is a good number of people.

What's the Social Explorer? I have a Library Thing account but I'm not on the Social Explorer list ... I'd add my account to my MeFi profile if it were in the social apps ... (yay, looks like it will be someday!)

this will make me start using my LT account. great idea.

Exactly. I bought a lifetime account years ago ... and haven't visited it in years. I just did (and accepted an invitation to a Pynchon group ... from 2006).
posted by mrgrimm at 12:04 PM on June 9, 2011


Cool!
posted by OmieWise at 12:06 PM on June 9, 2011


mrgrimm, LibraryThing is already part of the Social Apps. Go ahead and add it! (Full list of sites here.)
posted by pb (staff) at 4:59 PM on June 9, 2011


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