Thursday, February 7, 2008

Got Books?

Why would you want to use Library Thing to catalog your books online?
  • In case of fire, you could file an accurate insurance claim.
  • You could keep track of who borrowed which book from you.
  • You could write a review of a book for others to read, or keep private notes about the book (for a cookbook, say, you might make note of a favorite recipe, or one you tried and didn't like).
  • A social networking feature enables you to find others with similar reading tastes.
You'll probably discover other reasons of your own.

A free account enables you to catalog up to 200 books. You need only enter a unique user name of your choice and a password. There's no need to use your real name, so your privacy is protected.

I'm not sure how many books I have, so I decided to start by cataloging my reference books. By entering a book's ISBN in the search box, I found the majority of my books have already been entered into the system, so no data entry was required from me. I had only to select the title from a list. Some of my books predate the ISBN system, so I searched by title for those. If I didn't find them in the system, I was able to add them manually by entering data in a form.

Images of most book covers have already been uploaded by Amazon or other users, and you usually have the ability to choose an image that matches the cover of your particular edition. If no image is appropriate, you can upload one yourself.

You can add tags to your books, thus enabling you to find titles easily. I've cataloged 100 of my books so far, and through tagging, I was surprised to find that about half of them are dictionaries. I've never considered myself a collector of dictionaries, although I was aware I'd accumulated a wider variety of them than the typical user who's just interested in spelling vicissitudes. If you'd like to see which ones I have, scroll down to the Library Thing search widget in the sidebar and type the tag dictionary into the search box.