Thursday, 13 December 2007

Booking through Thursday - Catalog

Do you use any of the online book-cataloguing sites, like Library Thing or Shelfari? Why or why not? (Or . . . do you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking to?? (grin))

If not an online catalog, do you use any other method to catalog your book collection? Excel spreadsheets, index cards, a notebook, anything?

As far as I'm concerned, Library Thing opened up a whole new world for me. One day I was a solitary reader sitting at my computer when I saw it mentioned and thought I would take a look; half an hour later I had a lifetime account and was pulling books off shelves, banging the dust off them and discovering that half of them predated ISBN numbers. Nonetheless I have catalogued that 760-books that are on the shelves in my room and the hallway (haven't finished the hallway yet). Then there are the books in our upstairs living room - hundreds more. But I've already found books I'd forgotten I had (so many of the shelves are double-stacked) and I can spend happy hours checking I've got the right book jacket showing, or adding information to share with other users. I'm fairly meticulous about adding books as I buy them but, unlike some people, I only include books I actually own.

The most important change for me was that it was through Library Thing that I ventured into a world of like-minded people, at first through the groups on Library Thing itself, which are many and varied. However, following a link on another reader's profile one day led to the discovery that there were more sites devoted to talking about books! Once I started reading other people's blogs it didn't take long to decide that I would enjoy doing it too, although I didn't expect anyone but me to read what I wrote. I use my other blog to keep a monthly record of all the books I've read, now (though I haven't quite decided whether this is the most convenient way of recording this information) and try to review as many as possible. Over Christmas I shall update my Library Thing links to reviews and do some more cataloguing. The family may laugh, but I'm pretty sure my elder son keeps a music catalogue.


3M said...

I adore LibraryThing. My username is 3M3m.

I love your cat! Mine looks very similar, only a little more white.

Marg said...

I must get my Library Thing account back up to date!

BooksPlease said...

Yes, I love LibraryThing and it's very addictive. I've spent many happy hours looking at books I'd nearly forgotten about whilst entering them in. We've got books all over the house as well and still got lots to enter in. It's amazing how many of mine are pre-ISBN - I buy secondhand books as well as new ones. I like to have the right covers shown as well and have had to scan so many to get them correct - but all most enjoyable - how sad is that?

gautami tripathy said...

And here I was thinking I am nuts about the right covers. Great minds think alike!

reading room

Stephanie said...

When I found Library Thing last year, I went ahead and purchased the life-time subscription. Figured I would use it!! I'm gradually adding my books. But with the amount I have, it could take a while!!

Happy Thursday!!

bookinhand said...

After reading other responses about LT, I guess I need to go investigate further! The closest I've come to cataloguing books that I've read is my blog that I started in Jan '07. That has been a lot of fun!

Julia said...

I better start signing up for Library Thing account than :)

Thanks for your deep throughly experience on Library Thing :) And thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you have a good BTT!

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's the social aspects of Library Thing that I enjoy. I've started visiting a number of blogs because their author and I appear to be the only two people on the planet who have read a particular book.

GeraniumCat said...

Thanks to everyone for your comments. One of the things I enjoy most on Library Thing is adding some treasured old book, long forgotten by everyone except me, I think, and then discovering that someone else has a copy. And if it's sad to enjoy getting the book jackets right, it's also very restful - sometimes I want a task that isn't creative or demanding but does has a satisfying outcome.

Cheyne said...

Interesting to read your comments about LT :)

What I love most about seeing other readers' shelves are the stories behind the book titles - why does this book matter?, what characters did you love?, does it remind you of a person?, a place?, a time?

Suppose you took 20 of your most beloved reading experiences and boiled them into 1-2 sentences? These comments would be interesting enough by themselves. Combined, they would form a narrative about you.

That's the idea behind the book community we are founding - Dust Jacket Review, We do not (yet) have the cataloging tools that make LT so lovable - but we want to be a place for a smaller, more intimate bookshelf :)
I can learn a lot more about you from 20 books *with context* than from 1000 book titles alone.

I hope you'll come take a look. Thanks GeraniumCat for the wonderful post, and to everyone for their comments.

Best, Cheyne

Lesley (El Zed) said...

Hi there - congrats on winning the 'connecting words' challenge!
I really loved your post about being with your parents a few days ago. I, too, love being back with my parents, and am intrigued to notice the parent-daughter roles re-establish themselves despite the fact I left home thirty-six years ago. And I love being spoiled with little treats like favourite meals. It only happens once or twice a year now, sadly, as they're half a world away.
Happy Christmas!

GeraniumCat said...

Thank you, Lesley! I really enjoyed Connecting Words, despite the groundrules being a bit uncertain.

Favourite meals are great. When I'm there I usually go shopping with my mother and it's a bit like a royal progress, because she pretty much does it all at small local shops. It's fun. The plum crumble seemed to go down okay too.