Sunday, April 7, 2013

Library Thing - Online Book Catalog and Social Media Website

Stack of Books
I was a virtual attendee of Roots Tech this year and learned so much from the presentations which were live streamed.  From the presentation by Laura Prescott, entitled “GenealogyResearch Online:  Sites and StrategiesThat May Surprise You,” I learned about the online book cataloging and social media site, Library Thing,”  I never knew that such a site existed.

My Book Collection History
I have been a book worm all of my life and my family and school mates can attest to this fact.  My book collection includes textbooks from courses I've taken and taught, and books on the topics of genealogy, history, computers, Microsoft Office software packages, writing, crafts, Bible/spiritual, inspirational, nonfiction, novels, and God knows what else. 

I got my undergraduate degree in 1985 and a master’s in 1990, and yes, I still have a few of my textbooks in which I have used as references throughout the years.  A few of the textbooks purchased during my undergraduate college years (1981-1985) even still have the price tag on them.  LOL.  I know that the concepts from these books can now be easily found on the Internet, but I’m not yet ready to get rid of these personal heirlooms. SMH.

Marketing Book and Price Tag
I took a Marketing course during the Spring semester of 1983 at Virginia Union University, Richmond, VA.  I can't seem to let go of this textbook which still has the price tag for $20.95 on it. 

My book collection is in various formats:  paper, cassette tape, CD, e-books, and digital.  Occasionally, I do a purge in which I usually donate books to my local libraries, and now it’s time for another major purge.

My First Day of Using Library Thing
Library Thing Logo

So yesterday morning, I began adding a few of my books to the Library Thing online catalog.  I love the fact that you do not have to create a new login, but can use either your Facebook or Twitter account logins.

Books can be added by typing in the title, author’s name, ISBN, etc.  Tags can be added to help organize each book.  The default collection folder is named “Your Library,” but other collection names can be added by the user such as the one that I named “Library Check-Out.”  Book data can be searched from 700 available catalogs such as the “Library of Congress” or “”  If a book in your collection does not have an ISBN or can’t be found in any of the online catalogs, you can manually type in the information.

Adding Books Options in Library Thing
Adding Books Options in Library Thing

Once each book is added, you  could see how many other Library Thing users have the same book.  I connected my account to Twitter and Facebook and could see which of my friends on these sites used Library Thing.  Another major selling point for me about Library Thing is that you can import a book list or export it to various formats such as .CSV which can be opened in Microsoft Excel.  Click here, to view current entries in my Library Thing book catalog. 

Library Trip
With the Library Thing site, you can access your book catalog from anywhere you have Internet access.  Yesterday afternoon, I went to the public library to research books related to African Americans During the Civil War.  Earlier, I had set up a “Library Check-Out” collection folder in my Library Thing account.  Using my Kindle Fire HD, it was so easy to type in the ISBNs in the Library Thing catalog of the books I browsed at the library and the ones I checked out.  Now, as I continue my research, I have a record of books on this research topic.

Taking It One Step at a Time
Since purchasing a NOOK e-reader last May, I have begun purchasing digital books.  In November of last year, I purchased a Kindle Fire HD.  My current format preference for most book topics is digital, but for computer software books, I still prefer the hard copy. I anticipate that my book purge will be a long journey, but using a site like Library Thing will be a tremendous help for me in taking the first step in this journey, which is to determine what I have in my book collection. 

Thanks for this invaluable tip in your presentation, Laura Prescott. And thanks to the Roots Tech organizers for making some of the presentations available to the virtual audience.


Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

I was at RootsTech but haven't seen all the videos yet. However, yesterday Laura Prescott presented this talk to the NH Society of Genealogists and she mentioned LibraryThing and I was so excited. I was happy to see your blog post this morning, to know I'm not the only one excited about this new-to-me website!

Jana Iverson Last said...

I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

Have a great weekend!

M. Diane Rogers said...

I use LibraryThing mainly for my genealogy books. (I like to share.) Friendly community. I'm eicuthbertson there. There's a nice recent post on the Blog about "What Makes Librarything LibraryThing":