Friday, September 25, 2009

LibraryThing in the Library

LibraryThing is an awesome networking and Readers' Advisory tool. If wikis aren't your Thing and those Readers' Advisory printouts just aren't getting any use, then maybe you should look at linking your library up to LibraryThing.

What do I read next? It's the age-old problem that avid readers have. It's why I've stopped buying books and only check them out from the library or borrow them from friends. It's just too expensive a habit to blow through a book in a day or two (even a week if I'm really slow). But once you've read every Stephen King or Debbie Macomber book available (or just gotten tired of the author), how do you know where to go next?

It's about Tags, Stupid! Set up a LibraryThing account for your library starting with some of your most popular authors/genres. Now start tagging! Add one or several descriptive tags for each book. Tags are much more capable than the controlled vocabulary of your OPAC, but just like a controlled vocabulary, tags are most useful when they are consistent. Read about how to tag several books at once with the same tag to ease your workload.

Check out your cloud. Once you've gotten a good number of books tagged, you'll want to look at your own tag cloud as well as the Tag Mirror. It lets you see how others in the community have tagged books in your collection. You might find some useful tags to add to your collection to help your readers better find what they are looking for.

Overall, LibraryThing is a fabulous site, especially for libraries that want to go 2.0 but are jealously guarding their OPAC from those dreaded tags that might mess up the controlled vocabulary. Create an account for your library and link to it from your homepage to get another step into the 2.0 world.

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