Library DIY – Tenn-Share Learn & Discover (week 8) (42)

August 11, 2008

It is a truth universally acknowledged that librarians tend to be people who like to read.

This week we’ll explore tools to help organize your books, further your reading obsessions, search for books, create lists, and even get “new” books.

Oh, and we’ll get to Santa and the READ poster in a bit…

LibraryThing


Norman is a prolific reader of History and Military Fiction. He has kept a list of over a thousand books he has read since he was thirteen. Norman keeps this list on a dozen legal pads in his desk drawer. He’s been having trouble lately.  He’s enjoys Nelson DeMille, W. E. B. Griffin, and Stephen Coonts, but he cannot recall which books he has read or not. The librarians have been helpful in providing him with their complete bibliographies, but he is not looking forward to comparing these lists with his own note pads. Norman should try LibraryThing.

Norman will spend a few evenings identifying all the books he has read using LibraryThing’s enormous catalog of titles from libraries. Then, he can sort his collection by any heading he wishes: year, author, genre. Norman can even make up his own cataloging system by adding tags to his books, whatever words he wants to sort them by, such as: korean.war, read.on.the.train, audiobook, favorite.

Now, Norman is enjoying sorting his virtual bookshelf based on his favorite book jackets. He might share his catalog with his friends who also use LibraryThing. They can review and discuss books here, but the heart of LibraryThing is keeping and ordering your own book collection.

Goodreads

Penelope loves to read, but she doesn’t really care what she’s already read. She just wants to find good fantasy and spy titles from people with similar taste. Goodreads is a nice way to share books she is reading and get recommendations from her friends.

Once Penelope has a profile, she can join clubs based around her favorite series, The Bourne Identity and Twilight. Plus, she also uses online social networks, so she could use Goodreads to show her virtual bookshelf on her profiles.

Penelope just found a list of historical fiction books with a spy at the center of the story. One of the titles is The Spy: A Tale of Neutral Ground, by James Fenimore Cooper. Then there’s The Spy: The Story of a Superfluous Man, by Maksim Gorky. The copy at her local library is lost. She could try her library’s Interlibrary Loan service. Or she could go out and buy the books. Or, she could try Google Book Search!

Google Book Search

Google Book Search can seem scary for libraries. Is it trying to replace us? Are people going to go there instead of the library? Will everyone buy books instead of check them out? Google Book Search and other websites are changing the way people look for information. But, in our do-it-yourself era, these things are enhancements for the library, not replacements. Allow the big red arrow to illustrate:


Have you seen this big banner sign outside your local bookstore lately?

Yeah, me neither.

You know where I have seen this reminder? On a little website called Google Book Search.

Google Book Search is just what it sounds like – you’re using a special search engine on Google to search for books. You can do a title, subject or author search, just like a library catalog. But, the items you’re searching aren’t just listed in catalog fashion. They’re scanned in. So, you can do a keyword search in the full-text of thousands and thousands of books. The full text – of the book itself. Amazing.

When you find a book you’re interested in, you can often look inside at sample pages and illustrations – not every page, mind you, but enough to see what the book is like. If the book is out of copyright, you can usually download the full-text right from Google Book Search.

Google Book Search can seem scary for libraries. Is it trying to replace us? Are people going to go there instead of the library? Will everyone buy books instead of check them out? Google Book Search and other websites are changing the way people look for information. But, in our do-it-yourself era, these things are enhancements for the library, not replacements.

Take a look at how two people use Google Book Search

WorldCat

One of the great things you’ll find about online book tools is that a lot of them play well with others.

Google Books doesn’t just tell you where you can buy a book you’ve found. It also offers a nice reminder that you might be able to get the book you want at your local library.

When you click “Find this book in a library,” Google Books sends you over to WorldCat. Type in your city or zip code and you’ll get a list of library locations that own the book. That’s nice advertising.

Finding books isn’t all you can do in WorldCat. OCLC has added more cover images and is pulling in reviews from Amazon. They’ve also tried to add a social aspect to the site with user profiles and lists.

Making a list is an easy way to share recommendations with your pals on social networks like delicious, digg, or MySpace. And unlike LibraryThing or Goodreads, Worldcat points users to your library’s books! You can also subscribe to the RSS feed for a list. That means you could create a list of favorite knitting books or genealogy resources and use the RSS feed to post the list on MySpace, Facebook and any other place you can import an RSS feed.

Okay, so it isn’t the next YouTube, but we think WorldCat might be on to something here. What do you think?

To wrap up, here are a few sites just for fun:

Swaptree & Bookmooch

Want a free book? Swaptree lets you trade your used books online for the price of stamps. First, you make a list of the books you’d like to get rid of – type or scan the ISBN. Then, make a list of books you are looking to own. Swaptree will match your list against others’ to arrange trades. You will get an email when a match is found. You can also swap old DVDs, CDs, and video games for books.

Want to trade more books? Try Bookmooch.

READ Posters

The ALA website has a fun online tool where you can create a mini-READ poster. The one that graces this post stars my brother’s bulldog, Wesley. He seems like a literary sort. Take a look at some other mini-READ posters. Then create your own! Be sure to share with the group!

Library DIY Activity:

Option One:
Make a book list with LibraryThing, Goodreads, or WorldCat.

1. Sign up for one service.

2. Make a book list – any list you want.

3. Share it with the rest of us in the Online Book/Library Tools Forum. (optional)

Option Two:
Something with Google Book Search.

1. Browse Google Books for Philosophy books.

2. Limit the view to see only the full-text books.

3. Use Google Books to find this quote: No man’s knowledge here can go beyond his experience.” – John Locke

Do you have any questions?

Discuss them in the Online Book/Library Tools Forum.

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