Thursday, 12 April 2007

Library Thing for genealogy

Library Thing is an online service where you can enter the books in your collection. I've never thought there was much benefit in entering recipes, CDs, books and other collections into a computer database. Library Thing and the online world have changed my ideas a bit.

I gave this system a try with my books on genealogy and related topics. The first pleasant surprise was how easy it is to enter the data. Because everything is online all you have to do is enter, say, the title and a pick-list appears for you to select the appropriate book. If it doesn't you can switch to another major database, such as a major national library catalogue, amazon.ca, amazon.com, amazon.co.uk and many others. Select the appropriate title and all the other data, author, publisher, number of pages, ISBN, and more is ingested. If available you also link an image of the cover, or you can add it.

What you get in return is the ability to see your collection in context. Apparently 106 other Library Thing users own "Professional Genealogy: A Manual for Researchers, Writers, Editors, Lecturers, and Librarians", 44 have "Ancestral Trails: The Complete Guide to British Genealogy and Family History." "In Search of Your British & Irish Roots: A Complete Guide to Tracing Your English, Welsh, Scottish, & Irish Ancestors", by the late Angus Baxter, the first genealogy book I ever owned, is held in 38 collections.

You can also get suggestions for other books you might want based on those owned by Library Thing members who have similar holdings. The system even explains why it makes the suggestion. I was a bit disappointed that the recommendations were US-oriented, even though my collection is British and Canadian. It would be nice to have a way to indicates aspects of a topic that are not of interest.

You can enter up to 200 books for free, as many as you like for $10 (year) or $25 (life).

The image above shows my books most owned by others.

1 comment:

Tim Agazio said...

Thank you for the post. I briefly saw a friend at work using Library Thing, but didn't really get the point...until I read your post. This can be most useful.

Tim Agazio
Genealogy Reviews Online