This. Is. So. Cool.

Ok, I admit it. I am a total geek. I can not tell you how excited I am over finding LibraryThing. I love libraries. I think they are the best invention since…well I don't know what. When I was younger, I used to keep a card catalog (on index cards) of the books I owned and even had check out slips taped to the back where I would stamp it with the date. I worked for 3 years at the library while I was at Va Tech and I am currently trying to figure out how I can work in time to volunteer at our local library. If I ever had to pick a new career, I would love to be a librarian.

LibraryThing is this library lovers dream. I have not been able to stop playing around with it since I found out about it last night.

From their website:

"LibraryThing is an online service to help people catalog their books easily. Because everyone catalogs together, you can also use LibraryThing to find people with similar libraries, get suggestions from people with your tastes and so forth."

I am not as much interested in the social aspect of it, but the cataloging part is incredible. Basically you search on the books that you want to add (it searches and other online libraries for the less academic of us and can search other places like the Library of Congress as well) and it pulls up a record with cover art that you add to your library. You can assign tags (yea! categories!) however you want and can view your books in so many customizable ways.

Where I see this as really helpful is in managing my "to read" lists…I have so many different titles that I written on scraps of paper or saved in various emails. Everytime an interesting book come across one of my email lists, I save the email. Well, I have tons of these emails and finding what I am looking for is near impossible. With LibraryThing all I need to do is add it to my library with a tag (right now I am using wishlist-math or wishlist-history or wishlist-steph etc). Then to find all the books listed for a tag all I need to do is click on it!

You can click on the book cover to go directly to the record at Amazon (to read a description of the book) and you can click on the author to get a listing of all the books by that author. Adding has been a snap and it has been fun to poke around at all the other options (you can see how many other people at LibraryThing have the same book and it gives recommendations based on your books).

It is free with a 200 book limit, or you can get unlimited books for $10/year or get a lifetime subscription for $25. After playing with it for about a day, I am definitely ready to sign on. It is run by a guy named Tim Spalding, a web developer and web publisher and, from reading the blog, a pretty nice all around guy. It kind of reminds me of…run by a bunch of folks (not a faceless company) who really like what they do.

They also have some blog tools (of course!) that allow you to list book covers and titles on your sidebar. I set one up that would list what we are currently reading, but when I tried to add it to my sidebar in a widget, the fonts got messed up and it looks awful. (Andrea or Ron…can you guys take a look and see if you can figure it out?). So ignore the messiness for my sidebar for a little while, please.

Man this is fun! And I am sure that I will have lots more neat things to share as I play around with it. Check it out!