LibraryThing : bit buggy yet addictive Web 2.0 book cataloguing & social engine

How that for a buzzwordy title? It’s true though, I finally got around to setting up my LibraryThing book collection – I got the lifetime account as a Christmas gift from my mom. It was a very cool and appropriate gift… considering I love to read, I love the social engine that the Web is for the moment, and I love to organise information.

Ironically I thought I was done cataloguing books 10 years ago. The difference, of course, is that now I am cataloguing my own books… it makes it very interesting.




Now this article is on my tech site since I have a few initial thoughts about from a technical point of view.

It’s very buggy. The first issue was that my mom had purchased a gift membership for me in advance on their site, and had used their “delayed” notification feature. She had asked that I receive the gift membership email notice on December 25th – Christmas Day.

It didn’t arrive on December 25th, so she forwarded a copy of the confirmation email (with the lifetime membership code) that she had received.

I wound up receiving the email from LibraryThing on December 27th. Hmm.

When I went to the using their gift membership registration page, I entered my desired user name (Majumdar was available!), chose a password, entered the membership code… and submitted – it doesn’t even ask for an e-mail address – almost unheard of! Well, it just went back to the main page. No confirmation message, nothing. So I figured, OK, will try again. Then it said that the code had expired. Hmm. It had indeed created my new account but without any confirmation message or page whatsoever.

The search engine doesn’t seem to search all user profile fields properly or consistently. It is either being cheeky (can software be cheeky?) or it is case sensitive… it won’t find me using majumdar, but Majumdar does work. A search for Robin Majumdar finds nothing.

Now I may be critical, but the truth is I love the site so far… and they’ve had hyper growth – in less than 2 years they’ve grown to 313,000 users having catalogued over 20 million books. They’ve been slashdotted a few times and smartly bought a 40% stake in LibraryThing – I like the feel of the site, there is a nice blog…. and cataloguing books has never been easier with the site connecting to the Library of Congress, all 5 Amazon sites and, optionally, dozens of other libraries around the world. Tip: Enter your books using the ISBN ;)

The interface is Web 2.0 fluid and highly usable… highly recommended if you have books.

et oui, LibraryThing est disponible en français!

And now I will stop this mini-preview…. for a full review… in a few months!