Archive for October, 2010

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Better German cataloging from open data

University of Konstanz (Wikimedia Commons)

Casey has just finished loading 1.38 million library MARC records from Konstanz University into LibraryThing’s search index, Overcat.

While Overcat isn’t the only way to find German items–you can search libraries directly–it has become many members’ first source. At 35.2 million items, it’s now considerably larger than any remote source, as well as faster and more diverse. The Konstanz University records jump it up significantly as a German-language source.

Adding the records was possible because Konstanz chose to release the records as “CC-0,” essentially “public domain.” In as much as OCLC has convinced (or intimidated) much of the library world into acting as if library records were private property, this was a brave move.(1) You can read more about the release on the Open Knowledge foundation blog. It’s notable they originally opted for a more restricted, non-commercial license, but, under prompting from German librarians, opened it up all the way.

And what will we do with these records? Evil things! Hardly. LibraryThing has never sold library records and we never will. But the records will make a small percentage of members happy, as their German books suddenly got easier to catalog. These records, in turn, will serve as a scaffold to add other cataloging-like data—what we call Common Knowledge (CK)—all of which is released under a Creative Commons Attribution license. In this way open data improves open data, and everyone is the richer.

1. Their action is especially notable in that German governmental agencies aren’t required to disclaim copyright, as US ones are. Locking up free US government or government-funded library data, as OCLC does, is obnoxious and legally dubious, but Germany has different rules–including a true “database copyright” the United States lacks.

Labels: cataloging, open data, openness

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Work at LibraryThing?

Check out the main blog for information on a new social-media position open at LibraryThing.

Labels: jobs, portland, Social Cataloging, social media, social networking

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Library Anywhere iPhone app

The iPhone (works with iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad) app for Library Anywhere is now available on the iTunes App Store!

Get the app

This is our first native app for Library Anywhere, which launched last week (see the blog post). Library Anywhere takes a library catalog and makes it mobile, instantly—so you can do things like search the catalog on the bus, place a hold, renew your books, see when story time is, and more! The iPhone app version takes advantage of the iPhone’s geolocation feature, to find the library closest to you.

In addition to the just-released iPhone app, Library Anywhere also includes 3 mobile web versions, customized for iPhone, Android, and a Universal version that works on any phone. Native apps for other platforms (including Android) will be released later this year.

You can get the app from the App Store by clicking the link above, or just going into iTunes and searching for “library anywhere”. If you’re already using the mobile web version on your iPhone, you can click the “Get the app” menu option.

Labels: app, iphone app, library anywhere, librarything for libraries, ltfl

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Library Anywhere is live

We’re pleased to officially launch Library Anywhere. Library Anywhere is a mobile version of your public or academic library. It is available in mobile web formats today and in app forms in the coming weeks. It’s free for users, but libraries have to subscribe to it.

Try it for yourself:

Or go directly into a library. Try Gwinnett County Public Library, University of Nebraska Omaha Library, or Waukegan Public Library as starting points.

Key features

  • Search catalog, place holds, renew items. It does what the regular catalog does.
  • Save records to your phone to access later. Works on any phone with a web-browsing feature—not just smart phones.
  • “Universal Version” is fully compliant with Section 508 and other accessibility standards.
  • Geo-location finds your nearest library easily.
  • Libraries can display events, branches, contact-a-librarian information, and other mobile pages.
  • LibraryThing for Libraries customers also get integrated tags, recommendations, information about other editions, and access to over 500,000 reviews.
  • Costs far less than similar products.
  • Works with most major OPAC systems.

Version 1.0 includes:

  • iPhone mobile web
  • Android mobile web
  • Universal Version


The iPhone/iPad app is pending Apple approval, and will be released this month. Apps for other platforms will be released by the end of the year.

Customize your mobile presence. Library Anywhere features a fully customizable library home page. Add a logo, add links to your blog or Facebook page. Create pages within Library Anywhere as well, with your own content, such as book lists, announcements, and more. Add links to your existing “ask a librarian” features, too, like instant messaging or texting.

One catalog, many devices. Patrons don’t have to go looking for your mobile catalog, Library Anywhere comes to them. Library Anywhere can redirect mobile users of your OPAC to Library Anywhere. It will take the user to the version of Library Anywhere for their specific device—on an Android it will go to the Android version, on an iPhone it will go to the iPhone version, and any other device will be sent to the Universal Version. It will also invite users to check out the app, if there is one currently for their platform.

Library Anywhere is unique because it doesn’t just work on smart phones. Our Universal Version makes your library accessible to any device that can surf the web. The Universal Version can also be used as a fully Section 508 compliant version of your existing catalog.

Interested in adding your library to Library Anywhere?

To order Library Anywhere, or get a free trial, call 877 340-2400, or email Bowker is the exclusive distributor of LibraryThing for Libraries.

You can also email questions to

Thanks to all. Many thanks to all of our numerous beta testers, who literally spent months playing with Library Anywhere, patiently finding bugs and waiting for us to fix them. Thank you for sticking with us!

“With the high level of functionality and the low pricing, this competition will lower the threshold for mobile technology into the reach of almost any library.”
Marshall Breeding, Smart Libraries Newsletter

Labels: library anywhere, librarything for libraries, ltfl, mobile, mobile catalog