Friday, June 24th, 2011

The Perfect Library Catalog?

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the perfect library catalog. That is, it uses all nine LibraryThing for Libraries OPAC enhancements—Tags, Lexile® Measures, Other Editions, Reviews, Shelf Browse, Similar Books, Series, Awards and QR Codes. All together, we’ve turned an ordinary Webpac library catalog into a social, shareable, graphical, informational and mobile beast!(1)

(Click to see full-size)

Great as it is, this catalog doesn’t exist. Abby and I are working on new handouts for LibraryThing for Libraries and Library Anywhere. For the former we needed a library that used all our enhancements, including a new one we’re announcing today (QR Codes). Unfortunately, although more than 200 library systems use LibraryThing for Libraries to make their OPACs better (a full list), none have absolutely every one of them today. So we’ve made our own, leaning heavily on the excellent Chemeketa Cooperative Regional Library Service, which has almost all our enhancements.

If you’re in New Orleans for the American Library Assocation, come visit us at booth 827. We’ll show you how to make your catalog as good as this one! Or better, because it will actually exist. Oh, and pick up one of our nifty badge thingies.

1. If it had a search bar it would be truly perfect.

Labels: librarything for libraries, ltfl, ltfl libraries


  1. Allen says:

    This is a fine showcase of what for the products that LT offers incorporated into a Webpac but it is still lipstick on a pig, to use a famous LibraryLand phrase about OPACs. A perfect library catalog (or at least a far more capable one) would provide direct access to the resource whenever possible, excerpts to read and/or listen to, rich information about the creators and topics involved in the work, multiple means for users to interact – tagging and reviews are limited and soooo last decade – think online discussions (even clubs for popular books), ability for users to create links to related resources on the Internet like Wikipedia articles, Youtube videos, author sites, etc. A more perfect library catalog would provide the tools for new people to have a rich sense of the works, and for those who have read the resource to express and share their own involvement. Just one person’s opinion but nice work anyway. I appreciate that LT offers libraries some tools they probably wouldn’t develop on their own.

  2. Allen says:

    ha – no surprise that you wouldn’t post my comment. good luck with LT – it helps fill a void where information discovery in libraries doesn’t include the user.

    • Tim says:

      We didn’t approve your comment because we were pounding the floor at ALA all day, not because we didn’t like it. I agree with you part-way. My feeling is that although OPACs could be much better, adding LibraryThing or Libraries enhancements to a traditional OPAC moves it from a pig to… well, maybe a cow or something. It may not be an arabian horse, but it’s a big improvement.

      I’m not entirely sure that your description of an idea future system is entirely right. I think there is still a powerful case for library systems prioritizing discovery and selection (finding stuff and deciding whether you want it) over data enrichment per se, given libraries and librarians traditional strength in these fields. But you’re headed in the right direction either way, and I expect the whole discovery/selection/enrichment ecosystem will get increasingly bound together.