Digital Culture

LibraryThing for Libraries launches

The most excellent Tim Spalding announced today that LibraryThing for Libraries officially went live with the Danbury Library in Danbury, CT.

I’m in awe of the results.

Seriously, I’m certain this is the future of the catalog. Not just the specific tools, but the idea of leveraging one set of data against another set using easily modified and extensible tools. It’s many-pieces-loosely-joined for the OPAC, and it’s brilliant.

I particularly love the tag browser, as well as the similar books links. Leveraging the LibraryThing data is a wonderful way to start this, but eventually libraries will need a way to share in a P2P system rather than having a central storehouse. We need to be sharing our data in a P2P format, with always-on trickle-and-compare running, updating the tag clouds and recommendations. If we just managed to collect the click-through data of our catalogs, we could manage to put together some pretty robust recommendations, all driven by scholarly activity.

By griffey

Jason Griffey is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at NISO, where he works to identify new areas of the information ecosystem where standards expertise is useful and needed. Prior to joining NISO in 2019, Jason ran his own technology consulting company for libraries, has been both an Affiliate at metaLAB and a Fellow and Affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, and was an academic librarian in roles ranging from reference and instruction to Head of IT at the University of TN at Chattanooga.

Jason has written extensively on technology and libraries, including multiple books and a series of full-periodical issues on technology topics, most recently AI & Machine Learning in Libraries and Library Spaces and Smart Buildings: Technology, Metrics, and Iterative Design from 2018. His newest book, co-authored with Jeffery Pomerantz, will be published by MIT Press in 2024.

He has spoken internationally on topics such as artificial intelligence & machine learning, the future of technology and libraries, decentralization and the Blockchain, privacy, copyright, and intellectual property. A full list of his publications and presentations can be found on his CV.
He is one of eight winners of the Knight Foundation News Challenge for Libraries for the Measure the Future project (, an open hardware project designed to provide actionable use metrics for library spaces. He is also the creator and director of The LibraryBox Project (, an open source portable digital file distribution system.

Jason can be stalked obsessively online, and spends his free time with his daughter Eliza, reading, obsessing over gadgets, and preparing for the inevitable zombie uprising.

One reply on “LibraryThing for Libraries launches”

I’ve been really happy with the enhancements to our catalog- our collection and LibraryThing’s data are a natural fit. I have been thinking a lot about how to expand this beyond out walls, and Tag Napster is a great idea. I was sort of hung up on central repositories (which would have to be related to collection- we may be physically near Yale, but our datasets are worlds apart), but a P2P system would be much more efficient.

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