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Website of the Week — LibraryThing


Time again for our Website of the Week, and this time it's an online destination for those who love books and have lots of 'em.

If reading is your passion, and you like spending time online, you may wonder how to find time for both. Our Website of the Week merges your interest in books with the power of the Internet.

SPALDING: "Library Thing is a website where you can catalog your books, and then when you've cataloged your books, your books connect you to other people. So you can find out the person whose library is just like yours. So it's a whole social system built around libraries and around cataloging of books."

Tim Spalding is the creator of, which is kind of two websites in one.

It merges data from bookstore and library databases to help you easily list the books in your own collection and classify them using common-sense labels called tags — like "Egypt" or "historical fiction" — instead of complex library catalog categories.

LibraryThing also falls into a category known as social networking or social websites, which harness the power of the web to forge links between individuals. Friendster and MySpace are popular social sites, popular mostly with students and young adults. LibraryThing tends to attract a different crowd.

SPALDING: "There certainly are many teenagers and 20-somethings, but there's also people on there connecting with other people in their 40s and 50s and 60s. I think that's one of the things that makes it different from other social sites."

When I visit friends, especially for the first time, I'm always curious to find out what's on their bookshelves. Where I think LibraryThing gets interesting is in the ability to search and connect with other users based on what's in their libraries.

SPALDING: "And the interesting thing is that, looking at someone's collection that's like yours is much more rewarding than just looking at a list of suggested books from someone you don't know or you don't have any reason to believe that they know anything. But if you read a review of someone who likes and has 50 of your books, then you know that there's a common ground of taste there."

So far, about 30,000 users have signed up, and they have cataloged a total of some two and a half million books.

This is actually a site that's easier to understand if you take a look. Check it out at, or get the link from our site,