Sept. 8, 2008 – LibraryThing for Libraries (LTFL) is an enhancement to Addison, that adds news ways of linking to books in the catalog. LTFL is currently on trial; feedback on these enhancements is requested.
LTFL are third-party widgets added to the Addison catalog to enhance searchability and browsability of the books in the LTFL database. Currently, about 300,000 of our books are included in the LTFL database, which is about 40% of our books that have ISBNs (International Standard Book Numbers) in their records. These records will display one to three of the LTFL widgets (Other Editions and Translations, Similar Books, and User Tags). These widgets will connect you to other books in our catalog. Since LTFL currently works with ISBNs, books without these standard numbers will not show these enhancements. Newer books are more likely to have ISBNs listed in their records, and LTFL links will favor these newer works.
For non-fiction items, LTFL links will enhance the existing Subject Heading links. Fiction, poetry, and short form literature works are less likely to have Subject Heading links, so LTFL links can assist in connecting users to related books, much like a book recommendation service.
This section lists other editions, translations, and variants of a "work." New editions of a book may be released in subsequent years, or the library may own the British (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone) and American (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) of a book, or the library may own an English translation of a work in another language, along with the original work. All of these examples would be listed, and each would be linked to the Addison record for the other edition. Here is an example.
LTFL works mainly with books, so other formats of works will likely not be listed. For instance, film versions of the Harry Potter books will not be linked in any of the LTFL widgets. Since few LTFL users "own" electronic books, these versions rarely are included by the LTFL widget, even when the libraries also own the print version.
The similar books section lists other books by the same author, along with recommendations based on data collected from the over 28 million books in the LTFL database: what books members of the site own, how they rate them, and how they tag them. Library cataloging data, including subject headings and call numbers, is also used to improve the recommendations. Think of this section as a reader recommendation service. Here is an example.
The number of similar books that appear is based on how many LibraryThing users own the book in question. Fiction books will typically list more recommendations than non-fiction. Again, take advantage of linked books through Subject Headings in addition to LTFL links.
The User Tags section lists "tags" or keywords/labels LibraryThing users have applied to books in their collections. Like "tag clouds" used in Social Networking sites like del.icio.us, tags that are used more often appear larger in the list. Less frequently used tags appear smaller. At a glance, you can tell how people have described a book, with tags describing genres, major plot points, locations, audience levels, as well as alternate titles or author names. Here is an example.
Tags are a great complement to Subject Headings, and are especially useful for items that have few or no Subject Headings. Tags can guide users who are unfamiliar with Library of Congress Subject Headings. For instance, a collection of recipes would commonly be called a cookbook, but the official Subject Heading is "cookery."
These tags are links, and clicking one will have window overlay the existing screen. (Click CLOSE to get back to the Addison screen.) Each tag will list other books in the libraries' collections that have the same tag. Related tags will also appear, allowing browsing. Again, only items in the LTFL database appear in these recommendation lists.
Unfortunately, the system does not have a way to access the Tag Browser without first finding a book record that lists at least one tag.
For additional information about LibraryThing for Libraries, contact Robert Sebek.
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