How to Catalog in LibraryThing

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Transcript How to Catalog in LibraryThing

How to Catalog your American
Space collections with LibraryThing
A How-to guide for the curious, the timid, the
confused, and the erstwhile cataloger
Steve Perry, IRO, Accra
Karen Hartman, IRO, Rome
Carol Bean, IRO, Belgrade
November 2013
About LibraryThing
O Library Thing is a free service for cataloging
your book collections. It is most appropriate
for smaller collections that don’t circulate
materials, as Library Thing does not have a
circulation module.
O Another limitation of Library Thing is that it
is meant for Books only, it is not meant as a
cataloging tool for videos, periodicals,
magazines, etc.
About LibraryThing (cont.)
O However, Library Thing (LT) does meet the new
Standards for American Spaces for both IRCs
and Corners requiring each space to have an
online catalog of their collections: LT also
provides an ongoing inventory for your
collections. The following is from the Standards:
O “The collection is accessible via an online public
access catalog accessible to visitors on a
dedicated computer terminal.”
FIRST: Are you a member of LibraryThing?
O If not, sign up! Use Organization rather than
the Personal option.
Use an abbreviated version of your Corner’s name
You will see a page similar to this, to verify you are a
real person.
You can skip the next step for now.
Once you are logged in, you will see a page similar to this
Click on the
Add Books link
This is the ADD BOOKS Tab
This is the ADD BOOKS Tab after
you begin adding books
In the ADD BOOKS Tab, you can search by ISBN, Title,
Author, etc.
Make sure you click the
Library of Congress
button -- for consistency of
Click on the title of the book that appears as a result of your search; to
the right of that title, you will see an edit pencil – click on the edit book
link to catalog this book for your collections.
Clicking on the edit link brings up a basic
template: you still need to localize it for your
Ensure that the Author and Title are correct in the template. TAGS are
enhanced subject headings – think of them as keywords that your
patrons might think of to locate a book. In this example, I input Tags
that made more sense for my patrons.
One helpful way to look for possible Tags is to go to the
WorldCat site:
Notice the rich use of Tags in Worldcat: these
are all possibilities for your collection as well.
Basic Cataloging in the ADD BOOKs MODE:
Rule of thumb
for Call
Numbers: add
the year of
and author’s
last four letters
in the Dewey
type the date you
are cataloging the
book in the Date
Acquired box
Save your work by clicking on the Save key at the bottom
of the template – this will add the book to your collection
When you have cataloged a number of books, you will want to give the URL of
your new online catalog to your patrons so they can search your collections
This is the URL to
give your patrons
Click on the
Your Books
When you have cataloged a number of books, you will want to give the URL of
your new online catalog to your patrons so they can search your collections
Patrons can
the can
library box
You can also import books from a spreadsheet
Click on the Add
Books tab
Click on the Import
Books link at the
bottom of the page.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on
the example link at the bottom to get the format.
Copy the entire text and paste it into a plain text
document (for example, using Notepad), and save the
document as a .csv file (for example, newbooks.csv)
Note the All Caps words.
They will be the top row of
your spreadsheet.
In Excel, go to the file menu and click on “Import” and
select the CSV file option. Click the Import button at the
bottom and navigate to the file you saved.
Excel will show you the options in the Import
Wizard. In the first screen be sure to select
“Delimited” then click the Next button
In the next window, make sure only “comma” is
checked (uncheck all other options), then click the
Next button.
In the next screen, make sure “General” is
selected for the data format, then click the Finish
The final window will give you the option of
creating a new sheet or importing the data into the
existing sheet. Choose “Existing sheet”
The column headings and
example book will be filled in.
If you have spreadsheets with your book orders, copy the
data from your spreadsheets into the new spreadsheet in
the appropriate column.
created from
Note that ISBNs can be either ISBN-9 or
ISBN from
ISBNs pasted
from sample
When you are finished, delete the first row
in the new spreadsheet (LibraryThing’s
example book)
Select “Save As”
from the file menu,
and change the
format to “Comma
Separated Values”
If you open the file in Notepad, it will look
something like this.
Go back to the Import Books page in LibraryThing
and click the button to “Choose File”
Once your
.csv file is
click the
LibraryThing will give you some options
To #1 Library of
Congress, #2
Switch the first
two source
options from #1,
#2 Library of
When you are
done, click
the “Import
books” button
You will see a confirmation page like this. If you
click on the Import Page link, you will see the
queue listed at the bottom of the page.
When the import is finished, you will see
your books listed in the Your Books page
Remember to check
the imported records
and fix or edit the
fields. Click on the
pencil icon to edit.
What happens when you are weeding your collections
and you need to delete a particular book?
click on
Your Books Select List
Look for
the red X –
for Delete
Want to promote your collections? A cool idea is to click
on Your Books and then Covers– consider printing this out
and placing your contact info on it
For more advanced users: what happens when you can’t find a cataloging
First, consult detailed summaries of the Dewey System: or
You are attempting to catalog a book on
President Truman and can’t locate a record
with a Dewey Number in Library Thing
Here are some steps:
1. Google “Presidents and Dewey Decimal System” for
sample call numbers.
2. You learn that the principal Dewey Number is 973.099
3. The book was published in 2009 on President Truman
and the author is SCHMIDT
4. One possible solution is to write the call number as
5. 973.009
Original Cataloging: Next Steps
O Since this is original cataloging, write the
call number and the name of the book down
separately in an Excel Spreadsheet you are
compiling for this purpose.
O This is so you won’t use the number again
for a similar book on the same subject.
O At this point, you can now insert the call
number in the Dewey field in the record that
you found for this book.
Example Below
If you don’t find any record for the book you are attempting to
catalog, you always can use the Add Manually – click ADD BOOKS,
and look for the link at the bottom of the page . Simply complete all
fields, including the Dewey Number.
O If more than one person in an American
Space will be using Library Thing, it is very
important that they use Tags consistently.
O Therefore it is considered a best practice if
you can print out the Tags and have
everybody follow their use. New tags can be
added at any time.
O A good idea to print the TAGS field weekly to
capture all the new Tags that have been
To do this, Click on the Tab YOUR BOOKS and then TAGS; also a best
practice to edit the Tags each year for consistency and correct
spelling; you will see an edit button when you hover over each TAG
Finally, Library Thing only allows 200 books to be
cataloged for free; after that you will be charged
O However, American Spaces are exempted
from this charge, via agreement with Library
Thing Management.
First: Make sure your profile is filled in.
Click the
Click the
Edit your profile
Fill in the About page, then go to Account
Change the settings to “Organization”
Change the settings to “Library”
Next Step: make sure you have properly
identified your Corner.
O Library organizations can add up to 5,000
items. What if you have more?
O Be sure to identify your account as an
American Corner
O American Corner libraries have blanket
approval for up to 10,000 items.
Problems? Contact your IRO
O If LibraryThing isn’t allowing you to add
O All you need to do is to write your regional
IRO with the name of your specific Library
Thing catalog.
O This can be found (when logged into Library
Thing) by clicking on the Tab Your Books–
the name will appear in the space for the
Example of how to find your catalog URL in Library Thing
(Click on tab YOUR BOOKS)
Creating a style with standard
information in Library Thing
O LibraryThing allows you to create a
standardized style so that uniform
information – in a certain standard order will appear each and every time.
O This will enhance the functionality and
usefulness of Library Thing.
O To do this, click on the wheel when you are
logged in: example in next slide.
The Wheel gives you access to a standardized style guide:
Click on the Tab “Your Books” and you will see the “Wheel”
Clicking on the “Wheel” gives you control over how your information
will appear to users -- allows a uniform style guide on how you wish to
display this information: we recommend Style C
After selecting the style and deciding you wish your
information to be displayed in your catalog, be sure to
Save Changes .
Learn More About It!
Many IRCs or ACs have used LibraryThing to make their collections available to the
public: Here are just a few that have done this:
Buenos Aires IRC
Krakow IRC
Managua IRC
Nairobi IRC
Samara AC
We hope this information has
been useful to you
O Please ask your regional IRO should you
have further questions.
How to Catalog with
Brought to you by
Steve Perry, IRO, Accra
Karen Hartman, IRO, Rome
Carol Bean, IRO, Belgrade
January 2014