Evaluation of social cataloguing tools


Key functionality
  • Create a catalogue using records from Amazon, Library of Congress and hundreds of other cataloguing sources
  • Add and view social data - tags, reviews, ratings
  • Feeds of new books added
  • Widgets for blogs and web pages, with cover images
  • Tagging allows for classification
  • Free for up to 200 books, $10 per year or $25 for life for more
  • LibraryThing Local service (directory of libraries, book shops and literary events)
  • LibraryThing For Libraries service (incorporating LT social data into OPACs)

Copyright and IP
  • Specifiying whether and how content can be used: Nothing mentioned, although could specify on the profile page.
  • Does the application have partial ownership: From terms of service: Content posted to LibraryThing By posting content to LibraryThing, you grant (and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant!) LibraryThing a non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, omnipotent, royalty-free, fully-transferable and sublicenseable right to display, use, analyze, aggregate, modify, adapt, publish, translate, transform, create derivative works from and perform in any venue or media, online or offline, as well as "In Painting, Sculpture, and rapt Poesy, / And arts, though unimagined, yet to be." (Shelley, Prometheus Unbound)
This grant is restricted by the above promise that "LibraryThing will not sell any personally-identifiable information to any third party" as well as any additional promises attached to specific features (eg., reviews). Please note that we do NOT assert copyright over the things you post to LibraryThing, and that the "non-exclusive" above means you can post your content elewhere. By posting to LibraryThing you let us use, but you do not restrict what you can do with it. We love it when people post their reviews on their blog, on Amazon and other sites!

Branding and advertising
  • Branding/modification not possible on the LibraryThing site, but can make ownership clear on the profile page (including a picture and links to websites)
  • Embedded widget adapts to the style of the blog/web page
  • Embedding simple - copy and paste HTML
  • There is no advertising

Stability, reliability and support
  • No local hosting
  • Export as CSV or tab-delimited files

Known local alternatives
  • RSS feeds of OLIS accessions lists (in development?)
  • SOLO offers some of the social data aspects, particularly tags.

My WorldCat

Key functionality
  • Create online lists of WorldCat records
  • RSS feeds from lists
  • Lists can be public or private
  • Item and list notes
  • Export as bibliography
  • Social data, though not anywhere near as comprehensive as LibraryThing's
  • Direct links through to OLIS and eresources

Copyright and IP
  • Specifying whether and how content can be used: Nothing explicit, but could make a statement on profile page or in the list notes
  • Does the application have partial ownership: From terms of service: C. Content. If WorldCat.org Services afford You the opportunity to establish a user profile or otherwise contribute text, images and/or other content, the following requirements apply to the Content: (i) You are responsible for complying with the requirements of all applicable copyright laws and other laws applicable to Content, as well as all liability and damages arising from Your failure to do so; (ii) You may not use or contribute Content that is illegal, inaccurate, obscene, threatening, defamatory, invasive of privacy, infringing of intellectual property rights, or otherwise injurious to third parties or objectionable or which consists of or contains software viruses, political campaigning, commercial solicitation, chain letters, mass mailings, or any form of "spam"; and (iii) You may not use a false e-mail address, impersonate any person or entity, or otherwise mislead as to the origin of Content. OCLC reserves the right (but does not have the obligation) to remove, without liability, Content determined by OCLC in its sole discretion to violate the above requirements, but OCLC does not regularly review Content. OCLC takes no responsibility and assumes no liability for or in connection with any Content. You hereby grant to OCLC (including its subsidiaries and affiliates) a perpetual, irrevocable, nonexclusive, transferable, assignable, worldwide, fully paid up, royalty-free, license to: (i) make, use, copy, reproduce, modify and exploit Content; (ii) create, use, copy, reproduce, modify and exploit derivative works of Content; (iii) publicly perform or display, import, broadcast, transmit, disclose, distribute (directly or through a third-party), license, offer to sell, and sell, rent, lease or lend Content (and any derivative works thereof); and (iv) sublicense or assign to third parties any or all of the foregoing rights, including the right to sublicense or assign to further third parties. You also perpetually, irrevocably and free of charge grant other users of WorldCat.org Services all rights in and to Content (and derivative works thereof) necessary for use in accordance with these Terms and any additional terms and conditions described in Section 3.D below. You represent and warrant to OCLC (and its subsidiaries and affiliates) that You have all rights in Content necessary to grant the foregoing rights and that use of Content in accordance therewith will not infringe upon or otherwise violate the rights of any party. You will immediately notify OCLC of any circumstances which may indicate a breach of the foregoing representations and warranties. Subject to the foregoing license grants and except as required by any additional terms and conditions described in Section 3.D below, You and/or Your suppliers retain ownership of all rights, title and interest in and to Content.

Branding and advertising
  • Not possible on the WorldCat site, though can add a profile picture and link back to a website etc
  • Embedding not possible
  • There is no advertising

Stability, reliability and support
  • No local hosting
  • Lists can be exported in a variety of ways: CSV file, HTML, RTF, to RefWorks or EndNote

Known local alternatives

  • SOLO offers personalised lists/saving of records, but not public unless done using tags.

My Library (Google Books)

Key functionality
  • Kind of a hybrid of My WorldCat and LibraryThing!
  • Save Google Books records to your own personalised library/list.
  • Add reviews and ratings
  • Access to social data (more comprehensive than WorldCat, less than LibraryThing, but also draws in links from websites and reviews from elsewhere on the web)
  • Add labels (tags)
  • RSS feeds
  • Bulk import via ISBN
  • Export as XML file

A potential alternative to My WorldCat or LibraryThing for creating online reading lists or RSS feeds for new accessions (pending OLIS development). The problem for reading lists (for all of these) is that they don't handle journal articles well. If Google were to develop a 'My Google Scholar' service and integrate it with 'My Library' on Google Books then that would be a powerful tool indeed... knowing Google they've probably already thought of it!

Copyright and IP
  • No specific terms and conditions - assume covered by Google's general terms and conditions.

Branding and advertising
  • As with LT and My WorldCat, no way to brand, but you do get a photo and a 'profile' where you can link back to the library's page.
  • Embedding function not obvious, but it does give you an XML export which you could then embed in a webpage and have take on the home style.
  • None on your library page, but there are adverts on the book pages - small Google text ads.

Stability, reliability and support
  • Export as XML file possible.

Known local alternatives
  • SOLO (as above)