The LibraryThing Media Taxonomy

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The LibraryThing Media Taxonomy is how LibraryThing understands media and format.


The taxonomy was not designed to be perfect and all-inclusive. It was designed to be:

  • reliably calculable from the data known to LibraryThing from bookseller and library sources.
  • detailed enough for most LibraryThing members. Members can add their own media types to the list.
  • easy for most members to understand and master.


The taxonomy is a nested structure with three "levels." The first level is Book, Sound Recording, Video Recording, etc. The second level includes Paper Book, Audiobook, etc. See the indention of the taxonomy and the structure of the codes (i.e., 1.1.1 is three levels) for the levels.


  • Members with professional cataloging experience have offered up some useful Media and format definitions.
  • Members are free to implement the taxonomy as they see fit.

The Taxonomy

Unknown (0)

Book (1)

Paperbook (1.1)
Paperback (1.1.1)
Hardcover (1.1.2)
Board book (1.1.3)
Pamphlet (1.1.4)
Unbound (1.1.5)
Magazine (1.1.6)
Journal (1.1.7)
Comic book (1.1.8)
Zine (1.1.9)
Audiobook (1.2)
Digital file (1.2.1)
CD (1.2.2)
Cassette (1.2.3)
Stand-alone player (1.2.4)
eBook (1.3)

Sound Recording (2)

Digital file (2.1)
CD (2.2)
Record (2.3)
Tape (Cassette, etc.) (2.4)
Stand-alone player (2.5)
Streaming (2.6)

Video Recording (3)

Digital file (3.1)
DVD (3.2)
VHS (3.3)
Blu-ray (3.4)
HD-DVD (3.5)
Laserdisc (3.6)
Reel-to-Reel/Film (3.7)
Streaming (3.8)

Other (4)

Printed Music (4.1)
Paperback (4.1.1)
Hardcover (4.1.2)
Sheet music (4.1.3)
eBook (4.1.4)
Piano Roll (4.1.5)
Map (4.2)
Calendar (4.3)
Microtext (4.4)
Software (4.5)
Poster (4.6)

Multimedia (5)


1. CD Minidiscs, which are dying and were never popular, are put under CDs.

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