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Everything I need to Know I Learned from Library Thing

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Fun Things To Do

Catalog a Periodical or Magazine


Add information about series...

Step One: Search other users for the same periodical. Try and copy what they did. This does assume that they did something useful or repeatable. By useful something that allows easy combining. To search for your periodical go to the library thing search tab. Enter the name or part of the name in the Works text box and click the search button. I find that doing a couple of search like this provide useful results. For example try National, Geographic and National Geographic. Each one provides slightly different results. Once you get some results browse through them look for you periodical. Try and find a method of cataloging National Geographic. In addition check the series information for an item Common Knowledge section. This is another area to link together with other users.

For example; periodical usually have a volume and issue number. A volume is usually one years publication of any number of issues. Monthly will come with 12 issues, weekly like Newsweek or Time have 52 issues. If a LT user had all 12 issue for a given year why not enter the the whole year as one item. Unfortunately, if you start subscribing in the middle of that same year you wouldn't catalog in the same fashion. You decide to catalog each separate issue as a single LT entry. Neither method is wrong. But they each will have problem combining.

-Step Two Come up with a easy to repeat catalog method. Decide two things. What is the title of the periodical and who or whom is the author. For example; the title could take the format of title volume 999 issue 999. Or equal valid would be title month year. Try to come up with something clearly visible on the front cover or the "masthead". (The masthead is the page in a periodical that has all the publishing information.) Next the author, this can be a little fun. After all short of 'zines and offbeat journals periodical have no authors. So to really do this you will be subverting the actual use of the author field in LT. (How fun just cataloging a magazine is an subversive act!) If you are a lesser subversive look for an editor, this would work OK. If there isn't a clear and consistent editor use the publishing company. The publishing company may not be the best choice if they publish several different unrelated publication. You could also enter the periodical title. Finally you could enter nothing.

Here is an example entry for Scientific American

Search for Editors of The Diabetic Gourmet magazine. An odd author but it links two sets of magazines O and The Quilter Magazine.

Check this magazine entry, Life Magazine A some what problematic cataloging. One entry all issues note the multiple covers. Find the People magazine entries and note the same problem.

Search for Rowan Knitting Magazine a very nice example of a simple cataloging using issue numbers.

Search for Smithsonian Magazine check out the author, several different users with different methods have been combined under one author. Note these examples Smithsonian August 1980 and Smithsonian Magazine (September 2004). Although they don't intersect in their issues, they do use a common author.

Use Book Code


Now that you know all your common books with other people send them a message in book.

  • Pick a book you have in common. ie The Hobbit
  • Pick a page note the number ie 237
  • Scan page until you find the word you need in message note the line number and word number in the sentence. (If the word you are looking for is NUCLEAR and the book you are using is The Hobbit you may need a letter number method.) ie 1,4 1,6 2,6 3,2 3,4 3,8....
  • The message sent would be 3206242,38226442 237 1,4 1,6 2,6 3,2 3,4 3,8
  • Project Gutenberg edition are especial suit able for this method.

Write A Review

Select a book from your library and click on the index card icon Edit-pencil.gif in the far right column. This takes you directly into the "works" in an edit mode. The sixth item is the "Your Review" box. Type or paste your review into the text box. Then scroll down to the bottom of the page and press the save button.

Misericordia's Review of "Sharp Teeth"

Then you can link your review to this page.

How to actually write a review. Well here are a couple of short posting on the subject.

Zachary M Schag's "How to Write a Review"

This web page is no longer present so I used the way back machine to extract the part of his article.

The first step in a review is to describe the work and its topic. For example, if you were to review a biography of Charles Lindbergh, it would be appropriate to give your reader some idea of who Charles Lindbergh was, and why someone might want to read a book about him, before you gallop off to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the book itself. The trick is to provide the necessary summary in as short a space as possible. You will repeat the book author's ideas, not your own, so this section should only be a small part of your review.

The second task is to describe the work itself. That is, rather than telling the story of the Erie Canal, you are now telling a story about how Carol Sheriff wrote a history of the Erie Canal. Here you will ask the sorts of questions I suggested in another essay, "How to Read a History Book." Why did the author choose this topic? Who is her audience? What sources does she use? What arguments does she make? Is the book more analytical or narrative? Is it just words, or pictures too? In short, what was the author trying to do?

Having determined the author's goals, you now explain whether the author achieved those or other goals. For example, if an author states in his first sentence that his "book represents an effort to recast the history of the Second Industrial Revolution," then by all means, your review should at some point evaluate his success in doing so.1 But it is also perfectly appropriate to go beyond the author's stated goals to ask whether those goals were appropriate to begin with. For example, the U.S. Congress recently expressed concern that the National Park Service was doing a fine job of explaining military history to visitors to Civil War sites, but it was doing little to educate them about the root causes of the war, notably slavery. In this case, the Congress functioned as exhibit reviewer and made the case that the function of Park Service interpretation needed to be reconsidered.

While you do not need to like the work you are reviewing, please remember that criticism is more than complaint. Book authors have a limited number of pages, curators have a limited amount of exhibit space, and everyone is constrained by finite time, money, and sources. Before demanding that a historian take on an additional task, you might think about what portions of a book, exhibit, or film could have been eliminated to make room. Before complaining that the historian focused only on one group of people, ask if other groups left the records the historian would need to tell their stories as well. It may help to imagine that you are giving advice to a historian about to create a work similar to the one you are reviewing. What constructive lessons can you provide?

If this sounds formulaic, it is. Sometimes formulas have their merits. Indeed, perhaps the best preparation for writing a review as a college assignment is to read other academic reviews.

Bill Asenjo's "How to Write a Book Review" Mostly a list of bullet points of questions to answer. Once again short sweet and easy to follow.

Create Reading Lists

With the current inclusion of collection, this is still relevant. You can't sort collections. Let's say you have a pile of books you want to read. Why not create a reading list in Library Thing. If you already have your books all you have to do is add a tag for your reading list. I use the tag "RL". So this is pretty easy just add a tag. But, I also want to have an order for the books on my reading list. If you add the tags RL1, RL2, RL3 to the books, I hit a pretty big snag. I can't search for all the RL tags from the library search. If I type in RL and search the tags field of my library and get nothing, because all that I can search for is RL1 or RL2 etc. If however, I tag the books with "RL N" in the first tag position, where N is a number. The blank space is really important. I now have a search-able, sortable list of books. With the blank space between the RL tag and the number you can search for just RL and get all books tagged this way. If the "RL N" is the first tag then sort just requires click the tag column header. If you put the tag later in the list doesn't work as well. Here is an example from my library Reading List Tags.

Adding Photos

I have had problems getting pictures added to Library Thing WikiThing. Here is what I got to work for me.

Get the picture on your computer.

From the Toolbox menu in the left hand side column, select upload file.

Fill in the upload form. be sure to copy the destination file name.

Link to the page. Edit the wiki page. Click the "Embedded imgage" icon which inserts the wiki syntax. Use the following syntax [[Image:2942790175_6a5a5e9243.jpg]]

This is what you get:

2942790175 6a5a5e9243.jpg

This picture is from the book The first book of codes and ciphers

Other methods using a combination of wiki and html tags really don't work.


File:"http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3295/2942790175 6a5a5e9243.jpg"

File:Http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3295/2942790175 6a5a5e9243.jpg

[ <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/misericordia/2942790175/" title="Semaphore Flag by misercord, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3295/2942790175_6a5a5e9243.jpg" width="500" height="298" alt="Semaphore Flag" /></a> ]

[[Image:<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/misericordia/2942790175/" title="Semaphore Flag by misercord, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3295/2942790175_6a5a5e9243.jpg" width="500" height="298" alt="Semaphore Flag" /></a>]] <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/misericordia/2942790175/" title="Semaphore Flag by misercord, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3295/2942790175_6a5a5e9243.jpg" width="500" height="298" alt="Semaphore Flag" /></a>

Entering weird Characters

Gödel G\&ouml\;del
Gödel G\&\#246;del
Gödel Gödel Cut and pasted the character
Alphabetic Special Character Codes

Has cool things like:


ASCII Special Character Codes

Has cool things like:

£ § µ ¿

Linking to a Talk Topic or a Particular Message in the Topic

The url for a talk topic takes the form of:

http://www.librarything.com/topic/<thread id>

For a topic and message the form is:

http://www.librarything.com/topic/<thread id>#<message id>

To get these number hover the cursor over the "flag abuse" or "Post a message" links at the bottom of each message in the topic. Displayed in your browsers lower left corner will be the link source information. For the "Flag abuse":

javascript:showflagmessage(<message id>, <thread id)

For the "Post a message":

javascript:forumpost(<message number>, <thread id>, ",",false)
For example, you might see the following:
javascript:showflagmessage(985012, 54355)  javascript:forumpost(3, 54355, ",",false)
The thread id is 54355. The message id is 985012. The link to the thread would be
and the link to the particular message would be:
An addition form can be used to link to a message of:

This form use the message header from either the actual message or the first number in the "Post a message" link.

Trying Things out


List of Knot books

Learn the Constellations

List of Classic Science Fiction

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