booksSome of you students have already taken off for the holidays, and even more of you are eyeing a few weeks off after this week. If you’re passing winter holiday time and find you miss the comforts of MSEL, you might think about tending to that book collection you have at home. Below I’ve outlined a few websites I’m aware of that allow you to quickly catalog and share the books you have or have read: Librarything, Goodreads, Shelfari, and GuruLib. Check them out, form your own opinion, and have your library listed online in a just a few minutes.

laptopDo you like to share? Use one of these sites to get you thinking about how you might enter the Friends of the Johns Hopkins University Libraries 2008 Student Book Collecting Contest. Or, show your bookshelves off in Facebook with the My LibraryThing application, the Goodreads Books application, the Shelfari Books application, or the GuruLib application. If you’re feeling competitive beyond our Student Collecting Contest, check out LibraryThing’s Holiday book pile contest and make some art. (Again, I can’t vouch for all of the fine print with individual sites or applications, so please investigate if you have concerns before you play!)

A little bit more detail about each of the sites, with a bonus site for those of you who read to the end:

Librarything is one of the most-cited sites for keeping track of your own books. Catalog up to 200 books for free, or pay $10 for a year or $25 for a lifetimes unlimited account. As for how it works, LibraryThing is pretty full-powered in the cataloging department. You enter a book or ISBN, and LibraryThing will search the Library of Congress, all five national Amazon sites, and more than 80 world libraries. Once you add a book to your collection, you can search and sort it, tag books with your own subjects, or use the Library of Congress and Dewey systems to organize your collection. If you want it, LibraryThing is also a social site. You can see other people’s libraries, compare collections, and get book recommendations automatically generated based on the makeup of your and others’ collections.

Goodreads allows you to track your reading and your collection, organize it onto virtual bookshelves, and connect with other readers should you wish to. Goodreads’ mission is to improve the process of reading and learning throughout the world, something most of us can get behind.

Shelfari builds your virtual bookshelves from the titles you enter, and allows you to write reviews and share your shelves in various ways.

GuruLib lets you catalog more than just books. Enter books, movies, music, games, and software by entering the title, typing in the ISBN, or scanning or taking a photograph of the UPC barcode. You can also write reviews, take notes as you go, and watch for prices on specific items.

And the bonus: If all of the above just seems like a lot of time you wouldn’t spend actually reading, head over to What Should I Read Next? for a quick recommendation.


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