Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Jefferson's Library in LibraryThing

Apologies for the comparative radio silence and lack of substantive or link-y posts lately - they're coming soon, I promise. You can blame this guy.

Almost four months after the announcement, we've finished entering Thomas Jefferson's library into LibraryThing. Working from E. Milicent Sowerby's five-volume bibliography, now handily online, sixteen folks entered nearly 4,900 titles and 187 of Jefferson's reviews (which are, I think, one of the most interesting parts of the catalogue). We've even been able to (nearly) replicate Jefferson's own classification structure with LT tags.

Tim's got an LT blog post up to celebrate the completion of the project. He notes some of the fun possibilities: "From Jefferson's profile you can take advantage of all the special features, like spying on his author cloud, tag cloud, author gallery and stats page. (Everyone knows he was a Francophile, but it's neat to see he had 45% as many French as English books.)" Tim has also added a new section on each LT member's stats page (sign in) to show each user how many books they share with Mr. Jefferson.

I've learned so much from this project - I think there's no better way to understand the concepts and debates behind all things bibliographic (cataloging, subject headings, tagging, &c.) than to jump into something like this. It was tough going, even with Sowerby's good foundation, but it was great fun even at the most frustrating moments. This effort also really brought out the cooperative potential of LT - it could not have happened without the support and assistance of everyone who pitched in.

I'm going to rest a bit and then I'll move right on to the next project - John Adams' library. His LT profile is up and ready to go, and I'm looking forward to seeing whether he and Jefferson end up having the most overlap among their libraries.