Wednesday, April 29, 2009


My Telecommunications class at Florida State had a textbook whose author liked to throw in all these acronyms such as the title of this post (What you see is what you get) and TANSTAAFL (There ain't no such thing as a free lunch). Luckily for me, I recognized that my professor would use these as bonus questions on our weekly quizzes to make sure everyone was actually reading the book.

Last week, I signed up for Library Thing and Rollyo. (Can you roll a Rollyo to your friends?) Neither of which impressed me terribly. I did put five titles into my account on Library Thing, and perhaps it might be useful to know what shopping sites interest Debra Messing but I doubted it. Well, today I thought I was being very unfair in my initial impression, so I decided to play around some more with both. I have a better idea of Rollyo, and I created my own list of shopping sites. I see where it can be useful although I am not sure how much I will use it. I am glad to put it in my bag o' tricks though.

I am happier to talk about Library Thing. Now, regular readers of this blog will remember that "Dune" by Frank Herbert is one of my favorite books, so I put that down. Another one of my favorite books is "A Swiftly Tilting Planet" by Madeleine L'Engle, so I put that down. One of the books that is getting read over and over again in my house is "The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!" by Mo Willems. Two more, two more.....oh, so another plug for Mr. Bruno and "Into the Pit 1" and I decided to create my own record by inputting "Walt Whitman in Australia". It is a rare title, and I think there are only two copies that survive in its entirety. So, when I entered these titles last week, I thought "big deal" since I already know about them, etc. (Nice attitude, huh? I claim sleep deprivation induced grumpiness) I was pleased to return to the books in my "library" and see a popularity ranking ("Dune" is ranked 45th with 12,235 members, and "Walt Whitman in Australia" is ranked 3,433,020th with 1 member), an average rating, reviews, recommendations, and the libraries that are most similar to yours. Ah! So I can discover new titles that I might not have known about--always a treat for a librarian--and can help with reader's advisory! I'm starting to like this Library Thing! My concerns are that a) many (though not all!) of the recommendations are other titles in the same series so it is not that helpful at times, and some of the recommendations are a little, shall we say, off-base? Recommendation number 6 for "The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!" is "Wringer" by Jerry Spinelli. I loved "Wringer" when I read it, but it seems like an awfully big leap to go from reading a cute picture book about a clueless pigeon finding a hot dog to a chapter book about a 9 year old boy who does not want to turn 10 because the town tradition is that 10 year old boys wring the necks of pigeons wounded in the annual Pigeon Day shoot. I get the connection--pigeons--but sometimes technology can only do so much. That is why the world needs librarians. Now I just need to work on my superhero costume. Maybe Barbara Gordon can help me.

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