Cataloguing your growing library

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have shelves and shelves of books (all of them read, of course ;-)). I must confess, I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to books, so all of mine are fully catalogued, and classified according to the Dewey decimal system.

If you’re not quite so organised, you may be interested in LibraryThing. Just feed it a list of ISBN numbers, and it will generate your own personal catalogue, scouring the web to find book titles, publishers, authors, even book cover images to match up to the ISBN. It’s free to add up to 200 books, so you can easily give it a whirl. There’s nice widgets (I use one to power the ‘currently reading’ bar on the right), but the very best feature has to be the ‘similar libraries’ section.

I know (for example) that a pastor in Illinois called Steve McCoy has 153 books that I also own. I even know what they are! I can see that across the site, there are 54 of us who own Berkhof’s Systematic Theology, way ahead of Chafer with 4, Reymond (17), Dabney (13), but all trailing behind Grudem (83).

Wherever I am in the world, I can now check the site to remind myself which books I own – no more buying doubles! Just as importantly, others who are thinking of buying books for me can simply check to see whether or not I already own it.

There’s a host of other features, you can tag books (and see how others have tagged them). You can have books recommended to you based on your existing library and the books others own. There’s a top 100 of the most popular books and authors (CS Lewis is in fourth place), and the 100 biggest libraries. <memo to self>The purpose of LibraryThing is not to allow me to boast I have more books than you ;-)</memo>.

It’s far more useful than Flickr, and even more fun.


  1. Great site! Saw your post on LibraryThing! Neat witness! All the best is 2006!