Librarything Versus Goodreads

Peer Mentors at SJSU SLIS do group presentations online through web conferencing.  These group presentations are called meet-ups.  When I did my Peer Mentor meetup presentation, I discussed WordPress, Blogger and Librarything.  I was hoping that someone would ask me how Librarything compares with Goodreads because I was completely prepared for that question.  Since no one had any questions for me, I thought I would compare Librarything and Goodreads on my blog.

My recent experience cataloging on Librarything  for a special library with a small collection has persuaded me that  Goodreads is in no way the equal of Librarything when it comes to cataloging a collection of books.  I have been so impressed with my ability to obtain complete bibliographic records from libraries for use on Librarything.  Anyone who has cataloged on Librarything will be disappointed that Goodreads doesn’t have this relationship with libraries.  If a member wants to shelve a book on Goodreads that isn’t part of the database, he or she can’t simply pull up a record from the Library of Congress.  If a book hasn’t been previously shelved by a Goodreads member, or imported from Ingram, its current bibliographic partner, members must fill out every field in the record manually.  Unfortunately, some members have no idea of how to record information from a book in hand.  This means that the Goodreads database is riddled with errors.   The volunteers who maintain the database at Goodreads  have a task similar to the legendary Sisyphus.  For every record successfully corrected, there will probably be ten more that require revision that have recently been entered manually.

So why do I still love Goodreads?  The primary purpose of Goodreads is social networking  for book readers, and that is the area where it excels.  When someone requests to be your friend on Goodreads, you can do a book comparison.  It will tell you what books you have in common and the percentage of similarity between you.   There is an amazing array of  affinity groups.  Many select a book of the month to discuss or have reading challenges.   Goodreads has also added a tool that allows group members to keep track of their challenge reads.  Goodreads  does everything it can to facilitate  the formation of communities of readers.

Another thing that I love about Goodreads is that some of my Goodreads reviews appear on Worldcat.   Although Goodreads can’t import metadata from Worldcat, Worldcat can harvest reviews from Goodreads.  I have established a shelf on Goodreads to identify which of my reviews appear on Worldcat.  I am proud  of my contribution to my favorite bibliographic utility through Goodreads.


About lfrankel9

Linda Frankel is a MLIS student at San Jose State University with interests in cataloging, metadata, web usability, libraries and archives. The challenges of 21st century information metamorphosis are what motivate her to pursue a career in the information professions.

Posted on February 2, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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