Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tuesday Thingers--What's in your LT Account?

The question this week is- how many books do you have cataloged in your LibraryThing account? How do you decide what to include- everything you have, everything you've read- and are there things you leave off?

I have almost 900 books catalogued so far in my LT account. That's out of probably 5000+ books in the house (a number which never stops increasing, mind you). My plan is to be all-inclusive, and I'm going about it geographically, working my way through the house. Because of the way we have the books organized (certain areas of the house contain certain collections), this means that until I'm done the catalog will be skewed depending on which areas I've completed. So far I've done most of our religious works, most of the cookbooks, about 25% of the kids' stuff, almost all of the little kids' books, and about 50% of the needlework books. Then there are other random sections I've done, like most of the Russian literature, certain mystery authors and most of the comics books (heavy on the Bloom County, Garfield, Foxtrot, Calvin and Hobbes, Baby Blues and Doonesbury).

This works because our books are somewhat contained within their areas, but it leaves me with very skewed recommendations!

I'm trying to be sure to enter every book that comes into the house for the first time, but even there I'm failing occasionally. Just this weekend I bought a book for Sachy and realized this morning that I didn't enter it. It's disappeared into the pit which is my boys' bedroom, so who knows when I'll see it again (well, when I catalog the books in their room, obviously). I'm pretty good about getting in what we Mooch, since the BookMooch system allows you to do that directly.

The bigger, unasked question is why? Why do I feel compelled to do this? Why do I care to catalog the household book contents? It doesn't affect anything in the greater world. I am a librarian, though, afterall, and I have certainly established previously that I am flat out obsessed with books: having them, reading them, re-reading them, treasuring them, offering them to my children, and interacting with other people on their basis. Somehow cataloguing my holdings gives me greater control over this as well as giving me an old-fashioned warm fuzzy about my books!

I have to thank LibraryThing for giving me a renewed relationship with my books. I have for once pared down our holdings a bit and sent books out via BookMooch, spurred on by the thought that any books we'll never use can be treasured by others and that any book removed in a timely manner is one I don't have to worry about getting to and cataloguing unnecessarily. I've rediscovered books I hadn't looked at for years, and found ones the children are now appreciating just when they are ready for them.
I think of my LT catalog as an extension of my bibliophilus, and in fact of my book obsession. In a very real way, it is of course and extension of myself and my view of myself and my family


Lisa said...

Wow! Everyone always comments on how many books I have, but I feel like a slacker in this crowd.

I have to agree that the whole process of cataloging my library was marvelous - I got to go through the house and touch every one of my books again!

Minds Alive on the Shelves

Anonymous said...

Yes, rediscovering forgotten books as I catalog has been a great benefit. I haven't input anything on the second floor of the house yet ... what treasures will I find there?!

Jacquie Reaville (The Book Imp) said...

Unfortunately as I was cataloguing I had to stop and flick through each one and stop myself from re-reading old favourites or starting on one I hadn't read yet, and then I'd have real trouble putting them back in the boxes they came out of. If I hadn't been so strict with myself I would probably still be sitting on the floor surrounded by a wall of paper.