What's the appeal?

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Afegeix-te a LibraryThing per participar.

What's the appeal?

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1Morphidae
oct. 27, 2006, 10:23am

I've recently joined LibraryThing and I'm wondering what the appeal is to tagging?

2lilithcat
oct. 27, 2006, 10:39am

Tagging helps you quickly to find books in your catalogue.

For example, suppose I want to find all the books that I have rebound. I simply search for the tag "rebound", and they come up in a list.

Or suppose I want to bring up not merely the books I have by Jane Austen (which I can do via an author search), but also my books about her. Searching the tag "Jane Austen" will bring up my biographies of her as well as her novels.

3Morphidae
oct. 27, 2006, 10:44am

Maybe I haven't understood the appeal because I remember what all my books are about?

I've always been that way. As a teen, I sold a bunch of my books at a flea market. People would ask about a book and I could rattle off a quick synopsis even if it had been years since I read it. Amazed my mom!

4virginia_malone Primer missatge
oct. 27, 2006, 10:56am

Beware - I recall that Ben Franklin had a similar gift, but as age begin to creep up on him, he recalled less and less. He lamented that he should have learned at an early age to depend less on his great memory and more on some organizational skills. As he passed some point of no return he could not seem to force himself into the rigors of organization and therefore misplaced things.

5Morphidae
oct. 27, 2006, 11:19am

Great point! While I haven't noticed my memory slipping about books (yet), it does on other things.

Yikes, just what I need - something else on my to-do list!

6lilithcat
oct. 27, 2006, 11:24am

Maybe I haven't understood the appeal because I remember what all my books are about?

Yes, but do you remember all the books you own?

You might, because you only have 187 books in your catalogue thus far. I have over 3,000. Some organizational method is very desirable!!!!

And, of course, it's not simply a question of memory. Suppose I want to post a list of my abecedaria in the new ABC: Alphabet Books group. It's quickest and easiest to search on the tag "abecedaria", get the list and use the "permanent link" feature to post it.

7john257hopper
oct. 27, 2006, 11:32am

Tagging is wonderful. If I want to know how many books about British history or Russian history, or books about Russia generally (fiction and non-fiction taken together), or how many books I have bought or read this year or last year, I can find it all out through tagging.

8Morphidae
oct. 27, 2006, 11:41am

>You might, because you only have 187 books in your catalogue thus far.

The "thus far" are key words. Believe me, give me a few weeks. It will number in the thousands!

9aluvalibri
oct. 27, 2006, 12:01pm

well then, morphidae, tagging will be even more useful!
:-))

10andyl
oct. 27, 2006, 12:31pm

I think there is a big difference between being able to remember what a particular book is about when prompted by having it in your hand (or even someone telling you the title) and being able to rattle off a list of books you own that are mysteries. The latter list might well be polluted by books you borrowed from the library, or have read and sold off, or have even read reviews of.

11BoPeep
oct. 27, 2006, 1:35pm

Tagging is also useful to other Thingamabrarians - if I am looking at my library and think "I don't have many books on World War II history", for example, I can easily get a feel for what books I might like to get by exploring what other people have tagged. I've only used the tag 'wwii' 18 times personally but the tag page tells me that upwards of 2,500 books have been tagged with it, and it gives me a list of the most commonly tagged titles, from which I might pick a popular title; it also gives me 'related tags', which might prove useful if I'm specifically interested in, say, the Eastern Front - a tag I don't use, but more than 600 books have been tagged thus. Room for exploration there.

12AsYouKnow_Bob
oct. 27, 2006, 10:13pm

Tagging: you can use tags to describe a book, which is useful; but - and possibly even more usefully - you can use tags to describe your library.

Any attribute can be a tag, limited only by your imagination: where the book came from, who gave it to you, where you keep it, what size it is - anything that you might want to know about your library can be extracted from your tags.

13Eurydice
oct. 27, 2006, 11:17pm

Any attribute can be a tag, limited only by your imagination ... anything that you might want to know about your library can be extracted from your tags.

Absolutely agreed. The limitless, individual, personal nature of tags is one of their most appealing qualities, to me. I enjoy the overlapping subjects angle, as well - as Tim once pointed out, books very often deal with more than one thing. Tags allow you to include each in multiple subsections of your virtual library, in a way you can't, merely shelving them in a single physical space, at home. (Insert imagined examples here. ;) ) Personally, it gives me great pleasure. And I agree, of course, with the points BoPeep, andyl, and others have made.

14lilithcat
Editat: oct. 28, 2006, 9:18am

merely shelving them in a single physical space, at home. (Insert imagined examples here.

Oh, yes, indeed! Does Lost Chicago get shelved with my architecture books or my Chicagoana? Do my books on kimono belong with my books on Japan, or in my fashion/textile section? At what point do books about the history of law move from my law books to my history books (or vice versa)? Decisions, decisions!

15Eurydice
oct. 28, 2006, 3:48pm

Exactly! :)

Thanks for the examples, lilithcat: they're perfect.

16Karen5Lund
oct. 29, 2006, 10:16am

I'm also new to LibraryThing, and used tags almost from the beginning.

I shelve my books by theme, so tags help me identify where a book is physically located.

But as I catalog and tag my books, I'm reconsidering where some should be shelved. (I'm also dusting, which is an unexpected side benefit!) And looking at my most common tags is helping me decide how to group that stack of miscellaneous books that have been lying around for too long. At some point a tag reaches "critical mass" and deserves its own place on the shelf!

Also, as Lilithcat points out, tagging enables a book to be classified under several groups in a way not possible with physical sorting. It's very like the old card catalog system, which allowed books to be cataloged (and found!) in several ways.

That's the real trick, isn't it--not to catalog the books, but to be able to locate them later, in an instant, to the awe and wonder of one's friends and family?

17slothman
oct. 29, 2006, 2:13pm

Tagging is also handy as a way for your friends to explore your library.