Using LibraryThing

May 2010
I've been a bibliographic packrat all my life, buying books that seemed to be on-ramps to things I wanted to know about, and/or books that seemed like they'd be essential to a life of scholarly pursuits. I've occasionally sold books, to slim down before moving, and then regretted it. Some stuff has followed me everywhere, and those books might in fact be talismans essential to my self-definition, even if they are rarely consulted. In the last few weeks I've been using to ummmmm catalog my several hoards of books, and the results have been most interesting. LibraryThing allows you to tag items with your own categories, and then display the results as a personal tagcloud.
Thus, one of my idiosyncratic Tags is Nacirema, gathering together 70-some books that deal with facets of American culture and society. Another is metastuff, a collection of books (quite open-ended and various) that seem to have been especially important in my own developing sense of how the world works. I'm not so very surprised to discover that music is the largest category (something like 10% of all the books), or that technology and photography are also pretty substantial. And of course food and cookbook...
The exercise of entering all those books into the LibraryThing database led to a reacquaintance with a number of threads I haven't revisited lately, and also provided the occasion to consider specific enthusiasms, like materials on Sarawak and books on woodworking.