Before jumping into Web 2.0 and books, let’s have a quick primer about 2.0. The best way to understand Web 2.0 may be through examples. While you might not be able to spit out a quick dictionary definition (btw Websters does define it as “the second generation of the World Wide Web in which content is user-generated and dynamic, and software is offered that mimics desktop programs”) you could probably recognize Web 2.0 if you saw it.
Web 2.0 incorporates social aspects into Web sites by allowing users to create, in part, the Web site itself. Examples? Visit delicious to see a social network of shared bookmarks from the web. Visit listography to see people’s lists of all sorts shown and shared. You can also use the web to store and share digital images that show off your marvelous photography skills on flickr or snapfish. There’s YouTube for video and Instructables for “how to." But what about books? Well you’ll be happy to know there are many wonderful ways to explore, catalog, list, track and share your books online.
Two of the main Web sites most are familiar with are Librarything and Goodreads. All you need to get started is an email address and pick a user name and the process is very simple. So what do these sites have to offer bibliophiles? For starters Librarything allows users to catalog their entire library by simply entering the book titles. It does the rest for you; plugging in details, book covers, etc. If you want to get technical and use a catalog number you can choose between Dewey and Library of Congress classification numbers. The site allows you to see how many people (and who they are!) that have the same interesting books that you have. It allows you to connect to these people, if you wish, and read their reviews.
I use Goodreads much more often than Librarything because it allows you to list not just what you “own” but any book you’ve read, are reading, and want to read. It is easier to navigate than Librarything and works a lot more like Amazon.com, by showing you suggestions of similar books. Adding a book is super easy. Just click the cover and add it to your “reading, read, or to read” bookshelf. You can also rate the books and review them. You can add friends to your page and compare how many books you have in common with others. You can even take literary quizzes created by other users about your favorite books (or any books really!). All of this wonderful interaction as well as being an excellent way to organize that book list you have floating around your head makes Goodreads my top pick.
However, there are numerous other lesser known book sites out there. The following link will lead you to a succinct explanation of and links to 10 wonderful sites to explore.
Lastly, be sure to check out the JCLC catalog for more books on Web 2.0 like these:
Web 2.0 and beyond: Understanding the new online business models, trends and technologies
How to do everything with your Web 2.0 blog
Web 2.0: a strategy guide
Unleashing Web 2.0: from concepts to creativity
People to people fundraising: social networking and Web 2.0 for charities
Library 2.0 and beyond: innovative technologies and tomorrow's users
Image courtesy of bensheldon at Creative Commons.