data fetish


you know, i often try to pass myself off as “not a geek” or “not a computer-person” which everyone knows is just ridiculous given that i work with computers, helped found a radical tech collective, and used to give workshops that entailed taking apart computers and putting them back together so everyone could look at (and touch) the insides. it’s particularly ridiculous in light of my raging fetish for information organizing tools.

that’s right – tools and strategies to organize information get me hot: sensible taxonomies, data-management tools, information architecture diagrams – nothing excites me more in the cerebral sense. if that’s not a sad and geeky admission, i don’t know what is.

in any case, kellan over at laughing meme posted a couple of days ago about a new online book-listing tool called library thing. it allows you to catalog your book collection with comments, ratings, reviews, and tags and then cross-reference that to the collections and reviews of the 10,000+ other users on the site. inputting books is simple with a search-engine that uses the collections of amazon and 30 libraries to feed responses to queries and allow you to select the right book to add to your online collection. best of all is you can export the whole thing to an excel spreadsheet in case you want to keep your catalog in a localized database or export it to another book-logging service.

woah nelly – i’m in love. all of a sudden, thoughts of a separate blog for book-reviewing have gone out the window, and last night i heedlessly spent $25 for a lifetime membership to the site, as i rushed to start my own online catalog of book holdings. in my excited state, i managed to catalog about half the books on my shelves, and i plan to finish the rest this weekend.

now this service is not without flaws. i think it needs an integrated forum and blog-ability, and the interface is a bit on the ugly side (but i’m not a superficial lover, and looks aren’t everything). kellan makes a bunch of points in his review about rss feeds and lack thereof. rss feeds really aren’t my thing, so i don’t feel the lack of them in the way he seems to.

it may be quick and flirty, but i’ve commited. i personally think with the right care and massaging, library thing could turn out to be my kind of tool – a willing partner in my desire for an organized internet.

a whirlwind romance? oh yes, but at least i don’t have anyone to cook breakfast for in the morning.

One Comment on “data fetish

  1. i remember trying to be not-a-geek. it did me no good to act like a deer when I’m a bear.

    megan, if you like organized information, try
    http://wordnet.princeton.edu/
    for a wild view of the english language. it might take a bit to catch the jive lingo they use, but it’s worth the time, because these people have ORGANIZED our first language. i mean, we’re talking a system here.

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