Speaking of website gadgets, yesterday I tried out Library Thing, a service that lets you catalog your books online. Think of it as Flickr for your books. About 70 percent of the books in my office are already in a Delicious Library catalog, which Library Thing can import, so I uploaded the lot. Like Delicious Library, the most obviously useful feature of a catalog is as yet unavailable—namely, the ability to do a full-text search on the books you own. Something like Amazon’s Search Inside. Maybe in the future there will be a way for applications like this to talk to Search Inside or Google Print.
In the meantime, Library Thing lets you explore an affiliation network. You’re tied to other users through ownership of the same books, and in your profile you can see who overlap the most with. It turns out that the user I’m closest to none other than Chris Brooke, of the Virtual Stoa. He and I share 38 titles. This may partly be a size effect, as Chris has more than three times as many books cataloged as I do. But it may also index up our relative closeness in Blau Space. Further evidence of affinity in tastes comes from the fact that Chris’s photo and mine come from the same source.