Social cataloging: a new trend?


 A selection of book covers and titles with a peculiar graphic design : a very colourful visual. Mosaic of front covers. Different typographies and different illustrations.
« Book covers », found on The Big Ideas Collective’s website.

Nowadays, in this digital era in which we live, it seems hard not to notice that our lives are strongly linked to those in our community. Facebook made its appearance in 2004 and introduced what could be considered a revolutionary device for communication. Since then, social networking services have spread and are now part of our daily routine. Facebook or twitter are among an exhaustive network in which we share, communicate and exchange. What do we share? Pictures, films, contents, events. It is only normal that online communities have come into being.

How do we share? « Social cataloging » is a new term that has been introduced as « a subset of social media; a website or web application that allows users to digitally catalogue things they care about »[1]. It works by means of recommendations on websites like Pinterest for crafts and « DIY » (Do It Yourself). But when it comes to books, you should try Goodreads, Delicious Scanner or Librarything. Goodreads is defined by its CEO and co-founder, Otis Chandler, as being « a place where I could see my friends’ bookshelves and learn about what they thought of all their books ». It is no wonder sharing books on the web has become so popular. Thus, we gather a collection of books to read, or things to do through a « personalized organizational system via tags »[2]. Social cataloging shows a community of readers being inspired and moved so deeply, they need to share their readings with others. The sharing is done through reviews, discussion boards, tags and pins.

Small Book Clubs have evolved into popular television shows in English-speaking countries. They get quite a large audience because of their entertaining aspect. The Richard and Judy Book Club, who partner up with the WH Smith bookshop chain, as well as the Oprah Book Club are a phenomenon that we can see developing in English-speaking countries. It is the same with talk shows like the Graham Norton Show or The Late Night show. These shows invite celebrities to come talk about their new book. Books that are picked by their hosts to be on the show’s list generally get into the charts as their sales grow substantially.

The British publishing house Penguin Books is a leading company and is part of the conglomerate Penguin Random House. Their website features their own must-read lists and challenges like Take 2016’s Ultimate Reading Challenge in which you can find a list to tick off different types of books like « a self-improvement book » or « a book about a road trip ». These lists are meant to trigger a desire of discovering new reads, new genres that a reader might not even think about reading.

Nowadays, social media is part of our lifestyle. Therefore, these websites will make it easy for you to discover new things everyday and be involved in your community. Considering all of the above, you might want to try the « New Year, New Book » challenge!

Written by Anaïs Tomás

[1] Social cataloging’s definition by Urban Dictionary

[2] Stephanie Prato, « Goodreads and « Social cataloging »» in Information Spaceoctober 2012.


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