Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A million free covers from Library Thing

LibraryThing just opened access to around a million cover images uploaded by LT users; you can get to them just by signing up for an API key and grabbing them from a special URL.

Tim Spalding makes some disclaimers: Amazon has more and probably better cover images, and they impose no maximum limit. However Amazon requires you to backlink to them from each image. LT has no such limit, and in fact encourages you to locally store images in order to reduce load on LT's servers.

If you installed the Millennium Module for Drupal, you can take advantage of LT's cover images like this:
  • Sign up to LibraryThing if you haven't done so already
  • Get an API key from LT
  • Put this URL into your Millennium module's settings, replacing KEY with your actual LT API key:


    It will look like this:


Tim said...

Hey, are you using it live anywhere?

Jano said...

Yes! Although we serve images thru an image server, which either: (a) serves a locally stored copy, (b) tries to fetch, store and show a cover newly fetched from LT or our institutional cover image repository, or (C) generate a coverimage on the fly, a'la LT.

A live example is here:

PASTEUR faceted search for Social Sciences > Theory and method

You can see there are some "fake" (generated) cover images down the list.

So far, we haven't had much luck with LT--since yesterday only about 0.18% of the cover images we needed (3) were there =) However, it would be stranger for LT users to own the books in our collection (biological sciences, biotechnology, health & medicine). Oh, and we have a lot of spanish-language stuff.