I’m a bit late with this, but I wanted to get enough of my books categorized that my own statistics page would make an impressive showing (I’ll bet no other LT users come close to 145 languages!). Anyway, LibraryThing has added a feature I’ve been wanting since the beginning, language support:
• Every book has three fields: primary language, secondary language and original language.
• Languages are drawn from Amazon, your library record or the whole LibraryThing collection…
• The catalog shows “language” and “original language” fields. Go to “change fields” to see them.
• Language can be edited within your catalog, much as tags are.
• Each language has its own dedicated page (eg., French). At present, these only show the most popular works originally in that language.
Now, I have some complaints about the system. It would be useful to have more than “primary” and “secondary” fields; I have a number of books that have three equal languages, like Moderní Perská Frazeologie a Konversace by Mansour Shaki, which has everything in Czech, Persian, and English. And the “complete” menu of languages is immensely frustrating; it includes extremely minor languages like Yapese and breaks French down into Old and Middle as well as the modern variety, but lumps all the Chinese “dialects” (actually separate languages) under the same heading, so that I have to file my Cantonese dictionary, phrasebook, etc., as if they were Mandarin. Meanwhile it perversely insists on breaking the single language Serbocroatian down into Serbian, Croatian, and Bosnian, so that I have to decide for each book how to file it; I pretty much flip a coin, except that I give the original language of my Andric novels as “Bosnian”—it would probably piss him off, but books like Bridge on the Drina and Bosnian Chronicle are full of Turkish loan words and local expressions, and if you’re going to use “Bosnian” for anything it might as well be that.
Similarly, there’s no listing for Hindustani, so I have to choose whether to list certain books under Hindi or Urdu when the choice makes no sense. Also, the menu doesn’t include Dari (the variant of Persian spoken in Afghanistan) or Sicilian (they have a listing for Sardinian, for Pete’s sake!), and even though they have Indo-European (other) and Sino-Tibetan (other) and Romance (other), they don’t have Turkic (other), or Old Turkish either, which forces me to pick “Turkish” for books that don’t really fit there. But enough bitching and moaning; I’m very glad Tim did this, and consider this another plug for LT. If you haven’t seen it yet and you love books, go over and sign up!