Friday, February 20, 2009

What do Ben Franklin and C.S. Lewis have in common?

Answer: They're both on LibraryThing!

I'm pleased to announce the completion of Benjamin Franklin's LT catalog. This project wouldn't have been possible without the gracious permission of the American Philosophical Society and the Library Company of Philadelphia, the publishers of The Library of Benjamin Franklin (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 2006). Not only have they made the book available via Google Books (here), but they also gave us permission to enter the data from it completely, including the wonderful and incredibly useful annotations by Edwin Wolf 2nd and Kevin Hayes, whose hard work and bibliographical sleuthing made the book possible in the first place.

On the LT end, thanks to pdxwoman, who got the project off the ground way back in January 2008, to hopeglidden and benjclark who cataloged portions of the collection, and to katya0133, who
entered a major chunk of the titles. I jumped in in November and worked to add more titles and augment the records by entering the annotations. We got on a roll in January; since the start of the year, Katya and I added 2,009 titles, ~800 of them in the last ten days.

You can browse the catalog here, read Franklin's reviews, and check out his stats. Not surprisingly, he shares many titles with his other Early American comrades.

No sooner is one finished than another is begun, around here. I'll be tackling the Virginia Georges next (Washington and Wythe) but BOB81 has taken on the task of heading up the creation of an LT catalog for C. S. Lewis, based on a listing created by the Marion E. Wade Center at Wheaton College. If you're interested in helping out, sign up here.

[So far Lewis and Franklin only have one work in common, The Spectator. More to come, I'm sure.]

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Blogger Tim said...

Wonderful news!

Can I put in a plea for someone to add the library to Wikipedia. Wikipedia has more than a paragraph on Franklin's library (see This really deserves to be cited somewhere, probably down in "Franklin and the Arts."

More generally, almost none of these libraries are on their owners' respective Wikipedia pages. They really should be. (I shouldn't do it, since that could draw accusations of promotion, but I sure can promote it!)

2/20/2009 3:49 PM  
Blogger lquilter said...

agreed that these are valuable resources & should be linked. franklin is done (although i thought it was more appropriate in the "biography and guides" section (as a guide)).

2/20/2009 3:58 PM  
Anonymous David said...

The Legacy Libraries project is a brilliant idea. There are so many now, which is fantastic of course, but I find the page a little too information dense - particularly as I share 0 for most of them! :-)

Would it be possible to make the page a bit more streamlined? For example starting by default with a single line for each person, e.g.
Tupac Shakur: you share 2 of 68 books
Aaron Copland: you share 0 of 369 books
Mary Hartford: you share 0 of 6 books

Each one can then be individually expanded to see the photo and the specific books. Ideally there would be the option of ordering by name or by number of books (shared or total), as well as an option for expanding all in one go.

Thanks for all your hard work on these everybody!

2/22/2009 2:19 AM  
Anonymous cpg said...

Not only is Lewis on LT, he's one of the top work combiners, author combiners, and CK contributors this week. Way to go, Jack! Don't let a little thing like death keep you from pulling your share of the load!

3/06/2009 8:36 PM  
Blogger Emily Barney said...

Yay! As a former Wade Center student staffer, I wish they had a full public catalog for all the materials they have on all 7 authors (Lewis, Tolkien, Chesterton, Sayers, MacDonald, Williams and Barfield) - there are some really wonderful resources hidden away in archives like that.

But knowing the state of their cataloging system, we're going to have to be satisfied with the tremendous work of volunteers like this. Is this based on a listing of Lewis's works made while he was alive or shortly thereafter? Because his library bounced around a bit before it got to the Wade and some items disappeared along the way.

3/12/2009 12:30 PM  
Blogger Ed Hird+ said...

Benjamin Franklin and CS Lewis have both had remarkable impacts in so many ways. A Benjamin Franklin article just received the ‘Top 100 Electricity Blogs’ Award

10/25/2009 9:04 AM  

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