I usually don’t get too thrilled about collection managers, but Listal has made me a pretty happy user. Listal is a new service that is currently in beta (their are a few kinks here and there that are getting worked on) and makes managing and sharing your collection very easily. With Listal, you can add books, DVD’s, CD’s, and even games to your collection. The service also features a nice use of folksonomy and tag clouds to help organize your collections. The interface is great looking, clean, easy to use, and also uses AJAX for certain tasks such as rating the items or adding tags to items.
To begin is very simple. You signup to make your account and then login. When you enter, it will let you know that you do not have anything in your collection yet and asks you to add items. To add a book, you can simply use the search on the top of the page to return results and select an item. So, say I want to search for a book. I would type in the title of the book and then choose, “Books,” in the selection box. It will then return results in a nicely presented page. Select a book or multiple books by checking the check boxes. Now, their are two options when adding the item. You can either add a book to your collection by clicking “Add to collection”, or you can add the item to a list of wanted items, meaning you don’t own them but you want to own them. You can add to your wanted list by selecting, “Add to wanted list.”
When you first signup, you notice that there are no tabs on the tob for books, music, DVD’s, or games. That is because there are no items in them at first. Once you add an item to one, it will then show the tab so you can view your collection. Sticking to the book example: In the screenshot above, you see the Book area (All collection areas are pretty similar). This area will present you with a tag cloud of what you have used to tag books and a cloud for authors of the books. One the left of the page, there is an area for your Custom Lists which allows you to create a list of items and name the list. So, for example, I made the list, “I am still reading…” And now when someone goes to view my collection, they can see my list of books I am still reading.
Lets take it a step farther now. In a collection area, you have the choice or selecting a tag or author to look at your collection, or you can view them all by selecting “Owned” or “Wanted” on the top bar. This will then bring a page up much like what you see above. A beautifully displayed page that gives you basic information and the ability to view more information of an item, add an item to a list, rate items, or manage them. While we are on this page, I will tell you how to rate a book. Simply go to the Rating column and you will see a list of numbers in the row of an item. Select a low number to give a lower rating, a higher number to give a higher rating.
The next area I want to mention is the details area. When you select an item in your collection, it will bring you to a page that gives you more details about the item (if any). You can also assign tags to the item by selecting “Add Tags” and add your tags seperated by commas (multiple word tagging). You can also change the information you added about the book by clicking on “Edit Personal Information.” In this area, you can add more details such as the condition of the item and your own description of it. If you look at the right toward the bottom, you will see an area for comments. You can add comments and your own reviews about the product there for people to see on your page.
Every Listal account has the option of making their collection public for everyone to see, or private so no one can view it (currently, the beta release does not allow for private collections). If anyone wanted to see what is in my collection so far, you can view mine here: Benzinger’s Collection. Rember, this service is still in Beta so it may have some issues. If you make a collection and want to share, pass along an email to me!