What Book Are You Most Likely to Find In A ULTB Library?

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What Book Are You Most Likely to Find In A ULTB Library?

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Editado: Jun 14, 2017, 4:33pm

Okay, I realize that this is kind of the opposite of what ultb is all about, but I've always enjoyed exploring the weird stuff you can learn from LibraryThing's features, so I clicked on the link "Group Zeitgeist" for ULTB and a couple of other Groups I belong to to see if there is anything distinctive about the most common books to be found in libraries that are focused on the rare and unusual.

The most frequently owned books by members of the ULTB Group don't come as a shock: The Hobbit, The Odyssey, Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, and Jane Eyre. 58 out of 135 members of the ULTB group have a copy of The Hobbit. In fact, the other two groups I belong to that focus on obscure books, Too Obscure and Rare, Old, Offbeat both also have The Hobbit and the Odyssey as the two most common books, though Too Obscure follows with Harry Potter books (no way to keep your obscurity numbers low!) and Rare, Old, and Offbeat includes 1984 and The Great Gatsby before Pride and Prejudice.

I did a quick count and found that I have 65 of the top 100 books among ULTB members. Ours is a large library, so I'm not surprised at the total.

The more curious list is "Characteristic Works." The top five there are The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, King David's Spaceship, Heart of Midlothian, Book on the Bookshelf, and Why Shoot a Butler?. (I'll confess I didn't even know King David's Spaceship existed. These books tend to be in 10-20 libraries of ULTB members. I assume the characteristicness is calculated a bit like the weighted "members with your books.") I did a quick count there too and found that I have 27 of the 95 books listed as "characteristic works." I take that as an indicator that my library is fairly characteristic of ULTB libraries in general. Does that seem like a plausible interpretation to you?

Jun 14, 2017, 4:40pm

I like the questions you ask.

Still mulling if your interpretation is a valid one, but it's surely plausible.

Jun 14, 2017, 5:05pm

Of the list of most held books, I own zero of the first five, and all of the second five. Some of the statistics may be off. I'm surely not the only person who hasn't entered every book in their library (I own the Iliad, and Frankenstein, but have cataloged neither). I own only Chaucer of the characteristic works (although not "The Works of Chaucer" but "Canterbury Tales"), but I have cataloged only two copies (I own four). Love Pournelle, but kept only Footfall of all his works, when I shrunk my library. I'm not sure I've read King David's Spaceship, but I'm leaning towards probably not.

Interesting question. Thanks.