In German - as I just learned - there is the term booksharing (yes, we love awkward anglicisms, too). Wikipedia translates it to book swapping, but I think the term booksharing is a better term indeed. After all, it is more open for interpretation: I myself have many books I do not want to give away, but which I am willing to lend to people who need them.
The Internet gives us the ability to share things much more effectively than ever before - ideally for free and in a decentralized manner. Unfortunately, book swapping projects that make use of the Internet seem to be all platform based so far. And I am not willing to take the costs of joining another platform if there may be a better way.
I have today created a
sub-section on this website to display my books. If someone from the area needs one of those and cannot access them in the library, ask me.
Coding made me think more and more about scalability, in about anything I do. For this concrete case, it would be great to create some kind of markup for booksharing. Of course, things like MODS already exist, but a microformats solution would certainly help more.
This would first of all include transfering all the common content types of MODS, BibTeX or comparable formats into microformats. Second, additional ones would need to be added for the status and the purpose of the entry (is it currently available and is it meant to be given away or just lent out?).
With that, it would be possible to move sharing books and helping each other much easier without having to rely on platforms which can always be bought/shut down/etc.
Aside from the technical aspects, it would of course also be great to get more people to collaborate and open up to be asked about collaboration. A first step towards this can pretty easily be made by indexing what we have. For example, my little project here started with me indexing my books for university - this only later expanded into signatures being assigned to the books and the programing of the sub-section.
If we just shared this information in a smaller scale setting that may already help much.