1st there was Phototag.org for tracking the travels of disposable cameras and Where's George, for keeping track of those globetrotting gents named George, Andrew, Abe and Ulysses and the rest of their Currency Commrades.
Then there is the very cool, very stimulating and edumicational community of BookCrossing.
As the site says: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single release."
In April 2001 Ron Hornbaker launched a website to share his love of a good book.
The idea is a simple one: Read a book, then instead of tossing it in the trash, giving it to the library, or to a friend, or relative, pass it on to a total stranger!
Do this by leaving it on a park bench, in the breakroom at work, on a bus, or train seat, in an office waiting room, a public restroom, or in any number of other public places where the little, or not so little, darling will be found.
Outfitted with a special bookplate, tracking number and a note explaining the concept so the next person will know what to do if so inclined, the book can be tracked as it randomly travels from city to city and even nation to nation, around the world.
Over 598,000 people have "released" over 4.2 million books "into the wild" and the term "bookcrossing" has its own category in the Google Directory, as well as being listed in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary.
This award winning community is one of the most respected and popular gathering places online.
When a book is "Caught" the finder follows notification instructions and can leave a journal entry and the person who released the book can get notified by e-mail about the books latest encounter.
One of the many fun aspects is that you can be a "Hunter".
There is a list of countries with books "in the wild." After registering and releasing a book, members have the option of making Release Notes, specifying where exactly (or approximately) they left a book.
There are actually people traipsing around looking for a particular book!
This is very similar to those folks leaving, finding and cataloging, hidden items in the wilderness, in the activity called Geocaching.
While membership is free there is a supply store for purchasing Official bookplates of various types and cost if you don't want to make one of your own.
There are also Bookcrossing Conventions and Monthly Meetings in cities everywhere.
There is much more to this endeavor.
In my sidebar is a special section for BookCrossing and related links to websites created by my fellow members.
Please visit BookCrossing and consider joining as I did in 2005.