Daniel Reetz, the founder of the DIY Book Scanner community, has recently started making videos of prototyping and shop tips. If you are tinkering with a book scanner (or any other project) in your home shop, these tips will come in handy. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCn0gq8 ... g_8K1nfInQ

Library cataloging software for personal collections?

Whatever.
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rapunzel
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Library cataloging software for personal collections?

Post by rapunzel » 07 Jul 2014, 12:52

I'm constantly adding to my collection, and I can no longer reliably remember which books I own and which I don't. On more than one occasion, I've come home with an edition identical to one I already own. Sometimes I don't even have the excuse of the cover art being different.

Last summer, I started looking for library cataloging software geared towards personal collections. I needed it to work offline, and I didn't care about fancy GUIs or social networking. All I wanted was a list of my books, arranged by author. I did some googling, but I couldn't find anything that satisfied me. So I wrote a database app for my rooted Nook Simple Touch. It's pretty simplistic, but it does everything I want.

I'm still interested in cataloging apps, if anybody wants to talk about the user experience of their favorite.
My library: 916 books and 1,350 short stories
Scanned books: 517

xorpt
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E-book readers owned: Sony PRS-T1
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Re: Library cataloging software for personal collections?

Post by xorpt » 08 Jul 2014, 20:24

You could use Calibre. It's an ebook management system but you can add metadata without any file linked to it

http://calibre-ebook.com/

It's a very powerful tool, you can do batch updates, import metadata from external sources (for example you input the ISBN and it imports the metadata automatically). And it's GUI based.

This way you can manage your digitized books and your physical books in the same place (you can also create several separate libraries)

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rapunzel
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Re: Library cataloging software for personal collections?

Post by rapunzel » 09 Jul 2014, 09:32

I tried using Calibre for ebook conversion and editing a while back, but I didn't like how it copied every file to its own directory. Efficiency of library management, I know, but I can't stand not being in control of my file system.

I didn't know that Calibre could do library management, though. I'll give that feature a try.
My library: 916 books and 1,350 short stories
Scanned books: 517

MerlinMags
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Re: Library cataloging software for personal collections?

Post by MerlinMags » 10 Jul 2014, 09:34

I have the same problem. There's about 200 books on my 'wanted' list, and whilst I will only ever find about 10 of them at an affordable price, I don't know which 10, so I've been relying on my memory for the past decade, occasionally ending up with duplicates. It's not so bad when you can ebay them for a profit, but that is even rarer.

I've been considering writing an app using Phonegap, since I know Javascript already. I think the most important feature would be a search box, so when I find a possible purchase in a secondhand bookstore, I can type one word, and see a list pop up saying: [title] [author] and "you already read this, but dont own it" or "you read this in the library and it was rubbish, dont buy it!" and maybe "this sells for £50 on ebay so buy it if its cheap".

On the other hand, creating a Word/TXT document listing all my books (with these odd comments) and syncing it via dropbox on my phone....well, that would be a lot less effort, and would have the same functionality. No less painful to load it up than typing in hundreds of ISBNs.

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rapunzel
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Re: Library cataloging software for personal collections?

Post by rapunzel » 10 Jul 2014, 11:16

I've been meaning to add a search feature to my catalog app. I have the database set up to do it; I just haven't added the front-end pieces, because I hate doing GUI work on Android.

That's a good idea about keeping a list of wanted books (now I'm imagining a Wild West-style poster with a book wearing a bandanna and carrying a six-shooter), with a little free-text to remind you what you think about this book. I'll add it to my to do list.

Time to blow my own horn: here is the Github repository for my Android app. It's not even in beta yet, but if anybody's curious, I can release the least unstable branch. In fact, I would be very grateful for a user who's not intimately familiar with the code: they'll undoubtedly find bugs I never expected.
My library: 916 books and 1,350 short stories
Scanned books: 517

cday
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Re: Library cataloging software for personal collections?

Post by cday » 10 Jul 2014, 14:37

rapunzel wrote:I started looking for library cataloging software geared towards personal collections. I needed it to work offline, and I didn't care about fancy GUIs or social networking. All I wanted was a list of my books, arranged by author.
MerlinMags wrote:I've been considering writing an app ... I think the most important feature would be a search box, so when I find a possible purchase in a secondhand bookstore, I can type one word, and see a list pop up saying: [title] [author] and "you already read this, but dont own it" or "you read this in the library and it was rubbish, dont buy it!" and maybe "this sells for £50 on ebay so buy it if its cheap".

... creating a Word/TXT document listing all my books (with these odd comments) and syncing it via dropbox on my phone....well, that would be a lot less effort, and would have the same functionality. No less painful to load it up than typing in hundreds of ISBNs.
A Word table would have all the functionality required: a column can be selected and then sorted alphabetically, so that the table could be arranged by author, for example, and a column or the whole table can then be selected and searched for a keyword using Find...

An Excel spreadsheet similarly has the sort and search functions required, with a little less control over the appearance, but probably running faster than a table with a large number of entries.

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rapunzel
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Re: Library cataloging software for personal collections?

Post by rapunzel » 11 Jul 2014, 14:24

But where's the fun in that? ;) I'm a software engineer: writing code is fun!

In seriousness, Word or Excel or their equivalents undoubtedly provide a serviceable system for someone who's not looking for any fancy features. Some years ago, I used Word to maintain a simple list of my books, and it worked just fine. You can even sort by more than one column in tables, which I didn't know at the time and would have been useful.

Office software no longer fills my needs, though. I use a somewhat idiosyncratic sort order for my library, involving some conditional logic that I don't think would be possible to implement in a spreadsheet or document. My app has a few other features -- breakdown by author with a count of the author's works, relationship between parent anthologies and child short stories, and (not yet implemented) some metadata about the catalog itself -- that would otherwise require me to maintain those data by hand. With a backing database, everything is just a SQL query away.
My library: 916 books and 1,350 short stories
Scanned books: 517

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