Cataloguing: present participle of cat·a·log (Verb), meaning to
- Make a systematic list of (items of the same type).
- Enter (an item) in such a list.
I’ve been threatening to put some order on the cookbooks in the kitchen for some time and this week as I take a few extra days away from the office before getting 2012′s development works underway, I’ve finally made a start. In fairness, it’s not like there’s a library in the kitchen. The boxes of books in the attic, the bookshelves upstairs, the bags of books in the office and wardrobes around the house would certainly take some more time but I reckon there’s between 50 and 60 books in there. The thing is, even at 50 or 60 books, there’s maybe 20% of those I could name off hand if I was heading out. With food and cookbooks always on the cards around Christmas and birthdays, I figure it would be helpful for myself (and others involved) to know what’s on the shelf in the kitchen, so I’ve taken to cataloguing the books online.
At time of writing, I’ve 45 done and published to a temporary library here before figuring out the best way to port all the info in the library into WordPress and integrate with the blog here.
Enter, Delicious Library
To get me along the way, I’m using a desktop app for the Mac by the name of Delicious Library, an app I picked up as part of a software bundle a year or two ago in its first version. Now on version 2.7 and retailing for $35, Delicious catalogues not only books but also movies, music, videogames, clothes, gadgets, tools, toys and software, or, pretty much the majority of what can be bought through Amazon. How does it work? It’s quite simple really – hold the barcode of the book up in front of your Mac’s iSight camera, the bar code gets scanned and all book info (including artwork) gets pulled into your Library. If it’s not available in the UK store, a drop down menu allows you to scan the American, French, German and Japanese stores as well. Entering a book into the library on your desktop only takes a few seconds and of the 45 books scanned so far this evening, only 1 required manual entry (a book I picked up in M&S with their own internal barcoding).
The initial results of the book scanning can be seen here – http://www.anygivenfood.com/deliciouslibrary/
Built into the app is also a remote publishing feature, allowing you to publish to your MobileMe account, any FTP server or a local folder to create a mini library website for you to upload. The resulting publication is a bit basic for my own requirements but it makes all of your books searchable online, handy if you need to flip open a browser page to find out what you have or don’t have on the shelf in the kitchen. A change to the Amazon API T&Cs in recent times scrapped the iPhone version but the desktop version holds pretty well.
And, if you’re hoarding books (like me with the office wall upstairs) and you regularly lend books to friends as well, they’ve got that one covered as well with an in-built lending function, allow you to assign books as ‘out’ to friends, finding out who you gave a book to, when, and what they borrowed. You can also sell books from your library on Amazon, and buy books from your library there as well. I’ve spotted that the links in the published library (and within the application) have an affiliate key for the developers to earn them a few cent here and there on that side of the functionality, something I’m not in any way concerned about.
If it sounds useful to you, you can get a free download at Delicious-Monster.com which allows scanning and storing of up to 25 items in the library. After that, a license key (one off) will cost you US$35.
Tracking Books On The Go
One other app that might be of use to you in terms of cataloging books that you both have read and want to read is the new iPhone app from Goodreads.com. The scanning functionality behind the app is quite simple – open the app, log in with your email address and password (you need a free goodreads.com account to use it), scan the barcode from inside the app and add to a list of books you have read, or books you want to read. Easy.
All the info from the app is then duplicated to your goodreads.com account online, again with the book title, description, cover, ISBN and links to buy online, handy if you’re browsing the bookshelves in town and want to do an order online at a later date (or for keeping track of the aforementioned Christmas and birthday presents). You can see my sample Goodreads.com list made from the mobile app today.