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Thread: For really serious book geeks...

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    Bitten Critical's Avatar
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    For really serious book geeks...

    Okay, this is such a book geek thing, but I know I'm not the only one around here, so I thought I'd share. I went searching for a program to help catalog my parents' vast library of books. We're talking thousands and thousands of volumes. It's out of hand. My mother literally has several copies of certain books because she forgets that she already owns them or because the publisher changes the cover design, so she thinks it a new book (I hate it when they do that!).

    Anyway, I just found this program tonight and downloaded it: BookCAT

    After several years of looking and even taking a stab at writing a program myself, I've never seen one this good! You can add books to your database by simply adding ISBN numbers into a list. With just that number you can download the rest of the information - the other programs I've seen make you do the data entry yourself. SO - I entered 40 books in about 10 minutes (about 5 of that was goofing off and learning the program). I have all the information about the book, including a picture of the cover of each specific edition.

    The other thing that I really like is that you can customize the program to your needs. For instance, I changed a field to "location," because my mother has her bookcases numbered and the individual shelves lettered.

    Is anyone else using a program to catalog their "library?" How do you like it? I'd like to get some opinions before I go ahead and pay for the program for her.

    I don't own a share in the company or anything, I just had to share. BTW - it's free for 30 days, after which you have to pay. I'll probably buy a copy too, since I have a few (thousand) books myself
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    Picture Perfect SnowflakeGirl's Avatar
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    That sounds really great! It makes me long for my large book collection that is far away from me in a storage facility somewhere. Oh how I miss my babies. I would totally get that program when someday we move to a place where I have room for my own personal library. Thanks for letting me know, Critical! I didn't even know such a program existed. (I live under a rock. Explains why I have no room for my books. )
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    I used BookCAT a few years ago when it first came out. My library at the time was only about 1900-2000 books. I wasn't too impressed with it then, but obviously it would have improved in the years since. I've tried several programs over the years, and liked some aspects of each, and disliked some aspects of each. In the end, I ended up writing my own program which I continue to use today. But it's customized for my needs, so not generally commercial for other users. But if you do like BookCAT now, and like the customization options, then definately go for it and purchase it. With libraries this large, it's worth it to have to good program you're comfortable with.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nemeses
    I used BookCAT a few years ago when it first came out. My library at the time was only about 1900-2000 books. I wasn't too impressed with it then, but obviously it would have improved in the years since. I've tried several programs over the years, and liked some aspects of each, and disliked some aspects of each. In the end, I ended up writing my own program which I continue to use today. But it's customized for my needs, so not generally commercial for other users. But if you do like BookCAT now, and like the customization options, then definately go for it and purchase it. With libraries this large, it's worth it to have to good program you're comfortable with.
    It sounds like the program may have changed quite a bit from the version you used, Nemeses. Although the program comes ready to use, you can basically modify any of the forms/tabs to what you want. It allows you to open in a VB/Access-type design view and change titles, properties, etc.

    I did find out, after trying to add more books, that the demo only allows 40 books. I'm now working with the full copy of it and it's really working well. There's no way that my mother could get all of these books entered if she had to do straight data entry on them. Being able to just entering the ISBN is a great feature. Of course, some older books don't have ISBN's and do need to be entered from scratch, but that's a small percentage. We entered several 100 books into the database within a few hours. If we weren't working on a dial-up connection, it'd be quicker.

    Snowy - I definitely recommend it, once your babies are out of storage I'll be buying myself a copy as soon as I'm back in the black again!
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

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    CCL
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    Oooh, I've always dreamed of something like that. My books are in such haphazard order though that I'd probably have to straighten them out before I could catalogue them. And the reason why I haven't would go into the "I'm so lazy" thread in general discussion...
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    giz
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    How are you guys counting your books? (never mind why ) My bookshelves are all varying sizes, plus the ones in boxes, I can't imagine counting. Since I have mostly history, those are chronological. The fiction is chronological too! Cookbooks and gardening are any old way, I haven't felt the need for order there yet, or in my other non-fiction. I worked in bookstores for years, so have been there and done that with order, I guess. But I imagine if you haven't had the love of book order ground out of you, this could be a hoot.

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    Re: For really serious book geeks...

    *bump*
    Quote Originally Posted by Critical;1546631;
    I'll be buying myself a copy as soon as I'm back in the black again!
    So I guess it took longer than I anticipated to get out of the red! I just finally got a copy of the program for my own computer and I started putting in ISBNs tonight. It's going to take a while, but I love the idea of having all of this information in one place. I like that I can put in a giant list of ISBNs and it will call out and retrieve all the info at one time (and since I'm on high speed, it is super quick). I can see myself spending many hours entering numbers. I'm so Type A about my books that I'll probably start and not be able to stop until every last book is catalogued!

    Anyway, I highly recommend this program to any fellow book hounds out there!
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

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    Re: For really serious book geeks...

    I have started on two different book catalog websites - Librarything (pay service, but it wasn't much) and Goodreads (free). I prefer librarything, I think - but haven't kept up with either one. I should really do that since my books are more organized now ...
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    Re: For really serious book geeks...

    I've never heard of Librarything, but I've dabbled with Goodreads and I wasn't too impressed.

    The thing I like about BookCAT is that it's on my computer and I don't have to worry about a website going out of business. They do have upgrades and new versions, but even if the company went bust, my program would still work. It calls out for the information on various ISBNs, but it queries Amazon, not BookCAT.

    So your books are organized? Wow. What must that be like?
    Last edited by Critical; 12-30-2008 at 07:09 PM.
    Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.' - Isaac Asimov

    I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"

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    Little Thing SR5Rfan's Avatar
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    Re: For really serious book geeks...

    Who, me? No, my books are anything but organized. I have most of them on the bookshelves, 6 boxes of books that my ex just brought over, and who knows how many others still at the house. The ones on librarything aren't necessarily the same as the ones on goodreads.
    My son got me set up with librarything so that when I'm at the bookstore I can use my cell phone to access the website (the things we can do with phones these days) and not buy books I've already got. Not that I've ever done that ... . But no, I'm not at all organized. Well, a few of them are. All my JD Robb's are on one shelf, in order. Hey, it's a start! I'd rather read 'em than organize 'em.
    I never met a piece of chocolate I didn't like.

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