Library Apps?

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Library Apps?

Post by Julie » Sun Mar 15, 2020 9:16 pm

So, as some of you may know, I'm a bit of a bibliophile with a collection of books to prove it. This means that not only do friends and family struggle to figure out what to buy me in the way of books...but sometimes I even forget which books I do and don't have when I'm having raptures among the shelves of a bookstore. Add to this my growing collection of antique books and my shift to specializing in classics and children's books...and how hard it is to remember which one's I'm specifically looking for.

To that end, I've been trying to catalog my collection. First I downloaded the Home Library app, which not only allowed me to keep track of my books, but also my movies, music, video games, and more. I could scan barcodes to add things to my collection (or check if they were already in my collection), or I could manually input the older books that didn't have barcodes. This app also tracked retail values for insurance purposes. I also could track what books or movies I loaned or borrowed. Also also, I could create and share wish lists with friends and family, so they would know what to get me for Christmas. It was great! Flash forward a couple years, and this app apparently has sunset and isn't backed anymore by the server or database that made it so valuable.

I found another app that is currently operational, Libib, that let me import the data from my previous app via excel spreadsheet...but it wouldn't accept any books without an ISBN. ISBNs weren't uniformly assigned to books until the 70s, which means large chunks of my collection aren't compatible with this app. It's still better than not tracking what I own, but it's specifically failing in one of the ways I need it to work.

I may have asked this here before, but in case I haven't, does anyone here have good recommendations for library apps that would help track older books as well as new printings? If it can also track movies and comics, that would be delightful, but that's less my focus right now.

Thanks in advance for any input y'all have!!
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Re: Library Apps?

Post by Warrl » Mon Mar 16, 2020 6:35 pm

The closest I can come to specific suggestions is for ebook reading software... more general advice follows.

It's okay if an app goes to the internet to acquire data, e.g. look up info on a book that you just scanned for the first time, but I expect the app to then save that data itself - not to go to the internet every time you want to look at something in your existing collection. Let alone store YOUR data Somewhere Out There Beneath A Pale Blue Sky...

And it should have a manual-entry option for acquiring all the data - with the maximum plausible amount of that data being optional. Specifically including ISBN, as I note that some people deliberately collect *antique* books and I don't believe the original Gutenberg Bible had an ISBN.

Also, it needs a field for where on your shelves the book should be when you aren't reading it. This also should be optional (ebooks, wishlist...). And maybe one for current location, e.g. if you've lent a book.

Organizing... I've seen ebook readers that suck for organizing a library (Nook, Kindle, those that just rely on the filesystem) and ebook readers that are stellar at it (Moon+, Bookari - I use that - and a few others).

Nook has a built-in category of "Recent" books... recent what? Recently read? Recently acquired? Also there's a default "shelf" that everything goes on, but you can create custom "shelves" and assign books to them - other than the "Recent" shelf, every book goes on exactly one shelf.

Bookari has several built-in collections: recently read, recently acquired, unread, books with annotations, catalogued books that the files are missing, and books that haven't been assigned to any custom collections. Your custom collections can be nested, and a single book can be in multiple collections. It also has "tags", and a book can also have many tags - most ebooks come with them in metadata but frankly those are usually useless*. A tag acts a lot like a collection, in that choosing a tag shows all books with that exact tag (it's even case-sensitive).

Fortunately Bookari keeps its own copy of the metadata and lets you edit EVERYTHING in it - not all similar programs do, in fact some don't let you edit ANYTHING.


* Some of the tags on books in my library, with a few of my comments in parentheses - dang I wish this site had spoiler tags:
* aaa (that's nice, your book is at the top of a list that nobody will ever look at except to see who the doofus is)
* action
* action & adventure
* action adventure
* action and adventure
* action and suspense
* action thriller
* action urban fantasy
* advemture (yes misspelled)
* adventure
* adventure action
* adventure action war fiction the future gang battle epic new world awesome mans book beginning end science fiction scary drama funny total (yes that's all one tag - the same book has another tag that is longer yet, but the book is NOT tagged as "action" or "adventure")
* adventure and adventurers - juvenile fiction
* adventure books (it's apparently necessary to specify that an ebook is a book - as opposed to, perhaps, a rhinoceros)
* adventure fantasy
* adventure fantasy sword magic
* adventure sf
* adventure space
* adventure story (not an adventure statue)
... that's it, I'm not going after any more...
Most of these tags have exactly one book. Only two - "action" and "adventure" - are into double digits, out of a library with over 800 books in it.

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