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LibraryThing

I love LibraryThing.

It basically does two things: it allows you to catalog all your books in a sharable format online and it's a community website. As you enter books, it automatically finds other people with your books, gives you suggestions about books of the same topic that other people have enjoyed, shows you ratings and reviews, offers (brand new) discussion groups on various topics and so on and so forth. The more books you add, the better the site gets.

Entry is stunningly simple. It can look up names, ISBN, LC numbers, whatever you have from your books in a variety of sources and find then and pull them down. Most of my books are findable in Amazon, but a few of my rare books were found in the Library of Congress. It's pretty fast. You add them, go back, tag them, and then it enters your tag into a "cloud" of tags on that book. You can then slice and dice your books however you want.

I've only entered 191 books so far -- I have not yet gotten up to the library upstairs or entered in the art books or the cookbooks, so this is only a sliver -- but if you want to see an example, here is my catalog.

As a bonus, it has instructions on how to import all your books from your amazon order history to get you started.

Comments

I've been pondering Delicious Library for the same purposes, but I admit, I keep putting it off until i invest in a barcode scanner.
We have Delicious Library. We had to pack up all the DVDs because someone very small got in to them and now they are in binders and DL is the database. My only thing with it is that it's not very well supported. A couple of things:

A. The iSight camera works as a good barcode reader for Delicious Library. So does any USB-enabled camcorder.

B. LibraryThing will import the XML from Delicious Library, and will export to a format that Delicious Library can use.
Once I got my MacBook with built-in iSight, I no longer had a reason not to buy Delicious Library. It helped me sort through 20 years of accumulated bookcruft by telling me which of my formerly-prized books were pulp (1st edition of "Running Linux" by Matt Welch? $0.01) and which were worth a few bucks (1st edition of "Maximum RPM"? ~$15).
You know, I haven't even thought of using that feature of DL. I should, considering we have 5 bazillion DVDs scanned into it now.
If it was something worth reading, it went to the Friends of the Seattle Public Library (just dropped that off today). No computer books over 10 years old though, so there was some bulk in the recycle bin.

If it was worth something, DL has the option of opening up the Amazon "sell this stuff" page, where you type in a magic dollar amount and wait.
That's about how far I got with it before I realized I'd never finish putting in all the books. I think a barcode scanner is the way to go for me, too.
The experiment I want to try this weekend, or next week while I'm off, is:

A. Scan books into Delicious Library using the iSight camera.
B. Export the XML into a file.
C. Use LibraryThing universal import to import the XML file.
D. Prune and purge.

The only thing is going back and adding the tags to all the books. I know we have at least 1000 books in the house -- I'm starting to think we have that many in the living room, but I am overstating things wildly -- and putting them all in by hand is a Project.
Only having to enter a fraction of the title does make it a lot easier. We'll see how far I get.
I'll probably just trickle them in over time. I have no idea how I'll manage to put in the entire library in the second bedroom, though.
Yup. That's my problem - too many Projects. Doing something like this would give me an excuse to not do higher priority things - specifically, work out and practice drums.
Practicing drums is paramount!

I admit, I've been sitting here tagging books at work between meetings. Bad me, no donut.
...putting them all in by hand is a Project

A Project? Hell, it's a job! (And I should know, since it's something Leems and I were hired to do for a rare books dealer when we were in college. The pay was crap, but it was a great job.)
Dude. I would totally do that job, even for crap pay. I would love to sit around in a big pile of smelly old rare books. But I would be in danger of spending all my time flipping through them instead of cataloging them.
Dude, we call that "confirming condition". And I got to cherry-pick some really great books. Kaffe Fassett's Glorious Needlepoint, Jane Asher's Fancy Dress (the best costume book ever), a printing of the first (!) edition of The Joy Of Cooking before daughter revised it for mom and it became the second edition everyone should own, before grandson screwed it up forever . . . . yeah, that was a great job.
And I forgot to close my italics tag. Damn not being able to edit comments.
As a going-away gift, they gave us a copy of Ronald Searle's Slightly Foxed but Still Desirable, which is hysterical if you're in the business, and head-scratchingly odd if you're not. It's a cherished memento of our days in the dusty basement library.

I also got a beat-up First American edition of The Silmarillion, without the map, of course. Come to think of it, maybe the pay wasn't so crap after all...
It sounds suspiciously like the Best Job Ever. I would love to retire and run a dusty old book shop full of dusty old smelly books, but with the big box stores eating all the little guys and the little guys going online, I doubt that will ever happen.
Jane Asher's Fancy Dress I am trying to convey my jealousy and envy via a comment, but you will just have to imagine it with the strength of 10,000 suns. Dude.
LibraryThing is scary but cool!

Scary because I already have plenty of things that I'm only halfway done obsessing over, and it's so very easy to obsess about books. Where did I put that Cuecat?

CueCat

Did you see that LibraryThing is selling CueCats? Check the blog for more info...it's a brilliant idea.
i see that a lot of people are loving this thing=)


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