Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Ask Slashdot: High-Tech Ways To Manage a Home Library?

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the check-it-out! dept.

Books 230

DeptofDepartments writes "With Kindles and ebooks on everyone's lips (sc. hands) nowadays, this might come as a surprise to some, but besides being a techie, I have also amassed quite a collection of actual books (mostly hardcover and first editions) in my personal library. I have always been reluctant to lend them out and the collection has grown so large now that it has become difficult to keep track of all of them. This is why I am looking for a modern solution to implement some professional-yet-still-home-sized library management. Ideally, this should include some cool features like RFID tags or NFC for keeping track of the books, finding and checking them out quickly, if I decide to lend one." For more on what DeptofDepartments is looking for, read on below.DeptofDepartments continues: "One problem seems to be the short lifetime of RFID tags (only 5-10 years). Given that many books will probably only be read or checked out once or twice in this period at best, the administrative effort seems very large. I have also been largely unsuccessful in finding tags or solutions that go beyond the cheap 5 to 20 item 'starter kits', yet still remain affordable and below the industrial scale.

Also, what would be suitable and affordable readers/writers for the tags in this context?

Finally, as many of the books are old folios or fairly precious first editions, everything must be non-destructive and should be removable without damage to the books if need be.

(Note: Scanning ISBNs with a hand-held barcode scanner is not an option, as many books are old (pre-ISBN) or special editions).

Software-wise, I would like to have a nice and modern-looking, easy-to-use software that can interface with the hardware side as described above. I do not necessarily need multi-user or networking capabilities at this point.

I hope the CSI (Combined Slashdot Intelligence) has some helpful ideas and pointers for me on this!"

cancel ×

230 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

A what? (2, Funny)

werdnapk (706357) | about 2 years ago | (#41995523)

Re:A what? (4, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 2 years ago | (#41995659)

It's one of these:

http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2009/3/9/

Re:A what? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995813)

Man, I'm still not sure how e-books caught on so hard, and why people keep singing the demise of the printed book.

Personally, I've tried using a few friends' e-readers, and can't stand it. Too rigit, irritatingly slow page flips (although I'm sure this can easily be remedied with a better e-reader), and too delicate. And by delicate, I mean that I wouldn't be able to do NEARLY as much to an e-reader as I can with a paperback.

Read in the bathtub without worry of losing more than about $12 and the time Amazon takes to ship? Check
Lob it across the bathroom away from the bathtub when I'm done reading for the time? Check
Hurl it down the hallway towards a pile of things I'm gathering for whatever outing? Check
Read it at the beach without the slightest care about sand or moisture? Check
Leave it in the car in the middle of winter? Sure!
Leave it anywhere remotely close to a window in the middle of winter? No problem!
  - note: I'm not sure how good e-readers stand up to cold, but up here in Canada it can be -50 out at times, and in the old apartment I'm stuck in for the moment, near the windows it's not all that too terrible much far off from that. I don't trust leaving anything electronic near the windows of this place in winter.
Smudge marks? None
Batteries? None

And I dunno... there's just something relaxing about just handling a nice paperback novel.

Re:A what? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41995943)

"Read in the bathtub without worry of losing more than about $12 and the time Amazon takes to ship? Check"

Only if you buy cheap paperbacks. I buy leather bound signed 1st editions. A couple of my books are worth more than a 64gig new ipad.

Re:A what? (5, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#41996145)

"Read in the bathtub without worry of losing more than about $12 and the time Amazon takes to ship? Check"

Only if you buy cheap paperbacks. I buy leather bound signed 1st editions. A couple of my books are worth more than a 64gig new ipad.

I buy books to read.

Cheap paperbacks work just fine for that purpose.

Re:A what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41996259)

Glad you read, some people buy the real deal to keep forever. Others like you buy the chepa ones to read and throw away.

You do throw them away when done, Because giving them to someone else is ILLEGAL and CRIMINAL way of STEALING from te authors!

Re:A what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41996243)

That's all fine and good, and I have a rare mis-print of a paperback that I got by sheer absolute chance.

And guess what, I'm sure neither of us will take those specific books to read in the tub.

However, if I'm in the mood to read say... "A voyage for madmen" again, I can easily break it out and read it in the bathtub. Since there's very few books I own that aren't painfully easy to replace, the whole 'rare book' thing is a kinda moot point for me.

Re:A what? (-1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#41996375)

I wouldn't be able to do NEARLY as much to an e-reader as I can with a paperback.

Great, how much can you do with eleven thousand paperbacks. Because that's how many I have in my e-reader.

Re:A what? (4, Informative)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 years ago | (#41996501)

You can put the ebook reader into a ziploc bag if you really want to read in the tub.

Re:A what? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41996571)

Read in the bathtub without worry of losing more than about $12 and the time Amazon takes to ship? Check
Read it at the beach without the slightest care about sand or moisture? Check
Leave it in the car in the middle of winter? Sure!
Leave it anywhere remotely close to a window in the middle of winter?

Pretty much a simple ziplock case (iLok has cheap ones on ebay) takes care of the sand/moisture issues. My kids read their kindles in the bath all the time. Haven't noticed any ill effect from the cold either.
As for lobbing down the hall, they have cases which have managed to protect them well. The fact that we can check out ebooks anytime from our local library has let them read more books than if we'd had to fit in a trip (though of course we do that too). One kid likes the kindle better, one likes real books better, but the both read a ton on each.

The book for you (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995531)

Deep & Simple [humankindness.org]

You have too much shit, Dude.

I have 12 books... so do I need... (1)

3seas (184403) | about 2 years ago | (#41995541)

... to get a Cray super computer to track it high tech style?

Our Good Friend Dewey (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995545)

Organize your books using Dewey, make or buy slip covers, and while you are physically labelling them enter information in a card catalogue database.

If you're going to keep books as a labour of love you can make time to catalogue them.

Re:Our Good Friend Dewey (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995773)

Agreed. When I was in college, Princeton University's library (the largest open stack library in the world, at least at that time) was managed via Dewey, card catalogs, and manual check out. Certainly a home library can be handled using the same technology.

Re:Our Good Friend Dewey (3, Informative)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | about 2 years ago | (#41996041)

And you don't need to damage old books in order to use modern tracking methods. Print a paper bookmark with a bar code and the title/author in text and slip it in the book. If it falls out, put it back in.

If you don't mind sticking something to an inside cover permanently, like many people do with "Ex Libris" bookplates, print your own - something sufficiently artistic with a discrete little bar code to read. Doesn't have to be Dewey or ISBN or a title hash, just has to be unique within your database.

And if you don't want to mix your tech world with your library (I keep a rather large one, and I'm that way) just use something simple like a late model MS Access (which works just fine if you're not stupid with it). Bar code readers are cheap, and are just keyboard intercept nowadays, so there's really no system integration involved. It's what we've done with ours, a modest F&SF/tech/philosophy/medieval library of a few thousand books.

Just guessing (3, Insightful)

Anrego (830717) | about 2 years ago | (#41995583)

I have no experience in this area, so this is purely how I would approach the problem from a blank slate.

I would go with good ol` fashion "bunch o` lines" bar codes. Easy to make yourself, should be easy to attach to a book (or not, maybe just have it loose between the cover and first page), lots of cheap readers and most just emulate a keyboard so easy to interface with.

From there I'd probably throw together a little home brew. What you are asking for does not really sound complicated, the software side sounds like a weekend project for just the basic requirements. Even if you just do it as a basic web app. Be sure to add a title based search for if the barcode gets lost, so the bar code just becomes a convinience and not a requirement to use,

book covers and bar codes (2)

martyb (196687) | about 2 years ago | (#41996133)

I would go with good ol` fashion "bunch o` lines" bar codes. Easy to make yourself, should be easy to attach to a book (or not, maybe just have it loose between the cover and first page), lots of cheap readers and most just emulate a keyboard so easy to interface with. From there I'd probably throw together a little home brew. What you are asking for does not really sound complicated, the software side sounds like a weekend project for just the basic requirements. Even if you just do it as a basic web app. Be sure to add a title based search for if the barcode gets lost, so the bar code just becomes a convenience and not a requirement to use,

Good suggestions!

For those books which lack a bar code on the jacket, make a book cover and apply the bar code to THAT. (Was a rite of passage every school year as a child that we'd make book covers for all our books. By ten-years-old, I was doing all my books unassisted. We just used paper grocery bags, but you could certainly use some kind of low-acid paper if you'd prefer.)

As for constructing a bar code, there's free bar-code software out there (I've used pbmupc). The basic format is a 1-digit type, a 5-digit manufacturer code, a 5-digit product code, and a check digit. Create a manufacturer code that's reserved for your non-UPC'd books (31337 would be cool, but I think it might already be taken), and then just use a sequence number to identify the individual books.

Lastly, have fun! It's certainly a more interesting project than writing a "hello world" program!

Re:Just guessing (2)

westlake (615356) | about 2 years ago | (#41996439)

Easy to make yourself, should be easy to attach to a book (or not, maybe just have it loose between the cover and first page

First editions, remember. Collectible editions.

Deface or damage a book and its resale value will plummet to the garage sale price.

Keep it simple. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995597)

Put them in alphabetical order. Use a ledger to record lending.

You're welcome.

Re:Keep it simple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995749)

I just donated my 3500 books I still had and downloaded 35000 ebooks to replace them.

Re:Keep it simple. (5, Interesting)

Fallingcow (213461) | about 2 years ago | (#41995807)

Grouped by author, ordered chronologically by date of author's first major work.

Only way to go.

A friend of mine independently came to use a similar system, but he does it by author's birth (a bit easier) and does a bit of grouping by category (philosophy, literature, etc.)

Either system works great. Stats to fall apart near WWII, as in most people's libraries the dates get denser the nearer you approach now.

It's awesome having an ordering system that acts as a teaching tool. Better for idle browsing than simple alphabetical ordering, too, since works of similar style will tend to be near one another.

Re:Keep it simple. (4, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | about 2 years ago | (#41995965)

Alphabetical author, then alphabetical title. Lending? no way in hell any of my precious is leaving my library...

Or of you want to make a large collection book owner cry.... By color then size.

Re:Keep it simple. (1)

brian1078 (230523) | about 2 years ago | (#41996301)

By color ...

Oh you think you're being funny, but I have a co-worker/friend that has done just that [flickr.com] .

Re:Keep it simple. (0)

jittles (1613415) | about 2 years ago | (#41996249)

I don't know. I know if I had so many first edition books that I could not keep track of, I would be dying to attach all the bar codes, QR codes, RFID chips and NFC chips I could. Who cares how that will mar the books? If I wanted a pristine, mint condition book, I'd get the 5th edition print copy brand new at Barnes And Nobles or Amazon. These old books don't deserve to be treated with the kind of respect and reverence your post seems to suggest.

Kodak moment (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995601)

I would reccomend taking a polaroid of the person you are loaning the book to and then leaving the picture on the shelf in the place reserved for the book. Other viable database options include a chalkboard log of the Dewey Decimel numbers or scanning each book to a tape drive for safe keeping.

Re:Kodak moment (1)

Farmer Pete (1350093) | about 2 years ago | (#41995745)

Wow, a polaroid? Really? Just let the out dated technology die.

Polaroid Should Die? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995845)

Wow, a polaroid? Really? Just let the out dated technology die.

[SARCASM]Yea, it's way better to use a phone or digital camera to take a picture, process it through Instagram or some other app, print it on your printer...[/SARCASM]

Where as with a Polaroid you point click and it spits out an Instagrammy paper print. Done.

Just because the technology is old doesn't mean that it is bad

Just because the technology is new doesn't mean that it is good.

Really!

Re:Polaroid Should Die? (2)

Gilmoure (18428) | about 2 years ago | (#41996095)

Polaroid licensed Instagram for their cameras?

Re:Polaroid Should Die? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41996275)

You know, you could take a picture using an iDevice, and then use airprint to send it to your printer, walk over and get the print out long before a polaroid would finish developing.

Trololololol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41996461)

You know, you could take a picture using an iDevice, and then use airprint to send it to your printer, walk over and get the print out long before a polaroid would finish developing.

You think your iDevice and printer can print a multimegapixel color page in under 90 seconds? If it can; at what cost?

A $100 Polaroid camera can/could(since the 1970's) output a multimegapixel color print in 90 seconds or less. (The print is actually output in under 5 seconds, but it takes up to 90 seconds for the image to fully develop.)

Where's my cane? I need to beat a clue into this troll's ass.

Re:Kodak moment (1)

StayFrosty (1521445) | about 2 years ago | (#41995879)

woosh

Library (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995611)

If only there was some kind of institution that did that actually lent book to people on a daily basis that you could take ideas from... oh wait there is!

Check your local library, the ones I've been to all use barcode scanners, if it's good enough for them it should be good enough for you.

buy an ebook reader (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995613)

buy an ebook reader...

Delicious Library (2)

gti_guy (875684) | about 2 years ago | (#41995617)

Try Delicious Library. http://www.delicious-monster.com/ [delicious-monster.com]

Re:Delicious Library (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995675)

That'd be perfect... oh wait... it only works on iShit. You're a dick.

Re:Delicious Library (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995981)

Says the poor whiny baby. GO back to your protesting 99%er

Re:Delicious Library (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41996367)

This is /.

Cross-platform open source is implied by pretty much any software recommendation.

Re:Delicious Library (1)

fastrack20 (1718656) | about 2 years ago | (#41995695)

Even though this only works on Macs it is still the best software for the job.

Re:Delicious Library (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#41996247)

Even though this only works on Macs it is still the best software for the job.

Only if the guy has a Mac.

Otherwise, it's as useless as tits on a boar.

Re:Delicious Library (2)

Aaden42 (198257) | about 2 years ago | (#41996215)

It's Mac only, but it really is VERY good. I've been searching for something for non-Mac (three-platform opensource ideal, Windows-only acceptable), and nothing comes close in terms of having a grandma-intuitive interface, reliable barcode scanning, and good metadata lookup. Delicious Library is the gold standard for home library management as far as I'm concerned.

Re:Delicious Library (1)

elfprince13 (1521333) | about 2 years ago | (#41996449)

I second this opinion. Works so so so well, and is quite full featured. I also use it to inventory my Lego collection (wrote a plugin to query the Peeron database instead of Amazon).

QR Codes and ISBNS (3, Insightful)

DownWithTheMan (797237) | about 2 years ago | (#41995631)

Simplest solution - use the ISBNs - plenty of bar code scanning apps exist to scan these in... For books without the ISBNs - create your own QR codes to catalog/scan them all...

Re:QR Codes and ISBNS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995821)

From the post:

(Note: Scanning ISBNs with a hand-held barcode scanner is not an option, as many books are old (pre-ISBN) or special editions).

Re:QR Codes and ISBNS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41996173)

A resounding "no" to bar code scanning, yet the OP suggested RFID or NFC... I guarantee that any pre-ISBN book does not already have an RFID tag. Just create your own barcodes, using the ISBN where possible and devising your own numbering scheme for those that have no ISBN.

Re:QR Codes and ISBNS (1)

desdinova 216 (2000908) | about 2 years ago | (#41996197)

For books without the ISBNs - create your own QR codes to catalog/scan them all...

From the GP

Books (5, Informative)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 2 years ago | (#41995633)

legacy.audacious-software.com/products/books/

I've used this for years. Hold the book up to the camera to ID it. Easiest way to do this is via ISBN -- you can always create your own barcodes for the books that don't have them, and affix these somehow (I affix inside with acid-free glue, this may be sacrilegious to some). Otherwise, you can use an image recognition module. Contains complete check in/out functionality and is open source.

I've been thinking that there should be some way to add a plugin for Calibre that can do all of this too, but Books already does everything I want.

Delicious Library? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995637)

I don't use it (I'm not *that* organized), but this looks like a candidate.

http://www.delicious-monster.com

Delicious Library (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995641)

http://delicious-monster.com

Re:Delicious Library (4, Informative)

schlesinm (934723) | about 2 years ago | (#41995677)

This is my suggestion as well. It's actually Delicious Library 2 by now. You can search by name, ISBN number, scanning the barcode, etc. You can also store books, CDs, DVDs, games, physical devices, etc.

KISS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995651)

I would get a barcode scanner, make/buy whatever software cataloging system you want as long as it takes text input and you'll be fine. Then you can easily print out a sheet with a bunch of barcodes and whatever other information you would like with each book (title/author/year/etc) and fold it over the top of the first page.

When you check out books, scan the barcode and put the code page in an "out" box. You can check the box physically to easily see which books are out if your software goes down. When you check books back in, just replace the foldover.

Cheap, easy (you could prob get ~10/print page depending on the information you want), physically redundant, and non-destructive. Sorry, I have no hints on SW, but you should be able to find some sort of catalog/inventory program without too much difficulty.

KISS (1)

alphax45 (675119) | about 2 years ago | (#41995655)

Do what I do: Buy some Ikea bookshelves and put them in alphabetical order by author.

Adhesive is destructive (2)

reimero (194707) | about 2 years ago | (#41995665)

If you're dealing with rare or valuable books, I'd forego RFID. The adhesive on security tape and RFID tags is somewhat acidic and ultimately destructive. You have to balance the desire for security with the desire not to harm the books. But any adhesive is somewhat destructive, by its very nature.

RFID equipment is also less than cheap. I think in small numbers, you're looking at about $0.60 per tag, and the equipment itself is a few hundred dollars for encoding and sensitizing/desensitizing.

I work in a library, and these are discussions we have regarding rare and collectible books.

Re:Adhesive is destructive (1)

reimero (194707) | about 2 years ago | (#41995731)

I should probably follow up with additional information. Modern library systems are very complex, very sophisticated and very expensive. Frankly, I would recommend following a logical sorting pattern and relying on a good old-fashioned barcode solution (if you're gonna put stickers on your books anyway.) But modern libraries face numerous similar challenges, and we have to deal with a degree of "good enough." We generally follow call number order and shelf lists, and have people trained to maintain the order of books in the stacks. Even with a relatively small personal collection, it's a significant undertaking.

Re:Adhesive is destructive (2)

guruevi (827432) | about 2 years ago | (#41995783)

Most rare and collectible books are also never lent out except between libraries and museums. The destructive non-librarian humans tend to damage such books as they don't know how to properly take care of it.

I would say for those rare books, use a cover (if it isn't there already) and put stuff ON that cover. RFID's are just a fancy bar-code, useful only if you don't have or don't want an optical readout.

Re:Adhesive is destructive (0)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | about 2 years ago | (#41995991)

No offense and I'm not intending to troll, but I'm glad I don't have OCD. Nor am I an avid reader. Unless you know there's a really good chance you'll want to read it again, why hang on to it? People amass these libraries of books much like trophies.... not books.

BTDT (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995667)

I have about 6000 books. Some of them are quite old (passing the century mark). Many of them (about 1400 that I know of) lack bar codes or ISBNs.

I've been down this road before.

After a few fancy tries, I got lazy and loaded an android app called Book Catalog on an old phone. It does everything I need, though I wish it had a way of syncing databases across multiple devices. I manually enter those I can't scan. I don't bother with bar codes. I identify by name, author, date, and location (shelf, room). I keep the books in order on the shelves. I pay attention when re-shelving them. A little bit of self discipline goes a LONG way.

In all honesty I haven't got everything catalogged yet, but I'm in the...checking...2788 range. I enter anything new I pick up (both so I don't get further behind and to avoid duplication) and scan/enter a few books at a time whenever I'm in an OCD mood.

Its not hard.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995669)

QR codes? RIFD and accept the replacement cycle?

Pretty much any solution to your problem is going to require: effort, money, or the decline of value through mild damage (stickers, etc on the covers).

Your best bet is simply to stick with option A: effort. Catalog them yourself, maybe include links to amazon for the synopsis, let friends peruse that instead and track when you lend out books yourself. Keeps your books in better condition, and costs you nothing but time and energy to do all that and find a couple of good programs to do your cataloging and lending management.

Otherwise kiss the value of your books goodbye and just slap QR codes all over them. Bonus you can get phone apps to read them or just use your webcam.

For Those That Lack Vision (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995691)

Only five comments and already the theme is either, you have too much stuff or keep it simply and use a pencil and paper catalog. So, allow me to posit another scenario.

I'm also very interested in a similar solution for keeping track of paper file folders in a small business. Despite careful effort to control file storage and check in/out of files some files still fall through the cracks or aren't properly logged. This can cause some files to go "missing" for a few days or even weeks.

It would be highly desirable to have a system, as the original poster requested, that could not only manage the check ins and outs of files, but also utilize RFID or some other technology that would permit us to locate misplaced files. A system that, perhaps using triangulation, could show us where the file is presently physically located would be fantastic, but wandering the office with a hand held RFID "detector" to locate the file would work well too.

Any ideas for prebuilt low cost solutions?

Re:For Those That Lack Vision (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41996231)

The problem with the falling-through-the-cracks of the other system is caused by, well, people not following the system. That's not a flaw of the system, it's a flaw of the people following it.

RFIDs? What? (1)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#41995707)

Barcodes are cheap and easy to print out on Avery labels. Barcode readers are cheap and easy to use. Hell, there was a time when a company *gave away* barcode readers. You may remember Cuecat. I still have mine.

And now that you're turning up your nose at barcodes, consider that large libraries have been using barcodes for decades now. They are proven technology.

As for organization, you can look to the Library of Congress for that. The Library of Congress indexing system is a proven system for small and large libraries. Indeed, the LOC number is typically printed next to the ISBN on the copyright page.

Software? For a home sized library, a flat file database should be enough.

--
BMO

Re:RFIDs? What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995741)

these days, most people already have a barcode reader in their pocket

Re:RFIDs? What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41996089)

While that is true, have you ever tried to catalog hundreds or thousands of barcoded books or movies with your phone? Waaaaaaaay too slow.

I use a CueCat, and queueing up the barcodes on the computer works as fast as I can swipe. (Usually about 1 per second.)

The only pain about my CueCat is that has a PS/2 connector, rather than USB. Still, it was free, and I nabbed about 10 of them back in the day.

Re:RFIDs? What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41996379)

They are getting expensive but USB CueCats do exist. They work the same way as the PS/2, only it's seen as a USB keyboard.

Re:RFIDs? What? (1)

gauauu (649169) | about 2 years ago | (#41996391)

these days, most people already have a barcode reader in their pocket

Except many of those are pretty crappy for standard 2d barcodes. My phone (and others I've played with) do great for QR codes and a few other "newer" types of barcodes, but are painfully slow and difficult to get to scan older barcodes.

Our library has a phone-based checkout system, where I can use their app on my phone to scan book barcodes for "quick" checkout. But it turns out that the minute of fiddling with the distance/lighting/angle to scan the barcode just isn't worth it. I've had the same trouble with an inventory-tracking app I've been working on for the workplace. Phone cameras are just pretty poor at scanning/parsing most 2d barcode stickers.

Old-school + Tech-cool (1)

srussia (884021) | about 2 years ago | (#41995711)

Physically arrange them on an aesthetic (binding style, size) basis. If you truly know your books, you can find them Gestalt-wise.

Index them as e-books (download from PG or PB). Helps with content-wise referencing, e-lending.

Keep it simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995719)

A spreadsheet? Sure, you *could* get fancy and have barcode scanners, RFIDs, NFCs, and other acronyms that will cease to function in a few years. Or you could just write down the titles on a spreadsheet, and have a column for who borrowed it, and when. Eventually, you could even upgrade it to a real database with fancy front-end software and special iPad apps. But considering your past reluctance to lend your books in the first place, I'm guessing you won't be lending out more than one every week or two, or less frequently. The borrowing itself is not hard to keep track of.

As for arranging them on the shelves? Bookstores are designed for browsing purchases, and categorize by genre, author, series, age, price, etc. Public libraries are designed for finding content, and categorize by dewey decimal number (which itself is somewhat by genre, author, etc). Your home library can of course be whatever you want, even arranged by color or length, if it fits your needs.

Protip (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995725)

If you lend out a book, never expect to get it back. It's the nature of it all.

Shelves - Android (4, Informative)

UranusHertz (29551) | about 2 years ago | (#41995739)

I use Shelves for Android to keep track of all my Books, DVD, Games, what not.

It has functions for loaning out materials and uses the barcode scanner software you install on your phone or tablet device.

Shelves at Google Play [google.com]

Re:Shelves - Android (1)

BlueScreenOfTOM (939766) | about 2 years ago | (#41996363)

I'd like to take a moment to plug a competing Android app, mostly 'cuz I wrote it :-)

It's called My Media Catalog, and it is also capable of cataloging all kinds of media. The interface isn't quite as pretty as some competitors, but I took a lot of time incorporating multiple barcode lookup databases into the service, so my users tend to find barcode/ISBN scanning to be much more accurate. I also try to be very available to customers to answer questions and feature requests; there are many users that mention this in the feedback. Definitely worth a shot, especially if you have lots of rare books/media, or stuff from other countries.

My Media Catalog at Google Play [google.com]

Go low-tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995743)

As others have noted. Alpha by author. Or better yet, sorted by subject and then by author.
For lending -- old school low tech:
http://www.thinkgeek.com/product/e326/?srp=2

One Recomendation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995751)

I have been using Delicious Library for 5 years and it is excellent. It seems to have been created with exactly home libraries in mind. BTW, no need for a scanner. It uses your webcam to pick up the barcode. Call me a fan. Delicious Library [delicious-monster.com] -Tayster

Gift books (4, Insightful)

raydobbs (99133) | about 2 years ago | (#41995759)

Perhaps Bill Adama had it right - give books to people, never lend them. Then you can't get upset if they never make it back to you.

Re:Gift books (1)

chaynlynk (1523701) | about 2 years ago | (#41996407)

I prefer this method. The book isn't helping anyone by sitting on a shelf.

Koha (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995763)

Go the HC way and try out Koha http://www.koha.org maybe? Know i found virtualbox images for it when i was looking into it which makes it easy to see an actual install and play around with before trying to set it up properly. There are some other opensource ILS systems out there aswell. Havn't touched them personally yet though.

Calibre (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995785)

Simple, Calibre

The software approach (1)

spinster (84103) | about 2 years ago | (#41995819)

I once used Readerware [http://www.readerware.com/index.php] to catalog all of my books. At the time, I had around 400. I found, however, that I was too lazy to keep track of the ones I lent to people. These days, I only lend the ones I don't mind never seeing again.

You can also use Google Books [http://books.google.com/googlebooks/mylibrary/] to keep track of your home library. Again, I have been too ADD to finish the entire catalog. I only keep track of the science books on there...

Digitize The Collection! (0)

Farmer Pete (1350093) | about 2 years ago | (#41995843)

Did you know that for $1500, you can build your own book scanner power by a vacuum cleaner? It will harmlessly scan a 1000 page book in about 90 minutes. Scan your entire collection, and then just loan people the digital files.
http://www.theverge.com/2012/11/13/3639016/google-books-scanner-vacuum-diy [theverge.com]

Re:Digitize The Collection! (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41996617)

Much better then just downloading from a torrent~

Librarything.com (3, Informative)

ScottyKUtah (716120) | about 2 years ago | (#41995889)

I have over 750 books in my library, and I use Librarything.com. $10 per year, or $25 for life.

Best way to add books is to type in the ISBN, then the website searches online databases, to include Amazon.

You can also add tags to your books, like fiction, non-fiction, read, not read, etc.

Every book I read this year gets a "2012" tag, so I'll always know how many books I read in a given year.

Outsource Your Storage and Retrieval System (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995903)

Give them all to your local library. You'll get a free storage, indexing and retrieval system in the exchange.

Regards,
jcw

Dewey (1)

Jaktar (975138) | about 2 years ago | (#41995905)

Just stick with the Dewey decimal system. It's worked since 1876.

Storage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995917)

Find a vault and put them in, make sure they're treated, to last hundreds of years. No, not because they'll gain some historical value, it's just that, the way the market is moving, it won't be long until buying licenses instead of the actual books will be standard practice. (Hint: the authors will get even less)

Then, download as many books as possible, legally or illegally and store them in Calibre, in as many formats as you can find (epub is just html, so, that should be enough).
They'll last for decades unchanged.
You can browse form your sever anywhere in the world.
You can convert for any e-reader format.
You can move it from one place to another in your pocket, phone or tablet (don't know about Surface).
Backup is easy; if I were to imagine a hypothetical digital library like the one I mentioned above, I could probably squeeze in 22k books in just 27GB. ;)

Excel? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995927)

Um... an Excel spreadsheet with Title, Author, Loaned To, Loaned On, columns?

Tax Deduction Solution (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | about 2 years ago | (#41995929)

1) Donate all items to library
2) Get a library card

They will keep track of everything for you, and you can deduct the value of the items on your taxes

librarians tend to use Library Thing (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41995937)

http://www.librarything.com/

lend them, or get over it (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 2 years ago | (#41995961)

If you're reluctant to lend them, don't. If you do lend, them, accept that you might not get them back. Technology is not the solution to this problem.

We get it. Lots of books. You must be smart. (1)

anyaristow (1448609) | about 2 years ago | (#41996007)

Yeah, geeks tend to measure their intelligence by how many books they own.

"if I decide to lend one"

I take that to mean you aren't already loaning them. I suspect you'll find you won't be loaning many, because who's going to look at your collection when they could look at the library, or since you'll have things potentially interesting to geeks, they'll be looking to buy their own so they can increase their apparent intelligence. Mostly, though, you're the only one who cares about your collection of books. Don't try to one-up your geeky friends in this very personal thing. They won't like it.

So, keep it simple. A pad of paper, in case you loan any. Because you won't be loaning many.

Re:We get it. Lots of books. You must be smart. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41996427)

Yeah, he did come off a bit prickish. Oh noes! Books! But I'm teh g33k! What can I do?!!?!?1
 
The fact that he's looking here for someone to solve his problems says much more about his intelligence than any amount of books he owns.

Best Solution (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41996049)

I have a lot of books, I also have ebooks, pdf files of all types. My solution is calibre - E-book management. Create a check-out column and just type in a persons name when you loan it out. To input a book, type the ISBN and it searches the interest for the information and a book cover picture.
Check it out!

Robots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41996065)

I converted an old tape library with a bar code reader to use a grab-hand for lifting and a set of Ikea shelves for storage. It stores the books FOLI (First Out Last In) and uses a second hand to shove everything down to the end of the shelf. Bar codes on the spines and a stop-bar an inch from the end of the shelf and it knows where to get everything.

Only problem I'm having is the RABBIT protocol (Random Access Book Browsing InTerface). It runs a little slow.

Try Collectorz.com? (3, Informative)

Xveers (1003463) | about 2 years ago | (#41996149)

The software I use is done by a Dutch company called Collectorz (Yes, it sounds VERY reputable). It's one of the few bits of software I've genuinely felt worth purchasing for the value. It does pretty much everything you are looking at, cleanly and effectively. It allows you to export databases in a variety of formats, and has a matching app for android and apple products.

It does the classic things like search Amazon for books, either by ISBN or author/title, but it can also hit the Library of Congress as well as several other major national libaries (I know it does the UK as well as Canada). Multiple hits on a single ISBN/title let you select which you import in, and there's a wide selection of data tags you can use, as well as several user defined fields

One thing you may find useful is that the book assigns, in addition to everything else, a unique ID number to each book, which can be used in lieu of a barcode or more cumbersome ID method.

Sort by topic (1)

byrtolet (1353359) | about 2 years ago | (#41996181)

Sort the books by topic. If you have a lot of books on the same topic sort by subtopic.

Koha (2)

cycler (31440) | about 2 years ago | (#41996211)

Koha http://www.koha.org/ [koha.org] is an open-source library catalog.
It has circulation and database. Use barcodes or RFIDs on the books (the tip of extra cover is good).

Many real libraries use Koha for their library database and circulation.

YMMV

/C

library management system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41996223)

koha.org
very flexible, favourite with librarians.

Readerware + Library of Congress + ISBN Scan (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41996295)

I have a large collection, here is what I suggest:

-- Get a copy of Readerware (http://www.readerware.com/

-- Set Readerware's Auto-Catalog feature to Merge data from Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Library of Congress (long drop-down list, pick all you want).

-- Use your Android/iPhone to scan all ISBN bar codes into Readerware Auto-Catalog. It takes a couple steps, but is easily doable and saves a great deal of time.

-- Run Auto-Catalog. Most popular books are populated automatically, including dust-jacket image.

-- On a 1 " Post-It, write the full Library of Congress catalog number. Flip the block of Post-Its upside down, and write the number at the top edge (formerly the bottom edge). Stick the post it to the first page of the book, close to the spine, so that it is readable at the top of the book.

-- Organize your books by Library of Congress catalog number. It will be magic, how your library takes shape, with all books on similar topics grouped together.

-- Readerware allows you to note location (so if you need to spread your library over a couple rooms, you know exactly where your book is). It also allows you to track lending, and pretty much anything else you want to track about your books.

Good Luck

How many will you lend out? (2)

houghi (78078) | about 2 years ago | (#41996365)

How many do you think you are going to lend out? To how many people? Be realistic. Making a card per person and write in the book they lend and when might be easier.

On a card you just write the name of the person. Then when lending out a book, write down the name of the book, the author and the date. Then when they bring it back, fill that out.

I would go for a per-person approach and not a per book approach as libraries do it, because you will most likely have less people then books.

Having it on paper and not electronically will make it easier to use for the next 50 to 100 years. No real reason to update. Instead of cards, a paper notebook would do the trick as well.

You can even use it for other members in the family to keep record who read what and when. Nice to look at in many years time.

I would not go with anything electronic. Just make sure that you know what kind of notebook you want, need and how many columns you need. An extra is that other people will be able to use it when you are no longer alive. That way they can get the books back (if they want to) without any knowledge of the way databases work at that time.

Goodreads (3, Informative)

slapout (93640) | about 2 years ago | (#41996433)

"(Note: Scanning ISBNs with a hand-held barcode scanner is not an option, as many books are old (pre-ISBN) or special editions)."

I recently scanned all my books (~250) into a Goodreads account using an Android app. Only a couple of dozen or so didn't have ISBNs. And for those I just typed in the name and it was able to find the book. I believe there is also an option for adding a book if Goodreads can't find it.

gcstar did the job for me (3, Interesting)

anarcat (306985) | about 2 years ago | (#41996523)

I did the inventory of my 500+ book collection here and while it took a few days, the upkeep is minimal, and gcstar [gcstar.org] allows me to also keep track of people I lend the book to. The interface is awful, but it does connect to Amazon and so on to get book details, including cover pictures, if you have an ISBN. If you don't, then it's likely that Amazon doesn't carry it and you'll have to enter the details by hand anyways, but that's still fairly easy.

I do not label the books with stickers, RFID or bar codes of any kind. I simply rely on the book name for reference, and since I have very few duplicate books, this usually works. Duplicates can usually be told apart by printing dates or something similar. The library itself is physically arranged by loosely defined categories - I did *not* bother with Dewey.

I have written a complete article [koumbit.org] about this that may be useful to you. You may also want to contribute to that wiki page [koumbit.net] which compares different software offering.

DDS for me (1)

kellybc (2697785) | about 2 years ago | (#41996575)

I use the Dewey Decimal System for my non-fiction books and alpha-by-author's last name (with chronological for series) for fiction. A simple spreadsheet with DDS#, Title, Author, Shelf/Room, Loaned To, and Loaned On does the organization for me. I could print out barcodes and get a scanner if I wanted to get fancy. For my ebooks, I back them up into Non-Fiction or Fiction folders with the non-fiction subfolders being subject (science, history, etc) and the subfolders for fiction being author's name.

I thought (3, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#41996597)

we were still using cue cats!

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>