I never thought I’d able to do this (or want to), but I’ve now completely cataloged my entire library of books and DVDs. What’s more, I now have the genre the various tomes fall in, how much the copies are currently going for on Amazon.com and how they’re rated by the various internet reviewers on Amazon.com. I have cover art galore, the ability to make notes, the ability to easily look up similar books and movies and even the ability to manage who I’ve lent them to. And it was fun.
By using Delicious Library, from Delicious Monster.
The idea behind Delicious Library is fairly simple. It provides a dedicated database to help you track physical media, such as DVDs, audio CDs, books, and games — that is, anything that you’d probably lend out to someone or that you’d like to keep track of for a personal inventory. Each record has specific fields to store appropriate metadata. For example, for books it has fields for format (paperback, hardback, etc.), genre, rating, and publishing date for that edition. Delicious Library provides integration with Amazon.com to look up information about the book so you don’t have to type it yourself. (Currently, only the U.S. Amazon website is supported for lookups, though Delicious Monster says in their FAQ that they are working to add support for every available international database possible.)
There’s a number of ways you can enter information into Delicious Library. You can manually enter the information (title, author, ISBN number, etc.) and have Delicious Library search Amazon for matches. You may be able to adapt your USB barcode scanner (check the FAQ on Delicious Monster’s site for more details.) You can also use a Bluetooth scanner that you can purchase from Delicious Monster. The most fun way is to use your iSight or DV video camera as a barcode scanner. I used my Panasonic PV-DV910, and Delicious Library had no problems using it as its scanner.
When you use your iSight or DV camera, Delicious Library gives you a Black and White video feed with red horizontal lines running across the live video feed.
Grab that book, video or software, find the barcode on it and hold it up to your camera (make sure you have sufficient light). Delicious Library reads the barcode info and downloads all the information regarding the product it can find on Amazon.com, usually including a beautiful shot of the cover.
This is not infallible as I found that occasionally it would not recognize a product or the graphic would not be available. (For some reason, my Vonnegut novels never worked with the scan, so I had to enter their titles in manually.)
As noted earlier, you can also use Delicious Library to catalog your movies…
as well as your games.
All work the same way, with your being able to look up the titles on Amazon using any of the scanning options or by manually typing in the title and creator. The truly amazing part is how fast you’ll be able to catalog. Using my DV camera, a broadband internet connection and my 15“ PB G4, I was able to sort and catalog my 300+ books, movies and games in a couple of evenings. This process was greatly sped up by the fact that Delicious Library also queries Amazon to see if there are similar books to the one being scanned.
If I had books that showed up under the Similar tab that I hadn’t scanned in yet, I could drag-and-drop them over to the shelves. That saved me time scanning and is a really nice feature of Delicious Library, as copying from the Similar list also brings over all the data and art associated with those books.
In the end, I was a little disappointed when I ran out of things to catalog as working with Delicious Library had been a lot of fun. How often do you get to say that about doing an inventory? Of course, that could just mean I need to head out and get some more….