The Digital Home Librarian: Organizing Books

The Digital Home Librarian: Organizing Books

Jeff Heaton
Nov 9, 2011

No matter how good ebook readers get, we still love physical books. There's something to their different sizes, shapes, typography and design as well as the way they feel in the hands that keeps us coming back. We find them to be complimentary to e-readers actually (of course we may just be book obsessed in general). Which is why we've taken it upon ourselves to build a home library system.

That's right, we're that kind of nerdy. But when you have tons of titles, some of which you may have loaned to friends and family, it becomes somewhat of a task to remember whether you've got a certain book or not. That's where our library system comes in. And to get all of our books organized we're looking at book software and devices. Here are the ones we're considering:

1. Delicious Library 2 ($35 Mac)
This program lets you hold up anything with a UPC or ISBN number up to your webcam and it instantly downloads the information and catalogs it. We like this software because it doesn't require any extra hardware to get started and the interface fits perfectly with OSX. If you use a scanner it also reads out the titles of products you scan or tells you it failed to ensure you don't discover later that you're missing a bunch of stuff (and making a ton more work for yourself). The only downside to Delicious is that it only works for OSX.

2. Book Collector ($29.95-49.95 Mac, Windows, Linux)
Like Delicious, this is also a smart databasing software that will instantly grab the information on a given title for you when you enter the ISBN. With an interface similar to iTunes, the Book collector navigation is familiar and easy. It also lets you check out your library on your iPod or iPad, which is helpful if your library is in another room than your computer and you're searching for a title. This one doesn't feature the webcam technology that Delicious does sadly, but works with all manner of scanners and operating systems.

3. CLZ Barry App ($7.99 iOS | Android)
This app for Android and iOS lets you use your camera as a barcode scanner. Once you open the app and hit scan, any barcode that comes into view is decode and pasted in a text or spreadsheet file or instantly looked up and recorded. This program is meant to be paired with the Collectorz software, but works equally well with any other databasing tech you've got. We like that it's a cheap alternative to separate barcode scanners.

4. IntelliScaner ($179)
Intelliscan is it's own system that takes over the process from scan to database (we reviewed it earlier this year). Featured here is the intelliscan mini, a device you use to scan all your products and then plug into the computer to dump the data. This system is also good if you doing a general home inventory, as IntelliScanner makes software for media, wine, groceries and general home inventory.

5. Microvision ROV Scanner ($149)
If you don't have a smartphone your best bet is regular scanner. We like this one because it's bluetooth, unlike many models that would require you to drag your laptop around whilst scanning. It also works well with the Delicious software, though we don't recommend the optional holster (this is a geeky enough endeavor as is).

(Top Image: Flickr user uggboy under creative commons.)

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