You know that the world is going online, don’t you? Here’s another great benefit of Web 2.0.
It’s been more than five years since I stopped recording books that come into my library. It takes a good amount of time to enter all the information that I want to record about each book, and I have just plain not been doing it. I want the record so that I can 1) keep track of what I own, 2) organize what I own, 3) have a record in case of loss, 4) let my friends see if I have what they need to borrow and 5) find other people who have the same books I do (though the social networking is not anything that I think I’ll be using).
Yesterday I came across this great site: LibraryThing. It’s an online catalog of your own library. You can track a good number of aspects about each book including author, title, date it was published, date you entered it or read it, and more.
The cost is free for the first 100 or 200 books, so there’s no reason you can’t try it out. After that it’s $10 per year or $25 lifetime (and those prices are flexible). Yesterday, I inputed two shelves of miscellaneous at home (68 books) in about an hour. If you are working off a large stack next to you, it’s probably possible to input at least 2-3 books/minute.
The process is easy. You enter the ISBN number of your book (which covers most everything since at least the early 80s) and enter a couple of tags (or category labels) for each title. LibraryThing will find your book on Amazon or in the Library of Congress and apply all the detailed information automatically. I only had two books on those shelves that weren’t findable, and unfindable books are able to be inputted manually. Tags is the area where we need to be most thoughtful because the goal is to be specific enough to find what we are looking for later.
Before I started, I shopped around a little bit looking for similar programs, but this seems to be a one of the only items like this available online. It already has a huge following (18,000,000+ books inputted online by it’s members). Tell me if you find anything comparable. I like the idea of it being online, too. If you have broadband, this process doesn’t take any more time than using a harddrive, but it’s a lot safer than leaving it on your harddrive. Theoretically, you can peruse your list while you’re in the bookstore from your wireless device to check if you already own the title you are looking at.
I hope this helps.