Monday, June 19, 2006

Personal library

Daryl Sng writes about lusting after the new MacBook and being able to try out Delicious Library.

Library? I thought. What's this library?

If there was a library involved, I wanted it. So I clicked.

I discovered that Delicious Library is a way to catalogue your books. Just point any FireWire digital video camera, like an Apple iSight®, at the barcode on the back of any book, movie, music, or video game. Delicious Library does the rest. The barcode is scanned and within seconds the item's cover appears on your digital shelves filled with tons of in-depth information downloaded from one of six different web sources from around the world.

It looks BRILLIANT!

But then I thought about it, and realized it is brilliant for somebody who doesn't have several hundred (or thousand) books scattered all over their house. How long would it take to collect all my books from their various shelves (and boxes, and on the floor, and on the desk, and in cupboards, and so on) and scan them? I don't have that sort of time! I'd have to do them one by one as they came into the house, and REMEMBER to do them one by one as they came into the house, and also remember to DELETE them one by one as they LEFT the house, because the books around here are on an ex-pat greedy-reader merry-go-round, and there would be no point to the function where you can (k)eep track of the items your friends are borrowing using Delicious Library's loan management system, which integrates with Apple's Address Book and iCal. When I give away a book it stays given away. There are new ones coming in all the time, and usually I do not want the old ones coming back. Where would I put them? (Besides on the floor, in cupboards, in boxes, on the desk, under the desk, and so on.)

If I were to use Delicious Library, I'd need a personal secretary to keep track of everything. I concluded, reluctantly, that there is no reason for me to purchase a new MacBook, or to purchase iSight for my iMac.

But I still think it is a brilliant idea, especially for readers more organized than I am, and for people who are not fortunate enough to have friends like mine who pass on new books as quickly as (or more quickly than) they accept the ones I'm passing on to them. My personal library (doesn't that sound grand?) is growing faster than I can cope with already. I need to get rid of books, not catalogue them.

I love new gadgets, and a gadget connected with books is even better. What a shame it doesn't come with a personal secretary.

7 comments:

Robert said...

I had the very same thoughts. First, I don't have a scanner device since I sold my bookshop. And second, it would take FOREVER and I'd rather spend that time reading!

Fuzzball said...

Keen!!!

(I do agree with your reservations, though. I feel the same way.)

But still...KEEN!

P.S. Thanks for the kind words about my new place -- if you're ever in Texas you've got a free place to stay! :D!

Writer Mom said...

"Honey, I need to get a Macbook so I can catalogue all of my books."

I love this idea.
I also agree, a secretary would be nice. Or two of me. Make that three or four. I feel sorry for the one who gets stuck with all the house work. Does the Macbook come with cloning software, too?

Lippy said...

What a brilliant idea! Bummer it doesn't work on Windows PCs, although I do have to admire their complete commitment to the Mac platform. No doubt someone will come up with a similar idea for Windows PC eventually. At least I hope so...

Lippy said...

UPDATE: Oh how I love the Internet! Found an online version of Delicious: www.librarything.com

Jess said...

Hi Badaunt,

Just found your blog yesterday and have been having a good read. I just came back from Japan at the end of March this year, after "teaching english" to junior and elementary school kids. Anyway, just wanted to say that I downloaded Delicious Library (after I found it on your site) and have been attempting to use it. I have 100s of books so it's gonna take a while but it's a really cool programme, it even beeps when you scan a barcode! Once the book is found, a voice reads out the title. The scariest thing was when I scanned Harry Potter and the voice read the title and then a different voice said voldemort! in that creepy way. Amazing!

Potentilla said...

Yeee-eeeess.......but then what do you do with the catalogue information once you've got it? I can't think of anything I'd want to do that wouldn't be just as easy to do manually?