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Old 07-21-2010, 12:21 AM   #1
riverteeth
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Categories / Series?

I'm very new to Calibre. I have a few a few ebub formatted books, but mostly journal articles in PDF, Word, or RTF formats. These are currently organized on my hard disc by subject. I like how Calibre copies the files into the Calibre library folder when I import them to the library, and even makes a new folder for seperate authors. I don't like, however, that I've lost the ability to view my library items by subject. I could use the keywords to do this, but I see keywords are a very specific organizing tool. I'd still like to have 20 or 30 large subject categories I can glance at all in one screen.

So I notied the "series" field in the metadata and on the left menu bar of main window. But I can't find from the help files, what exactly this is meant to be. Could it be 'book series', as in "Classics of 20th Century Philosophy" or "Harry Potter". I'm thinking of using it for my subject categories.

By the way, I LOVE the fact that you can edit the same field for multiple entries at the same time! Big time saver.
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Old 07-21-2010, 12:35 AM   #2
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Why not use the tags? You can have multiple tags per book, so you can tag something as "fiction", "science-fiction", "space opera", etc and then filter your view based on those ("Fiction" will show any book tagged with "Fiction", etc). Tags can be whatever you want.

The "Series" field is really intended for numbered books in a series (so "Harry Potter" but not "Classics of 20th Century Philosophy).
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Old 07-21-2010, 12:36 AM   #3
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Watch this tutorial video

http://calibre-ebook.com/demo#tutorials
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Old 07-21-2010, 12:41 AM   #4
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You absolutely have not lost the ability to view your library items by subject. You're used to using the filesystem as a kind of fake metadata kludge; now you have real metadata. Specifically, you have the Tags field, which you can populate with any categories you want to use -- and as many as you need. A book on both botany and zoology, for instance, could be tagged "botany" and "zoology", and you wouldn't have to try to remember which one you stored it under; selecting either tag would pull it up. The tag list is your "20 or 30 large subject categories", all conveniently available from one screen.

The Series field is, as you suspect, what you would use for the volumes of the "Harry Potter" books, etc. It wouldn't be a very appropriate substitute for the Tags, because you can assign a book to only one Series. If you had, say, An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada, which is 3 volumes in printed form, you'd use that as the Series, and the number field would properly number them 1, 2, and 3.

Maybe I am the most clueless calibre user on record, but I can't imagine why someone would reject using the Tags field for subjects, and try to make the Series field do its work anyway.

Read the link in my .sig for why you should let calibre do what it does, and leave its private library alone.
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Old 07-21-2010, 01:25 AM   #5
riverteeth
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Perfect, Kovid. I'd seen the grand tour, but somehow missed the UI tips video. Following your instructions, I've made a new Subjects column, which also appears in the tag browser on the left. This leaves the Series field open for the data it's supposed to contain.

And I aggree 100%, worldwaker, the filesystem is a poor poor substitute for tags. And I don't plan on messing around 'under the hood' of Calibre's file organization in the finder. If I had to choose between tags and my subject field, tags would of course be way better. But as I said, I think I want to use tags for very specific info. The subject field is for general categories of reading materials: literature, history, education, etc. I actually like the fact that I can restrict it to just one entry. It just gives me one more option when browsing my collection.

Extremely impressed with the level of customizability in Calibre. Bravo, Kovid!
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Old 07-21-2010, 01:33 AM   #6
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Why add a new column? Was Tags not enough? I mean, it's great to have custom columns and all, but tags are better integrated into Calibre (editable from the Metadata screen, built-in tag chooser so you can pick from existing tags, etc). I guess it just seems weird to me to add a new column to do what tags already do.
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Old 07-21-2010, 01:46 AM   #7
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I have nothing against tags! I not looking to replace them, I use them extensively in Lightroom and Endnote, and I plan on doing the same in Calibre.

The reason I want a subject field, is so that I can quickly see all of my Philosophy works, History works, Literature works, etc. My library will quickly have hundreds of tags, I'm sure, including lots of very specific info that would only apply to a few works. I'm sure there are other ways to accomplish what I want, thanks to Calibre's many customization options... I could make a user category of 'favorite tags' or something. But this way works fine too!

I am not a tag hater!
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Old 07-21-2010, 01:48 AM   #8
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Using the tag browser, you can filter your book list to just those with that tag. I'm not sure how it gets any easier/better than that. Want to see all of your books about 18th century philosophy? Tag them, and then use the tag browser to filter by that tag.
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Old 07-21-2010, 04:05 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by toddos View Post
Using the tag browser, you can filter your book list to just those with that tag. I'm not sure how it gets any easier/better than that. Want to see all of your books about 18th century philosophy? Tag them, and then use the tag browser to filter by that tag.
One use of custom columns is to provide category-specific tagging. This helps keep the number of items in any category small, making the tags browser much easier to use. I can choose between the 6 items in my genre column much faster than choosing between the 30 items in the tags column.

Putting personal preference aside, the only strong argument I can make for not classifying tags into columns is that they can't be used for collections or in save templates. This annoys me to no end, which is unfortunate for me as I am the one who didn't finish the job when 0.7 was released. I will fix that, probably in August.

I should note that one use tags and still have category-specific tagging by using user-defined categories. Put the genre tags into one category, the subject tags into another, the work-flow tags into a third, etc. These are a bit harder to maintain because new tags would be added in two places, but the pay for that by providing a way to combine items from multiple categories.
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Old 07-21-2010, 01:00 PM   #10
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...Maybe I am the most clueless calibre user on record...
I would hardly say that after all the times you (and others here, including Kovid himself) have bailed me out!
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