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Old 06-24-2010, 07:07 PM   #1
Worldwalker
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Using calibre to organize a paper library

I came across this post on dearauthor.com when I was googling for something else. It seems like I'm not the only one who wants to do that (although their genre isn't my cup of tea, they seem to have some calibre fans over there). But this leaves me with a critical question.

I recently bought a barcode scanner from ThinkGeek, which I'm going to use to capture book ISBNs as we unpack all those cartons of books. Thousands of books. Using calibre to organize all my books, both e- and p-, is the logical next step. There are three things that would make this project enormously easier:

1. "paper" as a format option. A lot of us have hybrid collections, after all.

2. An easy way to import a text file of ISBNs and generate empty books for each of them, or add "paper" as a format if they already exist.

3. Bulk metadata lookup, since I'll have the ISBNs.

Are there ways to do this I just haven't found yet? Or is this going to be one of those questions answered with a link to the "how to set up a development environment" page?
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Old 06-24-2010, 07:12 PM   #2
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You can create a single file called

dummy.paper

and add it to calibre, and there you go a "paper" format.

For bulk download of metadata click the arrow next to the edit metadata button

You will have to do a little scripting to create empty/paper entries from a list of isbns (the calibredb command is your friend)
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Old 06-25-2010, 01:52 AM   #3
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I catalog my paper based books in Calibre by using the option to add an entry with no attached format, and then add a PAPER tag.

As to the ISBN issue, since normally the metadata for a book entry needs some manual massaging to get it right, you might be best off creating the list in a text file and then manually working through the entries in Edit Metadata mode, doing a copy/paste of the ISBN and then using that to search for more complete metadata.
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Old 06-25-2010, 03:28 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Worldwalker View Post
1. "paper" as a format option. A lot of us have hybrid collections, after all.

2. An easy way to import a text file of ISBNs and generate empty books for each of them, or add "paper" as a format if they already exist.
As already suggested, tag every book with a 'paper' tag once you've got them all in Calibre.

If you have a list of all ISBNs in text format just use a macro or something else to put the following in front of the ISBN:

calibredb add -e -i ISBNnr

Save this file as a .bat file and execute it. If you've done everything allright you'll end up with all your books in Calibre, then just select all and Add MetaData.

Done goto


Regards,

Joop
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:14 AM   #5
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Thanks, everyone. This is going to be easier than I thought!

Except, of course, for scanning the ISBNs on several thousand books ....
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:42 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Worldwalker View Post
Thanks, everyone. This is going to be easier than I thought!

Except, of course, for scanning the ISBNs on several thousand books ....
I've thought about entering my paper library myself. How are you planning on scanning the ISBNs? Newer books have the ISBN in a barcode and I was toying with the idea picking up a cheap barcode scanner. But alot of my older books don't have barcodes.

I know a lot of the newer smart phones can use their cameras to scan barcodes - has anyone used theirs for something like this? I wonder if they have the capability to scan/OCR the numeric ISBN?

Otherwise, I may have to try speech to text - but I'm not looking forward to reading them all out loud.


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Old 06-25-2010, 12:06 PM   #7
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I got a barcode scanner from ThinkGeek. That will handle the thousands of books that are new enough to have the ISBN as a barcode. As for the older (and pre-ISBN) books ... a lot of typing.

One of the reasons I got the scanner is because in addition to books, I have DVDs, comics, etc., that all need to be cataloged. Plus, for anything else I want to organize (spare computer hardware, non-printed stuff I collect, etc.), I can print out little barcode labels and set up a database to catalog them, too.
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Old 06-28-2010, 07:25 AM   #8
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My wife used iBookshelf http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ibook...314982342?mt=8

to catalog our paper books, you scan the barcode and it looks up the details, works well though I found the barcode scanning fiddily.

You can then get it to email you a txt file containing your books, I think in csv format.
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