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Old 01-20-2011, 07:31 AM   #1
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Interesting cataloging and gui features in Readerware

I downloaded Readerware for free-30-day-evaluation. It's a pBook cataloging application available for Windows, Linux, and Mac.
http://www.readerware.com/index.html

Calibre and Readerware can't really be compared because they're apples and oranges. Calibre focuses on eBook cataloging, eBook device management, and eBook format conversions while Readerware focuses on pBook cataloging for single users, and pBook cataloging and inventory for libraries and vendors. So Readerware is not presently a competitor with calibre. Readerware does have some nice features in the cataloging and gui arenas that the calibre community might want to consider (idly) for (potential) eventual inclusion of similar functionality in calibre.

Some features I liked:

1. Print, with choice of all or choice of search results in the gui window, in csv. Report Print in basic table in html, or in other formats. (But I could only select columns for printing csv by hiding the ones I didn't want printed, which was clunky. Report Print only used author, title, isbn, estimated_value, not user-selectable fields.) [Sorry. No intent to beat a dead horse here, regarding the printing issue.]

2. Export metadata as csv or other filetypes, allows user-chosen and user-orderable columns.

3. Import csv. (But in Readerware the fields in the import csv have to be in the exact order Readerware wants them in, even the fields in Readerware that don't exist previously in your csv, which it doesn't tell you in advance.)

4. Scan ISBN of pBooks for auto metadata grab with cuecat or some other barcode scanner. (If I use calibre for also tracking my pBooks, I've got to get metadata for 2000+ books into empty records somehow, then also for any new pBooks I buy. For my existing pLibrary, I can automate calibredb add_empty_book with formulas from existing pBook spreadsheet pasted into OS command line, or a script to do all that. For new pBooks, it'd be nice to scan directly into an automatic calibre add_empty_book and metadata grab based on the scanned ISBN.)

5. Auto-metadata-grab from multiple pBook vendors based on ISBN. (Amazon, B&N, many others, then merge those various metadata's.)

6. Auto-load books purchased from vendors (e.g., it obtains metadata from vendors for the books I've bought there. Presently it only seems to do Amazon.)

7. Fields include, among the usual: Copyright_date (in addition to Published_date), Read or not, number of Pages, LCCN, Dewey. I don't use or care about LCCN and Dewey but other people might. Number of pages is possibly useful for pBook owners though I don't care about that either.

8. Column-dragging in the gui to re-order them.

9. Authors, title, and other fields links. Clicking author in the author field results in search and display of all titles in db by that author. Clicking title in the title field results in search and display of all duplicates. Clicking on items in other fields does other things depending on which field.

Yes, developers, I know: if I want calibre to do something, write calibre plugins myself. I will when I learn enough Python, which I'm working on.

There are lots of things in the gui and cataloging arenas calibre does better than Readerware. Readerware may have other potentially useful features or incredibly bad things I missed.

Meanwhile, in case anyone's interested in looking at Readerware and comparing apples and oranges, that's what I found.
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Old 01-20-2011, 07:53 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unboggling View Post
1. Print, with choice of all or choice of search results in the gui window, in csv. Report Print in basic table in html, or in other formats. (But I could only select columns for printing csv by hiding the ones I didn't want printed, which was clunky. Report Print only used author, title, isbn, estimated_value, not user-selectable fields.) [Sorry. No intent to beat a dead horse here, regarding the printing issue.]

2. Export metadata as csv or other filetypes, allows user-chosen and user-orderable columns.
Calibre does catalog export in multiple formats, which you can then print, if you like to.
(Why do people want dead-tree lists anyway?)

Quote:
3. Import csv. (But in Readerware the fields in the import csv have to be in the exact order Readerware wants them in, even the fields in Readerware that don't exist previously in your csv, which it doesn't tell you in advance.)
I've seen script solutions that do this.

Quote:
4. Scan ISBN of pBooks for auto metadata grab with cuecat or some other barcode scanner. (If I use calibre for also tracking my pBooks, I've got to get metadata for 2000+ books into empty records somehow, then also for any new pBooks I buy. For my existing pLibrary, I can automate calibredb add_empty_book with formulas from existing pBook spreadsheet pasted into OS command line, or a script to do all that. For new pBooks, it'd be nice to scan directly into an automatic calibre add_empty_book and metadata grab based on the scanned ISBN.)
You can add books from ISBN already. I imagine that if you have a barcode scanner that simulates keyboard input, you could simply scan your ISBNs into the entry field.

Quote:
5. Auto-metadata-grab from multiple pBook vendors based on ISBN. (Amazon, B&N, many others, then merge those various metadata's.)
One word: Plugins. Also, more fine-grained metadata download control is somewhere on the roadmap.

Quote:
6. Auto-load books purchased from vendors (e.g., it obtains metadata from vendors for the books I've bought there. Presently it only seems to do Amazon.)

7. Fields include, among the usual: Copyright_date (in addition to Published_date), Read or not, number of Pages, LCCN, Dewey. I don't use or care about LCCN and Dewey but other people might. Number of pages is possibly useful for pBook owners though I don't care about that either.

8. Column-dragging in the gui to re-order them.
You can add whatever custom columns you like and reorder and/or hide them in the preferences.

Quote:
9. Authors, title, and other fields links. Clicking author in the author field results in search and display of all titles in db by that author. Clicking title in the title field results in search and display of all duplicates. Clicking on items in other fields does other things depending on which field.
Two words: Tag browser.
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:07 AM   #3
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@Manichean,
I know all that. I wasn't denigrating calibre, just mentioning some features I liked that I noticed in Readerware, though it seemed some of those weren't implemented very well there. I just thought it was interesting.
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Old 01-20-2011, 08:23 AM   #4
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New ideas are always welcome.

I believe 7, 8 and part of 9 already exist.

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Originally Posted by unboggling View Post
7. Fields include, among the usual: Copyright_date (in addition to Published_date), Read or not, number of Pages, LCCN, Dewey. I don't use or care about LCCN and Dewey but other people might. Number of pages is possibly useful for pBook owners though I don't care about that either.
Custom columns can be created for any data you wish to store.

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Originally Posted by unboggling View Post
8. Column-dragging in the gui to re-order them.
This is a current feature of calibre. You can reorder by dragging the columns in the GUI.

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Originally Posted by unboggling View Post
9. Authors, title, and other fields links. Clicking author in the author field results in search and display of all titles in db by that author.
The tag browser does this, also the right click menu gives you the similar books feature (see attached).

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Originally Posted by unboggling View Post
Clicking title in the title field results in search and display of all duplicates.
I'm sure there are many folks interested in something along this line. Currently you can do this by selecting a title then sorting by clicking on the title column. But it would be nice to have something more robust.

Keep the ideas coming.
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:05 AM   #5
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Calibre does catalog export in multiple formats, which you can then print, if you like to. (Why do people want dead-tree lists anyway?)...
In my case, I "print" to a PDF so I can keep a list of my book titles, organized aphabetically by author last name, on my JBL. I still buy DT books since many of the books I want are cheaper in DT form (especially used) than e-book and/or the e-books are not availabe or are DRM infested. I like to have the list handy in my purse to make sure I do not buy duplicate books (it's happened) when shopping. After getting the books, I chop off the spines and scan them to PDF.
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:13 AM   #6
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This is a current feature of calibre. You can reorder by dragging the columns in the GUI.
@dwanthny, How did I miss that?

@Manichean, didn't mean to be snappish in my reply earlier.

Let me try to clarify where I'm coming from. I do not mean to annoy calibre developers or power users. I appreciate calibre and especially calibre's gui. Sometimes it seems to me that calibre developers and powerusers assume it's easy for everybody to knock out a script in 30 seconds to accomplish something or use command line likewise. Yes I can script but it takes me awhile since I've been out of the game for years. Yes I'm starting to learn python but that will be quite awhile. I assume there are lots of calibre users who are comfortable in gui but not in command line or scripting. I sympathize with them because I am like that too after years of being retired and spoiled and coddled by Apple and Macs. My observations about gui things I'd like to see in calibre (or are already there but I've missed, sorry about that) are simply mild suggestions, not criticisms, from the pov of a gui-comfortable-user rather than my alternate pov of currently-uncomfortable-sometime-past-programmer. Just in case there were any misunderstandings.
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:22 AM   #7
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In my case, I "print" to a PDF so I can keep a list of my book titles, organized aphabetically by author last name, on my JBL. I still buy DT books since many of the books I want are cheaper in DT form (especially used) than e-book and/or the e-books are not availabe or are DRM infested. I like to have the list handy in my purse to make sure I do not buy duplicate books (it's happened) when shopping.
That is my concern for the printing/exporting thing, but in my case as a kindle user I have a hard time scrolling through a long catalog on it. Maybe if I switch to a different device I won't have this problem hence won't need to print a pretty table of author, title, series easily. Which really isn't a problem now because I did a macro script to print. So the issue for me personally is academic. But it's the principle of the thing. I use an app (especially as a Mac user, sorry) and I expect it to do certain things because Apple spoiled me into expecting that. So if I can't easily print the pretty gui display I see, then it mildly annoys me. It's not calibre's fault, or its developers fault, it's Apple's fault for coddling me and my fault for allowing myself to be coddled for so long.
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Old 01-20-2011, 09:26 AM   #8
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With respect to generating your Kindle catalog, have you tried building a special catalog with only one section (e.g. 'By Author') for the specific purpose of having it available as a reference? With a single section, the information density is pretty high.

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Old 01-20-2011, 10:03 AM   #9
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With respect to generating your Kindle catalog, have you tried building a special catalog with only one section (e.g. 'By Author') for the specific purpose of having it available as a reference? With a single section, the information density is pretty high.

G
I've been blowing past all those checkboxes without thinking about them for weeks. Yes, that works great for my kindle now with only 300 eBooks. But later when I've added my entire pBook library metadata to the db, plus buy many more eBooks, it'll probably become too bulky for kindle navigation to be worthwhile in which case then I'll still need some sort of paper copy, or some densely packed table of info in a file format that the kindle could read.

@GRiker, @dwanthny, thank you for pointing out the obvious (again) that oblivious me missed.

@GRiker, Lady F, dwanthny, Manichean, Chaney, et al. And thank you for hearing me out over the past few weeks and providing thoughtful, apt, and helpful responses. The patience you all display is remarkable. I am repeatedly amazed at that. (Back when I had to provide technical support to customers I was lousy at it due to general impatience and low tolerance for user stupidity combined with high tolerance for my own stupidity.)


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Old 01-20-2011, 10:07 AM   #10
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[QUOTE=unboggling;1348152@GRiker, Lady F, dwanthny, Manichean, Chaney, et al. And thank you for hearing me out over the past few weeks and providing thoughtful, apt, and helpful responses. The patience you all display is remarkable. I am repeatedly amazed at that. (Back when I had to provide technical support to customers I was lousy at it due to general impatience and low tolerance for user stupidity combined with high tolerance for my own stupidity.)

[/QUOTE]

Was I just insulted?
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Old 01-20-2011, 10:09 AM   #11
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@unboggling, thanks for being civil, it's appreciated.

Note that catalog section navigation supports right-clicking the 5-way controller to navigate to the next initial letter, plus you can use the Kindle TOC to get to where you want to go more quickly.

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Old 01-20-2011, 10:33 AM   #12
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Was I just insulted?
Lady F, lol. Nope. I don't consider you a mere user.

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Old 01-20-2011, 10:35 AM   #13
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@unboggling, thanks for being civil, it's appreciated.

Note that catalog section navigation supports right-clicking the 5-way controller to navigate to the next initial letter, plus you can use the Kindle TOC to get to where you want to go more quickly.

G
Re 5-way to the next letter.
ditto re TOC.

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Old 01-20-2011, 10:38 AM   #14
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@unboggling: While we're on a roll, here's another suggestion for you. Make an EPUB catalog, add it to iBooks on your iPhone3, and use that for your shopping trips. The touchscreen navigation in iDevices is *way* more convenient than the 5-way controller on the Kindle.

G
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Old 01-20-2011, 11:04 AM   #15
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@unboggling: While we're on a roll, here's another suggestion for you. Make an EPUB catalog, add it to iBooks on your iPhone3, and use that for your shopping trips. The touchscreen navigation in iDevices is *way* more convenient than the 5-way controller on the Kindle.

G
@GRiker, thanks, that's a wonderful suggestion. I'll do that too. In case I don't have one or the other with me I'll have a catalog on both. I haven't really messed with the iPhone yet for eBooks, except to install stanza and bluefire. I figured I'd configure to my satisfaction everything for one device at a time, lest I get confused or oblivious to something important.
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