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Old 03-31-2009, 06:09 AM   #1
kweller
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A new users asks...

I've just started using Calibre and it seems an excellent piece of software. Using it has enabled me to easily (albeit lengthily!) to sort out or eBook collection to ensure the metadata is correct and consistent.

I have (quite) a few questions that I didn't find on a search of the forum. I'll be grateful if someone can answer them; please feel free to point me to the relevant thread if I missed it.

Is it possible to...

...validate the database? By which I mean check that everything which is in the database actually exists on the HDD and ensure the database itself is consistent.

...inspect a book using Calibre without adding it to the library? I know I could add it to the library then delete it afterwards if necessary but I was wondering if I can skip the add/delete step and just look at the book details, view it etc.

...delete one or more formats of a book? e.g. if I have a book in PRC, PDF and LRF formats just delete, say, the pdf.

...use Calibre in multi-user mode? Our eBook library is stored on a NAS and I'm currently running Calibre just on my machine. SWMBO also has a reader and it would be useful if she could run Calibre on her machine against the same database.

Is there a size limit for the viewer? I have a 5.4Mb PRC file and the viewer crashes whenever I try to access it. AFAIK the eBook file is fine.

Where is the metadata stored, in the database or in the eBook file itself? (I suspect the answer is some and some)

If I want to back-up the Calibre database am I correct in assuming all I need to backup is metadata.db?

Is it possible to persuade Calibre to pre-populate the metadata for a bulk edit where the data for all the files to be edited is consistent? I'm thinking of a situation where, for several books, I have made a typo in an author's name or the sort sequence is wrong. I realise I can retype it but if all I need to do is make a small edit to the existing data it would be easier if the bulk editor presented consistent existing data.

And finally, I'll be grateful if someone will recommend a piece of software which I could use to run queries against the Calibre database and/or export the data from within it.

Thanks

Kevin
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Old 03-31-2009, 06:42 AM   #2
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Some answers

> ...inspect a book using Calibre without adding it to the library?

Yes, via the command-line tools Calibre provides, e.g. "C:\Program Files\Calibre\epub-meta.exe", ebook-view.exe, etc, if on Windows

> ...delete one or more formats of a book?

Edit Meta-information for the book then via the buttons to the right of the "Available Formats" panel.

> ...use Calibre in multi-user mode?

Hmm - at a guess, it would only work if you manually ensured you weren't running two copies at the same time.

> Is it possible to persuade Calibre to pre-populate the metadata for a bulk edit where the data for all the files to be edited is consistent?

Select the files then "Edit meta information" will default to "Edit meta information in bulk" , which is what you need, isn't it?

> a piece of software which I could use to run queries against the Calibre database and/or export the data from within it.

It's an SQLite database, so you can either use the SQLite command line tools or access it programably. If the latter, it's probably easiest to use the Python DB modules in Calibre itself - I know there's been some mention of them here, but I don't have a link at the moment.
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Old 03-31-2009, 06:47 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kweller View Post
...validate the database? By which I mean check that everything which is in the database actually exists on the HDD and ensure the database itself is consistent.
Not as far as I know.

Quote:
...inspect a book using Calibre without adding it to the library? I know I could add it to the library then delete it afterwards if necessary but I was wondering if I can skip the add/delete step and just look at the book details, view it etc.
Not as far as I know

Quote:
...delete one or more formats of a book? e.g. if I have a book in PRC, PDF and LRF formats just delete, say, the pdf.
This is done via the Edit metadata dialogs.

Quote:
...use Calibre in multi-user mode? Our eBook library is stored on a NAS and I'm currently running Calibre just on my machine. SWMBO also has a reader and it would be useful if she could run Calibre on her machine against the same database.
This is one I am not sure off. I store my database on my NAS, but I am never updating from more than one system at a time.

Quote:
Where is the metadata stored, in the database or in the eBook file itself? (I suspect the answer is some and some)
The metadata is primarily stored in the metadata.db file. However items like cover art are store as free-standing files.

Quote:
If I want to back-up the Calibre database am I correct in assuming all I need to backup is metadata.db?
No - you should be backing up everything in the Calibre library folder.

Quote:
Is it possible to persuade Calibre to pre-populate the metadata for a bulk edit where the data for all the files to be edited is consistent? I'm thinking of a situation where, for several books, I have made a typo in an author's name or the sort sequence is wrong. I realise I can retype it but if all I need to do is make a small edit to the existing data it would be easier if the bulk editor presented consistent existing data.
Yes - simply highlight the files concerned and select the option to Edit metadata option.

Quote:
And finally, I'll be grateful if someone will recommend a piece of software which I could use to run queries against the Calibre database and/or export the data from within it.
I use sqliteman (which is free).
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Old 03-31-2009, 07:56 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwynevans View Post
Some answers
Thanks.

Quote:
> Is it possible to persuade Calibre to pre-populate the metadata for a bulk edit where the data for all the files to be edited is consistent?

Select the files then "Edit meta information" will default to "Edit meta information in bulk" , which is what you need, isn't it?
I don't think so unless I'm using it incorrectly.

Let me give you an example. Say I have 25 books by an author called Rodriguez de Stampino (I just made that up so don't look for him!). When I originally input the metadata I incorrectly entered 'se' instead of 'de' so the metadata in all files needs correcting.

I select all 25 files then pull up the bulk editor but all fields are blank. What I'd like Calibre to do is where the data is the same across all selected files, e.g. the author's name in this case, pre-populate the fields with that data so all I have to do is replace 's' with 'd' rather than type the entire name. Where the existing data isn't exactly the same across all files the field would be left blank on the editing screen.

Media Monkey, to give one example, works exactly in this way and I wondered if I'd missed a setting in Calibre to make it do similarly.

Does that make sense?

Kevin
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Old 03-31-2009, 07:59 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itimpi View Post
No - you should be backing up everything in the Calibre library folder.
I obviously wasn't very clear, sorry. I already back-up the library folders and I wanted to be sure that by doing so I had everything I needed to restore a consistent set of folders and database, i.e. I was concerned that Calibre may store something else elsewhere that I needed to back-up.

Googling SqLiteman is my next task, thank you for your answers and suggestion.

Kevin
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Old 03-31-2009, 08:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kweller View Post
I select all 25 files then pull up the bulk editor but all fields are blank. What I'd like Calibre to do is where the data is the same across all selected files, e.g. the author's name in this case, pre-populate the fields with that data so all I have to do is replace 's' with 'd' rather than type the entire name. Where the existing data isn't exactly the same across all files the field would be left blank on the editing screen.
Ah OK - I thought you were talking about the ability do a bulk edit.

The pre-population of common data is not a bad idea, so it might be raising a ticket via the Calibre home page as an enhancement request to add this capability.
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Old 03-31-2009, 10:00 AM   #7
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What I really want is a bulk rescan of all books in a given format for covers, with an option whether or not to add overwrite existing covers. I added a lot of books by filename rather than metadata, and now editing each one for a new cover is a pain.
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Old 03-31-2009, 01:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itimpi View Post
(Re. multi-user Calibre) This is one I am not sure off. I store my database on my NAS, but I am never updating from more than one system at a time.
We could do this...until one of us forgets to check! but thinking about it some more I see another issue.

If I install the software on SWMBO's machine then tell it where the eBooks are it's going to copy them all and create another database unless there is a 'don't create a database, use this one' option; is there?

Perhaps the answer is for me to use Calibre and SWMBO to use the Sony software. Trouble is that seems a bit unfair but there's no way I'm giving up Calibre and running the Sony stuff myself!

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Old 03-31-2009, 01:42 PM   #9
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Not sure what you mean - as long as both machines have the correct path set to the calibre library folder they will both find it. When you tell Calibre to use a particular path it looks to see if there is already a database there, and if there is simply uses it. The path settings are stored locally on each machine, so it is quite possible for them to be different.

What is more likely to happen is that you might get error messages about the database being locked as I am reasonably sure that calibre's locking strategy is likely to be the default and not take into account possible multiple-user issues.
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Old 03-31-2009, 03:37 PM   #10
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calibre comes with a command line tool called calibredb you can use to query the database
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Old 03-31-2009, 05:13 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itimpi View Post
When you tell Calibre to use a particular path it looks to see if there is already a database there, and if there is simply uses it.
Ah, that's the bit I didn't know. Thanks.

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Old 03-31-2009, 06:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kweller
Is there a size limit for the viewer? I have a 5.4Mb PRC file and the viewer crashes whenever I try to access it. AFAIK the eBook file is fine.
There is no limit for the viewer. Could you open a ticket at http://calibre.kovidgoyal.net/ and attach the file in question.
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Old 04-01-2009, 05:15 AM   #13
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I'm happy to do so but is it going to be OK to attach a 5.4Mb file? I've no idea how the issue could be resolved without it but it's rather a large file to put on someone's system.

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Old 04-01-2009, 05:21 AM   #14
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I hope no-one minds me asking all these questions but here's another one. All of our eBook are in Mobi PRC format as we have Iliad Readers. I converted one to ePUB then to LRF and tried both on our new Sony 505s - both formats look perfectly OK.

Is there any reason I'd choose one format over the other? I realise this may be better asked in the 505 forum but as I'm using Calibre to do the conversion I thought I'd ask here.

Thanks.

Kevin
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Old 04-01-2009, 09:04 AM   #15
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No strong reason - there's a thread here with a couple of images of the same pages in LRF vs EPUB so you can compare if you need, but the main differences are the default font, the justified vs ragged right side of the page, the page numbers & the italics.

Epub is a zipped container, so theoretically you can tweak it yourself, but in practice, I suspect you'll need to know the details of the format to do anything worthwhile, as that's typically only needed when an automates conversion has failed!
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