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Old 11-20-2009, 08:06 PM   #1
mdroberts
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Extract ISBN from PDF?

Hi,

Calibre looks great and I'd like to use it to organize my PDF ebooks.

I started on this, but it seems that for each file I must mess around with the title, author, and ISBN in order to fetch the correct metadata. It's a slow process.

If Calibre could fetch the ISBN from inside the PDF, like Alfa Ebooks manager, this could really be automatic.

Is this possible?

Thanks,

M
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Old 11-20-2009, 09:59 PM   #2
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that's funny...not your idea, which sounds intriguing, just the description...because I was just marveling the other day how, by "just" entering the title and author of a book, Calibre could go online, and find the ISBN, metadata, and book cover, all automatically!


edit: wait, do you have an account with isbndb.com? it really makes things pretty automatic, for me at least.
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Old 11-20-2009, 10:36 PM   #3
mdroberts
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Hi,

Yes, I have an account with isbndb, and I don't see anything terribly "intriguing" about this feature, nor is it my idea. As I said, Alfa Ebooks Manager can fetch an ISBN from a PDF. FWIW, Zotero can do this, too, though there are other limitations with Zotero. To be honest, it doesn't sound like you really read my post before replying.

Think about it this way: the ISBN is already in the ebook, it's a unique identifier for that book, it could be read from the file and used to fetch all the metadata automatically, so why should you have to enter any information at all?

I have a number of ebooks, and for me the lack of this feature is kind of a deal breaker. It's hard to justify spending hours twiddling metadata. Calibre is pretty slow, too, but I would certainly live with that if it could fetch metadata automatically.

Finally, I would prefer an open-source application like Calibre over the commercial Alfa Ebooks Manager (which is only for Windows, too), but I guess I'll just have to keep looking at other possibilities.

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Old 11-20-2009, 10:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdroberts View Post
Hi,

Yes, I have an account with isbndb, and I don't see anything terribly "intriguing" about this feature, nor is it my idea. As I said, Alfa Ebooks Manager can fetch an ISBN from a PDF. FWIW, Zotero can do this, too, though there are other limitations with Zotero. To be honest, it doesn't sound like you really read my post before replying.

Think about it this way: the ISBN is already in the ebook, it's a unique identifier for that book, it could be read from the file and used to fetch all the metadata automatically, so why should you have to enter any information at all?

I have a number of ebooks, and for me the lack of this feature is kind of a deal breaker. It's hard to justify spending hours twiddling metadata. Calibre is pretty slow, too, but I would certainly live with that if it could fetch metadata automatically.

Finally, I would prefer an open-source application like Calibre over the commercial Alfa Ebooks Manager (which is only for Windows, too), but I guess I'll just have to keep looking at other possibilities.

M

I did read your post, I was just making the general statement that one person's "deal breaker" is another person's favorite feature...you were complaining about something in Calibre that I found to be a great timesaver, thats all. And I've never heard of that commercial program, and use a Mac, so I didn't realize it was such a common thing for programs to find ISBNs in PDFS. No reason to take such an insulting tone about it.
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Old 11-20-2009, 11:33 PM   #5
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A quick search in the calibre ticket system is all you needed to do:

http://calibre.kovidgoyal.net/ticket/3013
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Old 11-30-2009, 06:48 PM   #6
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Thank you for adding this feature in 0.6.25. I just downloaded this version but unfortunately, I can't figure out how to make it work.

I've looked through the "Edit Metadata" interface and tried removing and adding a PDF to the library again, but I don't see how to get Calibre to fetch the ISBN from the PDF content.

What would really be ideal is a new menu item on the "Edit meta information" pop-up, called something like "Extract ISBN in bulk". When selected, this function would open each PDF, scan its content for the first ISBN, and use that to replace the one that appears in the "Edit Meta Information" window. Then, it would be possible to select "Download metadata and covers" which uses that ISBN, and the whole operation would only take two menu clicks.

Thanks.
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Old 11-30-2009, 10:51 PM   #7
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I'm not knocking the idea per se, but I'm not sure this would be a viable implementation.

Different editions of the book are created with different ISBNs and covers. Many times older ISBNs and covers are simply deleted in favor of the newer information. While this might not be critical, it has the potential for being another problematic area. Particularly if someone wants a particular cover - perhaps to match the physical book they own.
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Old 11-30-2009, 10:55 PM   #8
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When you add a PDF to calibre, if the PDf contains the ISBN it will be read. The feature however is untested as I didn't have any PDFs lying around to test it with. So if it isn't working for your PDFs, re-open the bug and attach a couple of PDFs.
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Old 12-01-2009, 02:10 AM   #9
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I've created Ticket #4113 with a problem PDF attached.

Thanks.
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Old 12-01-2009, 02:22 AM   #10
mdroberts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sabardeyn View Post
Different editions of the book are created with different ISBNs and covers. Many times older ISBNs and covers are simply deleted in favor of the newer information. While this might not be critical, it has the potential for being another problematic area. Particularly if someone wants a particular cover - perhaps to match the physical book they own.
Yes, there will always be edge cases that are problematic, but even if this feature only works 60% of the time, that's still 60% of your library that you wouldn't need to catalog by hand.

Personally, I wouldn't feel too picky about covers if Calibre fetched the metadata automatically. It seems straight-forward enough to change the cover using the existing "Edit Meta Information" page.
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Old 12-15-2009, 01:35 AM   #11
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Update: In addition to the PDF attached to ticket #4113, I've tried more and I can't get this feature to work at all. All the relevant details are already in the ticket.

Thanks.
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