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Old 02-11-2019, 08:44 PM   #1
Thunder_Struck
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PDF Files; Metadata & File Names; Adding Physical Book Info

Hello All:

I'm new to calibre, but have been playing around with it all day (about 8 hrs now). I've catalogued a half dozen PDF books as "proof of concept", and to figure out how the "nuts and bolts" of the program work. I'm really impressed to this point! A genuine "Thank You" to those who develop "open source" programs like Calibre!

I do have a few questions that I can't find answers to within the Forum (and I really did look). I apologize ahead of time if I'm mis-posting or duplicating.

I'm an academic with a large and growing number of PDF books (I am grateful for and love sites like the Internet Archive that have literally changed the way scholars do research, and given access to those who cannot always get to a Copyright Library for really old materials). So I'm really appreciative of a program that can organize all this chaos!

I prefer PDF files because this format best represents the actual pages of a hard copy book. When citing materials for research or publishing, I need exact page numbers always, and often sections and paragraphs (if it is a standard primary source, for example, like Aquinas' Summa Theologica etc). One of my "pet peeves" is that digital books often change original pagination, original page numbers (if they even include them), and other elements so that the digital book no longer represents the actual physical volume that an academic research library might have, and which most academics still prefer to cite for consistency purposes.

So the digital formats (or at least the manner in which the book text is actually put into a digital format) usually makes an e-book unusable for bibliography and citation purposes (though one can still enjoy the reading and portability of a digital text without this). So I really appreciate the PDF format and find it most usable and accurate when compared to an original hard volume. Hopefully this gives some context to my following questions:

1) Calibre seems to take time converting my PDF books when I open them in the Calibre viewer (and sometimes this take a considerably long time). It also re-formats the pages, layout, etc. I did find one post that discussed a much earlier version of Calibre, and why the program did this. I was wondering if there was a work-around for this? Can I "turn off" the conversion process in some way, and just view the normal PDF "image"? I just want to view the standard PDF page (basically like an image). I like that Calibre allows me to open my PDF books with Adobe etc. But it would be great to have the ability to read my PDF volumes within Calibre. Any thoughts on this?

2) I have used metadata tagging software (such as ID3 tagging for MP3 files in great programs like Media Monkey) that allows one to rename the actual file being accessed based on selected elements in the file metadata, and based on user-selected information within the metadata (like artist, song title, date etc). I know Calibre makes a copy of the original PDF file and places it in its own program folder. But I would still like to quickly rename many of my original PDF files from within Calibre, and base these new names on the metadata (so actually performing two tasks at once). This helps for organization of my actual files, and saves renaming a PDF file as well as then acquiring metadata for that file. Can Calibre allow me to even access and rename the original PDF file without exiting the program? Even this would help.

3) I have a large physical library that I would also like to include within Calibre. This way I could search for all volumes (digital or physical) that deal with a specific topic I'm research or writing on etc. I have read a few posts that provide work-arounds for including physical books and their bibliography within the program, but these procedures seem a little bit onerous. Can anyone recommend a quicker way to do this (I have a LOT of books)? Are there plans to include the ability to use something like a QR/barcode scanner within Calibre? I know this is more for physical books and libraries, which is not really the purpose of Calibre. However, the cataloguing, searching, and organizing functions in Calibre seem to work so well that it would be great to have this broader feature to more formally add physical books to the program.

Anyway, I do apologize for the length and detail of my posting--typical academic!

I would be grateful for any help, insight, or recommendations Calibre users might have! And "Thank You" again for all the hard work developers and users have put into this wonderful program! I'm very glad I found it!

Kind Regards;

Thunder_Struck (KC)
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Old 02-11-2019, 09:40 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunder_Struck View Post
1) Calibre seems to take time converting my PDF books when I open them in the Calibre viewer (and sometimes this take a considerably long time). It also re-formats the pages, layout, etc. I did find one post that discussed a much earlier version of Calibre, and why the program did this. I was wondering if there was a work-around for this? Can I "turn off" the conversion process in some way, and just view the normal PDF "image"? I just want to view the standard PDF page (basically like an image). I like that Calibre allows me to open my PDF books with Adobe etc. But it would be great to have the ability to read my PDF volumes within Calibre. Any thoughts on this?
There is an option to choose what formats are opened with the calibre viewer, and which are passed to the OS to open as it would. This is on the Behaviour page of the Preferences. The list under "Use internal viewer for" is what you want to look at.
Quote:
2) I have used metadata tagging software (such as ID3 tagging for MP3 files in great programs like Media Monkey) that allows one to rename the actual file being accessed based on selected elements in the file metadata, and based on user-selected information within the metadata (like artist, song title, date etc). I know Calibre makes a copy of the original PDF file and places it in its own program folder. But I would still like to quickly rename many of my original PDF files from within Calibre, and base these new names on the metadata (so actually performing two tasks at once). This helps for organization of my actual files, and saves renaming a PDF file as well as then acquiring metadata for that file. Can Calibre allow me to even access and rename the original PDF file without exiting the program? Even this would help.
Not directly. But, once the book is in calibre, you can use the "Save to disk" to take a of it elsewhere. That uses a template to generate the file name from the metadata. You could save the book to the external storage location with the desired name. Maybe put the books into an intake directory, add to calibre, save-to-disk to permament store and remove from the input location? Doing this will change the file as calibre will update the metadata when during the save-to-disk.

Alternatively, you could add a custom column that uses the template to generate a name. Then copy the new name and rename to original file. That's the simplest thing I can think of if you want to keep the original file unchanged.
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Old 02-11-2019, 09:42 PM   #3
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Preferences: Behavior: (use internal viewer) Remove the tick next to PDF

That causes Calibre to call the OS for the viewer for the file type (typ Adobe Reader)
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunder_Struck View Post

<snip snip ---- tl:dr>

1) Calibre seems to take time converting my PDF books when I open them in the Calibre viewer (and sometimes this take a considerably long time). It also re-formats the pages, layout, etc. I did find one post that discussed a much earlier version of Calibre, and why the program did this. I was wondering if there was a work-around for this? Can I "turn off" the conversion process in some way, and just view the normal PDF "image"? I just want to view the standard PDF page (basically like an image). I like that Calibre allows me to open my PDF books with Adobe etc. But it would be great to have the ability to read my PDF volumes within Calibre. Any thoughts on this?
The calibre ebook viewer is an epub-viewer with a converter bolted on the front. As you have no doubt read PDF is the worst place to start, see ==>> Calibre User Manual FAQ; What are the best source formats to convert?

My advice is to use a native PDF viewer, there are plenty to choose from

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunder_Struck View Post
2) I have used metadata tagging software (such as ID3 tagging for MP3 files in great programs like Media Monkey) that allows one to rename the actual file being accessed based on selected elements in the file metadata, and based on user-selected information within the metadata (like artist, song title, date etc). I know Calibre makes a copy of the original PDF file and places it in its own program folder. But I would still like to quickly rename many of my original PDF files from within Calibre, and base these new names on the metadata (so actually performing two tasks at once). This helps for organization of my actual files, and saves renaming a PDF file as well as then acquiring metadata for that file. Can Calibre allow me to even access and rename the original PDF file without exiting the program? Even this would help.
The folder and file names in the library are sacrosanct, don't even think about changing them. If you want to keep a copy as you suggest use the Save to Disk feature with a template.

But why do you need to have rigid file names, you can view a library every which way, using its search and sorting facilities. I suggest you check out the View Manager plugin.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunder_Struck View Post
3) I have a large physical library that I would also like to include within Calibre. This way I could search for all volumes (digital or physical) that deal with a specific topic I'm research or writing on etc. I have read a few posts that provide work-arounds for including physical books and their bibliography within the program, but these procedures seem a little bit onerous. Can anyone recommend a quicker way to do this (I have a LOT of books)? Are there plans to include the ability to use something like a QR/barcode scanner within Calibre? I know this is more for physical books and libraries, which is not really the purpose of Calibre. However, the cataloguing, searching, and organizing functions in Calibre seem to work so well that it would be great to have this broader feature to more formally add physical books to the program.
People have used bar code scanners to help load their physical book library. A search for 'bar code' in the Library Management sub forum should find some threads. The Add Books->Add books by ISBN feature is specifically designed for the task, in that it adds books from a list of ISBN's - you would then use Metadata Download to fill in the blanks. And if you happen to have a spreadsheet listing of your books you could make use of the Import List plugin.

BR

Last edited by BetterRed; 02-12-2019 at 02:55 AM.
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Old 02-14-2019, 12:16 AM   #5
Thunder_Struck
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Thank you for your kind help Davidfor, theducks, and BetterRed! Much appreciated! I will give your ideas a shot!

Best regards;

Thunder Struck
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