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Ask Slashdot: High-Tech Ways To Manage a Home Library? 230

Posted by timothy
from the check-it-out! dept.
DeptofDepartments writes "With Kindles and ebooks on everyone's lips (sc. hands) nowadays, this might come as a surprise to some, but besides being a techie, I have also amassed quite a collection of actual books (mostly hardcover and first editions) in my personal library. I have always been reluctant to lend them out and the collection has grown so large now that it has become difficult to keep track of all of them. This is why I am looking for a modern solution to implement some professional-yet-still-home-sized library management. Ideally, this should include some cool features like RFID tags or NFC for keeping track of the books, finding and checking them out quickly, if I decide to lend one." For more on what DeptofDepartments is looking for, read on below.
DeptofDepartments continues: "One problem seems to be the short lifetime of RFID tags (only 5-10 years). Given that many books will probably only be read or checked out once or twice in this period at best, the administrative effort seems very large. I have also been largely unsuccessful in finding tags or solutions that go beyond the cheap 5 to 20 item 'starter kits', yet still remain affordable and below the industrial scale.

Also, what would be suitable and affordable readers/writers for the tags in this context?

Finally, as many of the books are old folios or fairly precious first editions, everything must be non-destructive and should be removable without damage to the books if need be.

(Note: Scanning ISBNs with a hand-held barcode scanner is not an option, as many books are old (pre-ISBN) or special editions).

Software-wise, I would like to have a nice and modern-looking, easy-to-use software that can interface with the hardware side as described above. I do not necessarily need multi-user or networking capabilities at this point.

I hope the CSI (Combined Slashdot Intelligence) has some helpful ideas and pointers for me on this!"
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Ask Slashdot: High-Tech Ways To Manage a Home Library?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:51PM (#41995545)

    Organize your books using Dewey, make or buy slip covers, and while you are physically labelling them enter information in a card catalogue database.

    If you're going to keep books as a labour of love you can make time to catalogue them.

  • Just guessing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anrego (830717) * on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:55PM (#41995583)

    I have no experience in this area, so this is purely how I would approach the problem from a blank slate.

    I would go with good ol` fashion "bunch o` lines" bar codes. Easy to make yourself, should be easy to attach to a book (or not, maybe just have it loose between the cover and first page), lots of cheap readers and most just emulate a keyboard so easy to interface with.

    From there I'd probably throw together a little home brew. What you are asking for does not really sound complicated, the software side sounds like a weekend project for just the basic requirements. Even if you just do it as a basic web app. Be sure to add a title based search for if the barcode gets lost, so the bar code just becomes a convinience and not a requirement to use,

  • QR Codes and ISBNS (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DownWithTheMan (797237) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @04:58PM (#41995631)
    Simplest solution - use the ISBNs - plenty of bar code scanning apps exist to scan these in... For books without the ISBNs - create your own QR codes to catalog/scan them all...
  • Gift books (Score:5, Insightful)

    by raydobbs (99133) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @05:09PM (#41995759) Homepage Journal

    Perhaps Bill Adama had it right - give books to people, never lend them. Then you can't get upset if they never make it back to you.

  • Re:A what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @05:13PM (#41995813)

    Man, I'm still not sure how e-books caught on so hard, and why people keep singing the demise of the printed book.

    Personally, I've tried using a few friends' e-readers, and can't stand it. Too rigit, irritatingly slow page flips (although I'm sure this can easily be remedied with a better e-reader), and too delicate. And by delicate, I mean that I wouldn't be able to do NEARLY as much to an e-reader as I can with a paperback.

    Read in the bathtub without worry of losing more than about $12 and the time Amazon takes to ship? Check
    Lob it across the bathroom away from the bathtub when I'm done reading for the time? Check
    Hurl it down the hallway towards a pile of things I'm gathering for whatever outing? Check
    Read it at the beach without the slightest care about sand or moisture? Check
    Leave it in the car in the middle of winter? Sure!
    Leave it anywhere remotely close to a window in the middle of winter? No problem!
      - note: I'm not sure how good e-readers stand up to cold, but up here in Canada it can be -50 out at times, and in the old apartment I'm stuck in for the moment, near the windows it's not all that too terrible much far off from that. I don't trust leaving anything electronic near the windows of this place in winter.
    Smudge marks? None
    Batteries? None

    And I dunno... there's just something relaxing about just handling a nice paperback novel.

  • Re:A what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @05:39PM (#41996145) Homepage Journal

    "Read in the bathtub without worry of losing more than about $12 and the time Amazon takes to ship? Check"

    Only if you buy cheap paperbacks. I buy leather bound signed 1st editions. A couple of my books are worth more than a 64gig new ipad.

    I buy books to read.

    Cheap paperbacks work just fine for that purpose.

  • Re:A what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@ya ... m minus math_god> on Thursday November 15, 2012 @06:55PM (#41996817) Homepage Journal

    Catalog all your books? nope.
    Buy a book on the fly from almost anywhere? nope.
    Easily share a book and automatically get it back? nope
    Easily look up a new word? nope
    Fact check from anywhere? nope.
    Check a book out for the library without going to the library? nope.
    All the books weight the same? nope.
    Immediately share a clever passage or turn of phrase? nope
    Adjust the font size? nope

    Book get smudge marks. No only do they get smudge marks, they are difficult to impossible to remove.

    Yeah, boo hoo if you don't take precautions you might drop it into the bath tub. Or you could put it in plastic, or into a case, or, you know, stop reading while soaking in your own filth and take a shower. Then sit by the fire with all your books and pick and choose.

    Oh, I drop my Kindle into the tub. Damn that was stupid of me. I guess I;ll just have to read from my computer, or phone until I get 79 dollars.

    Once you drop you paperback into the water, you'r done reading.

    I get it. I thought the same thing, then I get my wife a kindle. Cause there are a shit ton of free romances.
    The I used it and , man unless it's a nice hard cover or signed, I don't even want a hard print book.

    "And I dunno... there's just something relaxing about just handling a nice paperback novel."
    Yes, it's you emotional attachment to the idea of how someone should read a book.
    There are people who enjoy reading, and there are people who read to own books.

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