November 12th, 2005


OK, so I jumped on another bandwagon. A few weeks ago stonemirror pointed out a cool service that lets one catalog one's library ... ... it's remarkably easy to use, just plug in the book's ISBN number and most of the time it will come up with all the rest of the info on its own (well, with the help of Amazon, and a couple of times I had to plug in the UPC code because it was drawing a blank on the ISBN for some reason). I just got the three boxes of "recent reading" plugged in and am trying to figure out how to approach my bookshelves.

As I've noted previously, I really didn't read much of anything aside from manuscripts and stuff I was editing the entire time I ran Eschaton Books (from 1994 to about 2001, at which point Eschaton was pretty much dead but I kept trying to do CPR on it for a few years). Sometime around 2002/2003 (although the dates get hazy, as I didn't start specifically dating my books until 2004) I did start reading again, but primarily cherry-picking titles out of the sizeable backlog of books that I'd built up over the years (where I was still buying books, just not reading them).

I'm going to need to come up with a "system" for my pre-Eschaton books. My library is arranged chronolgically according to when a particular book was read, but, unfortunately, nothing is actualy dated prior to 2003 (and I only have two specific dates in '03). The books from 2004 and 2005 are easy, as I started adding a pencil annotation in the hand-press library seal that I add to my books when I've finished them, but before that I'll just have to guess about the dates! I have 10 bookcases in here, with five shelves each, so I could probably just assign numbers to them, C2-S3-01 or some such, which would then preserve the linearity.

I have previously attempted to catalog my library about a half a dozen times and always got bogged down in the process, this LibraryThing system is good because the only thing you really need to type in is the ISBN. One thing I will need to figure out is the best way to use the "tags", as I probably am going to want to classify stuff by "Hinduism", "Thelema", "Theosophy", etc., etc., etc.

Anyway, I jumped in and bought a "lifetime" membership (at $25) which allows me to log in unlimited books ... the free account only lets you put in a couple of hundred, and I'm looking at a good couple of thousand books here. If you want to go take a peek, my catalog is here:

One thing that I hope they add is a functionality to allow users to upload their own cover graphics. One of the challenges (as I've noted on some of my book reviews here) of my "dated" reading is that the cover graphics predate the Internet, which means that if somebody somewhere at some point didn't go back and scan in old graphics, there's no image to be had at any of "the usual suspects"'s sites. Since I have been scanning in book covers for use in my LJ, I'd like to be able to replace the "blanks" wtih my own graphics, but right now it doesn't seem like there's any way to do that. Oh well. Go check it out!

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