Saturday, March 17, 2007

Cataloging our Library and Movie Collection

I've wanted to catalog our huge book collection and our growing movie collection for some time, if nothing more than for insurance purposes. We have a good collection of movies on DVD, including some rare ones and some out of print (though Criterion is doing a good job of bringing back some goodies like M. Hulot's Holiday) and it would be difficult and expensive to rebuild the collection if we ever had a fire. Not to mention the fact that books burn (!) and if we lost our book collection... well, let's just say, I'm more attached to my books than I probably ought to be, with my old Walter Farleys and Stephen Meaders and wonderful old cookbooks that have been out of print for decades. "Where moth and dust doth corrupt and thieves break in and steal," to me, means when your books get mildewy or burn up, and when you loan out DVDs and then forget who borrowed them.

Anyway, after test-driving a number of catalog software, we finally settled on BookCollectorz and MovieCollectorz. Being a real cheapskate, I used a coupon plus the discount one gets for buying the two software packages together, and then I bought the barcode scanner on eBay, and ended up with a much better deal than it appears. The barcode scanner is not indispensable, but it sure does make things go faster. Anything with a barcode you can just scan in, and then let the software search online for a match. Of course only about half of our books are recent enough to be barcoded, so I end up manually entering many from their printed ISBNs, and then there are still a ton that are too old to have an ISBN printed in them, so those I add manually. It's a very slow process. I do a shelf of books at a time. Master K. scanned our movies in for me which was very helpful of him; we have a grand total of 176 DVDs at the moment, with several of those being boxed sets.

Any time I sort books, dust books, alphabetize books, move books around or search for a specific book, it takes a lot longer than it should, as I have to visit with my old friends. So this is going to be a long-term project.

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