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Old 11-21-2005, 08:28 AM   #1
ktinkel
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Default Intelliscanner Media Collector?

I am trying to organize my book collection. I downloaded a couple of little database programs (Bookpedia, $19; and Booxter, $15) and like the way they work — feed them an ISBN number, and they scurry off and find title, author, number of pages, price, many other details from Amazon, Library of Congress, or the British Library.

My books are of two types: with and without ISBNs (many of each type). Typing in the numbers is tedious, and every so often I make an error, so doubly tedious.

Bookpedia will search on keywords for books lacking an ISBN. I tested it on D.B. Updike’s Printing Types, and it found 7 editions (of about 10, but close enough).

Both of these programs work, they say, with something called Cue Cat, an experimental scanner sponsored a year or so ago by Radio Shack. They gave away the scanner and you signed up for some sort of TV-related program. The program fizzled, but the scanners are supposedly available (perhaps even free from Radio Shack, which seems unlikely to me). They also say that other barcode readers may work.

For (much) more money, I found Intelliscanner Media Collector. It is a small scanner, available tethered (USB, $179 list) or Bluetooth (which would run with the iBook, $279). It ships with its own software, which looks fairly similar to Bookpedia’s (sort of iPod-ish).

Has anyone used one of these things? Is it likely to work reliably? I have something like 850 books on cookery, 2200 or so on typography and design, and perhaps 200 art books. I would love to automate this process — any advice on how this (or some other scanner) would do?

   
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Old 11-21-2005, 10:23 AM   #2
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Dunno about scanners, but the iSight is supposed to work very well with the cataloging app most talked about at MacInTouch, Delicious Library.

   
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Old 11-21-2005, 10:37 AM   #3
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Any of the library supply places will have barcode scanners. You could ask at your local library to see if they have any recommendations or horror stories.

   
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Old 11-21-2005, 10:45 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by annc
Any of the library supply places will have barcode scanners. You could ask at your local library to see if they have any recommendations or horror stories.
That's an interesting idea, but most of the library models are (a) PC/Windows only (or mainly); and (b) much more expensive.

Maybe I'll call the local library and ask anyway, though. Thanks for the idea.

   
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Old 11-21-2005, 11:03 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by ktinkel
That's an interesting idea, but most of the library models are (a) PC/Windows only (or mainly); and (b) much more expensive.
I think you'll find they're USB in the main, and they might be more expensive, but they do work! Libraries won't stick with scanners that are unreliable, which is why I suggested you ask at your library.

   
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Old 11-21-2005, 11:14 AM   #6
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KT:

they scurry off and find title, author, number of pages, price, many other details from Amazon, Library of Congress, or the British Library

Do you have a choice? I'd love to have the UDCs for many of my books, but British publishers usually won't tell you more than 'The CPI is available from the British Library'.

   
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Old 11-21-2005, 11:20 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by ElyseC
Dunno about scanners, but the iSight is supposed to work very well with the cataloging app most talked about at MacInTouch, Delicious Library.
There is a long (and illuminating) discussion of this class of software on Macintouch, but none of the products seem to work better than Bookpedia, which was also my impression.

Booxter is probably best of the lot if you want to set up multiple libraries.

However, the most important thing I gathered from reading the discussion is that none of the programs seem able to deal with huge libraries like mine, as they hold the entire database in RAM. Yikes.

The serious collectors all use Filemaker. I started out with that a few years ago, before scanning was an (affordable) option and before software could easily leap onto the web and fill in details from ISBN or title (which is what these little programs do). Anyway, I let the FM database (and the app, for that matter) lapse.

I know FM will work with a variety of barcode scanner; wonder if it can be made to go out and collect details from Library of Congress, Amazon, etc.

I could update FileMaker. Or (and) could explore how well the mini-FM-like database module in AppleWorks does, as that came free with the iBook. And I wonder how the Media Collector software that comes with the Intelliscanner works — does it keep the whole file in RAM? Have to look into that.

Thanks for the links.

   
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Old 11-21-2005, 11:39 AM   #8
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The database in Appleworks looks like FileMaker Pro, but works nothing like it. Any attempts I've ever made to do anything at all in it have sent me screaming out into the street, or to the liquor cabinet for strong drink.

If you decide to go to FileMaker Pro, you will have to pay full price - they now have a policy of allowing upgrades from the current version only. However, it's probably the best solution for you - stable, good sorting and reporting, and reasonable layout tools.

   
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Old 11-21-2005, 12:19 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by annc
The database in Appleworks looks like FileMaker Pro, but works nothing like it. Any attempts I've ever made to do anything at all in it have sent me screaming out into the street, or to the liquor cabinet for strong drink.
That was my initial reaction. But I was hoping.

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Originally Posted by annc
If you decide to go to FileMaker Pro, you will have to pay full price - they now have a policy of allowing upgrades from the current version only.
So glad you mentioned that. I have been tearing my hair trying to get that bit of information out of their dreadful uninformative web site.

I even registered so I could get access to e-mail, only to discover that my query (about upgrade cost from 4.0.3 to 8) could only be discussed by phone, for which they referred me to their phone options! I needed a phone number, not an option!

Instead I started to wonder whether some other DB program might be a better choice! Why are they so coy? You said it in 5 simple words — you’d think they could do as well.

It appears they want you to pay for the upgrade, fail in installing it, call for an installation number, and then be told what it costs to get it. (This from their Knowledge Base on upgrading.) Nasty. Is the software so wretched that they just assume no one will be willing to pay for it?

Never mind. Just grousing. I thought if it was cheap enough I might try to go back to my old book database, see how it worked and whether it would search the web from an ISBN, etc. Wonder how the downloadable trial is limited.

   
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Old 11-21-2005, 12:22 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Rowley
Do you have a choice? I'd love to have the UDCs for many of my books, but British publishers usually won't tell you more than 'The CPI is available from the British Library'.
Each of these little programs has a different set of options. Most of them search Amazon (many Amazons), Library of Congress, and British Library.

Some work from title/author or key words, others from ISBN only.

And all of those I looked at are Mac-only, though I did see in the discussion on Macintouch that one or two (unfavorably reviewed there) were also available for Windows. I think the Intelliscanner/Media Collector combo is also available for both platforms.

   
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