Need LOC numbers for 7500 books.
September 4, 2011 4:13 PM   Subscribe

Have library of 7500 print books. Have Android phone with barcode scanner. Want to order them by Library of Congress number. Is there an app for that?

This is a task I've wanted to tackle for a long time. We are book addicts, and every time we've moved the library is larger and larger and harder to organize. Relying on Library of Congress numbers seems like the simplest solution.

Here's what I'd like to be able to do: take down a shelf's worth of books, either scan their ISBNs with a barcode scanner using my Android, and export the metadata to a database (online or local). I'd like to be able somehow to match the ISBN for a book with its LOC number, print the LOC number onto small labels (transparent, if possible), stick them on the books, and use them to rearrange the whole library.

The Goodreads app will give me the ISBN and ISBN13 numbers. But what I really want is the LOC number. Is there an app that can also provide LOC information? At the very least, is there such a thing as an ISBN to LOC converter? I realize that there are also LOC numbers for different editions and printings, so this could get complicated. The more streamlined I can make this process, the more likely it is to get done, and the less time I'll need for searching through all the bookcases in the house for an elusive book and/or wondering if I merely dreamed that it was in my possession.
posted by tully_monster to Writing & Language (7 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I don't use Android, but there's a Delicious Library iOS clone called Shelves that might give you the LOC, or you could talk to the developer and make a feature request.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:22 PM on September 4, 2011

Readerware will do a lot of this for you. Given a list of ISBNs, it can pull LC call numbers. You'd also end up with a fully searchable catalog of your home library, and having the database would certainly make the initial arrangement easier.

That's the fun solution I would choose, but I'd be a bad librarian if I didn't tell you to open up your books to the copyright page and check to be sure there isn't LC data already there. Most books reprint both subject headings and call numbers from LC at the bottom of the copyright page.
posted by donnagirl at 4:32 PM on September 4, 2011

Response by poster: donnagirl, Readerware does indeed sound promising--thanks! And I'd be a bad scholar/researcher if I didn't already know the LC data wasn't on the copyright page. :) But I'd rather not have to manually input 7500 LC call numbers if I can help it (though I will, if there's no better alternative).
posted by tully_monster at 4:49 PM on September 4, 2011

i'm not familiar with loc numbers but i recent scanned my books using bookcatalogue and uploaded them to librarything. seemed to work reasonably well.
posted by canned polar bear at 6:00 PM on September 4, 2011

I know this is tangential, as you're looking for an input-via-phone, but Librarything has a supply of the old Cuecat barcode scanners they will sell you for $15. Cuecat + Laptop and a few hours, or bringing them in bunches to a desktop for scanning will absolutely work. Scan them into Librarything and you can grab the LC number in a few ways. My suggestion is to add LC to the View using the view options for Your Books, which you can then print if needed. Very handy.

Librarything also lets you export the details of your library in useful ways, if you need.

Looking over my librarything account, not all books have LC classes attached to them. For those, you may have to dig into the LoC itself and grab them.
posted by griffey at 8:31 PM on September 4, 2011

Hmm... our state library subscribes to WorldCat FirstSearch, which is my favorite place to look for call numbers. If you have a simple barcode scanner for your laptop, it'd be pretty quick to scan FirstSearch for an LC number.

You can also search the LoC itself using Z39.50 -- that'll get you the basic cataloging info. I did find LC numbers buried in some records at LibraryThing, but have no idea how to make them useful. The default collection view settings don't seem to allow you to sort by call number (I bet someone else has figured that out though). I guess that assumes that you'd want an on-line catalog of some sort, searchable by keyword or subject heading. Maybe not?
posted by hms71 at 10:16 PM on September 4, 2011

Yes, buy a membership at LibraryThing and start scanning. The initial catalog it creates will be good for you, and the extra features you can use once it's set up will make it all worthwhile!
posted by wenestvedt at 7:15 AM on September 5, 2011

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