App for creating a home library catalog
September 30, 2014 11:33 AM   Subscribe

I am now the steward of a collection of a few hundred books left behind by a deceased relative. I'd like to create a catalog of these books. What is the best and simplest app for that? (I don't mind paying a few bucks. iOS is preferred.)

In particular, I'd like to be able to scan barcodes, or where barcodes are unavailable, manually type in ISBNs. I'd also like to be able to take photos of the books' covers, in case whatever online database sits on the other end of the app's queries doesn't have an image of the cover (or doesn't have the cover at all)—or in case the book doesn't even have an ISBN.

I'd also like to be able to upload the eventual catalog to a website for easy perusing, and I'd like to be able to share the catalog publicly. Thank you for your assistance.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell to Technology (10 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Have you looked at LibraryThing? It ticks most of your boxes, and lets you use a barcode scanner to input the ISBNs.
posted by janell at 11:38 AM on September 30, 2014 [3 favorites]

Goodreads has a pretty great barcode scanner.
posted by lydhre at 12:10 PM on September 30, 2014

Yeah I would setup a Goodreads shelf for this. You can scan the barcode (or type in ISBN/author/title) and have it add them to this specific shelf. Then you can set that shelf to being viewable publicly. You can also do batch editing on their website and export to various options.
posted by msbutah at 12:15 PM on September 30, 2014

Thirding Goodreads for the integrated barcode scanner. LibraryThing limits you to 200 books on a free account.

If you don't like Goodreads, you can always export your data somewhere else, as msbutah explained. Also, you are not likely to find ISBNs on every book. Sometimes there are other codes, but often none at all. In that case, Goodreads will usually have a version that matches your publish date, publisher and format.
posted by soelo at 12:23 PM on September 30, 2014

If you come across books on Goodreads that are missing information, you can have it added by requesting a librarian add the info or you can become a librarian yourself. There is a group of librarians that takes requests; just search "librarians" in the groups section. If you have a cover image that is not on GR, you could add it in the same way.
posted by soelo at 12:25 PM on September 30, 2014

LibraryThing rules, and sounds perfectly suited to your requirements.

And they still have some left from their huuuge cache of CueCat barcode scanners that they sell for cheap (15 bucks) here.
posted by wenestvedt at 12:43 PM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

I vote LibraryThing, which is a labor of love run by passionate folks (much like metafilter), as opposed to Goodreads, which is a data-mining operation owned by Amazon. I'm not sure about the latter, but LibraryThing also lets you export your collection easily for a permanent backup catalog, and is very customizable in general.

I think free memberships cap at 200 items, so you may need to pay them a few bucks, but it's worth it.
posted by susanvance at 1:21 PM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

Amazon owns AbeBooks which owns 40 percent of Library Thing.

Shelfari is also owned by Amazon.
posted by soelo at 1:33 PM on September 30, 2014

Response by poster: I have an old CueCat, but I would think a phone would be easier, particularly because it's wireless. I am really looking for a mobile app more than a website.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 4:42 PM on September 30, 2014

I usually only interface with Goodreads via the iOS app. It's also available on Android.
posted by msbutah at 8:51 AM on October 1, 2014

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