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1myxomop
Feb 19, 2012, 6:13pm Top

Hi LibraryThing-ers,

I have fallen in love with this site. I'm using it to compile very comprehensive lists of bound volumes pertaining to a niche within a niche of botany: tropical mycology. The only downside I've found is the lack of local support for eBooks located on one or more of a user's machines. To compensate, I've tried using Calibre, but it's not as feature rich, there are not nearly as many databases to search through for obtaining metadata, and there are far fewer fields for specific info on each entry (ie: no page numbers, no physical description, no LC Call Number, etc.) Is there any software out there that interacts with Library Thing to allow for eBook support, or is this a feature we can expect to see here on Library Thing sometime in the future?

Many thanks in advance,

-myxomop

2Helcura
Feb 20, 2012, 11:43am Top

It seems to me that tags would solve your machine issue, i.e. "Fungi in Tropical Brazil" tagged with Office PC as well as Brazil, ebook, etc. Then you can search on tags if you want to know what's where. Lots of people put location tags on physical books (third shelf bedroom or whatever).

Ebooks are really just like other books from the LT perspective - they get combined into works if the ISBN matches or if a member manually combines them; you can put book length in kilobytes into the publication information if the book doesn't have page numbers.

Is there some other specific thing you're looking for, besides location, that is not available on LT?

3lorax
Feb 20, 2012, 2:14pm Top

there are far fewer fields for specific info on each entry (ie: no page numbers, no physical description, no LC Call Number, etc.

What do these even mean for ebooks, when page numbers are flexible since fonts can be adjusted or when you're viewing it on different screens, when there is no meaningful physical description? LC classification numbers will be available as long as your book is properly combined into the work -- if your ebook of "Mushrooms of Brazil" is properly combined with the printed version, all the work-level metadata will be available. (Book-level materials like page count and physical description obviously will not be, but they don't mean anything for ebooks anyway.)

4rsterling
Feb 20, 2012, 2:50pm Top

lack of local support for eBooks located on one or more of a user's machines

What kind of support do you mean/want? You can certainly catalog eBooks here, and many people do. As someone mentioned above, you can use tags and/or collections do distinguish your eBooks from print books, and to note their locations if you want (you could also use comments or private comments for some of that information).

Maybe one difficulty is in adding eBooks to your LT catalog. LibraryThing relies on external sources for book data: sources like Amazon, Library of Congress, or other booksellers or libraries. (I have to add there the caveat that Amazon's data isn't as good as library data). EBooks may not be included in those external sources: if you're adding using Amazon, you can usually find Amazon Kindle books, at least, but with other sources, it will just depend on whether they have eBooks within their catalogs. I'm guessing many libraries may not have extensive collections of the eBooks that interest you.

However, there's always manual adding, where you can enter the book's details yourself. You could also import a list of eBooks without ISBNs by formatting a CSV file in a specific way that can be recognized by LT's import process.

Is there some other kind of eBook support that you have in mind?

5myxomop
Feb 21, 2012, 1:40pm Top

Thanks for your replies.

To simplify (since it seems my meaning may not have been completely received), I'm talking about PDF management within LT; to navigate to a book's description page and have the option of browsing its accompanying PDF, Mobi, DJVU, etc. Perhaps also some functionality that would allow importing a scanned book and having LT extract the metadata needed to form an entry. The ideal, of course, would be the ability to search for terms within the text itself in OCR-ed files. These are features I'm sure LT would only ever dream of implementing at the local user level, in light of the obvious copyright issues inherent in scans/eBooks shared among the membership.

In my particular schema, I don't consider digital copies of books to be separate from their physical counterparts. I consider the LT record (or the Calibre record for that matter) to be for the book in physical form, the master copy, if you will.

I hope that clarifies things a bit.

Thanks again,

-myxomop

6lorax
Feb 21, 2012, 2:19pm Top

In my particular schema, I don't consider digital copies of books to be separate from their physical counterparts. I consider the LT record (or the Calibre record for that matter) to be for the book in physical form, the master copy, if you will.

That's how LT works, too. Which is why, as I said, if your digital copies are properly combined with the print versions, you'll see all the information that pertains to all copies.

But in general, there's no one right number for, say, page count, no "master copy". So unless you just want to clone the record for an arbitrarily chosen paper edition, you won't get those.

7jjmcgaffey
Feb 21, 2012, 3:44pm Top

Yeah - LT really doesn't have books, only the records of books. You can use links to go to a publicly-available e-copy of a book, but I doubt very much LT will ever let you go, directly, to a book on your computer. Hmmm - though thinking about it, I believe you can put links into Comments (or Private Comments, which might be better (for security) if you're linking directly to your own computer); you could do it that way.

Beyond that, no, I don't think it will happen.

Oh - I just looked at Calibre. Do you know you can add your own columns to it? Right-click on a column header and at the bottom of the menu is Add your own columns; click on that and a window opens up showing all the Calibre columns and a green plus on the right which will let you enter a user-defined column. You'd have to enter the data by hand, but once you did it would be available for future reference. (This is version 0.8.39, not quite the latest - don't know when the user-defined columns were added, but they add features and fix bugs practically daily).

8EmScape
Feb 21, 2012, 4:54pm Top

There are also some user-defined columns that have been configured by users who are much more coding-savvy than me which you can also download as "add ons" ... I found mine by browsing the mobileread.com forums under "Calibre"

9legallypuzzled
Feb 21, 2012, 7:28pm Top

It almost sounds like you need "bibliographic software." Have you looked at Mendeley or Zotero? Both allow you to store documents and have the software attempt to pick out metadata, and both have very good search functions.

LibraryThing has some limited Zotero support. (Work pages expose a decent amount of bibliographic data for citations.)

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