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Why LibraryThing? And/or Why Bookcat?

Talk about LibraryThing

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Dec 15, 2009, 6:41am Top

I was wondering... Are there many people who have their books both on LibraryThing AND on their local PC on a program like Bookcat? If so, why? Or why not? Maybe my question really is: what are the main differences between LT and Bookcat, and why would you use the one or the other? Is LT 'better'? Or is Bookcat 'better'? I have been dabbling with both, and my feeling is that BookCat takes cataloging to a level LT doesn't and won't ever reach, but that LT focuses more on the social aspect, or that LT is, say, 30 % about cataloging, 70 % about social interaction. Your feelings / ideas / musings ?

Dec 15, 2009, 7:01am Top

Bookcat costs 40 bucks. Is it worth it? I know you don't get the code ... I would really like a good open source catalog system, but no can find.

Dec 15, 2009, 8:32am Top

I have my books on LT and my Access DB which I developed for my books. My DB came first (2001), so I used it to import my books here. I am very happy with my DB and won't ever discontinue it, but I also like LT.

I like having my books on-line and some of the social connections. My DB is not interactive, so I enjoy that LT is (I can go to other book sites looking for a specific book). LT isn't edition specific and I think that is a real drawback.

I even have another on-line site which is GoodReads. I started over there when LT was down for a week or so, way back in the day. But it is not as developed as LT. I didn't take the time to put in my books without ISBN.

Dec 15, 2009, 8:42am Top

I found LT while searching a way to catalog my books. Despite all issues, it is good enough so never searched another way.

I am doing exports now and then so that I have a copy and I have a printed copy so that I can just look through things but other from this... no other catalog.

Dec 15, 2009, 8:47am Top

LT is better - I've actually heard of it! What's Bookcat?

Dec 15, 2009, 8:50am Top

I use Bookpedia (by Bruji, on the Mac). It's pay, proprietary software. Like FicusFan, Bookpedia came first for me.

Right now I use both side by side. I store all info in both places and use LT for my social reading (participating in challenges, finding recommendations, keeping track of wishlists and collections) and I use BookPedia for management (who borrowed books, which books do I have). An added advantage is that BookPedia syncs to my iPhone for offline collection tracking. (I use all pedias, Book-, Game-, DVD- and CD-). Unfortunately LT and Bookpedia don't talk to each other, so I manually synchronize, but they contain the same info on both side.

Dec 15, 2009, 9:27am Top

2: There's Koha.

Dec 15, 2009, 10:58am Top

I migrated from Collectorz.com Book Collector because the social elements of LT are so valuable to me.

Dec 15, 2009, 11:08am Top

The major point with a catalogue for me is to know which books I have when I'm in bookstores. Thus I need it online, accessible from my mobile, and I want to be able to enter data from any web browser anywhere.

I have a local (FileMaker) database, but I stopped updating it early this year.

Dec 15, 2009, 11:33am Top

>2 Collectorator:, 7

Koha ain't no LibraryThing. It's a full-fledged Library Information System. Major universities use it. It's also fine for public libraries, but it's way too much for a personal library, especially if you're not a librarian. Chris Catalfo, one of our programmers, used to work for LibLime, the maintainer of it.

Dec 15, 2009, 11:48am Top

In addition to LibraryThing, I keep 2 Excel spreadsheets: One is my list of books that I own including series order, number of times read, and page count, fields on which Excel can easily perform functions where LT cannot. The other spreadsheet is my currently reading list, where I track reading dates, including those of short stories (whereas in LT I only catalog the physical books).

Dec 15, 2009, 12:03pm Top

I cataloged our books in Excel before I found out about LibraryThing.
Now, I keep parallel catalogs - here and Excel.
I tend to vacillate between being ADD and CDO, which became quite useful when I focused on rearranging all of the books (at the time, around 1,300) in our house according to Dewey.
I track the dimensions and weight of the books, and created a slew of formulas to tell me how many linear inches each whole-number Dewey classification I had. Then I created a whole other set of formulas to figure out which books would go on which shelves. After that, the moving of the books was a breeze. LibraryThing doesn't help too much with that level of insanity.

Dec 15, 2009, 1:28pm Top

I have mine databased in EndNote, which I had before LT existed. I still maintain both files, and have found them to be complementary. Some information, like price and where I bought the book, is only recorded in EndNote, but most info is in both places, so they back each other up. LT has greatly contributed to finding cover images for the EndNote file!

I wouldn't want to decide which is better, because they each provide different functionality. EndNote lacks the social aspects entirely, of course, and does not do things like recommendations or series. LT won't format a bibliography for my research paper.

Dec 15, 2009, 2:29pm Top

I have had half a dozen off-line catalogs, from Excel to BookCollector, and never once got all my books into one. All my SF, yes, and that was useful - but by the time I got around to cataloging my less-used genres, I would have bought more SF and gotten rid of some and had to start all over again comparing what I had on the computer to what I had on the shelf.

In LT, for the first time, I actually got all my books cataloged (well, pretty much. I might have a few in storage that aren't yet listed). I'm still checking out off-line catalogs now and then, mostly to find something that will let me catalog books, DVDs (and VHS) and CDs (and MP3s, and LPs, and...) as fully, accurately and easily as LT does for books and Take11 does for videos. I don't think I ever tried BookCat - it looks good, but not for $40.

2> You might check out DataCrow - I've just downloaded it, and it sounds good. Open source and supposed to draw from the web when you enter stuff. I haven't yet tried it out. And the one thing I really want is for it to be able to accept exports from LT, at least for the base info.

I export Tab-Delimited and turn it into a HanDBase database on my Palm (I don't have internet access on my phone - too expensive, basically) so I can check what I have when I'm at a book sale or enter something that I want to add. Also use that to track my reading and enter reviews, then I can sync and cut-and-paste the reviews and reading dates to LT.

Dec 15, 2009, 3:18pm Top

I used to do the Palm sync thing, but it was a drag to update is as often as I wanted to, so the Palm inevitably lagged behind weeks or months. As for access costs, I only pay by the megabyte, not by the minute, and the LT mobile interface is so slim that each time I call it only costs me a cent or two.

Dec 16, 2009, 12:42am Top

14, thanks for the tip about DataCrow. It's Java. I can't do that. I need plain o' php+mysql.

Dec 19, 2009, 7:11pm Top

I had my own Access database long before I found LT. I haven't exported my LT data back to it even though it has some features I miss. It was time consuming to manually add everything, which is what led me here. I was evaluating LT, Readerware and BookCat and chose LT.

Other than my regular exports of the tab-delimited spreadsheet and updates of PalmThing, I don't have the data on a local PC program. I may resurrect my database someday, but my programming skills are only moderate and I have big ideas.

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