Additional scenarios

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Additional scenarios

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Nov 8, 2006, 11:42pm

I am interested to hear of other usage scenarios ("use cases", if you like) that might be worth exploring.

The basic idea of carrying your LT catalog around to check have / want lists, which was the original motivation, seems to be okay.

A recent release adds a Web icon at the top (if you have a Blazer or Opera on your PDA) that jumps to LT's works page. Such a hybrid mode ought to help with ratings, other titles / editions, and so on that are missing in the single catalog. But on the tiny screen, even HVGA, with all the navbars, it's a bit cumbersome. Absent a redesigned page for this form factor, I think it's just for emergencies. The LT Mobile page is trying to solve a different problem, and consequently has no more information than the PDA already had, so it's not worth going there.

Of particular interest are uses where data goes from the PDA back into LT.

Minor edits like tags ought to work when sync'ing. They don't now, but it's not for lack of a conceptual model for what to do.

From the ISBN form, a handful of numbers can be entered. With check-digit validation, it's pretty easy to avoid Graffiti typos. The resultant list seems perfectly compatible with LT's Universal Import.

For books noted by author and / or title, you don't want to just copy the fields into a new manual entry. Rather you want to do a Add Books search. I am not sure of a good way to orchestrate this interaction, though. One thing I tried, which worked a bit better than I thought it would, was writing the new entries to XML, XSLT'ing that into an HTML table with a column full of links to the add PHP. Then you go down the table clicking on each and working with LT to get the right book into your catalog. One obvious drawback is that there is no tracking of which ones you've done already other than the browser's coloring of visited links differently. Would it be worth trying to get LT to support a staged upload? I know Tim's been reluctant to head down the slippery slope of importing more than ISBNs from other catalog software, but this is designed to be just a rough note. It does have a little structure to it, though, since one might have bothered to enter separate parts of the Author and Title (Pamuk, Snow). And that gets flatted into the search. Would it be worth trying to have an advanced Add Books search with multiple fields? The Z39.50 query ultimately supports it, at least sometimes. I'm really trying to avoid suggesting changes to LT without a clear understanding of how they really would help.

For actually adding stacks of books in one's library, I don't really think a PDA is a good tool. For portability, I'd borrow a laptop / tablet and a CueCat (in fact, that's just what I did personally). I cannot really imagine anyone getting a Grabba for LT use.


Nov 10, 2006, 12:02am

Well, I bought a SocketScan for my PDA just to enter stacks of books. It worked great; not that I would recommend it from a cost perspective.

Now I usually add books when I bring them home from the store with the book in hand. I don't think I'll use the PDA catalog to add books to LT, unless I decide that I like the wishlist collection feature when it comes.

It might be nice to have a way to flag a record if I happen to notice an error, so that I can remember to correct it in LT.

3eichin First Message
Dec 14, 2006, 12:35am

The grabba doesn't look too practical for personal use - but don't forget that Delicious Library has had a deal on the Flic bluetooth laser scanner since the beginning - which can scan-and-store and then download later, or live-scan (and coding for it is trivial, bluetooth serial and a documented protocol.) The device is small, light, and you can leave the computer across the room (one reason, I think, that delicious library will "speak" new titles :-)

Back In The Day (tm) I had code that worked with the symbol scanner on the handspring visor, and on the symbol 1700 integrated palm/scanner (that's *really* not practical for home use, but the visor was) and it would just save every bar code and an optional note and shelf number; then after hotsync, a script would sync the barcodes with another (long dead) library project.

Anyway, my use case for a pda client is primarily "do I have this already" with a secondary "yeah I can loan you that" feature. Third might be wishlisting :-)