Thursday, March 29, 2007

Bibliophilia

I collect, read, and, unfortunately, occasionally have to move, books. Two-week summer vacations at the beach as a child were chances to max out the number of books I could take on loan from the library, and see how quickly I could finish them. With the advent of someone paying me to learn, instead of the other way around, I began to collect. Some I collect to re-read. Many I collect due to nostalgia about all those weeks at the beach, or the late nights at home, trying to hide my reading light from my parents, but some I collect so that I may foist them upon others who come to visit. And there are those that I still plan to read.

The collection is growing. I have a number of bookcases, no two the same. Books are packed two-deep, both height and depth, and with little organization, making the occasional foisting-upon a bit of a challenge. There are several good, large, used-books stores in the Bay Area, one fatally within walking distance of my apartment. No shelves have died quite yet, but some are obviously under duress. Managing this collection took a great leap forward this past Fall, when I finally obtained some cataloging software (Readerware) and spent a weekend scanning all my ISBNs, although I do have one shelf dedicated to those books too old or too odd to yield up their identity via a handy set of 11 digits. However, this only solved a part of my problem. When I am at home, I can near instantaneously tell you whether or not I have a particular book. But I can't take advantage of this when at a book store. I've done pretty well so far on memory alone, but I do have a few duplicates.

As of last night, my solution is nearly complete. One of my coworkers tipped me off about LibraryThing, and I have to admit, they have done a good job. It was fairly trivial to import my Readerware database, and as of this morning, it has resolved all the uploaded ISBNs. My collection is now online. And they have a page for mobile users. I'm going to need to find a new way to exercise my memory.