drcpunk (drcpunk) wrote,

Cataloging With and Without Scanners

I've been busy enough I haven't written up the rest of the WorldCon panels yet, and I don't know if the freshness label will expire before I do. But I'm still cataloging the books. I've rearranged the used hardbacks, and I'm trying to flow things so that mneme can see much of what he might want to borrow, although it does occur to me that the Wynne Jones books he didn't realize I had were always in the front stacks. Still, photos may help.

Today, jlighton brought over his bar code scanner and his Mac. We used this to scan 9 of mnemex's living room shelves of books. Some observations:

We own a lot of old books. The scanner doesn't work on most paperbacks with only back cover bar codes, at least, not USAn ones. It's less persnickety about UK bar codes on the back.

When the scanner doesn't work, I can type in parts of the title, the author's name, or both. This generally works. But, this saves me little, if anything, in the way of time. I know that it gets me way more data, but much of this is data that I don't actually want.

So far, there was only one book the search couldn't find, one specific Fallen Angel graphic novel. Only one volume -- it found another one with no problem. It also found an old collection of Japanese haiku.

The scanner turns itself off if there's no activity for an extended amount of time. I think we're talking 30 seconds, maybe a minute. This is a pain. The workaround is to scan air to keep it happy.

Excel seemed to be able to handle the file I exported. It reported 2 munged records, out of over 300 entries, which isn't bad.

"Creator" is the name of the Author field. It contains the author's entire name, first name first. I have separate fields for First and Last names (with anything not last going into the first name field). So, I need to spend extra time figuring out how to peel off the last name. I can write a perlscript, if all else fails, but I'm hoping Excel can peel off "everything to the right of the final space in the field".

As we went on, the task became harder, because the shelves had a lot of non-book materials. By the time jlighton was ready to leave, I had 4 shelves left in the living room, and these were jammed with stuff, especially as I tended to move small items lower down as we went. mnemex has since moved most of the non-book materials either somewhere better, or, failing that, to a shelf I've already done.

After the study, there's three bookcases in the bedroom. The one on the floor won't be too hard to get books off of, but the other two will be a little trickier.

Once I've cataloged the books in the living room, I'm thinking mnemex might want to rearrange them so that they're more in order. This will be made a little trickier by the Absolute Sandman crowding out one stack of paperbacks, so far, various small stacks of books in front of the main mass of books on many shelves, and mnemex's preference not to double stack books.
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