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New Stuff

I'm usually jealous of anyone's new toy, and I've been nothing but jealous since Handful of Sand put up a list of all the books he owns. I was wondering how he did it, and he was kind enough to point me along the way.

So now I've got a nifty piece of databasing software that will keep track of my book collection. I've thrown some stuff randomly into the mix, and spent some of today (when I wasn't working on a massive final report for my Clinic) putting together a page listing everything I've had time to enter.

OK, probably not the most noble achievement. For one thing, I have far more... shall we say plebian?... tastes in books than many of my peers. And for another, most of my books are in storage boxes far from here. Still, it was a chance to work with XSLT, which I've not had in a while.

The collection can be accessed from the "BOOKS" link in the topbar, which you'll notice no longer has a dropdown.


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I'd love to know how you did it... mostly the data entry... I can build the SQL db, and use XML/XSLT to display the data. But if you have an easy way to scan in books, I'm all ears!!
I see that things have sorta come full circle. Are you not old enough to remember the early days of the Web, when people posted their CD collections on their websites for lack of anything better to post? But you've got me mildly curious; did you invest in a barcode scanner too so you didn't have to type all that, or did you manually enter in all the info? As a long time bibliophile who used to keep a file card catalog of his book collection (and who actually developed my own classification system so I didn't have to go to the trouble of learning either the LC or Dewey Decimal systems :-) ), I am sympathetic to the idea of putting a book collection in a database, but actually investing in a barcode scanner for that purpose strikes me as taking things a bit far....
Len: As you well know, many of the things I do on here have about as much justification as one gets for climbing Everest. It can be done, and so I do it. I didn't invest in a bar-code scanner, for two reasons: first, you're right, it seems a bit excessive. Second, I'm out of USB ports, so any bar-code scanner is going to require a new USB hub. Book Collector actually makes things remarkably easy: you type in the ISBN code, and it looks the book up from either Amazon.com, the Library of Congress, or (most usefully from my point of view) a number of foreign libraries. So the only typing involved is the ISBN code and any touch-ups do the downloaded data. Anyway, no one has to look at it. As I said, I'm mostly pleased with the fact that I managed to customize the XSL templates.
It can be done, and so I do it. And what more justification does anyone need in life? [Y]ou type in the ISBN code, and it looks the book up from either Amazon.com, the Library of Congress, or (most usefully from my point of view) a number of foreign libraries. I caught that looking back at the Book Collector site after I made my original comment (that'll teach me not to post first and read later, eh?). Nice little feature there. As to running out of USB ports, I'm noticing that, even in the newest machines I have to support at my work (the ones with the most onboard USB ports), there appears to be a Parkinson's Law at work here that provides that the number of USB peripherals on a system expands to occupy the number of USB ports provided by the system. I don't think the situation is going to resolve itself anytime soon.

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