02 July 2018

Libib: Built for Personal Collections

After many years of book buying, I was inundated with books! Boxes and boxes that didn't even all get unpacked whenever I moved. And I suspected I might be buying duplicates without realizing it. I needed help! So I did my research online and found a nearly perfect solution for my problem: Libib.

Question: Is it Libib or libib?
Answer: "We have a very strict policy on spelling: use what visually looks best. ;)   It is pronounced luh-bib."
Libib is a cloud-based cataloging system, a website and app that catalogs books, movies, music, and video games in one place. There are apps for iPhone and Android phones that use the camera to scan barcodes into the system. You can also log into your account from your phone to see what you have so you don't buy duplicates!

Click for larger image

They have two account types, Standard, which is free, and Pro, which is $9 a month or $99 a year. I have the Standard one, so I can enter 5,000 books and create 100 different libraries, which should be plenty of books for me. The Pro version has many more options and larger limits - 100,000 items, multiple administrators, a circulation system, unlimited patrons, etc. Very much aimed at professional librarians in small libraries.

You can enter books by scanning their ISBN barcodes or manually typing them in, as well as by searching for title or author. Libib takes the ISBN and creates an entry for that item, filled in with all the standard information you would expect, title, author, description, etc., all of which can be edited. Tags and notes can be attached to each item. Items can be put into groups within a library, which is useful for book series. You can review them, too, and there is a public-facing view of your Libib catalog to show the world . I'm sure there are more Libib tricks, but those are the ones I'm sure of after one week of using the system.

Without a smartphone, my solution needed a second part called bcWebCam, a free piece of software for Windows computers that lets you use your web cam for barcode reading. It's a very simplistic little one-trick pony. It scans the ISBN barcode on a book, decodes it, and sends the number to the computer as though it were keystrokes you typed in. That means you can put the cursor in any text field in Libib or a text file or any other program, and the ISBN will show up there. You can even set it to add an "Enter" keystroke at the end, to make lists or to start Libib looking for that number.

Finally I feel like I have a handle on my large book collection! I am getting them all scanned in, making decisions about discards, and organizing them by categories on my bookshelves. Now I can browse my titles and find something to read for a book challenge or readathon. Hurray!



bcWebCam  - Use your web cam for barcode reading (Windows)

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