Readerware Update

So I installed Readerware onto J's computer last night. I installed it on her PC because it's in the living room with most of the books. I then spent some time running through some books to see what kind of results I could get. I got one shelf done relatively painlessly. Out of 36 books, 34 were found in online databases. Basically, anything with an LCCN will come up. The two that didn't show up were a 1962 paperback edition of A Program for Conservatives by Sen. John Tower and a 1977 pamphlet entitled What Catholics Believe by a priest whose name escapes me. The program even picked up my 1970 paperback of Inside the Third Reich.

So far, it's worked amazingly well. Here's some things I've noticed. I have it set up to search 6 (maybe more) databases (Amazon, B&N, Borders, Books-a-million, and two LOC). I have it set up to merge information, so the first database that returns a field wins. This may cause problems later, because it populates a 'Category' field that may not match between entries. It also doesn't return fields equally for all books. I had to manually fill in some blanks for things, especially on older books. Inside the Third Reich was the worst, and unsurprisingly, the oldest. In general, the older a book is, the more blanks it will have. A nice feature is that it checks ISBNs for the checksum digit, so if you mistype the ISBN, it lets you know.

We may have to move to a modified LCCN system for organization. Some of the books do not return a LCCN number. I am not sure how to handle this at this point. I'm thinking some sort of a determination will have to be made to put it in a top level LCCN category and call it good. Anybody with experience in library science is free to offer helpful suggestions. It also lets you add user fields. I have put in one for location, and may add another for a reference number.

So far I'm very impressed. At this point it's definitely worth the money. I'd like to try the CD version because that should be almost trouble free, especially with a bar code scanner.

Update: Oops. I left out the fact that it will read from ISBNs as well as (and better than) LCCNs. LCCNs get a little strange. One of my old Asimov paperbacks came up as a Swedish technical dictionary using the LCCN. Strangely, old paperbacks are better about including ISBNs than old hardbacks. Go figure.


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