The OF Blog: I'm in the process of cateloging my book collection

Thursday, April 08, 2010

I'm in the process of cateloging my book collection

Never really had done it before and since I might want to trade in a few dozen books in the next month, it'd be nice to see what I have in stock and how many duplicate copies I may have acquired over the years.  It'll probably be another week or so before I'm finished, but I think I'm nearing the halfway point.  I've entered almost 950 titles and authors into a spreadsheet (since several of these books have no ISBNs, no use utilizing online tools for these, since I have different goals with this data than just cataloging titles) and it's interesting to see the variety of titles I have and that's without tapping into the older books that I have in storage in my walk-in closet (probably about 800 or so titles in total there).  I'm estimating that I have somewhere between 1900 and 2200 books in my possession now, up a little over two times from seven years ago, when I moved back to Tennessee from Florida.


One interesting bit:  Almost 50 books are bilingual dictionaries or foreign language textbooks.

Oh, and I'll do a more accurate count later, but it seems I have a little over 300 books in languages over than English, with at least 250 books in Spanish alone.  Might be closer to 350 total non-English books, but I won't know for sure until I have everything entered and then can scan the titles quickly to check the numbers.

Any of you ever discovered anything interesting about your book collections whenever (if ever) you've cataloged what you own?

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

What are you using for creating the catalog? Have you considered librarything.com?

Ian Sales said...

You should put it on LibraryThing, when you're done.

Larry said...

Library Thing doesn't interest me because I want to create a specialized spreadsheet and not have this be a social networking deal. So I'm using Excel 2010 Beta, which will not only generate nice printouts for me, but I also plan on adding information that wouldn't fit with what I've seen from online resources like Library Thing or Shelfari. Add to that the fact that I have several books that don't have ISBNs and it just made more sense for me to create a spreadsheet rather than utilizing an online program.

Larry said...

I guess I should add that I don't know if I'll want to have a listing of all my books available online, as this cataloging is just for my benefit alone.

IZ said...

Just so that you know, you can make your book collection private on LibraryThing, so only those people you allow to see it can see it. Also, you can export your LibraryThing data in the form of a CSV file (openable by excel) or as raw text. Also you can add your own comments about your books - both private and public.

In case you can't tell, I'm a big fan of LibraryThing. :-)

Larry said...

True, but since I want just a spreadsheet outlook the first time and since it's easier to read the spines from afar rather than gathering every single book (well, those that have it, as several books are several decades, if not over a hundred years old) to type in ISBNs, which would take about as long each time as it would to type author and title and have notes on language, gender, and if it's a street release or not.

Michelle said...

This is very interesting! For years, I've wanted to catalogue my books (since books from three generations are on my shelves) and never got to it. I'm using lovelybooks.de (pretty much a German LibraryThing), but I don't actually like the social networking side of things (most people on that site are morons, plain and simple) and it also relies on ISBN. There are programs as well, but the free ones didn't convince me.

Would you consider posting a "How to" guide for your approach once you're done?

Larry said...

I can give it here. I have three main columns right now - author, text, and language. I'm using red under the author's name to highlight how many are women and am thinking of differently colored texts in the title column for the types of fiction I've read. I use (ARC) and (2) at the end of the titles to note how many are repeats and/or which ones are advance review copies for which I have no finished copy.

I'm printing this out to serve as a flipchart of sorts when I'm looking for something, so this is the simplest way I've conceived so far of keeping track not just of the books, but of certain trends that online catalogs wouldn't do as quickly.

Should note that I expect this to be about 35-45 double-sided printed pages when I'm done.

Michelle said...

Thanks so much for the quick explanation! Maybe I should really give this another try!

Larry said...

Can't hurt!

Terry Weyna said...

I've been slowly cataloging our collection on LibraryThing (a decent source for us, as I want the catalog primarily for insurance purposes; I'm an insurance lawyer, after all, and we tend to worry about things like fires that burn up not just the books but also the computers on which the catalog resides). I've cataloged close to 9,000 books and still have 11 bookcases and one closet to go. Yes, we're insane.

Larry said...

I think you have about 5-6 times as many books as I do, Terry. I don't know if I'll ever let my collection surpass 2500 or so, especially since I never plan on buying a house.

Terry Weyna said...

This is what happens when a bookworm lawyer marries a bookworm English professor when they're both a bit older (I was 45 when we married, he 58, when we merged big individual libraries, and in the ensuing years we've both egged each other on in the acquisition process). Last time we moved (1992) we had over 200 boxes of books. I'd hate to think what the count will be if/when we move again.

Larry said...

Well, as long as you keep it under three trailer-sized U-Haul trucks, your collections will be kept under some control, I would think ;)

 
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