Recommended Tool: ReaderWare Book, Music, and Video Cataloging

Recently Harold Taylor, a Canadian time management expert ( mentioned in his newsletter that he has over a thousand books in his home library.  I, too, have over a thousand books at home and over the years have tried many ways of keeping track of them.  Years ago I found a great tool for cataloging books: the very reasonably priced (USD $75.00) ReaderWare (  Using the “CueCat” wired bar code scanner that comes with the software, I simply scan the bar code on newer books and/or type in the ISBN number or US Library of Congress (LCC#) and ReaderWare automatically scans the internet for all information pertaining to that edition, including cover photos, then it pulls it all into a single extensive catalog entry for each book.  Any books it can’t find, or older books with no ISBN, can be entered manually very quickly. I’ve been using ReaderWare for close to ten years and have cataloged both a small library at work (we scanned and cataloged 200 academic books in less than two hours) and my library here at home, which I’m still working on as time permits.

Each book’s entry has a huge number of fields, all of which are optional.  This includes Location information and a way to notate if a book is sold, loaned out, given away, etc.  There’s also room for recording edition/printing information (ReaderWare lets you know if your book may be a First Edition) and even for recording a narrative description of cover details if the one you have doesn’t match the photo ReaderWare came up with.  Or you can locate your cover’s photo on the web and copy and paste it into ReaderWare, or upload your own photo of the cover.

One interesting feature is the capability to know the pricing history of a book.  I tend to keep price stickers on my books and so was able to enter what I’d actually paid for the book.  ReaderWare often provided the original selling price and what the book is currently worth.  Sometimes it was thrilling to see that the book I bought secondhand for $1.00 was actually a first edition.  Other times it was disconcerting to see that a book I’d paid $19.95 for was now valued at $0.25!

Search capabilities enable quick searches by Topic, Keyword, Title, Author, or other entries for any book in your collection and allow you to know where to find it on your shelves without using stickers that might damage the cover and reduce the value of the book.  There’s even plenty of room for your reading notes as well.   And there’s more, too many features to list here.  Go to the Home page of the website above, click the Features link, then scroll down on the new page to see all this software does.

Not only is the price reasonable for a book cataloging program, but the $75.00 is actually the 3-program bundle price that includes similar software to catalog your Video and Music collections as well as your books.

I whole heartedly recommend ReaderWare and the CueCat offer.  For those who might want to go wireless or already own a barcode scanner, I recommend reading the information under the OrderàBar Code Readers section of the website above.

If you purchase it, I’d be interested in hearing how you’ve put it to work and what you think about it.

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction…and the Joy of Victory

Dear Readers,

Years ago I heard of a book titled “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction.”  I never read the book so this entry isn’t about the book.  But the title has stuck in my head for more than twenty years.  At first, it was a curiosity: what could such a title be talking about?  Later, it became a reminder to do my duty: that sometimes things we don’t enjoy doing are non-optional duties that require “a long obedience.”  Off and on through the years I focused on the “in the same direction” part, realizing that I needed to be more consistent about doing good things, making good changes, and substituting good habits for bad.

Today I discovered the joy of exercising “a long obedience in the same direction”: after many years of working to whittle down and organize my accumulation of papers and books, and after a hiatus from that obedience of several months, today I sat down at my home office desk and groaned at the piles of paper covering it’s top.  My one goal over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays was to clear that desktop down to the bare bones and it just never happened, for various reasons.  I’ve been putting the clearing off, dreading the process of sorting papers yet AGAIN!

But as I began the process today I realized that the habits I’ve been trying to build for so many years are beginning to pay off.  What I thought was another huge stack of unsorted papers turned out to be already sorted stacks that just needed to be filed away.  It took much less time than I expected, only about an hour and a half. So here I am, with a spot for my laptop and the actual time to share with you this victory.  Yes, there are still plenty of things to be done, but today I’m taking the time to thank God for success and savor the moment.

How about you? Is there a book title that has impacted your life? Is there a victory you’d like to share?  If so, I invite you to share it here.

Resources on Persistence

The One Way to Guarantee You Won’t Succeed Michael Hyatt


Did you gradate from your eduation?

Sometimes even companies that specialize in education in one way or another can miss important typos, especially when it comes to catching omitted letters.

“Eduation” – that’s how Josten’s, a diploma manufacturing company, misspelled “education” on high school diplomas – for two years.

Makes me think of the letter of invitation I received from a university when I was approaching high school graduation: it began “Dear Lara, we hope that yo are looking forward to yor gradation…” and thus it continued: between the “Dear” and the “Sincerely” there was no letter “u” to be found.  I thought at first it was a stuck key problem but then noticed that my name and address at the top of the letter contained two “U”s and there was a third in a postscript line.

Both Josten’s and the university I received the letter from are entities normally known for their high quality of work.  In fact, I’d bet they use multiple proofreadings to catch such errors.  However the human brain has the ability to see what it expects to see, even when it’s not there, so occasionally important typos can get by, especially if a single person is doing the repeated proofreadings.

One of the best ways to catch letter-omission errors is to have more than one person do the proofreading.

Do you have a project you’d like another set of eyes on? Use the Contact form to send me a description of your needs.