Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Book Project

I've been planning to catalogue the household library for several years. I estimate we own somewhere between two and three thousand books, so it's always been a pretty daunting task. A couple of weeks ago, I actually got started on it. I've been using GCStar as my cataloguing software running on an Acer Aspire One netbook. The netbook allows me to have a very mobile station so I can move around the house as I catalogue. For the upstairs, I've been set up in the ping pong room using the ping pong table as my work space. I use banker's boxes to transport books to and from the shelves. They're nigh perfect for transporting and storing books. GCStar has been excellent software for the task. It's multiplatform (I'm running it on Ubuntu). It's straightforward to use and can usually pull book data and cover pictures from online servers such as Amazon's using only the book's ISBN. The process may take tens of seconds, though. So that can slow things down. As I log the books, I make sure to tag each with Post-It Page Markers, so I don't recatalogue the books. This also allows me to be put the books back on the shelves without worrying about a mix up. So far, I've logged 215 books. I timed a logging a boxful of books, including the shelving/unshelving and transport times and found that I could average about 1.1 books per minute. Including a 1.5 factor of safety, I figure my worst case average should be around 44 books an hour. So, as a conservative estimate, I figure it will take about 68.2 hours to log 3000 more books. As a baseline goal, I'm trying to log at least a hundred books a week, so that should take no more than 2.5 hours of book logging a week.

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