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May 22, 2005

{     Delicious Library     }    

I'm an organizer. I'm the sort of guy who will spend a Saturday arranging his DVD collection in alphabetical order, only to reconsider the benefits of a genre based system several hours later, and follow it with a last-minute bid at a shelf in which movies are grouped by director. My books have always been grouped by type (this shelf here is all of my computer books, look up here for my novels, and if you're looking for science texts they can be found on the bottom shelf) and my music collection is stringently organized by artist. I like my things to be orderly and sensible. Perhaps it's on account of my upbringing: my mother has been a librarian as long as I've known her. I'm quite well versed in the dewey decimal system. Go ahead, ask me where to find a book at your local library. Over the years I've made several attempts to keep a record of the things I own and collect. Be it a simple text file in which I list every NES cart I own or an Excel spreadsheet, sorted by creator or artist, in which I roughly catalog my burgeoning media shelves, I've made several crude efforts over the years to keep track of my things. Those days are over, because I've found the answer to all of my needs in one powerful and elegant program. I have found Delicious Library. Unlike other cataloging systems, Delicious Library does not force you to navigate an arcane and boring series of lists. Instead, it gives you a virtual bookshelf on which your collections are artfully displayed exactly as they would be in your physical collection (if you had unlimited space to display them and could shelve them with their covers displayed). It simply looks fabulous, and like no other library system available today. Using the robust and freely available "Amazon":http://www.amazon.com web API Delicious Library will instantly contact the "world's largest bookseller" and download the cover art, the format, the authors/directors/artists, and other pertinent information by searching for the title or the UPC/ISBN number. It even knows the size difference between a mass-market paperback and a hardcover or between a Game Boy Advance cartridge and a PSP UMD, scaling the cover art appropriately. Finding what you want is as easy in this program as it is on your own bookshelves at home. Because the Amazon search encompasses not only the in-print section of the website as well as the user driven used section, you can find a surprising amount of stuff. After adding all of my "GameCube":http://www.nintendo.com, "PlayStation":http://www.playstation.com, and "Xbox":http://www.xbox.com/ titles to my library I thought "I wonder what would happen if I searched for my old Nintendo carts. Not only did I find Castlevania, I also downloaded a scan of the cover art. Using Amazon dot com as a source of information allows Delicious Library not only to find information about the things you own, but also the things you might like to own. The program takes advantage of the online marketplace's recommendations and aggressive metric collection to offer you addition products, directly from the library. You can even add similar products to your shopping cart with a click of a button. If all this commercialism strikes you as a little bit crass (which I would have to say was rather self-righteous of you, considering the circumstances) you can assuage your soul knowing that all proceeds from these purchases go to various charities (such as tsunami relief). But Christ, who has the time to type all of this in? With even a medium sized collection locating and typing in the UPC codes becomes tiresome very quickly. This is where Delicious Library gets really cool. Using your "iSight":http://www.apple.com/isight/ or other web camera you can scan in the barcode and have your results instantly. Being organized has never been easier. So, you've typed or scanned in your entire movie collection. Opening the program you can see the covers in all their lurid detail. Now what can you do with it? Quite a lot, actually. You can sort your collection by just about any index you can think of, and some you probably never considered. You can search by genre, and if you're using "OS X 10.4 (a.k.a. Tiger)":http://www.apple.com/macosx/ you can create smart bookshelves for any of these searches. You can edit any of the text you've downloaded from Amazon, add your own rating or notes, or change the artwork. If you have an iPod, your entire collection can be synchronized to it (if you ever have the problem of not knowing what you own and don't own at the video store or you just want to show off to your coworkers). Or, most interestingly, keep track of who borrowed what and when he or she needs to return it. Yep, just like your public library you can check your books, movies, or games out to anyone in your "Address Book":http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/addressbook/ and assign a certain date it ought to be back on your real shelf (the default is one week). Delicious Library uses "iCal":http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/ical/ to set up an e-mail alarm. When your borrowers have had your things quite long enough Delicious Library will send them a polite little e-mail requesting that they kindly return said items to you at their earliest convenience. Priced at a mere $40, Delicious Library is quite honestly a bargain. If you care at all about keeping close track of the things you purchase, do yourself a favor and put off those next two DVDs until you've downloaded this. One small caveat: In case I haven't made it abundantly clear, Delicious Library is an Apple only sort of program. Windows users. . . I guess you're shit out of luck this time. "Unless. . . ":http://www.apple.com/macmini/

     » Download and purchase Delicious Library from the adorable official website.

Comments

Thatís a really really really sleek program, I downloaded it a few weeks ago and Iíve been super impressed. The first thing that I put in was a Quebec Bridget Bardot DVD that's entirely in French and DL found it immediately. I've gotten pretty obscure with it and I've stumped it a few times but for the most part it's been stellar. I've also tryed to scan in the barcodes of NyQuil, Doritos and other stuff lying around my place becasue it's just so easy with the iSight. It's so fun, you just put the bar code in front of the camera and it's there.

I only have a few minuscule, well, their not even complaints really, wants? I understand that the Amazon database wouldn't allow this, but it would be nice if you could scan in magazines. Also, the functionality of their Widget is kind of so so but I'm still wearing it like a proud Cub Scout badge on my dash board. I highly advise anyone unconvinced to download the demo and mess around with it. You will not be disappointed.

Posted by: Lindsey Baker at May 24, 2005 6:51 PM

Having had experience with this, would either of you reccomend it for those of us who don't have iSight and are faced with a good 10+ hours of tedious data entry in order to log everything?

Having just spent an entire weekend plotting my movie collection into a crappy spreadsheet, I can certainly appreciate the beauty of this program, but I just don't know if I have the patience to type in all those SKUs and UPCs, on top of the personalized reviews that I know I'll want to slide in instead of the standard Amazon copy....

Posted by: Adam at May 25, 2005 7:28 PM

Well, as a guy who has made countless spreadsheets for any number of things I've collected over the years I have to say I feel much more comfortable with an honest-to-god program like this. There's just a whole lot of extra power here.

You do have a much more massive media collection than I, at least as far as videos are concerned, but at least your stuff actually has UPC codes and is likely to be in the Amazon system. I'm in the middle of cataloging my NES carts, which more often than not requires me to enter the information in manually, then find a box scan. I think it's worth it though, just to see those NES boxes "on a shelf" one more time.

I think if you just do it in chunks, a few things at a time, it really wouldn't be that bad.

If you can turn that spreadsheet into a tab delineated text file Delicious Library will be able to import the information. I can't speak for what it will do when it gets there, whether it will automatically search Amazon for your extra info or you'd have to hit the "reload from amazon" link, but that option is there.

Posted by: benjamin at May 26, 2005 4:26 PM

I don't think it would be too large of a project with out an iSight. Ben said he didn't even use an iSight to put most of his collection in. Thereís even an option (that I didn't try) where you can use your mic to say the item youíre entering. Anyways, youíre out of Angel Seasons to watch...just buy an iSight. Just DL Delicious Library demo and mess with it and you'll be hooked.


Posted by: Lindsey Baker at May 26, 2005 9:41 PM
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