Warning: huge nerd alert ahead. Huge.
So, since I'm something of a bibliophile, I've been looking for some time for a way to organize information on my book collection. I wanted a database akin to what they have in public libraries; a system that would allow me to search for books or authors and perhaps even to keep records on what books were located where - on loan (my friends borrow a lot of my books), in my shelf, missing and so on. After a bit of searching, I found the BookCAT database. I started using it a few days ago, and I feel the urge to review this tool and the use I put it to.
The software costs approximately $40, or NOK 250. I had some trouble downloading it at first, as the confirmation email never arrived. However, I contacted the FNPRG help desk and they sent me the email within 24 hours of my payment. Set-up and installation was straightforward and easy, and I could start adding books to my database. The icons are fairly self-explanatory - a green plus-sign for adding new files, a blue arrow for editing and a red minus for deleting - and once you create a new file, a window opens with various fields for information (title, author, number of pages, ISBN and so on and so forth). You fill in the information you want to store, or better yet - enter the ISBN number and download the information from the internet. This feature eases the work significantly when you, like me, have a few hundred books to catalogue in this manner.
When you have entered the necessary information for a book or document, you click "Save" and the file is entered into your database. I'm not very tech-savvy, so the simplicity and logic of the program are much appreciated. So far I've entered just over 20 books and not encountered any problems. You can switch from "Book View" - where you add new books - to "Explorer View" which allows you to search your collection by title, author, genre, keyword and so on. There are other views, though the one I am looking forwards to using the most is the "Loan View," to keep track of any stray books.
The BookCAT deserves cookies for:
*simplicity; the system is very user friendly
*built-in Internet searches to gather information and images for your book
*affordability; the fully functional version is around $40 and an update approximately $20
However, the system works best with British or American books, seeing as the available sources for the Internet searches are mainly international - my Norwegian books, for instance, get no results to download and so I have to enter all the information manually. And of course, to enter 400 books into this database takes considerable time, but this would be the case with any database, so I won't hold that against BookCAT.
In conclusion: I love my BookCAT database. I will spend many a snowy afternoon by my laptop, entering books and jumping for joy when I have a fully searchable library organized right at my fingertips.
It makes me insanely happy whenever I search by author and type "wodehouse" and I get my entire Plum collection right there on the screen, ready for browsing ^^ The manwhores think I'm crazy for even considering cataloguing my entire library, but I have plans to double the number of books I own within the next ten years and if one owns close to 1,000 books, a semblance of order is essential.