Arman's stuff
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A Librarian Is Me!

(Fri Feb 6 10:08:06 2009)

Well, ok, I'm not actually a librarian - but I've built myself a library program. Close, right?

It's not done yet; it currently will scan and remember books, but not much else. However, since it's written in Perl, it's really easy to upgrade (someday I'll learn Python, but until I come across something I can't do with Perl, I'll stick with what I know).

Anyway, my "Smart" scanner program can use UPC, EAN, ISBN10, ISBN13, and probably anything else scanned from a book. Input using a handheld scanner (such as a declawed CueCat) or a keyboard. If you scan a non-ISBN, my program will actually google for the number, then search the search results page for an ISBN-like number. Once it has the ISBN, it searches biblio.com for the book, and saves a bunch of information from the site (title, author, publisher, # of pages, cover image, etc.) to a database. If it doesn't get what it needs from Biblio, it will (eventually) google for the other information.

There are three pieces that are likely to need maintained: the Google search string, the biblio.com search string, and the two or three regexs to pull the data from the biblio page - though I'm betting they won't change all that often. Google has used that search query for ages, and the biblio code doesn't look as if it's changed much either (though it still manages to be a simple, clean site, unlike amazon).

My eventual plan is that this will be a fully functional book database, complete with frontend for searching the already-scanned books and stuff. If, for instance, you want to loan out a book, just scan the barcode and click "checkout." Easy! I'll also have a web frontend where you could do the same thing, or just browse your books. Can't remember which shelf has the book you're looking for? My system will tell you (assuming you were diligent enough to enter it when you first scanned the book). There's lots of other little goodies, too; book checkout (who has my book?), shelf number (where did I leave it?), status (oh, right, lost that one), and even last-scanned (well, I scanned it since we moved, so it's got to be around here somewhere...).

In fact, for books without barcodes, you can even print out labels! If the ISBN is in the front cover, use that; otherwise, tell the program there isn't one, and it'll make one up for you.

With a little care, every book I own will be in the system. If I could get a decent printer, I'd be able to test the label printing part, but oh well. At least I can look at the image, right?

Now if only I could get a webcam to recognize the cover...

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This blag is tagged: Books, Computers, Projects, All