Saturday, 24 July 2004

Getting the ISBN codes off 1000 books

Being able to display book information on the Blog is really the nice end result of having the information in the first place.

I've always wanted to have a definative list of my books (being anally retentive) but have never got round to it. However it now seems the right time to do it:

One of this weekend's chores is to strip out our box room to make room for a nursery...

Some of the casualities in this operation are about 800 books which need to go into storage. I've bought some large plastic containers with lids which look like they'll keep the damp out of any books stored inside - but before I put all my books away I want to capture that list of them.

The easiest way would be do have a barcode reader which I could use to scan the ISBN code on the book - then from the ISBN list you'd then be able to look up any other book details using the Amazon Web Services tools (described earlier). Only snag - barcode readers are both expensive and also really 'old' tech. I bought one several months ago and have had no luck getting the damn thing working with XP/my keyboard.

Its a CiperLab 1000 handheld scanner - it needs to be setup in a 'keyboard wedge' mode - but I end up getting just a load of garbage from it when I try and scan.

Other alternatives were:- use a webcam with some software as a barcode reader - there are some mentions of this on google - but nothing that is recent and very viable.

Other options - how about a clever palm based app that could use the inbuilt camera (which would be perfect on the Sony Clie UX50) - no such application as far as I can tell - lots of addons (in the case of the Sony Clie theres a really nice Bluetooth barcode scanner accessory).

Finally I thought someone might have written an application for a series60/Nokia phone - there is one - but couldn't get it working on book ISBN codes - the free version looks limited to other codes.

So - looks like I can save more effort (maybe) and certainly money if I just type the damn ISBN number in manually - then I'll verify that amazon comes up with a match before the book goes into the storage box.

Then I can learn scripting, XML, SOAP and how to access Amazon Web Services to create a nice library page on my blog (that might not make it into the 'completed tasks' list this weekend...)

1 comment:

  1. Give me a shout when you're ready to intergrate with Amazon, as I've do a bit of work with this.