So I bought a CueCat from eBay, well I think I did. May have bought it, then canceled it via some PayPal confusion. I’m waiting for dust to settle.
This little gadget is a scanner for barcodes. CueCats were originally given away free as part of an unsuccessful marketing scheme that added barcodes with web addresses built in to magazine and print ads. But it didn’t go over well and people got mad that the scanner actually encoded more info than just the code. So people have been rendering all but the barcode reading part useless for years now and selling them on eBay. Properly modified, they just scan in the barcode numbers via the PS2 port. The computer thinks you typed it.
I never had use for one until now. I figured I’d need one whenever I finally got some cataloging software, it will save me from typing all the ISBN numbers for the rest of my books. In case you were wondering, the only kind of barcode scanner available commercially is at least $160, so these little CueCats are brilliant. Where did I learn of them? I’ve no idea, probably reading someone’s blog.
I’ve decided to include some of my smuttier books in LibraryThing. I almost decided not to, since it’s possible anyone could get a random erotic cover in the sidebar. But the percentage in the overall collection is small, so I’ll risk it. One of my criteria for what I will post, versus not post is whether it would bother me if my dad were to read it. I’m not embarrassed by my erotica/porn. It’s not like there are stories or pictures of me or anything. I have well-rounded interests. Besides, I saw my first porn on video when I stumbled across a small stash of my dad’s. I watched it all of course.
The fact that my dad had porn didn’t bother me, that he had borrowed it from a friend freaked me out. One of the tapes had his friend’s name on it. This is someone I also know. It totally freaked me out that they had talked about porn openly enough to have shared their collection. This was in the early days of VCRs and they’re both tech geeks, so it shouldn’t have surprised me really. But I was young, maybe 13. Now I’ve got my own stash and have loaned movies and have had some really hilarious conversations at parties about porn. So from my current perspective, I’m just glad my dad has close guy friends.
Okay, this started out to yet another love letter to LibraryThing and got off track into porn, back to books. I popped open one of my book boxes that happened to be sitting in the hall outside my office and already un-taped. It’s a mish-mash of kid’s books and not organized like my other genres so I pulled some out and entered them. Some of the older ones (like a gift given at my birth in 1969) don’t have ISBN numbers so I couldn’t enter them. Some of my teen romance books that I spent all my allowance on aren’t in the databases either, even though they do have ISBN numbers.
So I did a little research about the history of ISBN numbers. Turns out they were approved in 1970. More than you ever want to know can be found in Wikipedia. Because they are running out of numbers, ISBNs will be 13 digits instead of 10 starting in 2007.
I found other editions of most of my kid books, but I think the teen romance books will have to be entered manually. They have Library of Congress info printed in them, but LT seems to only get info from the LoC database on hardcover editions. Not sure why, I’ll have to look into that too.
A friend asked why I would want to enter my books at all. I was so excited by LT I hadn’t even considered that everyone wouldn’t want to do it. First, I have no idea how many books I even own. So now I will have a searchable, tag-able, catalog of my books, and the data can be exported. Second, I love looking at the Similar Library feature and seeing who has what books that are the same as mine. LT is (or will become) part of the larger blogging community. Maybe I’ll find more great blogs to read. Third, I’m a compulsive collector, and part of that malady is organizing the collections. I love to sort things.
Okay, I’ve probably scared away any readers that don’t already know me personally with this post. Those who already know me have gotten beyond the fear or are alike enough not to see the freak of me.