Monday, 22 September 2008

Having A Sort Out

Whilst I've been at home, with most of my books, I decided to embark on a project which has been waiting for a while. In the true librarian spirit, I've been cataloguing my books. 'Cataloguing', in fact, is rather an inaccurate term - my project hasn't taken the smallest bit of specialist knowledge, or in fact any knowledge beyond the title and author. And, if I can find the record, the date I bought the book and the date I read it.

Our Vicar's Wife was most in favour of this project because it involved a lot of dusting - my shelves and books are now cleaner than they've ever been, and I have little folder books filled with cards with book details. Sadly I've now run out of them... which might prove an incentive to stop buying books. Of course it will do nothing of the kind.

Always happy to invite you backstage at Stuck-in-a-Book, here is the sort-out in the middle of its activity. Tomorrow I might unveil the undusty, organised and respectable looking rows of books.

As you can see, each author gets a card, and then their books on that card... so, once I've done the ones in Oxford, I'll be able to tell you how many books I own and how many authors there are - that's got you on the edge of your seats, hasn't it? The difficulty will be updating it... especially when I run out of cards... Asda have stopped producing these little books, you see.

So far the author with the most entries?
Agatha Christie. There you are.


  1. You could start your own library by the look of things! Fantastic job.

  2. I've been in an incredibly organizational mood lately, too. :<) Maybe the start of fall??

  3. One suggestion: Remove the cards from the books, sort as you like, and put the cards in file boxes with labeled separators. Another suggestion - well, question, actually: Have you tried ? It's great. You don't even have to pile the books by the computer (all of them anyway). You can search a title and when you find one that matches a book you own, click on it and it's added to your own Library.

    For many of my books I've found other librarything users who have the same books - so, I can make use of that. If their cover is different from mine I can either find mine online or scan my own. I like having the covers with the info. It's interesting to see who has the same books - and interesting to see which of your books have only a few others with the same titles. I have several of those.

    Give it a try. You can tool around through it, taking a look-see. You can even sign up for a 'free' account (up to a certain number of titles). It can get addictive, though... :-)

  4. I was also going to suggest librarything. Or one of the other book listing sites like goodreads which is the one I use. You can always choose a private setting if you don't like the idea of people seeing what books you have. But then half the fun is comparing your library to other people's especially when their tastes are similar to yours

  5. I use LibraryThing, it's most useful and there are tons of literary groups there too to talk about literature. I'm quite addicted to it.

  6. Wow!

    Last year, when I was searching for a job and getting very bored, I made a spreadsheet which has everything I own in it, whether I've read it or not, and if read, the year read (if I can remember).
    I havn't updated it for books bought recently, but at the moment it tells me I have 768 books. I'm not telling how many I've NOT read!

  7. Simon, please can you come and do ours?!

  8. Simon, a thought has just struck me ... in this 'sort out' did you actually find anything you wanted to get rid of?

    No - I thought not ;-)

  9. Another recommendation for LibraryThing. I *adored* the cataloguing process, it enabled me to look through all my books again, and rediscover some. If you have a vast number of books, I can recommend getting the (very cheap) CueCat ISBN scanner from LT.

  10. Dear Oxford Reader
    You can import your spreadsheet into LibraryThing.
    When all your books are in librarything you can export a list.
    I love spreadsheets & I have just introduced my other half to librarything.

  11. Cataloguing is more than it seems. It's about you as much as it is about books. You're cataloguing something of yourself - and as you do it you get to sense the evolution of your taste and you mark out the transmutations in yourself as you tick the books through. It's a lovely exercise. I catalogued my books once with a view to selling them at the end. Once I had done it, though, I couldn't.

  12. Great post! I'm always interested in checking out other people's books.

    I also like to write the date I bought the book on the first page. Now I have developed a new habit - writing the date I finished reading the book on the last page. :D


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