Among the many great unsolved mysteries of the world––mysteries such as Stonehenge, Easter Island, and the Bermuda Triangle––there are smaller mysteries which are no less important, and sometimes even more troubling: Who made off with my copy of Monty Python? Did I lend my copy of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead to John? Or, did I ever own a copy of Outliers? I was so sure I did...
The Amazon query function works quite well and provides a wealth of info about the books in your collection.
Keeping track of our many possessions is often a daunting task, particularly for those who read quite a bit; you likely have shelves of books that are in near constant flux; a friend will borrow one, a friend will lend you one, you may lose one, you may forget one at a friend’s house, etc. Keeping track of which books you actually own is tricky. Luckily for anyone stuck in this particular difficulty, there is hope in the form of Koingo Software’s Librarian Pro 2.
This PIM application is focused on helping to organize books, magazines, CDs, and movies into manageable libraries. The software functions much as you might imagine from its name––the software holds a full inventory of your books, movies, and music and allows you to keep a log of which items are lent out to friends (meaning that John will no longer be able to get away with siphoning away your favorite books).
I did occasionally run into an error message when looking things up on Amazon
To test out Librarian Pro 2, I brought out a stack of some of the books I had lying around my living room and began the task of entering them. The task seemed a daunting one––seeing as I was prompted to provide information such as title, genre, ISBN, author, publisher, list price, publication date, and on, and on. Luckily for those who don’t view entering all of this manually as a rolicking good time, the software includes the ability to look items up on Amazon.com. This feature certainly expedites the creation of the library and includes information that I wouldn’t likely even have bothered to enter. The library looks very good when filled with a decent number of books and there are two possible ways to view the library: as a sortable list, or as a sort of display case showing the covers of each book.
Entering books manually––when not on Amazon––takes longer but is quite straightforward
The only snag I ran into was that Amazon.com did not have every book I was attempting to look up. Several times I attempted to enter books that Amazon simply did not have––meaning I had to manually enter everything. Luckily, these instances were few and far between. The software does a very nice job of streamlining the input process.
In addition to being impressed with the Amazon query function, there is also a Best Buy query for use with CDs and DVDs. The software also allows for importing lists from some other cataloging applications (which would make setting up your library even more easy if you have that information in an application already). Finally, the borrowing system seemed nicely arranged. After marking a book as borrowed, you are prompted to enter who borrowed it from a list of your email contacts. The book then appears in the borrowed folder with the date that it was borrowed.
The list view of the library makes browsing a collection very simple.
Overall, the software is something that would definitely be of use to anyone who wishes to keep tabs on a large collection of books, movies, or CDs. Simply having a database to search for book titles would be enough, but Librarian Pro goes above and beyond with features to make adding items easy, and a great system for keeping track of borrowing, as well as support for exporting your database to other computers or to your iPod. I intend to continue using Librarian Pro and cracking down on any unresolved mysteries of books that have vanished from my own personal library. It is good to know I have Librarian Pro 2 to back me up in this goal.
The shelf view is also a very attractive browsing option.
Colin is a student at Pennsylvania State University and has worked for MacReviewZone since the iMac G5 came out