# Thursday, November 03, 2005

About a month ago, I blogged about LibraryThing. Several other bibliobloggers have mentioned the service as well.

For the unaware, LibraryThing is this cool service you can use to catalog your books fairly easily. For example, here's my profile.

The service has grown by leaps and bounds, and the guy who runs (Timothy Spalding) it has added some nifty stuff in the past month. I'd highly recommend it.

One of my early hesitations with LibraryThing was that I couldn't add my own stuff en masse. See, I have wanted (and wanted) to write my own book database thingie that would catalog both print and electronic resources (i.e., books for Logos Bible Software / Libronix Digital Library System). I've bugged Bob Pritchett about it for around three years now.

Then LibraryThing went and did it. Tim added a "universal import" that simply takes a list of ISBN numbers and then does the rest.

"Whoa ... I can make that work!" was my first thought.

I've hacked together a small HTA ("Hyper-Text Application") that (slowly) accesses the LDLS via the LDLS Object Model, builds a list of books, and allows you to export a list of ISBN numbers. Then ... if you sign up for LibraryThing (first 200 books are free!) you can import the list and use LibraryThing to start to catalog your print and electronic resources.

Realize that not all LDLS resources have ISBN data, but several do. So this is one way to get a large chunk-o-resources from LDLS into LibraryThing.

Before I provide a link, a few warnings:

  1. It requires you to have IE on your machine (if you have Logos, you have IE).
  2. It runs locally on your own box.
  3. Your virus software will pitch a fit when it runs. It's OK. If you don't trust me, just disconnect from the internet when you run it.
  4. Oh, you may have to adjust your IE security settings. I dunno. It worked on my box, though.
  5. It is S-L-O-W.
  6. The interface is horrid. Interruptive dialogs with no ability to cancel out? Oh yeah! Now you know why I munge text & data, and why I don't write interface stuff for Logos.
  7. On reflection, "horrid" is being too kind. The interface absolutely stinks.
  8. Have I mentioned that it is slow?
  9. It works on my laptop at home. It may not work on any other machine in the known world at this time. As they say, your mileage may vary.
  10. I wrote the guts of this years ago when I was cutting my javascript teeth. I've learned much in the intervening years. It could be oh-so-much better. I mean, it's pretty bad. Keep a bucket handy if you happen to look at the code.
  11. I specifically disclaim any responsibility for anything that happens to your machine as a result of running this thingie. That means success or failure. If you run it, you're responsible.

Now, instructions.

  1. Download the zip archive.
  2. Unzip it all into its own folder.
  3. Double-click MetadataExplorer.hta.
  4. Chide me for stupid interruptive dialogs and bad interface design.
  5. Wait awhile. Hey, I said it was slow!
  6. Click the button that says Export ISBNs
  7. Chide me again for dumb interruptive dialogs.
  8. Find your ISBNs in LDLS-ISBNs.txt in the same folder as the HTA file.

Next, you probably want to de-dupe the list. Most text editors will have some sort of sort/de-dupe functionality. Yes, the script should do this. But it doesn't. Have I mentioned I'm a cheesebag and should be held in contempt for writing this little thing? If you don't de-dupe, LibraryThing may import multiple instances of a given book, and then you'll have to flip through your scads of books and remove dupes in LibraryThing. That's really not that bad since Timothy Spalding is a big-time stud and has made this pretty easy to do. But if you can do it before you submit ... well, you should.

Note that the HTA was actually written for a different purpose -- to browse the raw "dublin core" metadata in LDLS books. Click on a book in the list, hit the "Display Metadata" button. I added the ISBN export because it was easier to add it here than whip something new up.

What's that? You still want to run this blasted nausea-inducing thing on your box? Well ... you've been warned.

Here's the link to the zip file: MetadataExplorer.zip (4.05 KB)

Post Author: rico
Thursday, November 03, 2005 10:48:16 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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