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Your Home Library: The Complete System for Organizing, Locating, Referencing, and Maintaining Your Book Collection Paperback – October 21, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Running Press; Pck edition (October 21, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762415568
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762415564
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,113,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Coblentz, a special collection cataloger at the New York Public Library, shares a librarian's tips on how to organize a home library in this slim, practical guide. The volume includes instructions on how to evaluate books and the space available to house them, how to classify the books to suit individual needs and how to create a library catalog. She also offers handy advice on maintaining and expanding a personal collection. (An accompanying CD offers software to aid in the classifying and cataloging of books.) Coblentz's fastidious methods and suggestions will appeal most to serious collectors, who would like to replicate a professional-style library at home and are willing to set aside the time to number their bookshelves and wash their hands before they pick up their favorite volumes.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Kathie Coblentz is Special Collections Cataloger at the New York Public Library.

Customer Reviews

I am only hoping that it doesn't take potential librarians and turn them off from the whole idea.
M. Ahrens
The book that comes with the software is somewhat helpful, but honestly there is no new information to anyone who has been collecting books for a while.
Kimberly S. Stanley
I spent a fair amount of time looking for something like this last year and couldn't believe there weren't more options.
DavLibris

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Miller on December 7, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My main problem with this set is that the software, while simple and attractive to use for recording one's personal relationship with one's books (in addition to some standard cataloguing data, there are categories like how you acquired it, its physical condition, your rating of it, whether or not you've read it) and some practical details like which shelf number it's on and to whom you may have loaned it, just isn't powerful enough to solve the problem I bought it for, which is to make it possible for me to really search my collection effectively. To do this, I would like to record not only titles, but what Kathie Coblentz calls "other access points", which could be the names of authors whose essays appear in a collection, for example. It's also the case that, while you may record several authors for a book, the search function will only find an author in the position in which you entered it, (so you may have to do several separate searches to find all the books on which a particular person's name is listed as author). So this won't save me the trouble of setting up my own database, as I had rather hoped it would.
The book is more helpful, with sections on figuring out ways to group books together into categories, how much shelf space you need for each category, a system for numbering shelves so that you can use the software to know where in your collection to find them (more useful if you have the luxury of making these shelves be partially full, so that you just add books to existing space, rather than moving categories around when you add new bookshelves), preservation techniques, and tips for culling the collection.
The largest piece in the set is the ring-binder with a number of landscape-oriented brown sheets of paper, for you to print out your booklist.
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Koppel on February 14, 2005
Format: Paperback
According to a recent New York Times article, Kathie Coblentz has a home library she estimates at 3,600 volumes packed into a one-bedroom apartment. As a special collection cataloger for the New York Public Library she has written the book portion of this set (software, book, and binder).

Book cataloging software is an iffy proposition. My current collection (20,000+ volumes not counting 1,000+ of graphic novels) is on a computerized database. I tried many off-the shelf products and they all fail in one major aspect or another. Do you want to know what stories are in a particular collection? Do you want to know that the book crosses several genres? (a big thing in romances these days) Do you want ISBNs? searches capable of looking for primary, secondary, tertiary, etc. authors? M. Ahrens suggests software that adds data based on ISBN. But what about all of those books published before the ISBN became a standard in 1970? Value? Edition? Typeface? Binding? A collector is better off thinking about what they want to track in their collection and using a simple database program (Paradox, Access, etc.) or a configurable home inventory program.

The binder is designed for printing out a copy of your book inventory (mine changes several times a week thus making a paper record short-lived and wasteful). It is a nice addition for a complete collection (say a complete collection of first editions of a favorite author) but inadequate for any active collection.

The book is interesting but seems to apply to a perfect world. If you add to your collection, the idea of shelf numbering may not be something you want to have to keep updating in the database as books move from one shelf to another.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Kimberly S. Stanley on January 7, 2006
Format: Paperback
I bought this off of the New York Public Library website. What an utter waste of $40. The book that comes with the software is somewhat helpful, but honestly there is no new information to anyone who has been collecting books for a while. The worst part is the "software" that you are supposed to use to catalog your books. First of all, it is difficult to install--this is always a sign of a inferior product: no product that was properly QA'd would be released in such condition. Second of all, the product is just a fancy version of a spreadsheet. I could literally use Excel or MS Access to catalog my books just as well as this software. You actually have to input EVERY piece of data associated with a book. There is no excuse for anyone with an Internet connection to have to manually input book data. I state again: it is very surprising that the New York Public Library would include this product in their stores. It is a major, major rip off and there are far superior cataloging products out there.

The product I finaly ended up using is one called Readerware ([...] Readerware, for the same amount of money ($40), allows you to scan in the barcodes of your books--the software comes with its own CueCat scanner. Then the software looks up the barcodes you entered, (using the Internet), and updates each barcode with all the available info on the book. I scanned 800+ books in about 4-5 hours. BTW, you can also use Readerware to scan in all of your DVDs and CDs, (you have to pay more to get the full version of Readware that supports books, DVDs, and CDs).

Of course, you don't have to take my recommendation to buy "Readerware", but please don't waste your money on "Your Home Library."
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