libib, book management and more


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
Warning, deep nerdistry follows.

If you cook, you likely have books. You likely have other books. And music, and movies. 

For a few years now, i've been using Book Catalogue, an Android App for managing what physical books I own and where they are. It's a good app, but I've wanted something to handle other libraryish items. And I've wanted at least a web interface if not a dedicated software tool on my computer as well for additional management.

This implies cloud syncing rather than local storage to keep your database current everywhere you access it. 

I also use calibre for managing my ebooks (epub) since that's a simple drag and drop operation that builds a useful reference.  But this isn't cloud synced. (You can install the calibre library on your dropbox account for a workaround, but that implies connectivity you might not have when you want to look at things.)

But these tools don't talk to each other. I don't have a single handy reference to see if I own a book, whether in print or bits. And they don't handle other media I own and would like cataloged in a single place. 

I've started working with Libib which does a lot of this. 

I can export CSV(comma separated values--think spreadsheet type data and organization) files from Book Catalogue and Calibre for easy import into Libib. Libib supports UPC/ISBN code scanning for easy input. 

Libib populates plenty of details about the media on these imports or bar code scans which is a nice feature. 

On the other hand, Libib doesn't deal with tagging as elegantly, nor in bulk. Bulk tagging is nice for sorting by author and then selecting those books and tagging them all at once. Say select all my Jacques Pepin books and tag them as cookbooks.  It doesn't have as many fields  to dedicate to tracking organization and location or other notes about the item.

For example, I've ripped all of my physical CDs to .flac for storage on my home server. I convert flac as needed to mp3 for my media players. My CDs are all in boxes, mostly alphabetic, but not my more recent purchases which are all in the most accessible box.  And that's all packed away for storage. So while I can make all these notes in  a notes field (defaults to the publishers hype text), but it's not as easy to search and sort by compared to separate fields. So I can't pick a shelf or box and see what's in it in this system.  

And while the libib  FAQ states it supports exporting the database in the "control panel", I've not found that function in the app or web tool yet. So this is a concern right now. Being able to move this data easily is a critical feature for me as you can see by my moving data between multiple apps into libib. 

Edited to add, I found the export feature. It's in Settings ->Libraries->Settings. I don't consider exporting a "setting", but at least it's there. 

I like that Libib offers a single interface to my media library data. I like that it cloud synchs and offers web access for keyboard and mouse work.  It's a little lightweight in the features and manipulations areas. 

I will have to manually add new ebook purchases, and calibre does some critical things for me that libib cannot so I'm not down to a single solution for everything. But there's not much duplication of effort in keeping the two systems either. 
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