< Fun with Amazon Wish Lists I
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[Comments] (4) Fun With Amazon Wish Lists I.V: I should talk about the target audience for this series before more authors of online bookshelf programs leave comments in my entries. This series is not for bibliophiles per se; rather for bibliophiles who want a programmable API to their bibliophilia.

If you only want to make an annotated list of all your books then use LibraryThing. It's fast, easy to use, and the data is reliable. You can simulate multiple discrete lists by using tags. It costs $10, which is not much compared to other things you've paid for. You could also use All Consuming, which is free and does non-books, but was really slow when I tried to use it (which was a long time ago). You could also use one of the 200 bookshelf applications sure to show up on Ning. You could buy Delicious Library for your Mac, which uses a webcam as a barcode scanner. You could, in short, use whatever incarnation of this particular project tickles your fancy, because your fancy is not tickled by external APIs.

If you want to build a list of books and then use it as a data structure, then Amazon wish lists are the only game in town operating on a higher level than a Z39.50 binding: see for instance this NYCB from last year, before I got REST religion. Amazon provides some interesting data not available through other APIs, like prices and sales rank, but you can join on ISBN to get that data, so a lot of the things in the series will be applicable to people with Tyrannioware or other Z39.50 systems.

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Posted by Rachel at Wed Oct 12 2005 13:44

haha, now I am totally obsessed with librarything. I made two, one for books I have and one for books I borrowed... too bad there isn't a way to make sublists (like for borrowed or library books). and a downloadable version so you can access your library offline. I'm sure when I go home and start adding my million books I will have to do the paid thing.

Posted by Leonard at Wed Oct 12 2005 13:48

Rachel, the way to make sublists is with tags. All your books would go into the same list but a library book you would tag with "library" or "Library Book". Then you could click on the tag name to see only library books.

Posted by Rachel at Wed Oct 12 2005 13:59

I dunnnnoo. I kinda want the books I've read but don't have to be totally seperate from books I have. Perhaps I am just being weird but I don't think the two belong on the same shelf, even if it is a virtual shelf... can i make it so certain tags only show up when I ask for them or show up in a certain area? If I arrange the books by tag names the "borrowed" books will still be mixed in with my own library, between "autographed" and "unread" and whatever else. Is it so weird that I want to keep them seperate?

Posted by Leonard at Wed Oct 12 2005 14:21

You can restrict your view to a single tag. Even though all the books are jumbled together in the catalog you can show only books with a particular tag. So here are my lists of read and unread books:


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