On cataloguing books

Melissa Proffitt Melissa at Proffitt.com
Thu Feb 20 15:45:12 EST 2003

On Thu, 20 Feb 2003 11:44:31 -0800 (PST), Jon Noble wrote:

>(Wouldn't it be great to search on
>> "Stew" and have it pull up a
>> list of books?  Mmmm, stew....)
>Don't go there Melissa, wait until all fantasy books
>are available as e-texts and then do a word search
>through each for "stew". "nunnery", "true heir" or
>whatever. Its too immense a task, even for one with
>your immense reading rate.

Well, it's too boring after a while...it's one thing to do it as you're
reading, but then I'd also have to index the whole Tough Guide....  Besides,
there's the *concept* of the True Heir, for example, in some books where
that particular phrase isn't used.  So many possibilities.  And here I was
worried about the day when I didn't have any more books to enter.  :)

>Watch ISBNs, if your field for this is set up to
>recognise valid ISBNs you may have trouble next year
>as there are reports they'll be changing to 13 digits.

Really?  Good to know.  Fortunately this guy is not dumb enough to hardcode
the length of certain fields, so there's room for a LOT more digits in the
ISBN.  (Why are they doing that, by the way?  Is it to accommodate more
publishers or more titles per publisher, or what?)  The field itself will
accept any kind of garbage you type into it and doesn't run the checksum at
all, but the new upgrade lets you run that program separately.  Not that
it's terribly useful, since it points out that some books are assigned
invalid ISBNs (?!), but it was sort of fun to look at.  And I found one typo
of my own.  :)  I'm fairly certain there would be an upgrade if the 13-digit
ISBN came about.

>As an experiment I've started applying my categories
>to my own collection to see how it works, just copied
>my list of fantasy into a spread sheet and put the
>categorties as the other axis. I was afraid that I may
>end up with a lot of unclassifiable books, but so
>that's not the case - but I've only done authors
>beginning with A - about 75 books.

I have surprisingly few unclassifiable ones...maybe twenty out of 200?  And
they all tend to be so unique that grouping them with others is misleading.
There's more in science fiction because I don't have a lot of subcategories
for it yet.  I anticipate the nonfiction being much more of a problem in
some ways; maybe I will work out a place to put the Dewey decimal number,
which the designer has already announced is not high on his list of

I'm always a little unnerved at how happy all this dry number-crunching
makes me.  :)  It's just so much fun.  

On another thread, my mother also said she thinks she has a list of books I
read as a child.  When I told her about that Childhood Favorites discussion
and how I couldn't remember reading, she made a very strange noise like "I
can remember it, you little snot, because I could never get you to stop long
enough to do your chores."  Very expressive noise, that.

Melissa Proffitt

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