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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Using Bookpedia to Catalog a Genealogy Library

    Most Januarys I get a surge of energy to whip my chaos into shape. Bookpedia book cataloging software is helping me tame the monster in my home office. I have one wall of bookcases that were double-stacked with books from my past and present lives as student, teacher, writer, researcher, and reader. I couldn’t find anything.

    I’ve been chipping away at the stacks for the past week and this morning cataloged 71 books in just over an hour. With another half hour or so for re-shelving, I am beginning to see progress.

    My major roadblock to previously cleaning up my books was rooted in good old sentimentality. I didn’t want to move along old books until I had cataloged them in some way. I am always trying to remember, “Have I read that before?” and I was tired of buying duplicate copies. There are too many new titles on my Wish List!

    Bookpedia and the iSight camera on my new iMac have made relatively quick work of a big task. The program allowed me to set up my Library and use a checkbox “Sold” for books I am donating and/or selling. Using the built in camera, I can hold up the ISBN bar code. When Bookpedia reads the code, there is an audible “beep” and a window pops up pre-filled with information from internet book databases like Amazon. I check to make sure it is the correct volume, add my own genre keywords: Genealogy, New England, Handwriting, etc., and click Add.

    The camera doesn’t work all of the time; many times the ISBN bar code seems to be too small, or maybe the book cover stock is too glossy for a good read. When that happens, I just enter the code numbers and Bookpedia finds the book information.

    Many genealogy books and local histories don’t have an ISBN number. These books can be entered manually with as much information as you want.

    The program displays your library in an attractive cover flow list that is fun to browse and much quicker that looking through dozens of shelves.

    Bookpedia had an iPod Touch version, Pocketpedia, which is no longer available due to limitations from Amazon. Instead, the website suggests other ways to export your library catalog to your iPod Touch or iPad. I found it easy to “print” my genealogy catalog as a PDF and send it to Evernote. After syncing, I was able to view the list with cover photos on my iPod Touch. The website also describes how to export to MobileMe or a website for browser viewing.  

    Even without the full-sync Pocketpedia, I think this will be a great help when travelling and attending conferences.

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    Reader Comments (7)

    Is Bookpedia only for Mac? Is it free? If not, how much does it cost? How many books can it catalog? What's the web link? Thanks!

    January 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarian Pierre-Louis

    Sorry Marian. Yes, Bookpedia is for Mac only; it is $18 with a demo that lets you enter 25 books. The web link is

    When I was using a PC I looked for a similar program and found a few collecting programs, but nothing as easy and inexpensive as Bookpedia. Collectorz will run on PC or Mac. The price is $29.95, plus $9.99 for the ipodTouch app.

    Hope this helps.

    January 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDenise Levenick

    Thanks Denise! I've been looking for some kind of solution. Unfortunately I don't have a mac.

    January 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarian Pierre-Louis

    Thank you so much, Denise! I'm wondering if it works for items other than books, too, as I was hoping to find an all-in-one household inventorying tool, as well as a great book, CD, DVD library-cataloging tool - ?

    January 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Wilky

    Linda, you are in luck. Bookpedia has "other" pedias too that will catalog all kinds of collections. Check them out!

    January 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDenise Levenick

    Great news! Thank you, Denise!

    January 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Wilky

    Thanks for your interesting blog -I like the concept of being the custodian of the "stuff" until the "collection" gets out of control!

    I’ve nominated you for the Ancestor Approved Award: to learn more about it you can refer to my blog which lists information about the original concept.

    January 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPauleen

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