I must say it’s taken some time to discover a library-recording tool that can last long-term.
When accumulating knowledge resources, it can be done in a haphazard way, acquiring books on a whim, storing them away, sometimes never seeing them again because they become lost amidst the collection…a more impulsive approach.
Or it can be done more strategically, more intentionally, where these resources can be chosen, topics targeted, titles and genres found faster; it saves time and, like an efficient library, becomes a value for others who may be interested in the materials you have available to share.
I imagine a world where we are as apt to send each other illuminating knowledge as we are to send dance TikToks and goofy Tweets.
Book Library Experiment #1 – Portfolio
Initially, I put up a digital library version on my portfolio site. It was a page with a library’s aesthetic; provided book cover pictures with a rotating camera roll.
When a visitor clicked on the picture, it took them to the main page, mostly its Barnes & Noble or Amazon. [I’m aware of the recent campaigns to dissociate from Amazon purchasing. Some companies do host exclusively or focus strongly on e-commerce through that platform, so I think we should apply discernment where needed; if a company has a personal website and sells products there, perhaps committing to ordering directly, with increasing frequency rather than totally “quitting” ordering from Amazon. Some texts I found online weren’t available anywhere else except Amazon and I appreciate having the option to acquire them].
I didn’t include all of the books I own on the portfolio of course, only those that might appeal to the reader who was seriously curious about self-cultivation. The time invested to produce that page was laborious, but worth it for the time it was available. It allowed for a quick reference during my conversations with people who were interested in perusing new titles. I could send them the link and they take off on their own.
But for me, it wasn’t dynamic enough. As an external-facing library, there wasn’t much use. Whenever I acquired a new title, I’d have to add it to the website, upload the picture, source the official page, write the description, which required more time investment.
Needed a new option.
Book Library Experiment #2 – Spreadsheet
I took down the library page and created an Excel sheet to house the titles. This became more convenient since I could add them easily with many devices. I also could add other knowledge “types,” like essays, articles and videos.
Its limitation? I traded the external aesthetic for portfolio visitors for an internal-facing file. Also, a lack of efficient access to genres, authors, summaries, additional details a reviewer would enjoy having access to.
The Excel sheet is still useful, but to include all of that information for every book and allow it all to be extracted swiftly would be unnecessarily time consuming.
Experiment #3 – The Best Blend
A solution to this, merging the Excel sheet dynamic with being able to display the books externally and share with others seamlessly, with an enjoyable interface I found in the BookBuddy app.
It was designed to organize a personal library whether physical or digital. With a barcode scan, you can capture a book’s total information, all of what you might be looking for when searching for a book in a physical library. You can write notes about the title, label it as read or unread or currently reading, give it a star rating, create topics and automatically have its book cover uploaded if available.
With the one-time in-app investment, you can also export book lists into PDF and spreadsheet formats, tailoring these by many of the categories I described.
For someone who is an avid reader and book collector, a knowledge-keeper, the BookBuddy app will be a convenient resource for building your personal archives.