Sunday Salon 14 – Book Cataloging

Posted 26 July, 2009 by Trish in Life, Reading Nook / 49 Comments


Sunday SalonHappy Sunday! Well, I’m back to talking books this week. As I was entering some of my new purchases into my Excel spreadsheet, I thought I’d share with you how I catalog by books.

I started cataloging my books about 5 or 6 years ago after I started hitting numerous book sales and my personal library started growing exponentially. I felt I needed to keep track of what I had on the shelf and which I’ve read (and when). I started off using Microsoft Access, but this past year when I got a new computer and an upgrade to the new Windows, I imported everything in Excel. I LOVE Excel and what it an do in terms of tables.

Below is a screenshot of my Excel document. Click to picture to enlarge, otherwise it’s hard to see the categories. I have all my books numbered and have a column for Title, Author, Binding, Date Published, Date of my edition, Category, and Date Read. I love how I can sort and search using the pull-down menus. I also have a separate spreadsheet for the books I’ve read each year (starting with last year) that includes my rating and the url to the review. It’s boring, so I didn’t include it. :) The only pitfall to this catalog is it only shows what is IN my library. So if I’ve read a book and given it away or borrowed a book to read, it doesn’t go in the spreadsheet.

Book Catalog
Do you catalog your books? What different categories do you use? Do you use online websites to help you catalog? I used to use GoodReads but it was too difficult to go through and input 650 books, so I stopped using it. What benefit do you find in cataloging your books?

In other Trish News:

I had another cake decorating class this week. Actually the cake making process was kind of a disaster–I had to toss one cake after it spilled over in the oven causing my house to smell like burnt cake all week. Then the frosting did not want to cooperate with me and my cake kept tearing. I finally piled on the frosting and took some paper towel to pat it down and to make it smooth. You can see in the second picture below where my frosting has cracked a little. My frosting turned a little spotty on top, and when I asked the instructor about this she shrugged and said “Dunno!” Thanks lady. All in all the class has been a lot of fun, but let’s face it, I don’t think I’ll be quitting my day job anytime soon. :P

Trish's Cake
Trish's Cake
I think this week will unfortunately be my last decorating class because next week Scott and I are taking a roadtrip!! In all fashions of spontaneity, we’ll be heading out on the road to the 2009 Sturgis Rally in South Dakota. While there we’re going to go down to Mount Rushmore and hopefully The Badlands. After that we’ll head west to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. See the picture below for our roadmap. Yup, that’s a lot of driving for one week, but Scott and I are King and Queen of the roadtrip. In case you’re wondering, we’re doing this all with one week’s worth of planning. Pretty crazy, but it’ll definitely be fun.

How’s everyone’s Sunday going? Lots of reading and relaxing?

49 Responses to “Sunday Salon 14 – Book Cataloging”

  1. What a fabulous road trip! I’ve always wanted to see that part of the country…my brother went to the Sturgis rally a few years ago and had a great time!
    I don’t catalog my books, although I really should. Your post has given me some ideas. The cake is too pretty to eat ;-)

  2. I couldn’t make the picture larger. :( But I definitely like your idea. I don’t really have a system for keeping track of my books. I use Library Thing to keep track of my TBR list (keep it open while going through my blogs) and then if I read something on that list, I’ll link my review to it. This however doesn’t even cover the “oooh, look at the pretty cover” while at a bookstore and a I grab!

    Oh, and funny story about Mt. Teton. I was teaching and ESL (English as Second Language) class and we were reading an article about Mt. Teton. Except I was mispronouncing it and evidently, the way in which I *was* pronouncing it referred to boobs in Spanish. Soooo all of my kids were laughing at me talking about this Mountain Boobs. I couldn’t figure it out until one sweet boy, giggling the whole way said, “Miss! You are saying these. And pointed to my chest.” So please, take a picture of this mountains. I might not ever make it that far out of Florida. :))

  3. I love your Excel spreadsheet. I may just have to go do that with all of my books as well! I just got all of them loaded into LibraryThing, but I haven’t been totally satisfied with that process, either, and I’m thinking that I’m enough of an Excel dork/lover that your cataloging idea may be exactly what I need :-D

    I love your cute cake! The colors are so fun! I have a friend who’s been taking cake decorating classes for awhile now and I’m amazed at the stuff she does now!!

    What a cool road trip! I do hope you’ll post pictures of all your stops. My hubby hates to be in the car for long periods of time so I doubt we’ll ever get to do something like this. I, on the other hand, love driving so that road trip is something I’d love to be able to do!! Hope you guys have a blast!!

  4. I love your spreadsheet idea! I actually had a list going in a word document that I just eventually stopped entering books in… I wish I had not! I started entering my newer books in LibraryThing and that seems to be working for me now. But, gosh, what if something happens to LibraryThing! Thanks for sharing your great idea! And now… where do you keep all your books?!

    Thanks for sharing all your other news too! The cake is too cute! I have a friend who took a cake decorating class and the people where we work had a cake to enjoy every week!

    Enjoy your road trip! Are you going on a motorcycle?…

    Chick with Books

  5. I use GoodReads. I have a shelf entitled “own-and-to-read” and one entitled “own-and-keeping.” It’s made me so much more organized and really has motivated me to move some of those books off the to-read shelf and onto the keeping shelf.

    You’re route back from Sturgis the same route I’ll be taking on Saturday to get to my new home in Montana. Yellowstone and Grand Teton are absolutely beautiful, and my dad and brother love Sturgis so I think you’ll have a good time.

  6. I’ve kept track of all the books I’ve read since 2005 so I have an excel spreadsheet for that. I also have them in both goodreads and librarything. I didn’t always do reviews so I’m just adding reviews to the newer ones.

    As for at home, I have a huge shelf of TBR books. My shelf is broken into little cubicles so I have an excel spreadsheet that tells me which shelf the books are in. That’s been helpful!

    Your spreadsheet looks great but I think it would be too difficult for me to go back and do that with all my books.

  7. You are so organized! I used to have an excel document too, but after I joined librarything I quit updating it, and now I catalog all my books there. It did take me a while to add them all to begin with, but now I add new ones as soon as I get them.

    Your cake doesn’t look spotty to me, but then, what do I know :P I hope you have a wonderful trip! I’d so love to go to Yellowstone some day.

  8. I am so jealous – a road trip sounds like fun. I love how Americans just pack up their cars and go off on these fabulous road trips around your fabulous country. We just don’t do it in England, probably because their isn’t that much difference around our country, our roads are always really congested and our weather sucks!
    Love the cake, you are so talented.
    I am really impressed by your spreadsheet, I actually don’t have a list of what books I have. It is no surprise that sometimes I end up with doubles!

  9. Wow what a great roadtrip! One day my boys’ll be old enough to do something like that. :)

    I keep my organizing on Goodreads. I don’t buy a lot of books (despite what it might seem like this summer) so keeping track of books I own that I haven’t read is pretty easy for me, but if it weren’t for Goodreads, I wouldn’t remember a quarter of what’s on my TBR list. I’m really grateful for it.

  10. I started cataloging my books in Excel, but have imported it to Google Docs so I can access it anywhere. I don’t keep track of quite as much about the books as you do, but I do keep track of where I got the book and if I’ve reviewed it. I also put my new books in LT and Good Reads. Your cake is gorgeous – I need you to make one for my son’s birthday on Wednesday! Have a great time on your trip.

  11. *JoAnn – Sturgis is going to be crazy–definitely out of our normal comfort zone! :) I don’t know what I’d do without my book catalog.

    *Christina – I’m having issues with HTML, but the picture should be able to be enlarged now. I’ve never used LT, but I know lots of people like it. I’ll definitely be thinking about Mountain Boobs when we head to the Tetons. :)

    *Melissa – A man who doesn’t like to drive? Does such a thing exist? :) My husband lives for the car, so we’ve taken some really great roadtrips. But getting him to go on the lovely nature hikes that you and yours do? Never! I LOVE Excel–I love all of the search capabilities…not sure if Goodreads or Library Thing has that.

    *Suzanne – It’s definitely harder to go back and enter stuff in rather than to keep up with it. My books are all over the place–it’s quite ridiculous actually. :) We’ll be taking a motorcycle with us, but driving in the truck. Thanks for visiting!

    *Diane – LOL! Yup, I guess we’re just trying to spice it up a little bit–get out of that boring routine. :)

    *Jacketsandcovers – Good luck with the trip to the new house! I’m not sure we’ll actually make it to Montana (the roadmap takes us to Billings, but we might bypass). I’ve heard it’s gorgeous up there!

    *Jenny – Oooh–I love how you have the location of books in your excel doc! I’ve been thinking about also doing a column for books that are loaned out so I don’t forget.

    *Nymeth – When I was a freshman in college I lived about 75 miles from Yellowstone–Scott can’t believe I never made it up there (and neither can I!). It’ll be a fun but exhausting trip. Librarything huh? I’ve only poked around there briefly.

    *Scrapgirl – Well, I don’t think the weather will be particularly lovely when we head out. I think it’ll be really hot in South Dakota and cool in Yellowstone. Makes packing difficult! I’d end up with doubles without a spreadsheet, too.

    *Amanda – No way–your boys are old enough now! We took a lot of roadtrips when little, but we also got a lot of “If you girls don’t stop that, I’m going to pull this car over…” :) I started using Goodreads, but I got too lazy to enter in all my books!

    *Bermuda – I’ll have to look into Google Docs! The only thing that scares me about that is hearing nightmares about people getting locked out of their google accounts. Rare, but it happens. Happy birthday to your son!

    *Gautami – I’ll admit it does take time to catalog, but I’m glad I do. Happy Sunday to you.

  12. I use LibraryThing and have had the time of my life entering the now 2400+ books. Sometimes I think I go thrift store book buying just so I can go home and enter more books! LOL

    I love LibraryThing! especially the series feature.

  13. I wonder if we are distantly related? I started cataloging my books in Excel in January, just after I started blogging. I have nearly the same categories as you, but I also added a couple of others a la Nick Hornsby. I list where I purchase the book – the month purchased – and the amount spent. I love seeing how much time a book sits on my shelf before I actually read it and since I purchase most of my books at second hand stores, I get a thrill seeing how much money I have “saved”

    I used to decorate cakes when my kids were small. I never did wedding cakes, but had a small part-time business for birthday cakes. My youngest daughter, nearly 16, is now following in my footsteps. Your cake is VERY cute!

    Have a wonderful vacation. I envy the trip to Yellowstone and look forward to reading all about it.

  14. Ah man, I’m drooling here! Yes, over your cake…but even more over your spreadsheet! I’m sooooo jealous!

    I’m envious of your road trip, too. I miss the days when Rich and I could just take off and go. Except we usually didn’t plan at all…we just headed out and went wherever the road took us. Such fun! Hope you manage to get to the Badlands…they are STUNNING!!! Can’t wait to hear all about it…and see all your photos! Have fun!!!!!!!

  15. I have only the books that I have reviewed (or will review) in my spreadsheet. I log in the ARCs when they arrive. My columns include title, author, date received, date published, date of review, type, rating given, book tour (y/n), giveaway (y/n), book club (y/n), posted on Amazaon (y/n), posted on The Library Thing (y/n).

    I color code the rows of the books that still need to be read.

    Great post.

    Happy Sunday.

  16. That’s quite the cataloging system Trish. Awesome. I should really consider doing something like that but I still like having a hard copy of things. I have a little recipe type box that I have index cards in. I put the author’s name on the card and record the books I’ve read and whether or not I liked them as well as the year I read them. I have fallen miserably behind in that though since I started the blog and I really need to update.

    I think your cake is still pretty. I know I wouldn’t have the patience though to do that. The road trip sounds so awesome. I can’t wait to hear about it when you get back. Have fun!

  17. I do not have the patience for cake decorating, so major props for sticking it out! It is NOT easy from what I’ve seen, definitely an art.

    You guys are going to Sturgis… do either of you bike? I have an aunt-in-law who lives nearby, I’ve heard it is pretty fun but crazy around there. Rushmore should be a lot of fun! I really enjoyed learning about all the history out there.

    Your cataloging system is quite nice! I haven’t tried cataloging my tbr pile, but it would be a good idea for me. I have so many books, keeping track would be very helpful.

  18. And, I just realized you’ll probably go right past my hometown in OK, but probably not through it — Ponca City. It’s a pretty little place with friendly people. I would move back in a heartbeat. Have a terrific time on your trip!


    Know what I read in that post? Books blah blah cake frosting blah blah SOUTH DAKOTA!!!!!! I can’t hardly stand myself I’m so excited. As I’ve said, the Badlands are stunning. They will also be scorchingly hot next week.

    What kind of motorcycle are you bringing? Have you read that there are like *500,000* bikes here that week? Rapid City has a population of about 70,000, Sturgis has a non-rally population of about 7000. It’s CRAZY.

    Did I mention I can’t wait?

  20. I don’t catalog my books… the only thing I did is recording the books I read via my blog! :P But I’ve to say you’ve very organized!!

    Have a great roadtrip! I look forward to the pics after you’re back! ;)

  21. I keep my book catalog on Excel too–at least my TBR books (the ones I own but haven’t read). My TBR pile was growing so fast that I needed a way to keep track so I wasn’t buying duplicates which occasionally happened. Not to mention I like making lists. :-)

    I also use an Excel list for all the books I read in a year–it makes pulling stats really easy come December when I’m looking for patterns and such in my reading.

    Even now, though I use LibraryThing to catalog all the books I own, I still keep up my TBR Excel list.

    Have a wonderful trip, Trish! Be safe and enjoy the sights!

  22. You are so organized. I cannot maintain Excel sheets. I never catalogued my books. I started keeping track through GoodReads and shelfari. I find GoodReads very helpful. I can enter the date I bought the book, the person who referred it to me. And i love that I can add shelfs. So far I’ve added one ‘I own’. That helps me keep track of what books I have and all.

    You could use good reads to keep track of borrowed books too i guess by creating a new shelf. I find this way very easy to maintain than an Excel sheet. But whatever works for you.

    Your cake look pretty and delicious and such pretty colors :)

    Have a rocking trip.

  23. That totally sounds like something I should do, but I don’t. This past year I started to input what I read in a book journal called Book Lust. I enjoy that, but I want to try something else when that’s over. I enter movies I’ve watched into a Moleskin journal, so I may use one of those for books. Even though I’m a computer dork, I prefer journaling books/movies with paper and pen as opposed to spreadsheets. This is surprising because in college I wrote an Access database to catalog stats for the seasons I played of the video games NBA Live and College Football on Sega Genesis. I still have that database but I no longer use it. Hmmmm, now that I think about it, maybe I will create a book/movie database.

    Pardon me while I have a conversation with myself on your message board. ;-p

    The roadtrip sounds awesome, Trish. I hope you guys have a blast.

  24. *Bookfool – I think I’d feel too chaotic without a catalog—I’d have no idea what books I own and which ones I’ve read when. We will be driving through Oklahoma, but I think we’re leaving Friday night so it will be dark. Scott wants to drive through the night and I keep telling him he’s crazy!

    *Nicole – It’s hard to keep up with cataloging, especially if there is a large intake! I know I always dread cataloging after I’ve hit a big booksale and come home with several books.

    *Lisa – Ahhhhhh!! Ya, I’m gonna have to talk to you about how to pack. Looks like it’s going to be pretty toasty in SD, but I think in WY it’s going to be pretty cool—in the 30s at night! I’M SO EXCITED. Friday night is either going to come really fast because of so much to do or really slow because of anticipation. Scott has a Suzuki cruiser type bike. Definitely will stick out like a sore thumb in Sturgis. Oh wait, maybe it will be my pink helmet and jacket that stick out like a sore thumb!! :P

    *Melody -I’ll definitely share pictures, of course. I don’t know when we’ll be back that way, so I’ll be taking lots. :) I love cataloging, but it is a lot of work! It’s fun to look back on, though.

    *Lit Feline – What book junkie doesn’t like lists? :) I’ve started keeping a separate spreadsheet for each year, which helps keep track of books that aren’t part of my library—before these I didn’t have a good way to keep track of that. Is there a reason you don’t keep all the books you own in Excel?

    *Violetcrush – Ooh, I didn’t even think of a category for referrals—that’s a great idea. The Goodreads shelves would be perfect for books borrowed. I don’t do a lot of borrowing, but enough that it skews my stats and such if I just take what’s in Excel.

    *Paxton – I’m not sure why I chose Access—it’s much more difficult to use than Excel. I guess just because I didn’t know how to use the tables in the old Excel (not even sure if it was capable of these kinds of tables). Journaling with pen is good, but it doesn’t allow you to search—for example, I can quickly see how many books I’ve read by Margaret Atwood. Or how many books I read in 2005. How many books I’ve read that were published in the 1800s, etc etc. I am a true nerd. :P And feel free to have conversations with yourself here whenever you want. I’ll still butt in and give my 2 cents.

  25. The majority of bikes will be Harleys or choppers of some sort, but you won’t be the only suzuki bike by far! What WILL stand out of your helmet, and not because it is pink- there are no helmet laws in SD so most of the riders won’t be wearing them. It’s stupid and took me years to get used to seeing it. There is (are?) TONS of pink harley and sturgis gear though.

    Weather wise, it’s GORGEOUS and 80 today. Cooler at night but shorts and skirts and short sleeves are still fine.

  26. Wow! That sounds like a fabulous road trip, Trish! I hope you’ll enjoy it immensely!

    As for cataloguing… I couldn’t even start keeping the detail you have! O_O I catalog my books on LibraryThing and that works fine for me. ^-^ This year I am keeping track of the books I read and a few other things in a spreadsheet, but making them is still very much a learn-as-you-go thing.

    And the cake looks pretty good to me, cracked frosting or no!

  27. I use LibraryThing to catalog my books; I never had or needed a system beforehand. I didn’t really have enough to warrant it before LT and book blogging. I do keep an Excel spreadsheet of my books read for the year, so I can more easily track my page numbers and totals.

    I hope you have an amazing road trip!

  28. I used to have a spreadsheet for my books, but I never used it much. Now they’re all on Library Thing- and I go there all the time! It’s so convenient.

  29. You asked, “Is there a reason you don’t keep all the books you own in Excel?”

    With over two thousand books in my home library, listing them all on Excel seemed too daunting. My excitement over LibraryThing got me over that in a way–plus it was a bit easier listing only ISBN numbers rather than title, author, page #, year published, etc. Of course, now that all my books are cataloged in LibraryThing, I can easily convert the list to Excel if I really wanted to.

  30. Hey Trish – I dont catalog my books but I want to! I just havent figured out the best way to do it yet. I have looked at a couple Library type downloads that you can purchase but then I think of all the time to enter everything…

    I know in the long wrong it would be worth it. This is actually a great idea for a discussion on how people do catalog their books….

  31. The rally looks so much fun, have a great time.

    Oh and I wanted to ask what do you do with the cakes afterwards (I know eat them sounds so obvious but I think I’d be sick of cake by now).

  32. I have an excel list with all the books I’ve read. I’m sure I’ve written about it on this blog before.

    I signed up for LibraryThing and Shelfari ages ago but never added anything.

  33. I keep meaning to come back and say that I’m on Goodreads and I wish everyone I knew was on it JUST for the “now reading” part. Bonus if they use more.

    I log my books on my blog (duh) and also in a paper journal. I am a few books behind in the paper version, but I am sentimentally attached to it. I only officially log books I’v read. On Goodreads I have a ton of books marked to be read, but that doesn’t mean I OWN them. I also have a librarything account, but I don’t have the money to renew it so it’s really out of date.

  34. *Lisa – 80 with no humidity would be heavenly. Um, the rest we already talked about. :P

    *Michelle – It’ll be a lot of driving in a week but hopefully a lot of fun.

    *Shanra – Well, after 6 years of cataloging my books I’ve just added three new columns thanks to the comments here. :) It’s a process but one I’ve kept up. The cake tastes great, just not as presentable as I hoped.

    *Meghan – I use Excel to keep track of totals and page numbers as well, but that’s all in a separate spreadsheet. I’ve never looked into LT–feel like the odd one out!

    *Jeane – Another one who uses Library Thing. I’m so addicted to my Excel document I don’t think I could switch to something else.

    *Lit Feline – I completely understand–if I hadn’t started keeping track before my crazy book buying habits, I think it would be too overwhelming to start now. I did a lot of the cataloging also when I moved and was boxing/unboxing books. Can you export your list from LT?

    *Sheila – I LOVE Excel, but I can see the draw to Library Thing and having everything on the Internet to access anywhere. Just haven’t ever looked into it.

    *Jodie – I’m kind of nervous about the rally since it isn’t really our scene, but it will be great people watching for sure! Sadly most of the cake goes uneaten. :( Hopefully this week I’ll feel confident enough to take the remains up to work since we won’t be in town over the weekend to enjoy.

    *Damnedconjuror – Someone mentioned something about cataloging books that prompted me to write this post–although I’ve been thinking about it for a while. Perhaps it was you? I don’t remember. I signed up for Shelfari but never did anything with it. Too cumbersome to search for all the books.

    *Lisa – I have a goodreads account but never use it. What do you mean “bonus if they use more”?

  35. it’s a bonus FOR ME if they use it more. I love to see what everyone is reading, so that’s good enough, any more is a bonus.

  36. Ti

    I used to keep track of my books via an Microsoft Access database I set up. It was good because I could run queries if I needed to BUT I stopped doing it when my system crashed and never picked it up again.

  37. Cool road trip! Hope your AC is working. Looks like you’re going through some warm territory.

    I use The Library Thing on-line and Bookpedia at home. I love Bookpedia’s ability to tell me what’s where, if I’ve lent it out, to whom, when etc. It also lets me set up different libraries so I can keep track of authors or book types. I like The Library Thing because it was really good at importing my Bookpedia books and I didn’t have to re-enter everything. It also gives me on-line access so I can check before buying new books when I’m out and about. CD and DVDpedia are really good too.

    Fabulous cake btw! I’d never have the patience.

  38. I love the organization skills you have! WOW, amazing…You want to come catalog my library?!

    Love that cake!

    Have a great trip and be sure to share your photos!

  39. That cake looks so yummy! Wow! I can’t believe how out of the loop I have been! I am sure you are back from your trip, you know I have never been to Mt Rushmore and I live like 5 hours from it? This road trip sounds like a great one! I am so jealous! I discovered why I have had no energy lately and have been so blah and out of it. I am expecting another baby! Due Feb 1. So now that I know what is going on, maybe my life will get back together better! Have fun on your trip! Be safe!

  40. I do all my book cataloguing on an Excel spreadsheet too. I have what seems like a gazillion categories though. Most of what you have plus Nationality, Gender, Translator (if applicable), Date Acquired, Rating, Prize, Pages, ISBN, Series, etc. Each year on a separate sheet/tab, plus a sheet for TBR books, and wishlist. I love my lists! :)

    I’ve never joined any of the online sites and the thought of starting from scratch doesn’t make me feel inclined to either. Maybe someday..