More Books Than Room For Them - What I Did

Like many people, I love books and love to pick up any one of them and read it or use it as a reference.  The problem I was having was locating them.  I had books in boxes as well as on shelves.  Sometimes even books on shelves can be elusive!  Eventually the computer age came along and helped me solve the problem.  Years ago I went to grad school in library science and one of the intriguing things I read about was the New York Public Library shelving system.  I've never been there but it seems they just put books on shelves in the order they are purchased, and use methods of indexing and other information access for people to be able to find them. 

I never forgot that and in the early 90's, I started putting books in boxes in no particular order, and labeling the boxes.  Every title of every book was entered into a computer along with the box it was in.  (Along with this, you might also enter where the box itself is, what room, what shelf, etc.)  At grad school we had also studied about indexing "realia", i.e., whatever "stuff" , gadgets, etc., you like to be able to find when you need it.  So I started putting EVERYTHING in boxes and entering their names into the database.  It is very easy to store boxes out of sight most anywhere.

At the time I was using a Dos version of Microsoft Works.  Not the best but it did the job.  Later I was able to copy these files as text files and use faster and faster computer technology to be able to quickly find any book or item.  The last ten years or so I have been using a pocket computer that very rapidly finds anything I have.  Even though a TRGpro is older technology now, it is ideal.  (For the uninitiated, it is like a Palm IIIx except that it carries a 2GigaByte CF card for backup purposes.  It even has dozens of novels on it!)  Now, instead of rummaging around for half an hour in frustration trying to find that certain book, or that certain item, I just enter a term or a word from the title, let my TRGpro do a rapid search, and in a few minutes, I know where it is and can go to it.  I also have experimented with a visual system, taking digital pictures of each box and its contents, and using a software program that pics out the few pictures of items that match the search.  Seeing the items is best, but this system needs the right software to work dependably.  I tried ACDSee but it kept losing my indexes.

I'd like to hear of others who have experimented with systems like this.
bodryn bodryn
Jul 15, 2010